Writing Prompt 7

Check out the other writing prompts here.



Progress Update: A new deadline approaches

Did I finish my novel on time?


I originally planned to finish my novel Dec. 15. However, a graduate school application was due on the same date. In the beginning, I attempted to do both. It was a little stressful; I was trying to rewrite the beginning of Torque as well as finish the current draft.

So I decided it would be better concentrate on making my writing sample the best it could be. During my lunch break at work, I would hack away at it—mostly with editing, making sure I used the correct words and so on.

And those that read my previous post about school, know that it didn’t work out in my favor. So now, this brings me here: a couple of months into the year with a new deadline. March 28, 2018.


I’m thousands of words behind my writing schedule, according to the days I marked in the Scrivener app, which are Monday through Saturday. Sunday was intended as a rest day, but not so much now.

In order to combat this, I’ll be dedicating my mornings to writing sessions until the deadline. There will be a couple of days where this may not be possible, but I will make it work.

In the past, when I participated in NaNoWriMo, I journaled about how the sessions went and where I stopped if I had go somewhere. I thought it would be best to pick this little habit back up, just to document how this all went.

I decided to keep the short entries contained to my bullet journal near my new word count tracker.


I’m also taking the approach of writing in scenes and out of order. The scenes are things that have been on my mind for months or days and are easier  to get down on the page. This allows me to fill in the blanks and spur motivations to link what’s written.

I should’ve started writing out of order months ago. I am a little over 94K words in, with about 40K to go. It’s a little overwhelming to think about, but I have scenes written down for the majority of my remains chapters.

When the deadline passes, I’ll make another blog post in April about how finishing my manuscript went.

The attempt at an ideal writing day

The idea of creating an ideal day started to stir in my head sometime last year. I originally planned to get a blog post out to the internet then, but it fell to the wayside.

Over the last couple of weeks, I played with the layout (which took the longest), what I wanted to include, organizing it, and other things of that nature. I guess what got me in this process was how to create one with a fluctuating schedule and two separate off days.

It’s easier for me to run errands on off days–these are days when I start writing in the afternoon while I am at my local Starbucks or home.  On my early work days, I have a limited time to get writing done, but mostly free after. I can get through a chunk of my word count goal if I go to work  in the afternoon.

In all this mini-chaos, I decided to have my work days on one page and writing on the other.


My ideal day for work, left, and writing day, right. I color coded to make things easier to understand when it comes to my schedule. The main layout follows my Monday, Wednesday and Friday work days. Tuesday is indicated with a T next to a color coded dot.

I tried to stick to the routine I normally do when creating this. But now I’m wondering, am I just writing down my routine? What makes this ideal then?

When it comes to writing, getting any kind of time in is ideal. I think when you’re creating your own ideal writing day, or a general ideal day, the root of it is time management. How do you spend your time normally and how do you want to change it, or what are the things you want to hold yourself accountable for?

In the end, I wanted to create something for me to take note of everyday, especially when I say I don’t have time. I’m going to use this visual as a reminder to myself, and hopefully to writers, that it can get done. Even if it’s just on a lunch break.

As writers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to reach word goals, get the dialogue or prose right the first time. This is something you shouldn’t stress about. This is something you should use a guideline and keep yourself accountable.

Supplies used:

Leuchtturm1917 A5 Medium notebook – grid, Red

Grid paper – to plan

Marvy Le Pen – Black, Grey, Periwinkle

Sharpie Pen – Fine – Green, Purple

Muji Polycarbonate Ballpoint Pen .7mm with grip – Red

A lesson in rejection

Hey writers,

This is a random post spurred by an email rejection. Yup, you read that right. And it stung.  

At work, I have my personal email up in a tab–I check it when I get into work. After settling into the groove of things, I went to my browser and noticed the blue dot next to the Gmail icon.

I clicked and saw the email. The first line filled in the preview area.

To clarify, I didn’t sumbit a query, I submitted an application to a creative writing program. I thought what I had would get me into the program. The email was general rejection letter explaining why I wasn’t accepted, how it’s complicated judging process, and how the rejection shouldn’t deter  me from writing. 

The email was crack in my confidence–I almost started to cry. I had my thoughts of how it would go if I got accepted. I was ready for that. I was excited for it. But clearly this is not the path I’m meant to go on right now. And that’s ok.

