Cracking on with the Writing

I’ve been participating in 100 days of Writing, and in the first month of writing I managed to add 20,647 words to my Dragon’s Lore manuscript. Whether it is any good or not is a different story. But there are words down, and done on a regular basis.

There have been days when I haven’t felt like writing, but I have done it anyway. I have actually been getting up early – 5:30am, fed the cat, let her out, then sit down and write, and its been good to get it done then. Then at 6am when the alarm goes off, I start my day, and it feels great knowing that I have written something.

And on the days when I don’t feel like doing much, I’ll write for ten minutes, and I’ll achieve at least 250 words, which, while it doesn’t seem like a lot, those little amounts add up, and as I said earlier, 31 days is over 20,000 words.

It just goes to show that even when you don’t feel like doing something, just a little bit helps to add to the total count.

What little thing can you do today to help you add towards your goals?

Take care

Catherine

Every Word Counts

We are a week away from the end of January. I have been participating in a wonderful challenge called 100 days of Writing Challenge. It’s basically encouraging you to spend the first 100 days of the year writing. It could be plotting, writing, character development, brainstorming, anything as long as you write something down while you’re doing it.

There is a facebook group that this is connected with too, and I’ve been enjoying reading everyone’s progress. Some are achieving 1000+ words a day, some as little as 100 words. But no matter how many words they write, I like to support them. I congratulate those who have had great writing days, and I encourage those who haven’t achieved as much as they would like, by telling them, every word counts. Because it does.

At the end of a ten day block, we have a check in, and we report how many we wrote in that ten day block. My first ten days, I got 9112 words written in 4 hours and 15 minutes of writing. This week, I wrote 5856 words in 3 hours and 3 minutes. It might seem like a lot, and some days I exceeded over 1000+ words, but some days I only got 400 words written down. But it doesn’t matter, because every word counts towards the final product which at this stage is nearly 15,000 words towards my latest novel in my Dragon’s Lore series. I plan on this being a big story, so 80,000 words. so I’m nearly a quarter of the way through that novel. (I actually am over that, I am working on something I started some time ago, so nearly half way at 35,000).

Sometimes it can be a struggle to find time to sit down and write, but when I do, I know that every little bit helps. Every word reduces the amount I need to get to the end product, and it means a day or two closer to the finish.

It helps to break things down into smaller pieces so that it can be easier to achieve your goals. Have you got some goals you could break down into smaller pieces to make them more achievable?

Kia Kaha

Catherine

Winning All Around

I’m on a winning streak. My mental health is improving, work was great, and I’m writing AND editing!

Work was so incredible this week. I did so much more than just weeding, and it was so stinking hot, that we were finishing work early. We were busting a gut to get jobs done, but it was a great week.

Then, my Doctor contacted me to say the referral had been declined, but that they suggested putting me back on my original medication. So, I said great, and as I had some here already, I’ve been taking it all week. I actually feel like I am climbing out of the hole and coming up to 100% again. It makes such a difference; I’m not bursting into tears for no reason now. I’m tired from physical work rather than mental exhaustion, and yes, they are different. Mental exhaustion I get weepy, my body gets heavy and it’s like my brain and body aren’t co-operating. Totally different from being physically tired.

I started with a group called 100 days of Writing, and it’s been so positive and fun. It’s broken down into chunks of ten-day blocks, so I finished my first block this week just been, and I’d written about eight thousand words in my current work in progress, which is my Dragon’s Lore story. And I have been editing Secondhand Daughter, averaging about a chapter and a half each day. So happy with progress. And we get to encourage each other with our writing on a Facebook group.

What did you do this week that made you a winner?

Kia Kaha

Catherine

Happy New Year!

It’s officially 2024 when you read this blog, but its still 2023 when I’m writing it.

It’s been a hectic week with Christmas, travel, more Christmas, then more travelling, so I’m now looking forward to a week at home, relaxing and doing, well, fun stuff. Like visiting the Brook Sanctuary (a bird Sanctuary over in Nelsun), and perhaps a game of golf, if my arms allow me.

