#SamWIP: Habit-Forming

Sam av

I’m not going to do a video because I burned through all of my StayFocusd time.

(StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that helps you limit your goofing around time)

I do have some updates, though, that are good news!

Sundays with Tatiana

My graphic designing friend and I have decided to make Sundays a creative day. We’re going to hang out at her place where it’s quiet. She has projects to work on and I have projects to work on. We put on some background TV and get work done with minimal distractions. It’s good to around someone who is taking their creative endeavors seriously. I am actually productive when we hang out.

On that note, we started watching Westworld (HIGHLY recommend).

Setting Goals

I recently read this article about Stephen King’s writing habits. Everything on the list makes sense. I list the 13 secrets in the article here, and I’ll italicize the ones I’m working on and bold the ones I’m comfortable with already:

  1. 1000 words a day, every single day, no matter what.
  2. Combine unlikely connections (like Westworld’s Western theme and AI, for example)
  3. Great opening lines 
  4. Recuperation time after finishing a project
  5. Read a lot
  6. Finish a draft in three months or less
  7. Keep your purpose in mind (hint: it isn’t money)
  8. Use personal experiences to make it real, and then make it more real
  9. Form routines, and make ‘writing time’ a ritual that trains your brain to write.
  10. Appreciate all forms of feedback
  11. Write how you want and don’t shy away from anything
  12. Keep it simple enough to set a scene, but leave enough for the reader to fill in
  13. Remove all distractions. Isolate yourself with the story.

Right now, my biggest focus is to write SOMETHING every day. I count it if I’m editing, though. Editing is much slower than writing and doesn’t add a lot of new words, but I’m generally happy if I’ve stayed on task and made significant progress, so I don’t mind. I’m on a roll right now!

Forming healthy, consistent habits has always been a challenge though. The fever of NaNo gives way to the lethargy of winter, and by spring I’m just in Fuck It Mode. I need to keep at it. Practice puts me at my best level of skill, and I do have a lot of great ideas that I make excuses to avoid. It’s always daunting once I get to the middle of a project, and it’s too easy to walk away.

[GHISLAIN]; or, that smutteh novel I’ve been hinting at…

This book doesn’t have a title yet, but I have it saved under GHISLAIN, which is the name of the reaper/shinigami that haunts my main character.

I’ve been shifting tense from third person past to third person present. It fits the story a lot better and I like it. However, when you’ve written 30,000+ words, suddenly deciding to change your verb tense is labor intensive. I’ve spent several days on this now. I’ve added a few thousand words because I’m also editing a bit, but I definitely haven’t hit 1000 a day because it’s slower.

However, getting a closer look at it is making my heart happy. It’s in good shape to be what I want it to be.

And I’ve talked about it with a few people, and they seem pretty excited about the concept, so I’m motivated to work hard on it. I’m liking this project so far.

A Shiny for Trick

I mentioned a loooong time ago that this project was complete. Frankie and I have been tiptoeing around discussions regarding the cover. But, she’s been reading it and I got some good feedback, so now I’m feeling pretty confident about it.

We’re getting closer to publication on this one!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Back to work with me!

Check out the #SamWIP category every Monday to hear about Sam’s current projects!

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).


About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on December 13, 2016, in #SamWIP and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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