I updated the people who knew I applied to the program and they responded with encouraging words. It was helped me feel better. And it also became my fuel to keep writing.

While this isn’t a query rejection, it’s still one nonetheless. It’s something that’s a part of the writing process.

I think it’s ok to be upset for a couple of days or a week about getting a rejection. But as long as you don’t linger on the pain or have it stop you, you will be fine.

Do you what you need to do to move on from it.

And keep writing.


Write Reads 2: Forest for the Trees

Hello writers, I wanted to start the Write Reads series this year with Betsy Lerner’s “Forest for the Trees.” I am hoping to bring these writing book reviews to my site to serve as a guide to pick up something you may want to read, or not read. Enjoy!

Please note, I will be paraphrasing anything from the book or it will be italicized and in quotes. If it’s long, I’ll put ellipses in them. Don’t worry, I will be leaving chapter and page numbers if you decide to pick this book up.

Here’s some quick book information:

Betsy Lerner, “Forest for the Trees”

Riverhead Books (Penguin Group), publisher.

Revised and updated edition, October 2010.

12 Chapters; 285 pages total; Pages include introduction that starts at page 1 and a bibliography that starts at 279. The book is broken up into two parts; First part is Writing and the second is Publishing.

After thoughts…

I was first assigned to read this book for my editing and publishing course that I took in my last semester of college — I was able to get through a big chunk of part 2 for an assignment. About a couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to pick it back up again for the sake of understanding the publishing industry and see what I could do in bettering my craft. Though it offers some quick tips on writing, it does not make up entire chapters. And like the subtitle says: “An editor’s advice to writers.”

At the end of reading this, I felt like I had an idea of what publishing industry is about; it’s as recent as 2010, but it’s still information that’s good to have.

Recently, I’ve been reviewing the some of the lines that I’ve highlighted. Some of these have grounded me in a way, serving as something to keep in mind now and for the future.

Most notes from…

Part 1 Writing:

Chapter 1, “The Ambivalent Writer.” Page 1.  /// 9 notes. Why: In the beginning of the book it talks about different types of writers; besides ambivalent and neurotic (below), there are the natural, wicked child, self-promoter and “Touching Fire” types. While each chapter (writer types) had parts that I could identify with, this chapter stood out to me because Lerner describes this writer as the one who bounces around between a multitude of ideas.  Yes, as writers we all bounce around with them, but this is more like the writer who can’t choose which one to work on and haven’t finished a story.

While I have grown a bit out of that, it was definitely me in the beginning. I would not finish a fan fiction (I do have plans to finish my Teen Wolf fic, but I digress) or start a story get about halfway through. This chapter kind of called me out on my flakey ways when it came to writing. In turn, it’s made even more determined to complete whatever I’m working on.

Chapter 5, “The Neurotic.” Page 93.  /// 9 notes. Why: Lerner approaches this chapter saying the neurotic writer has a ritual, or habit, that allows them to write in that one condition only. She also addresses those who present “the gamut of phobic behaviors from nervous tics…”.

I believe the point of this chapter is to making sure a writerly habit  doesn’t prevent you from producing work if you somehow can’t go through a ritual. Lerner put it best when she wrote: “Should you fail to achieve success, all these behaviors look only like excuses or sick behavior.”

Part 2 Publishing

Chapter 10, “What Authors Want.” Page 211. /// 9 notes. Why: This chapter was more so to understand what writers go through on the other end in the process of becoming published. The approach to this chapter seems as though Lerner is trying to mentor another editor. I believe it offers a perspective for writers of what other writers want, what a relationship could be like between them and an editor, and more.

Chapter 12, “Publication.” Page 255. /// 9 notes.  Why: It’s important to understand the process of getting published. This is good chapter for writers who think about going into the industry. Some of the things in this chapter served as reminders.

Most beneficial chapter…

Publishing — Chapter 11, “The Book.” Page 229. Why: When I read this chapter, I highlighted the crap out of it…I had at least 24 four things marked up with my purple-blue highlighter. The chapter basically discusses the process and the decision-making of the book. It also touches on writer careers and how it may take some time to build up an audience.

