What I will do next time – ROW80 Check in

So I’ve taken too long off from writing. First I had a never ending flu, I’m talking a full 8 days of coughing, aches and pains and a fever for 3-4 days. But now I’m better with only a slight cough that will just not leave me alone. Then I went to Ireland for an extended weekend. I got to live the dream because I’d been itching to visit Ireland since, oh I don’t know half my life. All the travel posts will be coming soon, (Mondays). I bought more than a carry-on bag’s worth of books by Irish authors while I was there (more on that here).

I'll be walking here

Next weekend I’m off to Paris with Honey Bear for a pre-birthday weekend of fun. I’m really looking forward to the Christmas lights and festivities in the city already.

What does this all mean for my writing? Well….ummmm…..its been weeks. I think about two weeks since I’ve really sat down and worked on my novel consistently for a decent period of time. My plan was to write like the wind this weekend to catch up. Hasn’t happened yet, but maybe I will open it up after some lunch. Hopefully I can do some sprints on Twitter with the other ROWers this week before going to Paris because I have the feeling that I might just sit at a cafe with a cappuchino and watch the fabulously dressed people walk by instead of writing. BUT I will keep my moleskin notebook handy in my purse in case an idea strikes.

I started writing this novel in March (2011). I stopped when I realized I was making some very classic mistakes, which was about 3o-50 pages in I think. Then I read an inordinate amount of blog posts on the craft of writing and also purchased several books on the topic. Now that I know what I’m doing, I just want to finish the first draft. I’m just over halfway through now and since I’ve taken so many breaks, this manuscript feels likes its dragging on and on. Its my own fault for not being just a tad more diciplined in forcing myself to sit down and just write it. I want to finish it more than ever so that I can move on to my new idea which is much more unique.

When I get to start my second novel, I will give myself a stricter deadline to finish. One year for the first novel, I think is pretty decent. Novel 2, well that’s another story and I will give myself 4-5 months to write it and maybe one month to plot it in advance. I really want to create a proper writing schedule to get the manuscript written, because when I work on it bit by bit, I don’t get into a proper flow and it also starts to feel more like work.

Next time, I won’t diddle around. I’ll make some very strict rules for Round 1 of ROW80 2012 to finish off this first bad boy. I have a feeling that this one will definately be a desk drawer book, but that’s what learning is for right?

I have to give big props to my ROWsis Em, who has been not only Rockin the ROW, but also NaNo with writing over 47,000 words and finishing her story. See her check in here.

Have you had any unexpected hiccups in November? Have you ever gotten a new idea for a novel and desperately want to drop the current WIP for the new idea?

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About Nicole Basaraba

Nicole Basaraba is a Canadian writer focusing on topics of travel (Mondays), writing and literature (Wednesdays), lifestyle (Fridays) and her experiences living in the capital city of Europe: Brussels, Belgium.
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24 Responses to What I will do next time – ROW80 Check in

  1. First of all, happy upcoming Birthday!
    I hope you are feeling much better now. So sorry to hear that you were sick for so long. I had no idea. I have wondered on many occasions where you were, since I haven’t seen you on Twitter for a while.
    Writing is a finicky business. Sometimes we go through periods of a euphoric creativity and sometimes the dry spell occurs. Let’s hope your muse will return soon and you will produce page after page after page πŸ™‚

    • Yes I’ve been MIA for tooo long. I gotta get back on the wheel. Its hard when you are away so long to get back to the same high activity. The dry spell has hit not because I don’t know where my story is going, but because I’ve decided that I no longer have the same passion for it as I did – the result of allowing myself so much time to finish it. I will get on it though.

  2. Em says:

    Thanks for shout out! I have won NaNo now so my foot is coming off the writing pedal while I work out what I want to do next. I don’t know what to do! I definately think any writing is good for learning the craft even if it ends up in your desk drawer, it will still be the first book you wrote which is a great thing!

    As for sickness and travel, these things are part of life and I think the trips you are taking will defiantely serve you in becoming a better writer. Surely the more we see of life the better we can write about it?! Love the idea of sitting outside cafes and watching the world go by….will be thinking of you!

