FirstDraft60 - Day 1

Since I started late, I'm catching up on the first couple of assignments in Kaye Dacus's FirstDraft60 challenge to plan and write a first draft in October and November. I just discovered Kaye's blog and I'm really liking it. She's very honest about where she is in her publishing career, and she shares some very honest stuff about her life as well. The resources she's been posting each day for the FirstDraft60 challenge show how hard she's worked on it. It's so generous of her to share her process with us, and I'm excited to participate. 

Here are my answers to Kaye's Day 1 Questions.

1. Why do you want to write?

I'm a writer, and always have been. Since having my twins, a regular routine has been harder to nail down. I do well for a few weeks, and then my productivity falls off. This is a good way of pushing myself to be consistent, with the added bonus that I'll get a third manuscript for my effort!

2. What will finishing this project in sixty days mean to you? Do you think that completing this challenge will change you? How?

Finishing my first book taught me that I can stick with something to completion. Editing and polishing it taught me that I'm willing to hack my darlings to death if it makes the story stronger. Completing a draft in sixty days? That might make me feel like Wonder Woman. I will feel more capable and more confident that I can make things happen and get things done.

3. If this is your first attempt at completing a manuscript, how do you think finishing it will impact your life? OR, If you’ve completed multiple manuscripts, what will finishing another one mean to you?

The thing I'm most excited about is starting from scratch with new characters, a new setting, and a new set of challenges to work through. My second book is a sequel to the first, so I've only written full-length manuscripts about one set of characters. Starting fresh already feels invigorating.

4. What will happen if the people closest to you don’t understand, support, and encourage you during this challenge?

I'm really lucky that I have so much support from the people around me. The only ones who won't be encouraging are my 19-month-olds. They like having me around, and I may have to disappear sometimes. Normally I work from home as an admissions consultant anyway, so at least they're used to me being busy. My job slows down for these couple of months, so it's the perfect time for me to take on something else. And hopefully the little ones won't feel like much has changed.

5. Imagine how you will feel on November 30 knowing that you’ve completed this challenge. How can you use that to motivate you during the next sixty days?

Recently I was weighing the pros and cons of pursuing a graduate degree in mental health counseling. While I find the field fascinating, it's not my passion. Writing is my passion. I made a deal with myself to try to build a writing career in the four years I have until my kids start school. Completing this challenge will prove that I'm serious and give me more momentum to keep pushing toward that goal.

6. What is the ONE thing you think you’re going to need the most to help you accomplish your goal for this challenge?

Discipline. I have to make myself keep writing when I'd rather do something else and especially when the perfectionist in me knows my first draft is terrible. Sloppy writing can be hard for me to accept, but I have to remember that the sloppier a draft is, the more fun it is to write, because it's pure creating vs editing.

And so I have a complete record, here are my responses to Kaye's Day 0 Questions:

1. What story are you going to work on?
My story--women’s fiction about a social worker who accidentally becomes a country music sensation--has been bumping around in my head for more than a decade. I started it in college as a screenplay, but I’m happiest writing novels. This character has stuck with me for a long time. She’s got gumption, and I’d like to see her story through.

2. Who’s your support team?
My husband and mom are my closest allies. They always root for me, for which I’m so grateful. I also have two writer friends who I’ll ask for a little handholding through the 60 days (is it 58 days now? It took me a while to commit, so I’m a little late to the party…).

3. What do you hope to achieve?
I have a pair of nearly polished novels that I’ve been working on for six years. I think that, because they’re my first books, I’m scared to turn them loose. I adore the characters and I’ve practically bled their story onto the page after all these years. I want to write something totally different to break through my fear of promoting my writing, whether it’s submitting to agents or self-publishing. I’m hoping to have a rough first draft of a story that I’m proud of and yet don’t cling to as tightly, so I can move forward and try to publish something.

4. Do you really have the time to commit to this challenge right now?
I have twin toddlers, so I don’t have time for anything, ha! But I’m making time for this.

5. How will you set realistic goals—and adjust them as time goes on?
I did Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July and managed to stick to my goal until halfway through. One day of not writing led to another, etc. For this challenge, I’m going to write every day, no exceptions, even if I can’t make my 1667 word goal every day. I think for me the key is not to break the chain of productivity.