Phenomenal writing retreat, exciting new paid editing clients, a massive mindset shift regarding what to do with the nonfiction book, plus a solid idea for my next novel! Fantastic progress on all fronts!
New week, still on retreat!
This morning, the subconscious crew started rewriting the opening scene of Legacy in my head, making it more fun, more engaging, more dynamic and a much better introduction to one of the protagonists. Which was (mostly) fabulous! I mean, I love the crew dearly and they’re doing a phenomenal job of resparking my enthusiasm for my writing at the moment – I just wish they weren’t doing it at 5am…
I probably made the wrong choice in terms of dissuading them by getting up, grabbing my laptop and committing their ideas to the manuscript, whilst still in bed.
After my early start, and considering how much progress I’d made so far, I was worried I might just slack off today, so I relocated to the dining room (rather than continuing to write in bed), in the hopes of finding some focus. So, of course, I faffed around on the internet for ages before knuckling down to revising more of Legacy.
I managed to focus long enough to revise and expand the first three chapters. I decided that would be enough revision for now, as it provided me with the opportunity to query more agents with a much stronger submission package.
Lunchtime today marked the halfway point of the retreat and I was really pleased with what I’d achieved so far.
After lunch, I rewrote a short story I’d first come up with earlier in the year, and which had been on my revision list for some time – prompted by an upcoming submission opportunity that fit it perfectly. It didn’t take as long as I expected, so I submitted it and crossed it off my list.
It was still only 3pm (though I’d been awake for ten hours already) so I did week four of the mindset course.
I was intending to take the rest of the day off and try to make sure I could get some decent sleep without the crew going overboard on any new ideas. However, instead, I went through my notes on the three novels in my list that I thought I might want to work on next, selected the one I was most interested in and basically wrote a whole (albeit very brief) outline of the plot…
Over dinner, I had an extended conversation with a couple of the other people in the retreat group about self-publishing Meditations and building a marketing strategy for it. I was very resistant at first, but gradually got more enthused about the idea as the evening went on.
The subconscious crew ran amok overnight – but not in the way I’d expected! They took up the banner of marketing Meditations and started coming up with ideas for a comprehensive strategy – at 2:30am… I got up (still not the best way to train them to go back to presenting their ideas after 9am…) and made a ton of notes, then did manage to get back to sleep again.
Before breakfast, I spent some time planning out my paid work over the next two months, which was very satisfying.
Then, a potential big new editing client popped up on Upwork with a request for a paid sample, so I completed that after breakfast.
I took a break until lunch, planning to get back to some of my own projects in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, I rejigged my July/August schedule again, and also completed Week 5 of the mindset course.
Then another massive paid editing project came through, so I had to reschedule everything for July/August again. I made a note to remind myself regularly over the next couple of months that I have chosen to accept all this work, it will still be considerably fewer hours per week than I did at my office job, that I’m really looking forward to getting to read all the books, and I’m planning on enjoying the work (and the money!) as much as possible!
I also had a chat with the subconscious crew to thank them for all the hard work they’ve been doing and let them know they can relax for a bit and just enjoy whatever time I have to work on my own writing over the next couple of months, since I’m going to be really busy with paid work and I have no external deadlines for any of my own.
Then I went out for a walk up and down the Devon hills to clear my head! It was very beneficial, but longer than expected, so I decided not to try and start anything else today.
I realised later that I often have a bit of a slump on the Tuesday of these retreats – I generally over-achieve in the first few days, burn out on Tuesday and then find some more motivation to make best use of the remaining time on Wednesday and Thursday.
The subconscious crew followed instructions and left me completely alone overnight – hurrah!
I was still up quite early, but feeling much more relaxed about my approach to the rest of the retreat (as well as excited about all the work and other things I had lined up for when I got home).
I browsed the internet for a bit before breakfast and found a beta read request from one of the TL;DR writers for the prologue to an epic fantasy novel – so I read that and gave some detailed comments.
After breakfast, I launched into the one main project I hadn’t yet looked at on the retreat – revising the novella I drafted earlier in the year – Bride & Lover. So, I went back to Hannah’s incredibly in-depth feedback and started formulating a revision plan for it.
The exercise was quite illuminating. It reignited my enthusiasm for improving the novella, and the potential revisions slotted into two categories – immediate amendments required for it to make sense and be effective, and much broader expansions for if I want to really delve in and make it a much bigger project. So, there’s a way forwards that doesn’t feel to onerous and will result in a stronger story, without me having to dedicate months to additional world-building.
With that initial run-through of the novella done, I completed the sixth and final week of the mindset course, which overall had proved extremely beneficial and given me lots of reminders of useful tools I can use to rediscover my joy in the process of my writing.
As part of today’s mindset course activities, I went through all the notes I made earlier in the week about my next novel project and came up with some excellent new ideas about deepening the story. Still very, very early days, and I’m not planning on really diving into this for a while, but it was fun to noodle around with it and anticipate it becoming a thing.
After lunch, I decided to make a Trello board to organise my notes and task list for the Meditations marketing strategy. It was a fun way to play around with the ideas and get them into a workable plan. By the end, I felt like I’d made a really good start on the project and had more clarity about what to do next.
I did a very short project for a previous client, then spent yet more time rejigging my work schedule for the next two months, trying to find the best way to fit everything in, so each book would get consistent, dedicated time and I could meet all my deadlines (with some buffer included). I think I got the best configuration, but I expect I’ll keep messing around with it obsessively.
Another early morning, with the crew coming up with a few (reasonably gentle) ideas for the Meditations marketing plan, which I added to the Trello board.
I was hoping for a lie-in on my first night back from the retreat – but I apparently need to do some more work on retraining my brain, as I was up at 5:30am again…
I prepped my Legacy query package and completed the cover sheet for my editor friend who is going to review it for me in July – it feels good to have revised this and also know I’m getting fresh eyes on it for more feedback before I start submitting it again.
I went through all my notes from the retreat, made various task lists and added more stuff to the Meditations Trello board.
I managed to sleep until after 7am, which felt great!
The 1st round of the 2023 TL:DR Race to Rejections competition ended yesterday, so I tracked through all my open submissions and updated my totals on the relevant Slack channel.
I also got an email saying I’d been Highly Commended in the MTP 2023 Short Story Competition, which was a lovely surprise! My story may be included in the competition anthology, but I won’t find out until August.
I did the UWR mid-year review online workshop, to establish my new writing goals for the second half of 2023.
I also went through all my notes from the mindset course and made a reference document of useful things to remember, as well as adding some writing-related tasks to Habitica.
I stayed in bed until after 7:3am, which was awesome!
I finished my current book and wrote my review.
I also went through the Meditations marketing plan and picked out the first small steps to do next week, to get the whole thing started.