2014 In Review: Writing

Oh, writing. :/


Work, both my real job and my side jobs, kept me so incredibly busy in 2014. So busy it hurt my brain. So busy that when I did have free time, work had sucked all my creative juices dry. That means this years word count is a sad number and there were no short stories this year, even though I had two I wanted to work on. I literally went months without writing a single word. MONTHS. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve written something new, I’m not even sure how to throw myself back into it. Like Victoria Schwab says, “I’ve forgotten how to book.” But I will figure it out again and soon, I promise you that.


And it’s not all sad news to report this year. Even though I’m disappointed in only writing 29,415 words this year, I can proudly say that I actually finished my first novel in 2014. And I don’t hate it. In fact, I like it so much I hope that 2015 is the year I shop it around and publishing becomes a real, achievable dream. Another thing worth noting is the writing workshop I attended this year. Even if I couldn’t be producing new words, I still made sure to finally start learning what it takes to be published. Prior to my novels completion, I’d sort of avoided it like the plague. You know, no sense in learning about a future that can’t even be a possibility without a finished manuscript. I’ll be facing 2015 with some valuable information now!


Last year, I only promised myself I’d write and that’s all well and good, but this year I really do hope to achieve more and so as a guideline or reminder when I’m starting to drift from it again, in 2015 I’d like to:


  • Start looking for an agent with a finalized version of Dreamsters
  • Write at least 1 short story
  • Move Crack the Sky towards completion 


If I try extra hard and track my progress with the sticker method, these could be feasible goals. Just so long as work doesn’t steal my life again. *Fingers Crossed*



NanoWrimo Wrap-Up

So it’s the last day of November, which doubles as the last day of National Novel Writing Month as well. You may recall me mentioning at the beginning of the month that I was going to give this crazy ‘write a 50K word novel in a 30 days’ contest a whirl. Well, I did, but I came nowhere near the word count goal. See:

7030 / 50000

I’m not completely disappointed with my mediocre achievement though. It probably sounds ridiculous to say that, but it’s the truth. I rarely have time to entertain my novel at all Monday through Friday because of work, so for having only Saturday and Sunday to work on my book (all of which weren’t even completely dedicated to writing because of other obligations), I’d say I did okay.

The most I’ve ever written in a month before this was just under 30K words and that was when I was rewriting my first novel (which is a lot easier than writing something from scratch in my opinion since you already have a general sense of what will happen, who the characters are, etc…). No matter how hard I tried, I don’t think that writing a 50K novel in a month will ever be a feasible goal for me and it’s not just because of my day job.

I can’t just write words for the sake of a word count. I have to feel the words, listen to the direction my characters are moving, and apply it to the story – even if that means straying away from the direction I thought the story would go. Also, it should be noted that I self-edit constantly. Almost every time I sit down to write, I re-read what I’ve written and mark it up. Some might think this is foolish and maybe it is, but it’s how I write and so far it’s worked for me. I could never just plow through a book without looking back, without it being perfect before moving on. I could never just kill a character to cause drama unless they’re meant to die. I just can’t write words for the sake of words. (Redundant Sarah is redundant, I know)

Despite its low word count to date, I’m personally in-love with my novel. I can’t imagine even changing what I’ve written so far because I’ve already given it a million onceover’s and touchups (Heck, even my Crit Partner’s already critiqued it). I’m really looking forward to continuing this novel and hopefully completing it in the beginning of the New Year.

So how do I feel about NanoWrimo after finally giving it chance? Well, I am grateful that it gave me a reason to start writing again this year, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll participate in again. I don’t need a competition to help me remember my dreams of becoming published one day. I wake up every day with these thoughts all on my own. I understand the benefits some people find with NanoWrimo, but they just feel unnecessary to me.

Writer friends, how did you do with Nano? Has your perspective of the contest changed since participating in it?

Peace – Sarah