Advice, Editing, Fiction, Motivation, My Books, Novel, Poetry, Query, Read, Revision, Tips, Writing

Wrapping up November

Please excuse that my last post has been up for almost four full days. I’ve been busy. Congratulations to those of you who met your NaNoWriMo goals. It’s no surprise that I did not make my NaHoCleMo goal. As I soon realized that 5,000 minutes was akin to setting happycleanthe NaNoWriMo goal to 100,000 words, I knew I wouldn’t. But I did clean and organize three major storage closets and my garage, so I feel pretty good about that. And I’ve reluctantly admitted that my husband was right: I wouldn’t have to sacrifice all that many minutes of my daily writing time  to keep on top of the housework. What can I say? I’ve been a spoiled obsessive.

Besides, it’s true that sometimes the best thing you can do to become inspired is step away from the keyboard now and then. This past month, I sketched out five new story ideas; edited one completed story and worked on another; wrote, or started, three new poems; wrote a brief synopsis and have almost finished a longer one; and tweaked the opening paragraphs of The Brevity of Roses to set the tone better. And speaking of that novel—you know, the one I’ve declared finished three times already—well, it’s getting another facial. That’s indirectly connected to NaHoCleMo too.

When I took my lunch and tea breaks from cleaning, I read insthfclmead of getting online. I read about equal amounts of non-fiction and short stories. I’m slowly making my way through Alice Munro’s Hateship,  Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage right now. Before that I had tried to read a novel, which I will not name, and proclaimed myself a better writer than that published author. Then I started Munro’s book, which had me lamenting that my writing is indeed garbage and I might as well just face the fact that I’ll never be published. But last week I opened a file of an early draft of my novel and realized how far it’s come since then. So, I pulled out a printed copy of my manuscript and started working my way through it, strengthening, clarifying, and enhancing my prose.

I admit that two writing tips I’ve been reluctant to follow, I now find invaluable:

  • Let your work sit for a while before you edit.
  • Edit on a printed copy.

By the way, if you’re good at punctuation, I have a sticky passage I could use some help on. Any takers?





Now, your turn. Tell me, what are you working on? How’s it going?

Important stuff: I’m using new software to publish this post, so I’d like to know if anyone has trouble with the display.

16 thoughts on “Wrapping up November”

  1. Four days since your last post? Geesh, if I posted with only a four day gap my readers would think I was sick.

    I believe November had me too busy to work on anything and December looks like it’ll be worse. So my novel that I printed out weeks ago will sit whether I want it to or not.

    No trouble with your display.

    I’ll look at your difficult passage but I have no English degree. I am better at spotting other people’s puntuation errors than my own. My writing looks like I had a first grade education, at times. 🙂


    1. Well, I usually post every other day, sometimes every day when I go insane.

      Yes, December is like a half-month to me because I have sons visiting the second half and even into January, so I don’t expect to get as much writing done this month. Relax, enjoy the season and you’ll have fresh eyes for you ms in January.

      I’ll email you with the short passage, but you’ve already seen it in critique. I think it stumped everyone, so they said nothing. 🙂


  2. Your post looks great on my end, too.

    And, I can relate. It’s good to look at my earlier writing to see that I am growing in my craft, albeit slower than I would like.

    I’m still working on the first draft of my NaNo novel (I didn’t win in the 50K category). So, your tips are helpful as well. When I finish this first draft, I plan on cutting it up, literally, and gluing it back together. I can’t imagine trying to do that on screen 🙂


    1. I’ve never tried the cut and paste method, but I’ve heard of writers who do. Anne Lamott might have mentioned that, and I know she’s tried writing each scene on index cards so she can lay them out and move them around.


  3. I love the rise and fall of comparative prose reading, don’t you? I feel like the next King, I feel like the ultimate hack . . . back and forth, back and forth. Heh. Love the ride.

    No trouble with the display. Did you try WLW for this post? Or is it a new new one? Let me know, if you’d be so kind, what it is; I’m always jonesing for new software to play with.

    Four days isn’t bad at all. And if NaHoCleMo got you cleaning some stuff you might not have otherwise, it served its purpose, no? That’s the idea with NaNoWriMo — just write. So you cleaned. And who ever WOULD clean for 5K minutes anyway?! Yikes! Be glad you did what you did.

    I can’t print my book out to edit it. I’d love to but some things just can’t happen right now. It certainly looks easier.


    1. Oh yes, it’s quite the roller coaster. Sometimes I feel like I’m about to vomit. 🙂

      Yes, I used Windows Live Writer. I downloaded it after I read about it on your blog, but had never tried it. I have a question for you. When you Save Draft (not to your blog) where does it save to? I expected it would pop up a window, so I could choose a folder, but as you know, it doesn’t.

      I didn’t value the printout method until I tried it and found that I really did see things I’d missed on the screen, like typos and missing punctuation. I even notice syntax errors better on paper. Also, paragraph length is clearer to me. Kind of weird, but it’s true. And using a red pencil is cool. 🙂


      1. Red pencil is the coolest, ain’t it? 😀

        WLW saves the drafts in your My Documents folder in a subfolder called My Weblog Posts. There’s a Drafts folder in there, and that’s where they’re stored.

        I had to ask my wife about it; she’s the real WLW expert. If you have questions, check her for the answers. She could probably work on the help team for Microsoft with that one.

        It’s a great piece of software though; I’ve tried a LOT of blog clients and this one’s the BEST. And FREE to boot! Woo!


  4. Reading a variety certainly is a roller coaster when comparing to a WIP – I know exactly how you feel.

    I’m working on the final polish for my novel, ready to query in January. I had a manuscript critique of the first 25 pages at a conference, and it has really helped set the tone for my polish — making it clear how much excess verbiage still needs to be cut.


  5. I know what you mean about getting ideas while doing other things; and, like you, I’m learning how to be better at housework while still accomplishing writing goals. If I take it in small increments, it really doesn’t take so long…

    December is looking busy for me, too. I’ve declared it Diligent December (on my most recent post, anyway…) and that’s not just in regards to writing! My main goal is to finish this draft. Lesser goals include working out, cooking well, saving money, keeping things clean and uncluttered at home…I’d better stop listing things or I’ll get overwhelmed, haha. Better to take things one at a time!!

    Good luck on your December goals, too! It’s cool to hear how creatively inspired you’ve been lately. I don’t say this enough, but I’m glad we’re blog-friends! 🙂 Thanks for your post!


    1. I need to catch up on my blog reading evidently! Yes, I’m also trying to take one thing at a time because I do tend to freeze when I see too many things looming. And that you for becoming one of my blog-friends!


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