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A Month in a Writer’s Life – July 2017

July went by so quickly, I hardly noticed it. Between taking part in the CampNaNoWriMo and my other projects, time flew. This month turned out to be another stepping stone in my writer’s life and in learning more about my process.


I signed up to the Camp with a joy of finally being able to work on something new instead of being stuck in the editing hell. As much as I like the idea of polishing my words, at the same time it feels like a mundane, endless process, so writing something new became a very appealing prospect.

For the Camp I chose what I considered a reasonable goal: 30,000 words. A double of my daily goal for this year, but at the same time not more than I used to write in the previous editions of 365 Writing Club. I also chose book two of my fantasy novel, By the Pact – something I was excited about. Unfortunately, even though I have most of the story plotted, it needed some structural work first. Following a beta-reader’s advice, I cut out the last three chapters from By the Pact. It made the ending of the novel stronger (and at the same time, gave it a nasty cliffhanger). These three chapters were bound to become a beginning of book 2, but they needed some thought and rewriting which clashed with the idea of diving into the writing.

Montly Word Count Goal Badge

After two days of no words and struggling to focus on something that was a yet another revision (even if a much shorter one), I made a decision: switching projects. I chose to write what I call postapocalyptic fantasy and what has been my pet project for a long time. Shards of the World (working title) that I mentioned in my posts before, benefited from a 10-page long outline and me knowing the story and characters inside out.

I started to write, and after a couple of days hit the wall of self-doubt and uncertainty. I couldn’t find the right voice for the story (I believe “voice” is a part of a story, not a writer, but that’s a topic for another post), I questioned myself as a writer, and second-guessed everything. If it wasn’t for my friends’ help and encouragement (thank you, JR Bee and Joanne), I’d probably be still sitting and feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I lowered my Camp goal to 20,000 words to avoid the pressure and stress of catching up. At the end of the month I ended up with over 26,000 words written in July, the 20,000 in the Shards of the World, making me the Camp winner.

At the same time, something had to give, and this time it was editing. I haven’t done even a full hour in July, but it was somewhat a conscious choice. Some of my beta-readers already returned to me with comments, and I was eager to jump back into Humanborn. I decided against it, and instead focused on my other goals. I’m sure taking a month break from editing will be beneficial for my love-hate relationship with it.


Art-wise it’s been a good month. I finished my polymer clay pendants, I mentioned last month, and I worked on a fun design with a little witch doll. It’s now available in the Society6, Redbubble, and Zazzle stores. As always, I have more ideas for art, but they’ll have to wait for their turn.

Little Witch Doll


When it comes to workout, I got into the routine so much, that I stopped counting consecutive days of exercise. I think it’s been 5 month of daily workout now. Sadly, I had to give up on the weights, at least for a while, as I pulled a shoulder muscle. It affects my ability to type, so I’m not going back to them until I can be sure it’s fully healed.

I was also determined to start reading a bit more again. I hoped the book I picked would be a quick read, but instead I almost ended up tossing it, and even though I planned on reading at least two in July, I barely made it through one. But, in a way, it’s still progress when you compare it to the previous months.

All in all, the initial hiccup aside, my writer’s life month felt very productive. I’m hoping I’ll be able to keep up the work and good mood going. And how was your writer’s life month?

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 5 Comments

  1. saraletourneau

    The witch doll drawing is adorable! And I like the polymer clay dragons, too, but the witch doll. She’s just so cute. She should be a real doll.

    OK, I’ll be more serious from here on out. *lol*

    I agree, though, that all in all, July was a pretty good month for you on the creativity front. I’m glad you were able to overcome your initial hiccups with the new WIP and eke out a win for Camp NaNo. Are you still working on that manuscript now, and taking a break from editing? Or have you turned your attention to something else for August?

    1. Melfka

      Thank you, Sara. I was really pleased how the witch doll turned out, so I’m happy when other people like it too.
      I’m not working on the Shards at the moment, at least not much. I wanted to have several short stories done this month, so this is my focus for August. What is yours?

      1. saraletourneau

        Creatively speaking, my focus is still on the magical realism manuscript I’ve been working on since coming home from Iceland. I’d also been writing new poetry and revising some old poems, but that’s been on the backburner the past few weeks. Things have been very busy, especially now that I’m heading to NYC later this week.

        1. Melfka

          That sounds great! As long as you creative, you can keep going :).

  2. sjhigbee

    I’ll echo Sara’s enthusiasm about the witch doll – she is absolutely charming. But I LOVE those tenacle pendants – the shape of the white one with the green colouring which, I think, is the most effective.

    You have had a major journey this month – no wonder July sped by at warp speed! It’s always an achievement to break through a wall. I do have a golden rule – when I start writing my first draft I don’t allow myself to stop and worry about my writing or me as a writer. I write because I must. It’s what I do. End. Of. All that naval-gazing happens before and after. But while I’m writing, I escape into my world and refuse to think of any non-world thoughts. I don’t know if that helps at all? If I hit a wall, it’s because I’ve gone wrong in some way – and I have to backtrack and pick apart where I’ve slipped off the narrative pathway – not because I can’t write, or it’s pointless. I think it’s when my monotasking tendencies stop being a wretched pain in the neck and FINALLY become a superpower…

    Huge congratulations on being able to break through that self doubt and continue forward – I hope you are able to mine that encouragement for another time if your demons ambush you once more. That’s an impressive word count for July! I hope that August continues to be as successful for you.

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