And it’s that time of year, where I start setting some goals for my writing. And last year, I nearly accomplished all my goals. I wanted to write 3 new books last year (2023) and I wrote two (Finding Sam Healey and Carol’s Christmas). I also wanted to start on my dragon series, but ran out of year.

This year – I’m starting it with writing the dragon story – and continuing to edit Secondhand Daughter, because I write in the mornings, and edit in the afternoons. I think this will be the most efficient use of my time, until apple season starts anyway.

I also have a goal of achieving my first $1000 in sales this year. I haven’t had any money from my books yet, but I am focusing on advertising this year, and if you feel inclined, do purchase one of my books.

I plan on writing three books this year, and editing three, and publishing at least two – Secondhand Daughter being the first, then Compromising Positions. So here it is people, my goals for 2024

😊 Write Dragon’s Lore, first story (approx 75k words)

😊 Write Faith Hart’s story in my Racing Harts series (approx 60k words)

😊 Write another story, either in my dragon series, or another story. (Approx 60k words)

😊 Edit Secondhand Daughter, and get ready to publish before June 2024

😊 Edit Compromising Positions and get it ready to publish before December 2024

😊 Do first draft edits on Finding Sam Healey

😊 Do first draft edits on Carol’s Christmas

Wow, looking forward to this year already! I’m planning on doing the apple packing in the evenings again this year, to pay for my plate, my gums are healing nicely, and its surprising just how much pain I was in prior to having the teeth removed. Looking forward to being able to smile confidently again.

I also plan on taking the Friday’s off over Winter again, in order to get some writing done while it is quieter at work.

That’s my plan for the year, what’s yours?

Take care everyone, and happy new year!

Catherine

The Week Covid Hit

Went out to a friend’s 50th Birthday last Saturday night, it was fabulous, got to catch up with some other friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

Woke up Sunday morning feeling sick, and it wasn’t alcohol – I’d had 1 cider the entire night. I battled through the day, sore throat, slight cough, nose blocking up.

Woke up Monday morning, not feeling much better. I was going to go to work, but then I thought, perhaps, just maybe, I should do a covid test. (I work at lifestyle villages – you know, retirement homes).

And I did, and it was positive!

It’s a year since I last had covid, so it was quite funny really, that one year later I had it again. And I got it from my son, who had been off work since the Friday feeling sick.

OK, so I let my boss know, let my big boss know, then filled in a leave form for sick leave for 5 days (we have 5 days isolation here in NZ – but it’s no longer subsidised by Government, so I had to take sick leave.)

Ok, so a free week at home… what to do.

Last time I had covid, I could get out of bed and do stuff, but by lunchtime I was back in bed regretting getting up. My partner couldn’t lift his head off the couch, and my son was just coughing every now and again, and still going about his daily routine.

This time, my partner – who was conveniently away on Sunday night – was covid free, so he stayed with his son for the week, and it was only me and Bill.

So, I was surprised when on Tuesday, I felt okay. It was like a head cold, nothing in my chest, just all nasal. Nasal irrigations helped, and I didn’t feel too bad at all. I got some writing done, some editing done, and I finished editing one story, and started on another!

I also got out in my garden, planted some potatoes, some more seeds for the vegetable garden, I did a little bit of weeding, cleaned a couple of little bits of the house, and read. And read and read and read. Man, I was sick of looking at books and screens by Thursday afternoon. But there wasn’t much else I could do. I wanted to conserve my energy, because I didn’t know if Covid was going to bite me in the butt after a couple of days, or not.

But it turns out not. I tested negative on Saturday – which is the shortest period for me. Last time, I was testing positive 9 days later, 6 days this time.

So, I got stuff done, and I rested, and read some books. What else is there to do when you have covid?

I officially finished writing Carol’s Christmas, finished editing Whiskey Rose on Wednesday, and started second round of editing on Secondhand Daughter, all on Wednesday. And I did some plotting on Dragon’s Lore. I hope to crack on and get some editing done on Secondhand Daughter finished by the end of the month, because November is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – and while I’m not sure I’ll write an entire novel in that time, because I don’t write a lot in any one day, I want to get some writing done on Dragon’s Lore.

I hope you had a better week than I did.

Kia kaha

Catherine.

And Onto Something New

I’ve finished writing Carol’s Christmas, well, almost, there isn’t a lot more to write. So, what am I up to next?

