I Wrote 10,000 Words in a Single Day

Hey, so here’s an accomplishment. I took the “10 K in One Day” writing challenge, drafting ten thousand words of my novel in a single day. It was (rightfully) more difficult than I thought it was going to be. BUT I DID IT! I can’t run a marathon, but I CAN DO THIS THO!

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If you’re not a writing nerd, here are some general word counts for reference:
The average paragraph is 200 words
The average American term paper is 2,000 words
“The Great Gatsby” is a little less than 50,000 words.

Here’s a vlog of it, if you like those kinds of things or would rather hear my gross rambly voice. (Apologies beforehand: the sound is all over the place, I do not know how to work my new editing software.)

 

How I Motivate Myself

After the announcement of all my doings and goings on in the writing world, I’ve been hearing a lot of the same thing: I would love to do something like that, if I had that kind of motivation.

Motivation is an interesting thing. I think first and foremost the best motivation for something is having a sincere love for that thing. What is important to you? How do you prioritize your time?  I write because I feel absolutely uncontrollably COMPELLED to do it. If I don’t write for a long period of time, I get really irritable. No joke. It’s a part of me that I fully embraced a couple of years ago and haven’t been able to let go.

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But I will let you in on another secret motivational tool that I use… like a practical non-metaphoric one. It’s what got me to write a novel in twenty days. It’s the reason I’m producing short stories almost daily. In fact, it’s what is motivating me to write this blog post right now. Do you want to know what it is?

Brownies.

I buy a package of really good-looking brownies from my local grocery store. I set in on the counter where I have to see it all the time. And then I DO NOT LET MYSELF have one until I have written 1,000 words.

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These little suckers

I’ll put Jack down for a nap and be COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED… and yet, I cannot stop thinking about those freaking brownies. So I very quickly write a whole bunch of words until I’ve hit the goal. And then I can finally have one.

And then you know what happens? After I eat one… I want a FREAKING ‘NOTHER ONE.

So I end up writing another thousand words, because my pregnancy cravings are too strong for me to even handle.

And that’s how I do it. And that’s why I’m even writing this post right now. I write like a steam engine trying to get a DeLorean back to 1985… and then later I go back and edit that mess… for which I reward myself more chocolate.

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It’s worked SOOOO well that I’ve actually started doing housework for small bottles of Coke. You should SEE my house right now.

Utilize your vices. Make your weaknesses work for you. Are you a fatty like me? Dude. Set goals for baked goods and you’ll be SHOCKED at the results.

In reality, dreams are really hard work. Even your passion can flicker out every once in while and that’s okay. Dangle a carrot in front of your face and KEEP AT IT!

 

ALSO PS. If you didn’t catch last week’s blog post. I have a short story being published in an anthology that comes out next month. I made some promotional artwork for it because it was really late at night and apparently I hate sleeping.

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It’s a YA story about a girl who visits her all-time crush at work after he tells her that “HE NEEDS TO TALK TO HER”DUN DUN DUN! Ooh, gurrrl. You know she had a panic-induced cringe after getting that message on her phone. Anyways, the book is available for pre-order. You can check it out here:  https://www.zpublishinghouse.com/products/utahs-emerging-writers-an-anthology?variant=14625753694323

 

Novel Update Also New Blog Schedule

Hey there, hi there, ho there.

So I’ve been writing a book, which you may have already heard about. If you were wondering how that is going… Ummmmmm… THIS GIRL IS ON FI-ARE!!!

Like I’m not even sure what is going on. I wrote the entire first draft in twenty freaking days. And I guess that wasn’t over-achiever enough for me because I revised and rewrote the entire second draft the following month. So that means, that from the 1st of November to the 28th of December, I wrote, redrafted and rewrote a 200 page novel.

While also designing covers. While also being a mom of a toddler. While also holidays and stuff. Whaaaaaat even happened? Like maybe I’m actually a cyborg or something? Because I don’t even know how that could have actually been a thing.

But yeah! That happened. Will that happen again in my life? I doubt it. But right now my little book is pushing right along. Only three people have read it so far, but the numbers are adding up quickly. Right now, I have two critique partners scrutinizing their way through it, as well as an editor lined up. Even though this process is going quick for me (NOT NORMAL) I’m still trying to be thorough and am planning on a few more drafts (Started draft three today WHAT EVEN). Depending on what the editor says I’ll likely be sending it off to agents in the summer. (AAAAAAAAAAAAH!)

So that’s crazy.

 

Also a while back I posted a survey asking what I should do with the blog in 2018. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF YOU requested that I please keep the embarrassing stories segment… which I have tons of material for so that’s not a problem. I was glad to see that the “story time format” was so well loved, because I have soooo many stories outside of the embarrassing realm. Which brings me to this…

I am adding a second monthly story time called “The Craziest Things That Have Ever Happened to Me”

You can expect the first installment of that next Thursday, where I tell you something that happened to me just last week. Very exciting. Subscribe so that you don’t miss a single ridiculous story.

