Sunday, January 16, 2011

How Rough is Too Rough? ROW 80 and the Writing Process

This year, I decided to undertake the ROW80 challenge with a host of many fine writers. I wasn't really sure what I was getting into. I'd managed to get my first book out there kind of by the seat of my pants, and I knew I was going to have to find a way to be more organized and productive if I was going to have a prayer of producing another one, let alone actually selling it. I found myself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of resources for writers available on the web. Forums, blogs, books- lots of "how to," but not much "how do." I noticed a lot of the most productive, accessible writers in my genre had this little button on their blogs, so I checked it out and managed to sign up just in time. 

One of the goals I set for myself was a rather high word count (1500) every day for four days a week. Was I going to be able to do this? It seemed rather high. But I went ahead and set this goal because the cool thing about ROW80 is that you get to readjust your goals if they don't seem to be working. So I went ahead and did the 1500 wc thing, with the caveat that almost any kind of fictional writing counted- freewriting, very rough drafts, worldbuilding, notes scratched on paper towels. It just had to add up to 1500, 4 times a week. 

So, with only week three under way, I've been shocked to find myself churning out 3,000 words a day sometimes. Let me be clear- these are frequently rough words. I know I'm going to have a lot of editing to do. I've included two examples from my current WIP at the very bottom. Unless you're interested in the writing samples here you may very well want to skip them for the check-in:

1. Four days of at least 1500 words of fiction-related writing
2. Two writing-related blogs
3. One paranormal book read and reviewed
4. 30 min. of marketing a day, 5 days a week, of my current release
5. Meeting other ROW80 writers. This week I'd like to try a new (to me) ROW80 writer's book. I've got my eye on Claire Farrell's, because I'm into faeries suddenly. Had an idea for a series about bad faeries, plus I just love them. Must be feeling a little fey :) 

Ch. 2 is a little more finished, and Ch. 4 hasn't even been run through spell check (obviously!). I also include them because sometimes I get stuck in this place where I think my drafts are the roughest, ugliest, worst ever, and it helps to know a rough draft is, well, rough. Giving myself the freedom to write really rough drafts that border on chickenscratch at times seems to be helping. I still do my share of staring out the window and surfing the web, but I do feel more productive. And my draft is taking shape, even if it's ugly. I guess my point is, before ROW80, I don't think I would have been able to give myself the freedom to write now, fix later. I know I have the next round of ROW80 to whip this WIP into shape, if not before.  

Chapter Two:
Change of Plans

They say one of the first signs of serious addiction is lying about your habit and hiding the evidence.
Unfortunately for me, the world was conspiring to take my coffee away.
Which would happen, of course, over my dead body. With the first week of classes barely under way, I needed my early morning caffeine fix more than ever. I had a full, brutal schedule this semester, including back-to-back studio classes and three lecture series. As luck would have it, the most boring lecture class of all was also my earliest. I needed coffee. How else was I supposed to get through it?
When Logan started cutting me off at one pot per day, I knew I was going to have to take action. I smiled grimly at the gigantic styrofoam Big Gulp cradled against my forearm. As long as no one came up and sniffed, it would fool everyone into thinking I’d suddenly developed a healthy appetite for sodas. All I had to do was leave the apartment a few minutes early and dash into the Coffee Shop before school, snagging a muffin as cover for my presence. I lifted a corner of the plastic lid and sipped, grimacing slightly at the bitter aftertaste cheap styrofoam left in coffee. So far, my plan was working perfectly. But if anyone at work got suspicious and reported me to Logan, I’d already picked out a convenience store as an alternate supplier.
I didn’t drink too much coffee. I just needed it to stay awake in class. I could quit anytime.

Chapter Four:

His kisses on my cheekbones were light and quick, and when his lips toiuched my mouth, tasting of salt, I realized I had been crying.
 “You’re not a monster,’ he promised. “I would never encourage you, teach you, even, to use gifts that were eveil. Even shadows have theirp place, if you use them for the light.”
 “But how can I use Darkness to fight darkness, without it hurting me somehow?” I whispered, running a fingernail down the wide corudoruy wale of my father’s coat.
 “Because, you aren’t made of Darkness,” he whispered, rocking me in is arms under the moon and skeletal trees. “You cannot change your essential nature.” When I didn’t respond, I felt hs fingers tghten
 “Touching,” said a low, sneering, familiar voice from just beyong the safety of Ethan’s conforting arms. 

 I hope everyone else is having good luck with their goals, and may many good reads come your way!
All the best,


  1. Awesome word count, first of all. You must be chuffed. :) Pfft @ your rough drafts, you should see mine!

    Thanks for thinking of me btw. Go for the fae series. Bad faeries are so much more interesting than the sweet kind. ;)

  2. Quite a pace! Congrats. I love the rough draft phase. You can just get it all out there.

  3. You're doing great! I started reading the chapters and then thought maybe I shouldn't because I have your book up next and I don't want to spoil anything!! :) Keep up the good work. I like imagining you writing on papertowels. :)

  4. Thanks ladies! It *is* good to just draft- it's been hard to do that before now, for some reason. The next ROW80 I'll be crying over edits, and I can look back at this post and remember that I have no one to blame but myself.
    Bad faeries rock ;)

  5. Lots to do. I break out in a cold sweat just reading it.