I have editing to do on a project, a super-secret project that will be revealed in December, and I have three books that need editing, and a third that needs writing. Decisions, decisions.

As I have already started editing, I will finish that, it’s a short Historical romance based in 1920s United States. It is a present for my newsletter subscribers, and I’m excited to get it finished, because its been rattling around in my laptop for about ten years.

I also have a super-secret project; I’m getting together with some other authors to do a Christmas giveaway. I’ll give you more details nearer the time but suffice to say that I have a small bit of writing to do for this. It wasn’t hard to choose which book to promote, but its proving to be a little harder to come up with the secret project. It will come together though, I hope.

Two books that need editing – Secondhand Daughter, Compromising Positions and Finding Sam Healey (aka Finding Sams Family) all need a round of edits. But, I hear you say, you’ve already editing Secondhand Daughter and Compromising Positions. Yes, I have, but I often self-edit a few times before I pass it onto an actual editor, because I want to send the most polished version I can. And I like to take a break from each book before editing / drafting, because I can look at it with fresh eyes.

And I also have Dragon’s Lore, which is shaping up to be rather…Epic. I have at least five stories for the series all rolling around inside my head, and on my laptop and notebooks in various places, so I am happy to start with writing that. But I think I’ll do some editing first.

So, I’ll dive into Secondhand Daughter again, and I have my editor booked for the end of January, so I have a deadline to work to, although I hope to have it finished well before then.

What plans do you have for this week?

Kia kaha everyone.

Catherine.

Work, work, work, work, write.

After last week’s epic dental visit, I can confirm that all stitches have fallen out (they were dissolvable, as I later found out) and everything is healing nicely. I have graduated from soft food to slightly more textured food. Now I know how a baby feels!

So, I thought I would take you through my writing process. I work fulltime, so every morning I get up, have breakfast, clean up and then sit down and write for ten to thirty minutes (sometimes longer, but not always). I often get between 200 and 1000 words written in that time.

Then I head off to my day job, and garden. All day. Then I get home, shower, watch some videos and hopefully do some study, because I’m studying organic gardening.

And that is my day. Sometimes I might write at night, but not often. My best thoughts flow in the morning, and during the day, my mind is busy thinking about what I can write the following day.

At present I’m writing Carols Christmas, a modern version of the Christmas Carol. I’m loving this story, but it isn’t going to be novel length (50,000 words plus), probably more of a novella (35 to 50k). I honestly don’t mind, as it is going to be for release next Christmas. It’s a christmas story, but to be honest, it would fit any time of year. The whole thing happens over one calendar year, but it has elements of Christmas Past, present and future in it.

And I have just received the edits back for Whiskey Rose, which is a 1920s mob prohibition romance. This is a novelette – its 27k long. I think this will be a gift to my newsletter members and as a freebie for people who sign up to my newsletter.

On Sunday, I plan my facebook posts for the week, and I started up Why Wednesday, where you can ask me anything about my writing. Last week I started with when did I start, this week I’m going to tell you why I write.

Anyhoo, hope you guys have a good week, and see you next week.

Kia kaha

Catherine x

Making Time to Slow down

Its been a hectic couple of weeks. Things are quiet at work, but we’ve had a big job that we’re doing at the moment, one day a week which isn’t working at a rest home.

My Mum was over from Wineborough last weekend, and I was over her way this weekend for my Dad’s 80th Birthday. It was nice to catch up with my dad, Step mum, and my uncle that I haven’t seen in a long time. So long in fact, that we think it was when my son was about 18 months old, and at a funeral. It was nice to see the family at an event other than a funeral. He also got to meet my son officially and catch up with my brother that he hadn’t seen since my bro was 11.

And next Friday, I have the dreaded dentist, and a massive appointment to remove eleven teeth from my mouth. So I am planning for next weekend to be very quiet, and peaceful.

So how do I make time to slow down? In the evenings. I generally write in the mornings before work, and for about half an hour in the weekend mornings (or evenings). Then the evenings are free for me to study, or gather information for my other writing projects, or researching my markets. This might sound like I’m still busy, but it is considered my downtime. I also go to a stretch (yoga) class and a pole class once a week. These are my relaxing times, time for spending with the girls and having a laugh. Downtime for me is spending time doing things I enjoy doing. And when daylight savings kicks in next weekend, I’ll be able to spend some evenings out in the garden.