Here’s a visual representation of the 2018 schedule:

Week 1: Mommy Post / Family Things

Week 2: Embarrassing Stories

Week 3: Writing Updates / Samples / Various Essays

Week 4: The Craziest Things That Have Ever Happened

Occasional Week 5: Lazy Recipes

I Design Book Covers Now

NaNoWriMo went fantastic! I finished the challenge and my book in only twenty days. Wow. I don’t know how that was humanly possible.

Now, I’m trying to edit the beast. And I won’t lie to you, it is puh-retty tedious at best. I have 30K of my second draft officially done… but still so SO long left to go.

So to keep sanity, I adopted a second creative outlet.

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This is the book I’m working on currently

At first it started out just for myself. I started to make book covers for other novels that I have rattling around in my mind. But after the first couple, I realized that DESIGNING COVERS WAS SO MUCH FUN!

So I opened it up to other authors and then others AND THEN OTHERS.

Finally, I am fully extending my services and opening it up to anyone. (Low-key and fairly cheap.) It’s a hobby really and I liked my brief getaways from the monotony of edits. If you want to see my lovely covers that I’ve done already, you can VISIT THIS PAGE. Or if you need a cover done for you VISIT THIS PAGE.

 

Writing Update

Can’t talk now. NaNoWriMo.

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“The Other Five Percent”:

Total word goal: 55,000 – 70,000

Word goal for November: 50,000

 

Words written so far: 37,723!!

 

Guys! I am killing it! At this rate I will definitely be finishing the first draft before December. This has been even way more fun than I thought!

 

See my stats here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/val-manwill/novels/the-other-five-percent/stats 

See what my book is about here: The Other Five Percent

 

New Writing Projects!

If you had told me this was how my new project announcement was going to go, I would’ve told you NO. That is NOT my plan. But you know what? When you’re a creative person, sometimes you don’t have a choice. And I know that sounds completely psychotic… and it totally is. But it’s almost like your own heart holds you hostage and you cannot freaking help yourself.

I finished writing the final episode of my TV show last month. It took a full year and a LOT of work. Really. A lot. FOR MONTHS I had been so excited to finally be able to move on to this other project (more on this in a sec). But the very day that I finished the show, my mind ran away with the idea… that “Identity Crisis” needs to be turned into a novel.

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See? A lot of work.

Almost 100% of my beta readers have asked me about making a novel out of it. And I mildly toyed with the idea. I knew if I did, it would have to be a TOTAL re-write. The completed series follows my life almost exactly, but for a book version I would prefer it to be cover to cover fictional. Mostly, because hey man… if I’m going to put in the work to write a dang novel, I’m going to put in the work to dang publish it, that’s what! And I ain’t about to publish an autobiography yet.

I was not able to turn off the creative faucet with this idea. I mean it was the kind of idea that keeps you up at night. So I caved and sat down to do a complete brain dump. And you know what happened? The entire outline erupted out onto the page.

That coupled with an outpouring of positive feedback from a Facebook post about the series… I was like, okay… This is what needs to be worked on right now.

So, with that unnecessarily long backstory out of the way!

ANNOUNCEMENT #1!

Yes. I will be re-writing Identity Crisis as a YA Contemporary novel! Woo hoo! The title of the novel will be “The Other Five Percent”. It’s about a girl who has her heart broken and rebels by trying to ruin her reputation in a predominantly conservative high school. (Sorta like “Freaks and Geeks” if it were set in suburban Utah…)

THE OTHER FIVE PERCENT

My plan for this book is to try for the traditional publishing route. Personally for me, that’s a dream that I want to see realized at some point in my life.

I’m also doing this book for NaNoWriMo, because I’m a crazy person.

What’s NaNoWriMo? Oh, National Novel Writing Month? Don’t worry, it’s just this little thing where you write a 50,000 word novel in a 30 FREAKING DAYS. This is my first time trying it out. I don’t even know what to expect, but it’s a good way to puke out the first draft of my book.

ANNOUNCEMENT #2!

I’m still not giving up on the project that I was planning on announcing today.

Here and there and in between (but don’t ask me when) I will also be working on a collection of horror stories that together I’m referring to as “The Doubting Shadow”.

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Six different women are forced to face their social insecurities by increasingly bizarre and eerie circumstances. Eventually, they come to realize that their greatest fears are only a shadow of something worse.

Although, I feel that the stories would do well in a collection together, I’ll most likely be breaking them up and selling them out individually. It’s just a lot easier to market that way. Maybe one day I’ll be able to put out “The Doubting Shadow”, but right now I want to focus on a novel that I can debut with.

No worries, you can still expect these weird little stories to trickle out over the next couple of years.

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Keep tuning in for more development on these projects! And you can always peruse my “projects page” if you feel like it.