Journeying Down Life’s Bumpy Highway

Journeying Down Life’s Bumpy Highway

The final countdown clock has begun. Less than two weeks remain before the deadline in our second Write or Consequences writing challenge. My goal: To have the second book in my current trilogy (DARCY’S DILEMMA) publish ready.

Wow, right? A complete 75K to 80K word novel in less than six months.

I know for lots of writers, this doesn’t sound like much of a stretch, but before this, the fastest I’ve ever finished a manuscript was a year, and that was a Harlequin manuscript, so that year didn’t include several rounds of editorial revisions.

To succeed in this goal (at WoC, we insist on very specific, quantitative goals so there is no doubt about whether a gal deserves a dunking!), I needed not only a clean first draft, but also editing rounds from my critique partners and a Beta reader, formatting, designing a cover, reflecting my “latest release” on my website (which isn’t even live yet), and completing all that pesky Amazon backdoor work. In actuality, I needed to be able to crank out that clean first draft in four months if I had a prayer of ticking off all the other components of publishing a book before the August 1st deadline.

Obviously, a book in six – let alone four – months was a huge challenge for me, yet I set this lofty goal on purpose. I wanted to push myself, to see exactly what I could accomplish, to see how much I’d learned about my writing process as well as my ability to prioritize my writing during the first Write or Consequences challenge.

Let me end the suspense right now. I am not going to make it. Yep, once again, I will be taking my ice bath dunking like the squealing, non-goal-achieving gal I am.

However, by the end of the month, I anticipate reaching the 75% mark on my manuscript. While this might sound like an epic fail – especially considering my detailed list of all the crap still left to accomplish after writing “The End” – I have to admit, I’m pretty damned proud of myself.

For one thing, during the past five months, there has only been one week where I didn’t add a single word to my manuscript. I’ve written on vacation. I’ve red-lined pages while sitting in waiting rooms. I’ve ignored my inbox in favor of writing at work. In short, I have prioritized my writing. Put a giant red check in my “Atta Girl” column.

As a bonafide Ploster – half plotter, half pantser – I often get mired down in the middle when I hit the point where I’m not sure what comes next. In the past, I tended to shut down the writing process until I had “roughed out” the rest of my plot, but this time around, I just kept writing – trusting/hoping that the story would reveal itself to me as I went along. So far, so good. There are still a few plot issues I haven’t discovered yet, but all-in-all, I have a pretty good grasp on where the story is going. And my page count isn’t suffering from sagging-middle-syndrome. Another red check, please.

So while I’m definitely going to be on team Damn That’s Cold this August 1st, I have to say, even though I failed to meet my goal, I still feel like a winner. Tons of sappy motivational sayings are flinging themselves around my brain at the moment, but the winning cliché is this: Life is a journey, not a destination. Write or Consequences, our writer’s challenges, this blog and more importantly, these three incredible women who support me with love, enthusiasm and confidence-crushing honesty 🙂 , have made my journey as fun as it’s been educational.

I make no guarantees about not getting dunked next time around, but I can promise this: the journey will be a hell of a ride, and whatever the final destination turns out to be, I’ll be ready!

Stay tuned for the video evidence of my latest dunking, coming soon to a WoC blog near you.

Dawn Temple

Back when her twin sons were young enough for daily naps, Dawn Temple took advantage of those quiet moments to pursue her dream of becoming a published romance writer. Sneaking in an hour here and there paid off in 2005 when she sold her first book, To Have And To Hold, to Silhouette Special Edition. She managed to secret away enough time to write and sell the second book in her Land’s Cross series, Moonlight And Mistletoe, but alas, her boys outgrew naps and Dawn let go of those stolen moments with her laptop to enjoy life with her two little guys and her big guy, hubby of 21 years.
But now, as an officially retired stay-at-home mom, Dawn has once again found the time and the creative drive to return to writing, and this time around, she’s set her sights on independent publishing. Her first self-published book, Peace of Heart, is scheduled for release in 2017.

7 thoughts on “Journeying Down Life’s Bumpy Highway

  1. OMG, this is by far your best post EVER. I remember when writing wasn’t so fun for you, and I despaired of ever seeing your stuff in print again. To read these words, to see you figuring out your writing life, well Shazam, Sargent Carter! It was uplifting as hell. I gotta go and get a tissue, and then hit the keyboards and try and keep my head out from under the ice bucket.

    1. “Shazam, Sargent Carter?” Showing your age there, Lorinda girl!

      Funny thing, I keep telling my boys (19 year old twins, BTW) that even though they’re in their “college years,” no one expects them to know what they want to be when they grow up. We just expect them to keep moving forward. Well, now that I’ve once again begun moving forward, I’m beginning to figure things out myself.

      Growing up isn’t nearly as hard as I’d feared! 🙂

  2. First off, congrats! on making this round of consequences work for you! It’s great to be able to use the challenge as a catalyst for changing the way we think or the way we do things, and your story is super-inspiring.

    Second, I sincerely hope that critique group honesty isn’t confidence-crushing. Sometimes the emotional aftermath of hearing difficult feedback can be less than exciting (take it from me, the writer with the difficult heroine), but the upshot is that in most cases, the group should be able to find something good to report about the week’s pages in addition to all the stuff that doesn’t work.

    If the group isn’t ending on a positive note, or finding good things to report in the week’s pages, then we’re not doing our jobs properly… Honesty should be a tool that inspires us to explore alternatives, not a sledgehammer that crushes our desire to write.

    Let us know…

  3. I have ZERO complaints about our critique group! The honesty is critical and always delivered with a scoop or two of kind words and encouragement. Sometimes, I think its good to have the ego checked by the kind of honesty we share. Hard-hitting and to the point, but delivered from a place of love by gals we know have our best interests at heart.

  4. I am SO PROUD OF YOU! Ice bucket dumping be damned – YOU ARE ON A ROLL AND YOU ARE AWESOME! And, I’ll be right there beside you taking my second dunking. I’m thinking it’ll be a hell of a lot COLDER being dunked with ice in August than it was in February – there is a much greater temperature variance. We might warm up faster, but its gonna be COLD! ICEY COLD! I wish I could join you in saying this second challenge has taught me more about my writing process. I can’t. What I have learned is that moving is a lot more difficult than it was the last time. My last move was done in stages over several months. Then we remodeled that house and everything that came back inside had a specific destination. Within a few weeks, I had that house looking good. In fact, the remodel was finished after Thanksgiving and I hosted a Christmas party with the house looking good! THIS TIME – three months later – I still have bare walls and a ton of boxes waiting to be unpacked. My goal 2 was basically to just finish goal 1 and move. I moved. I did not finish goal 1. or goal 2. Maybe when I set goal 3 I’ll have a better understanding of how much I can and CANNOT accomplish. Meanwhile, I’m going to try and learn vicariously by hanging out with you!

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