    • Congratulations on winning!!! Such a great accomplishment.

      I learned a lot so far with writing this first one. I wasn’t able to write anything decent until I had started traveling. I like the thought that traveling could be considered part of craft development. πŸ™‚

  3. Marcia says:

    That’s so exciting! Ireland and Paris! Wow! You deserve it after being so sick.
    That’s the kind of living that’s a pleasure to have in the way of writing. If you’re determined to finish the 1st book, go for it. Maybe you can do it NaNo-style. Definitely start jotting down ideas for your next book. That will keep you going in the inspiration department til you can spend all your writing time on it.
    Happy Birthday early…I wonder what day it is…I wonder we share the same birthdate? I’ll be thinking of you as you sit in that cafe in Paris…wow a dream come true!

    • Two trips back to back seems like a lot, but I haven’t done much traveling throughout the rest of the year. It definitely makes the wait until christmas shorter. I hope I can go NaNo style on the end of this WIP. Maybe the last two weeks of ROW80 will be my ticket. You must be a fellow Sagittarius then? πŸ™‚

  4. showard76 says:

    Best Wishes for your upcoming birthday from another Sagittarius (my birthday was Friday). I think we can all be excused the odd hiccup, especially when unwell or on holiday! I’m sure you will grasp the ROW by the horns and achieve your goals with full gusto πŸ™‚ x

  5. Ooo, nice trips! Can’t wait to see the posts about it!
    Do I hear about an upcoming b’day? Happy b’day! I’m also Sagittarius πŸ˜‰
    Good luck with coming back to writing πŸ˜‰

  6. I echo early Happy B-Day greetings! πŸ™‚ I’m so wanting to be a side passenger for your travels. I’ll live vicariously through your blog posts.

    So sorry to hear you were that sick. Glad you are doing better. I fell off my goals a bit in November from being crazed busy with work, which I expected, but then having the hiccup of getting back on track. Once I got away from habits, it was like I lost focus to get back to them. It is like every other shiny thing caught my eye and pulled me away. I’m getting it back together for the last weeks of ROW80 and love your plans about putting down some stricter deadlines for the WIP. Great future goals.

    • I tend to live vicariously through other people’s blog posts too. Its like armchair traveling. πŸ™‚ Yeaaah, November became an unexpected month full of life. I also found it hard jumping back on the horse, being distracted by everything. But I think I’m back on it….until I leave for Paris that is.

      Next round, there will be hourly goals!! Must write 1 hour per day. If I miss, maybe I need to make it up or no fun time. Now that’s strict.

  7. alberta ross says:

    Happy birthday and enjoy the trips – wonderful places both and full of inspiration – I tried nano this year to see if this was the way to speed up writing book – Jack’s Tale wending a weary month after month – for me the answer is yes even if editing takes longer – getting the book down nano style suited me and maybe it will do so for you

    I still keep the notes for next one! bits of inspirations are like dreams if they’re not written down the vanish

    all the best for coming week and hope you’re fully recovered now

    • Thanks for the wishes Alberta. I will try to write a few thousand towards my WIP each time I sit down to catch up. I’m not so good with the 500 or 750 daily word count goals. better if I am to get a good chunk done in one sitting. So NaNo style seems to be on the agenda as far as I can manage it. πŸ™‚

      I have made a few notes about my new idea. I will have to keep the tip in mind to not let the ideas go and at least get them down before they vanish.

  8. Hi Nicole. I understand you feel badly about getting off-track with your wip, but you may look at it from a different perspective. You are cataloging all these wonderful experiences as you travel throughout Europe, right? That’s notetaking for future wips, if not this one. That’s people-watching you’ll intertwine in future characters, including dialogue, accents, cultural references. That’s loads of settings from your photos. See what I mean?

    It took me one year to write my first novel. I received excellent feedback from an editor and an agents, causing me to rethink and expand my options for it. I enlisted five beta readers to read through the ms. Their feedback, combined with my gut instincts and previous feedback will guide my next round of revisions. (So you see, the book really isn’t finished yet. I’m estimating these new revisions will take 2-3 months since I’m also writing book 2.)

