Fall is on the horizon and I can’t wait for the weather to get chillier! But, seeing as Texas is still in the upper 90s, I might have to wait a long time…
Other than the colder weather, Fall also brings back two of my favorite things: football and school. Speaking of school, you might be wondering: how did my writing go as I plunged into graduate studies? Great question. Here’s the answer:
August 2019: I finally finished edits of The Queen of Imagination! (Cue shower of confetti.) It feels so good to have that off of my plate, though I honestly miss working on it. The book has a joyful, nostalgic quality that makes me want to sit with it for a while. I found it surprisingly difficult to muster up motivation to move on to another project, but I know I need to set aside The Queen of Imagination for a while. I sent it to some beta readers for feedback, which I will use for the next round of edits. I hope to edit the next draft within the next year, once I’ve gathered some feedback and let the book sit for a while.
My other writing achievements during this month were minimal. As I’ve adjusted to my graduate school responsibilities and started my coursework, I’ve tried to incorporate at least 30 minutes of writing or leisure reading into each day. For the most part, I’ve kept up a consistent practice. I managed to work on an upcoming blog post series and create a semester-long plan of attack for the Fools Saga (the tentative name of the Our Company of Fools series),which will be my next project and my major writing focus in the fall.
September 2019 Goals: My first writing priority is to not drown in graduate school while disciplining myself to write. Ideally, I’d love to write (or leisure read) for at least 30 minutes every weekday, and have a longer period of time (such as a morning or afternoon) on Saturdays or Sundays every week. During these blocks of “writing time,” I’d not only write or edit my own novels, but also keep up with this personal blog and give feedback on other writers’ work. If I hit a creative snag, I’d simply read, which would keep my brain engaged in story amidst the heavy study. I don’t know how realistic this ideal goal is, especially with my investment in both college and professional football (Sic ‘em Bears and Skol Vikings). Also, this semester (I’ve been told) is the hardest of the entire graduate program I’m in. My less-optimistic hope, then, is that I can have at least one hour a week devoted solely to my writing practice. I would hate to get through the semester and realize I didn’t take the time to work on my stories at all.
With that in mind, my second writing priority is to make progress on the Fools Saga. Though I’ve struggled with this series (particularly with the second book), I’ve recently felt prompted to continue working on it. I’ve come up with some solutions for the problems the series has given me, and the stories I want to tell through the lens of Leah Pool and her companions contain several significant lessons from my own life that I’d like to share with the world. So, headache and all, I’m persisting.
In August, I created a checklist for the Fools Saga of tasks to complete over the course of the fall semester. I anticipate plugging away at this to-do list well into December. In the past, when I try to stick to a single thing but can’t maintain a consistent practice (because of external commitments, like schoolwork), my desire to work on that single writing task tends to decrease. So, with this new checklist, I’ve designed it so that I have a variety of options, most of which don’t have to be done in a specific order. Hopefully this new approach will be both loose enough that I can pick what I’m in the mood to work on, but also structured enough that I’m making productive progress.
The general items on this checklist (which I expect on work on during September) include more detailed edits of Our Company of Fools, beginning edits and rewrites on Onward to Tryon, and working on overview outlines/snapshots of the final three books in the series. These may sound like similar tasks, but when I break down each item on the to-do list, they each have different needs, time commitments, and mental energy requirements for me.
We’ll see how it works out. I could completely abandon my strategy by October. This is definitely a season of experimentation!
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for another Reading Recap coming this Wednesday!