Archive for May, 2011

I’m close enough now that I’m going to go out on a limb and say the first draft will be complete 1 week from today.

But immediately I have to put a caveat to that and say that it won’t actually be readable that day because more than 1/2 of it will only be in a spiral-bound notebook that is rarely out of my sight.

It makes me more than a little nervous that I have 100 hand-written pages (closer to 125 when typed) that exist on paper only. I’m a product of this time – while I love the feel of pen and paper I only feel something is permanent when it’s in an easily reproducible computer file.

So, one week until the draft is complete, at least another to type it up, a couple of weeks more to implement changes I already have in mind…might be ready for real editing at the end of June.

The pace is slower than I like but I know it would be a grave mistake to rush it out and not try to make it the best it can be. I’ve learned a lot from the short story and I want to make sure those lessons are put to good use.

1 week.

I wonder how long it will take to give it a real name? Calling it no-name-novel, or novel-of-40-names, is getting a bit awkward.

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Here are a few options from this afternoon, each one getting a little further from what I had with fonts. I intentionally didn’t capitalize the L. Does that look weird? I really don’t want a glaring L there. If I could realistically minimize it further I would. I just want to be Wendy Young, in reality, but I feel cornered by the fact someone else with my name got there first. Argh.

It may seem strange to obsess over this one cover but I want to set a standard layout/font that will be easily recognizable and stick with it, at least for the short stories.

Even if one of these is ‘the one’ they need the final finishing steps of ensuring page elements are appropriately aligned, centered, etc.

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Two issues have cropped up since I posted my short story several weeks ago.

1) There’s another Wendy Young. She has a book out. It’s not similar but to avoid any confusion I am considering opting for a middle initial on my work.

2) I would feel downright AWFUL if someone bought a short story thinking it was a novel so I’ve been considering ways to work in ‘A Short Story’ or ‘A Novel’ on all covers.

Hence, the dueling versions below.


Proposed New


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Each day I draw a little bit closer to an exciting and scary milestone: self-publishing a novel. I’ve been writing every day for about 2 months now and the first draft is 80% complete. It’s a huge, rewarding undertaking but for someone so goal-oriented it’s a very hard one as well.

I love lists and check marks (or rather ‘strike out’ lines in my case). I love completing even minor tasks in order to feel the flush of progress.

So, I wrote a short story in two days. Edited it in 3-4 (with the help of lovely family and friends), designed a cover in a day (with the help of my super-lovely husband), and then published it – 1 week from first word to pub – on Amazon and Smashwords.


I won’t lie and say I didn’t have some hope it would take off but I knew the publication was more for me than anything. I needed to know something was out there. I needed that experience.

It didn’t take off. The highest it’s been on Amazon is around 40,000th place. (Yes, I did mean to include that many zeros). But I did learn from it. A lot.

First, I learned the technical aspects of publishing it. That’s invaluable. I learned how to create a cover, how to format for Amazon and then do the opposite for Smashwords. I learned how to set up author pages, payee details, and set up a Facebook page which is largely incomplete still – I can’t even get a url until I get enough likes. I learned so much more that I’ve already forgotten.

More importantly, I learned about ‘sampling.’ I had naively focused on telling a story (hah) and not on researching how people discover stories (still get low marks on that one) or how they make the leap into actually paying to read it. Smashwords requires you to allow sampling and with a story that only truly makes sense at the end, it has hurt me a lot. It is important to remember, however, and I already know how I will rework the beginning of the novel with this in mind.

Lastly, I learned that I know nothing about marketing. But that will come as I don’t think pushing a short story will get me far anyway. That will be a tough lesson when the novel, something easier to market, is ready to read.

Many learning experiences will come (such as how to get people to actually review what they read) and I look forward to the journey.

“Novel-of-40-names” is coming soon….ish

Never soon enough for me!

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I tend to be very hard on myself, constantly evaluating whether something is moving me forwards, moving me backwards, or simply moving me sideways. In reality that is probably hard on those around me as well, as my evaluations (remember, hard on myself) are not always accurate.

Blogging, reading, house cleaning….. so many things that truly *are* important are put in either the sideways category, at best.

But those ‘sideways’ or ‘backwards’ tasks frequently have vital roles that aren’t immediately measurable. If I spend an hour getting my Daily Mail fix I’m in a much better frame of mind to do the things that must be done, or those that I want to do.

Similarly, when I can check off a task like “fix the flipping blog!” then that frees up another little corner of my mind. It seems unimportant, but turns out to feel like a giant leap forward.

Outdated links have been removed, new widgets added, and I’ve rediscovered a few things about Blogger I hadn’t used in more than 6 months.

This, plus a fun trip to the zoo today to celebrate my wonderful little boy’s 2nd birthday, do not directly advance my writing but I will be the better, and ready to do the ‘work’ I love, when I’m done.

I have another 40-50 pages to write on the novel, 60+ to type, and another 25 page short to type as well. Loving this progress!

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