    I smiled when I read your plans for the second wip. Plans are wonderful, but at times can get waylaid. Recently, I lost four weeks of writing due to a shoulder/arm injury. I have a lot to do if I’m going to meet my self-made deadline of March 1st. I tend to plot, write, revise, plot, write, revise. By the time I get to the end of my novel, I’m pretty much done, other than a final read-through for continuity and layering before one final revision and proofreading. (I’m exhausted just thinking about it.)

    Yes, that first wip did start to feel like work by the tenth month. I worked at a feverish pace to complete it within the year deadline I’d given myself. You will feel an incredible sense of accomplishment when you finish that first book, Nicole. Hang in there. Everything you’re going through is part of the learning curve. For example, it took me three months to get the first chapter right for that first wip. I wrote the first chapter for the second book in a week. πŸ™‚

    Wow, did I connect with this post or what? Hope my comments help. Oh, and happy pre-birthday. I’m so jealous of your trip to Paris! Promise you’ll blog all about it.

    • I LOVE your thinking Jolyse. Traveling really does contribute to personal growth and thus comes out in my writing. I wouldn’t have started my first book if I hadn’t moved to Europe. πŸ™‚ So I will keep studying life as I go.

      Sorry to hear about your arm. Sounds like you’re making a TON of progress anyways. I plan on enlisting betas too, but I think this first book might go in the drawer for a while. Too embarrassed to show anyone until I change some of the characters and events. I’m more looking forward to novel 2 because then at least I’ll gave a good grasp on the basics. I will finish this book though. I will try for March 1st as well! Hopefully I can finish before though.

      As for Paris, I promise to blog with photos! πŸ™‚

  9. Laura says:

    Happy upcoming birthday and I’m very jealous that you’re going to Paris. πŸ™‚
    Getting the energy to do anything when you have flu is impossible. I don’t think I really did any writing when I had it. xx

  10. Paris sounds amazing! I hope you have a wonderful time. I wouldn’t worry so much about how long it takes for you to finish your first draft. It took me a couple of years to finish my first book and there’s nothing wrong with that. Every writer writes on their own schedule. It’s the final product that matters. πŸ™‚

    • Its true that the first one is a big learning experience and every writer has to go at their own pace. I will finish it within one year, which is my self-determined goal. The product will be finished, but might go into hiding for a while until I’m ready to re-write it. πŸ™‚

  11. LOL – I read this thinking “she’s practically describing me…” Although I started in November 2011, I assume I’ll have much the same kind of route you have enjoyed. πŸ™‚
    I think my issue getting started is “which idea to pick”! I don’t know which one would be best and just when I’ve finally decided to just “suck it up” and go with idea 21, I second guess myself. I am going to live with this thing for a year, I want to be passionate about it. My god – I am insane! So I am not nearly as far as I had hoped for ROW80. I just keep stalling…and stalling…I mean, I am still reading craft books, doing exercises but it’s so slow because I keep working out so many different idea options. God help me.
    I am determined to pick a freaking idea and roll with it this weekend!!!!!!!!!
    I am really excited to hear how you finish out and how you make things more disciplined for the next one – I am going to try to follow your lead! πŸ™‚

    • Hmm. I don’t know if I have any tips/advice on what idea to pick. I think James Scott Bell mentions some tips on how to choose in his book? Maybe if there is one or two ideas you keep thinking about or coming back to? Or you could combine some ideas? I don’t know. its hard. πŸ™‚

      Hope to see you rolling by the weekend. We shall be disciplined writers together in the next round.

      P.S. Thanks so much for the b-day wishes.

  12. And HAPPY upcoming Birthday – celebrate like the Rock Star you are! πŸ™‚ And here’s to your best year yet…

  13. Tia Bach says:

    Man that flu bug’s been a doozy. I had it plus taking care of three kids who suffered from it to various degrees and at different times. It’s a drainer. Between that and the holidays, I’ve done little to no writing. Such a bummer. Once I lose my rhythm it takes me forever to get it back.

    Hope you find your groove soon! If so, can you send me the tips to finding mine!?!

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