A Month in a Writer’s Life – April 2017

Where did a whole month go? I could swear it was the beginning of April yesterday, and today it’s May already. April can be quite a busy month, with Camp NaNoWriMo, A to Z Challenge, and other online challenges (like the Twitter game #WIPJoy), and of course, I felt tempted to take part in all of them. But my voice of reason have been already whispering that I had added too many things to my daily schedule already, so with a heavy heart, I decided to cut on anything I could.

The first victim of my self-imposed limits was the A to Z Challenge. Even though I had fun last year, and after my initial doubts I felt eager to try it again, but in the end I gave up on it. I knew I’d have a hard time keeping up with daily posts (I’m not fond of the idea of preparing them in advance as it defeats the purpose of the challenge), let alone checking other blogs and commenting on them.

I decided to join the Camp as I hoped it would get in line with my revision plans for Humanborn, but in the end I wasn’t really active in my cabin, and didn’t reach my editing goal even after cutting it by half. I did manage, however, about 10 hours of editing, so the month wasn’t totally lost.

Writing-wise, April wasn’t bad. I managed to write every day, and met the 500 words (average) per day goal, though I didn’t allow myself working on any new project. This mostly went into blog posts, jotting down ideas and rough outlines for possible future projects (nothing I’d consider serious, but a writer never knows what plot bit she’ll find useful), and other random things. I also managed to finish a short story and start another one.

Staying on revisions and rewrites had also the positive effect of the “catching up” feeling: as I mentioned in my previous post, By the Pact is closing to completion, with the last language fixes being implemented, and I finally got in the right mindset to dissect Humanborn: even if I didn’t manage to log many hours on it, I feel I broke through the “revision block” I seemed to be having. And my reward for finishing By the Pact and getting Humanborn ready for beta-readers will be allowing myself to start a new project, so I’m more than eager (and extra motivated!) to get them done.

Sadly, reading-wise, my month wasn’t too good. I didn’t finish a single book. I started a few, but none seemed to grab me enough… In the end, I didn’t finish any of them, and most of my reading consisted of short stories and non-fiction articles on the net. I hope May will be better and I’ll find some interesting titles that will make me forget about the world.
I don’t have any art to show for yet, though I worked on “Hills” inspired by my first impression of Arizonian landscape, and done in the same technique as my Kraken Tentacles I’ve shared last month. I hope to have it ready and show it by the end of May.

Last month I mentioned my determination to get my workout routine in place, and as you might recall, I’ve finished March with 26 consecutive days of exercising. April also turned out brilliant: I haven’t missed a day (though for a few days I only did half of my routine), not only bringing my total to 56 consecutive days, but also forcing me to adjust the resistance on my elliptical, as the current setting became too easy. I can’t see much difference, but Inq claims I did lose quite a lot of weight, so the experiment continues. I’m sincerely wondering how far I can get with my little routine.

So, how was April for you? Was it good? Bad? Or do you have mixed feelings about it?

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. portiabridget

    That’s splendid that your working-out routine proved to be so successful, a way to go!

  2. J.R.Bee

    Sounds like a pretty decent month all told 🙂 Congrats on the workout too! That’s pretty epic!

    1. melfka

      Thank you! Trying to keep it up!

  3. saraletourneau

    Good job on maintaining your exercise routine! I tend to lose interest in exercise over the winter unless I have an actual class to attend (thank goodness for yoga), and come spring my body gets restless. So I’ve finally been making the extra effort to get up at a decent time on the weekends when I’m home and fitting in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise, be it walking outside or doing a mix of yoga, pilates, and aerobics / weights inside. As for your weight loss: I’m sure you’ll start seeing the results soon.

    Regarding the writing front, I think you’ve managed to get more done than you think. Maybe you got more writing and revising done than editing, but altogether it’s a commendable amount of work. Especially with By The Pact and Humanborn. You mentioned that you’re preparing Humanborn for beta-readers. What’s next for By The Pact?

