Monthly Review: August 2017

I’m doing my second monthly review a week early because I’m headed on vacation and won’t have wifi access. So this is for August 1 through August 26. Here’s July’s review, and my thinking behind trying a monthly review.

Creatively Productive

Proof of writing, aka coffee shops I have known

what did I make last month?

  • Total New Novel Words Written: 4,105 (39% fewer than last month)
  • Total Hours Novel Writing (Scrivener): 16 hours 45 minutes (22% less than last month)
  • Total Hours Novel Editing (estimate): 4 hours 45 minutes (same as last month)
  • Wrote a blog post about how much it cost to replace my lawn with a garden
  • Sketched front and profile character designs for the main character in my Little Mermaid comic retelling (last year’s NaNoWriMo project)
  • Sketched a rough mockup for a T-shirt design

I completed novel progress reports for Weeks 1 & 2 and Week 3.

creative work to make in September

I’ll be on vacation for a good portion of September so I’ll get a nice break from writing. I might bring along printed chapters to mark up, but there’s a good chance that I won’t do anything related to my book while I’m away, and that’s fine. It would also be a good opportunity for me to do some outlining for upcoming chapters. Earlier in the year, I was using a chapter worksheet to drill down on each chapter, so I might dig that back out too.

I need to start putting a little more thought into my NaNoWriMo project for this fall. I’m continuing the fairy tale trend and plan to do a retelling of Beauty and the Beast in space.

The next issue of Liminal Stories comes out in October, so I’ll need to illustrate my assigned short story in September.

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Weekly Novel Progress: Week of Aug 14, 2017

Writing Stats for Aug 14-20, 2017

  • Starting word count: 135,830
  • End word count: 137,103
  • New words written: 1,973
  • Scrivener hours (per Rescue Time): 4 hours 45 minutes
  • Editing hours (estimate): 1 hour 15 minutes

status updates for the week

  • Edited / rewrote second scene in Chapter 11
  • Finished writing scene in Chapter 15
  • Outlined half of scene in Chapter 15
  • Edited half of Chapter 16
  • Edited / rewrote Chapter 17

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Bi-Weekly Novel Progress: Aug 1 – 13, 2017

Writing Stats for July 31-Aug 13, 2017

  • Starting word count: 137,882
  • End word count: 135,830
  • New words written: 2,132
  • Scrivener hours (per Rescue Time): 10 hours
  • Editing + outlining hours (estimate): 2 hours 30 minutes

status updates for the last two weeks

  • Outlined first scene in Chapter 15 (previously 16)
  • Wrote two scenes in Chapter 15 (previously 16)
  • Revised and edited Chapter 8 (removed 164 words / 11% and 69 words / 12%)
  • Revised Chapter 11 and edited first scene (removed 302 words / 17%)
  • Reorganized upcoming chapters and removed plotlines that would add too many words

Writing Practice

Gave both the meh coffee shop and nice tea shop another try. I wish they were open a little later, both close at 6pm. I’ve actually wound up at the meh coffee shop three times just due to convenience. Also scoped out a new local tasting room as a potential writing spot for NaNoWriMo, but I’m not sold.

work Plan for Next week

  • Write remaining scene in Chapter 15 (previously 16)
  • Finish ending of Chapter 15 scene (previously 16)
  • Edit second scene in Chapter 11 and finish writing ending
  • Outline / zero draft Chapter 18
  • Edit Chapters 16 and 17


How Much Did It Cost to Replace My Lawn with a Garden?

AFTER: Garden in summer 2017, the third year after removing the lawn

I recently read through Emily Henderson’s backyard makeover and was horrified at the cost ($19k for materials + $10k for design and labor). We were able to replace our lawn for much less – just over $4k for the first three years – because we did the design and labor ourselves, and planted smaller plants that would take a while to grow in.

To be fair, my yard’s smaller and has no remaining lawn; additionally, we don’t have any boulders or hardscape (we plan to install a path) We did build an arbor ourselves, which was the most expensive single part of the initial installation!

BEFORE: My uninspiring “lawn” aka clover patch with two anchor shrubs in May 2013

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Monthly Review: July 2017

I’m trying out a monthly review for the first time.

Creatively Productive

what did I make last month?

  • Total Words Written: 6,676
  • Total Hours Writing (Scrivener): 21 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Hours Editing (estimate): 4 hours 40 minutes

I reached an exciting milestone in my novel revision, wrapping up the first part of the novel.

How I stayed productive on creative goals

I completed weekly novel progress reports for the first three weeks of July: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

Gaps and Challenges in My Creative Practice

  • The closing of my favorite coffee shop has put a little damper in my writing practice. I’m looking for a replacement that I like. My after-work replacement seems good, but I’m not sold on my new weekly meetup location. 
  • After reaching my milestone, my progress dried up, and I took a full week off from writing. I think I need a better system for setting milestones and creating a workplan with deadlines that I’m accountable to – right now I have the weekly workplan I put together each Sunday for what I hope to accomplish that week, but I don’t have mid-term deadlines for myself.

What to try to produce creative work in august

  • Keep going to my regular writing sessions
  • Try to make a timeline for the entire next part of the book, and a goal for the overall completion
  • Reinstate my daily Pomodoro requirement (at least one 25-minute writing session) Continue reading