I’ve been quietly ticking along with Carol’s Christmas and have reached 21k, and I’m about halfway through the book. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’m also aware that I am leaving a lot out at the moment, but that’s okay, because that is what the editing process is for.

And at the end of the month, I’m expecting to receive back the edits for Whisky Rose, a novella I wrote based on 1920’s prohibition and the mob. I’m looking forward to getting these back and seeing what my editor thinks. I hope to have this available by the end of the year, provided all goes well. Not sure whether to make it a sign on gift to my newsletter subscribers, or to put it out on the market. I still need to think on it.

Anyway, what big plans for you have for the week?

Hope you have a good week.

Kia Kaha

Catherine

Every Little Bit Counts

Some of my writer friends have been struggling to write lately, and they keep asking me what I am doing. I tell them, ten to fifteen minutes a day is all I do, but in that time, I can write between 400 and 1000 words, depending on how the words are flowing, and lately they have been flowing.

Because a little bit can add up. I write all of my daily totals down in a diary and while 400 and 500 words might not seem like a lot, by the end of the week, I have maybe 2,500 to 3,000 words.

And most days I only get anywhere between ten minutes and half an hour to write, and that is in the morning, before I head to work. I write best in the morning and if I get some writing done, I always feel better about my day.

While I would love to be a fulltime writer, I currently need an income to pay the bills, so I work as a gardener. And I love it. I love it so much that during summer, I come home from work and work in my own garden. There’s something rather grounding about working with the soil. And I’m currently studying organic gardening through the Open Polytechnic, which means I am even more invested in what goes into my soil.

And sometimes gardening is all about little bits. Doing little jobs can add up. We live on a large section, so I can’t always weed it all in one day, so it’s to easier to break it down into little jobs. I have the front garden, the front house garden, the side garden and the shed garden, plus my vegetable garden. I enjoy breaking it up and having small jobs to do, rather than spending an entire weekend in the garden.

Have I ever combined my love of gardening with writing? Yes, I have. “Compromising Positions”, which was originally called “The Gardener”. I wanted to write about a woman who was a gardener, and this story, which I originally started many years ago, I finished earlier this year. I hope to have this published next year.

What things do you enjoy doing?

Hope you have a great week

Catherine

Writing, But…

I had a catch up on Saturday with a writing friend (the delightful LaVerne Clark), one I first connected with over ten years ago (and we both couldn’t believe it had been that long), and it was lovely to talk about writing, and plans for books etc. I’ve been working on building my writing tribe, friends who write and encourage each other to succeed.

But… today I had a problem. Yesterday was a horrible wet day, I couldn’t do anything outside, but I could visit my friend. Today was a lovely day, and I could get outdoors…and I did. Because I felt guilty about being inside writing.

And this is a problem I encounter most weekends. I want to write, but I feel guilty for being inside when I could be outside doing some gardening. And there is plenty to do in my gardens.

And it all comes back to a problem I encountered a few years ago. It’s called Ex syndrome. My ex used to make me feel really bad if I spent time inside writing when it was a nice day, and I could have been outside working – he saw me as being lazy and writing as a hobby. I’ve been out of that relationship for nearly seven years, but I still struggle with it. If the sun is shining, I feel guilty for being inside. If it is raining, I will try and find things around inside the house to do. I feel very confined, and it frustrates me. After seven years you would think that I would have shrugged that behaviour off. But I still hear that voice in my head. and it is said in his voice. How on earth do I undo years of that kind of programming?

I just have to keep pushing through, keep telling myself that it is my choice what I do, but it is hard to shake off the guilt. The lovely partner I am with now, really doesn’t mind what I do, he’s proud of me, and what I do, whether I am writing, gardening, working or anything. I guess it is just one of those things that I will have to push through.

That is my goal for the week, to push through the guilt, and try to make myself feel another emotion from writing when I could’ve been doing something else.

What’s your goal for the week?

Kia kaha everyone

Catherine