    April and early May were… interesting in terms of writing for me. I started digging my teeth into one new project, even writing about 8,000 words toward its first draft. And then, about a week and a half ago (and I think you saw this on Twitter), a new idea struck – one that’s still fantasy, but a different vein than the former, and one with a land whose geography, geology, etc. would be similar to that of a country I visited not too long ago. 😉 So now I’m focusing on that worldbuilding and trying to keep myself from doing too much actual writing too soon, since I think that was part of the overall problem with TKC.

    1. melfka

      Thank you, Sara! It’s encouraging to see you’re maintaining a routine regardless of a busy life and day job. I don’t think I would be that successful. 🙂
      By the Pact is somewhat ready. I think I’m at the stage I shouldn’t be tinkering with it anymore. It might not be perfect, but writing is always a curve. I guess this means I should consider querying it.
      How’s the new project going? To me, the early stages, worldbuilding and then plotting, are always very exciting.

      1. saraletourneau

        Yes, well… It has its challenges, and some days are better than others. But I do what I can.

        I’m about 16K into the new WIP. I’m planning to talk about it a little in a blog post next week (or whenever the post is ready). But so far, it feels therapeutic to be writing this story, and the writing style feels more… “me,” I guess, than TKC ever did.

        1. melfka

          That’s awesome :). I’m looking forward to reading your post (when I manage to catch up with all the blog posts… I’ve really fallen behind).

  4. sjhigbee

    As ever, there’s a lot more to celebrate than regret in your monthly roundup. Your daily writing average is steady and it sounds as if you’ve really rolled up your sleeves and got stuck in with the editing – go you! As for the exercising – that’s great. It makes such a difference to energy levels and clarity of thought in my experience if you are regularly physically active. As for the reading… well – when you are also working and doing a ton of other things, something has to give. There is only so much headspace to go around. Right now as I’m still recovering from the illness I had 3 weeks ago that has left me really washed, reading is all I really have energy for – I’d far prefer to be writing instead! I hope that May continues with your successful progress.

    1. melfka

      Thank you, Sara. I envy you that exercise makes a positive difference in your energy levels. Mine tends to be rather negative, so I do need a lot of discipline and determination to keep at it.
      I still wish I could squeeze more reading into my days, but sadly, since reading takes priority, I wouldn’t get anything else done.
      I hope by now you got your energy back and you’re happily writing again. 🙂

      1. sjhigbee

        I spent so long unable to do any meaningful exercise that the fact I can stretch, jig around without any pain is marvellous. And I have definitely changed shape over the last year, which is a huge pick-me-up every time I open the wardrobe door and realise there is NOTHING in there that is too small:)).

        1. melfka

          Oh, I know that feeling too! I’ve lost a lot of weight since last year and that’s definitely encouraging.
          I still hate working out, and I get to say it any time I feel like it – I just don’t get to use it as an excuse.

          1. sjhigbee

            I LOVE my Fitstep – it’s dancing to music and the exercise programme was designed by Strictly Come Dancing stars Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe. We wiggle, jump and step to all the various rhythms designed to strengthen arms, legs, core and it is just FUN. I didn’t much like Pilates at first, but these days it is a buzz to be able to do things I couldn’t only a year ago. It doesn’t hurt that we have an awesome teacher, who is patient, even-tempered and endlessly encouraging.

          2. melfka

            A teacher can be “make it or brake it”: they can make you love something you hate or make you hate something you love.
            I can imagine fitstep being fun. I miss dancing… Maybe I should try to do it more, even at home (especially that US apartments are bigger than Irish ones, so I have some space).

          3. sjhigbee

            The Fitsteps exercise steps were devised by two main dancers who starred in the UK version of Strictly Come Dancing and they vary according to the dance. And I completely agree with you regarding the importance of the teacher – I’m blessed in having a wonderful teacher who is kind, consistent and mindful that the majority of us are past our first flush of youth…

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