Indie-Pendence Week: ROW80

Grave Tells Indie-Pendence WeekThis is my big-push month on publicity for Dust to Blood, so I’ve joined the Gravetells Indie-pendence week blog hop event, which means you get a chance at a free copy of my book. (Check out the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post for ways to earn entries to the drawing.)

I’d like to expand a little on the comment I made in Monday’s post regarding writers as entrepreneurs: The hurdle I’ve always faced in generating regular freelance work is overcoming the inertia of getting new work in the door. The corollary for an author is the inertia against getting new words on the page. I don’t know how many times I’ve read the injunction “everyone would be an author if all that meant were ‘I have this great idea’.”

In fact, I gestated my great idea for almost two years, wondering how I would approach writing it, when I would find the time to write it, how the story might develop, what the character motivations would be. I know I’ve claimed before that I’m a pantser, going with the story flow as inspiration directs; the number of times I wrote chapter 1 in my head and considered tone and direction and voice, though, argues that I spent those two years plotting. Maybe. Because none of those thoughts made it past the original dream journal entry that was the genesis of the book and the series.

I was the classic wannabe author with the great idea–and no idea how to overcome the intimidation of producing a book-sized mound of words that actually read like a story.

Then a colleague told me he was going to try NaNoWriMo once again, to see whether he could pull off the feat of producing a novel. When I looked into it, I discovered not only geeky tools that would allow me to track and chart my daily word production, but also a community of writers who were all working together under the same crazy deadline. Something about the combination of the two pushed me over the hump, and I managed the first draft of Dust to Blood in November 2010. I did it again for a new book (Dementional, unrelated to the Red Slaves series, slated for release in August) in November 2011.

Now, I’m getting feedback on Dust to Blood, and readers are clamoring for book 2. So is my publisher; in fact, she wants all three in the series complete by the 2013 DFWcon. That means that even though I utterly failed at Camp NaNo this past June, I need to find some sort of accountability to keep me on track for a couple of stretch goals this year.

Enter Round of Words in 80 Days, the brainchild of Kait Nolan. Since there are too many family obligations and distractions in the summer, I’m going to be taking advantage of a new community and set of tools to keep up with what I need to accomplish. Part of the rules include stating clear, measurable goals at the start of the round (Monday), and reporting in on Wednesdays and Sundays to document progress.

Since my aspiration is to get to the point where I have a full-time writing career (i.e. it supports me with income equal to or greater than what I have now with a day job), and the key benchmark authors who are in that position tell us is having a long back-list of books available for purchase… I better get writing.

So my writing goals by the time this round ends in October:

  1. Participate in 2 writing sprints 5 nights a week, producing a total of no fewer than 5,000 words per week;
  2. Finalize print formatting for Dust to Blood;
  3. Finalize first round edits for Dementional;
  4. Send Dementional to editor and finish final edits; and
  5. Format Dementional for eBook release.

I’ll keep it to that for the moment, because as miserable as the weather currently is this summer, I’d still like to take some time to enjoy it with my Dear Husband before we get to the cold darkness that is November… when I’d like to see if I can continue my streak of November NaNoWriMo wins going, to complete the Red Slaves trilogy. A task that may be complicated by a completely unrelated goal to take advantage of free education from my employer to earn my MBA. Somewhere in there I know I’ll have editing tasks, and I’d like to squeeze in some pleasure reading too (I’m looking forward to the final Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate book arriving this weekend, and know I won’t be able to resist that for long). Taking nice walks with the dogs & DH ranks high on my list of important things as well.

Prioritizing those million things, figuring out whether I need to keep asking for new reviews or pursuing other promotional opportunities are all stressors.

Looping this back to the indie theme I started with: A supportive community is one of the hallmarks I’ve discovered with these writers (actually, most writers, generally). They’re willing to share not only their experiences and advice, but also tools that help those following in their wake to succeed. Here’s to the #wordmongering, #amwriting, and related online groups who tweak each of our competitive natures to drive us all forward, while holding our hands to keep the crazy-making fears and inadequacies at bay. I suspect being pulled out of our solitary word-smithing to compare standing on a regular basis is making us all more productive and positive. In fact, I’m counting on it.

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One thought on “Indie-Pendence Week: ROW80

  1. Hi Tonya — love the course you set down here. So great to see how writers go about, juggle outside lives, continue to think about future work. Hey, an MBA could come in handy for a writer too – congratulations. Good luck stretching into your goals, xo, Justin

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