Honorable mentions…

Chapter 1, “The Ambivalent Writer,” pages 24: “If you’re struggling with what you should be writing, look at your scraps. Encoded there are themes and subjects that you should be grappling with as a writer. If you still can’t figure it out, whatever you do, I beg not to look at the bestseller list.”

Chapter 12, “Publication,” page 276:  “Again, Rome was not built in a day.”

Chapter 7, “Making contact: Seeking Agents and Publication,” page 149: “Multiply submit….Make two submissions that are a reach two that are in range and two you would consider ‘safety schools’” 

New Year, so what’s next?

Yes, it happened again. I went away at the sometime in September.

I didn’t make my self-imposed deadline for Torque, but I have a good reason:

October was a busy month for me and the things I had planned to post for that month fell to the wayside. The reason why is because I decided to take a leap and apply to a graduate school.

The application required a fiction writing sample. So needless to say, writing a fiction sample and writing a book became a bit much. I needed to focus on the sample to make sure it was well-written and reflected on my skills as a fiction writer.  I submitted a new sample of my work instead the chapter I previous written.

Now, you’re probably wondering why. My instincts told me to rewrite part of the first chapter and not submit what I had. What helped was that I was itching to rewrite the beginning of my book in the first place. I am happy with my decision to rewrite and submit the new version. So fingers crossed.

I will be as consistent as possible, posting mostly on Mondays or Wednesday about three times a month. I will also be opening up a Ko-Fi account to help support the content that goes on to the page. Once that gets posted, please feel free to donate.

But now onto the what I have planned for the rest of the year:

Prompts: Expect to see them each month for the rest of the year. I also have plans to share my own responses to them, as well as post separate short stories for other projects.

Write Reads: Expect to see at least five or six of them this year. I know what I want to read, but I may refrain from mentioning them if plans change on when I want to get posted.

Tips and resources: I plan to explore and experiment  with ways to make the journey easier. I want to be able to link writers with something that will help. I know it’s tempting to want to do everything yourself/ make it on your own, but getting help will make the process easier.

Writing tools: I hope to to review writing apps, especially for phone apps, and taking another look at Scrivener, which is now updated.

Editing Services: Later this year, I am planning to open up slots for freelance editing. I plan charge an hourly rate—but there will be separate post on it once I am ready to open spots up.

Thanks for reading and keep a look out for next week’s writing prompt.

Writing Prompt No. 4

A little bit of dialogue, a scene starter and a word association:


  1. “You’re always so far away…”
  2. Each night your character walks past an empty building on the way to the parking lot. And every time, they take a peak in to the building as the ground level seems to still have its lights on, showing off that one lone desk and chair. But one night they walk by the building and someone is sitting in the seat and with a pause in their steps, the person at the desk beckons them inside…
  3. Noir


Progress Update – TORQUE

In my head,  I’ve kept up with my word count and I’m breezing along to finishing my novel by Dec. 15, 2017. In reality, I’ve skipped at least 14  days of writing due to being tired and not knowing what’s next (trying to make each scene mean something for the end product).  When I restarted, I was stuck on chapter five and six for the longest time, telling myself I will get to it later. But certain events in my life pushed me to stop messing around and set a goal. 130,000 words here I come!

I am now in chapter eight (of 18…maybe) in Torque. The last month has been the fastest I’ve ever gotten chapters done, and had less slumps. It’s clear I need to keep the momentum going so I don’t have as many.

I’ve been using Scrivener’s word count tracker to help push me to write between 750 and 900-plus words, for the days that I’ve selected as writing days. Since there have been days that I didn’t plop a single word onto the page, it adds words for the next day so that I can make up for it. Which is nice in a way, but if I wasn’t committed to being done by my self-made deadline, I’m sure that my word count would be way higher. And looking at my goal for the day can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, but as long as I split the writing to before and after work, I reach my goal.

I’ve also been using my book map to keep me on track plot wise. I noticed the other day when I went to Starbucks that I never really finished my detailed outline; breaking each chapter down by characters introduced and mentioned, and a detailed look at three important/ focal points for the book.

While I am all for planning, it’s not realistic of me to try and finish the outline. In the book map, I break it down with a one sentence summary (for both of my main characters, chapter conflict, storyline notes, characters introduced and mentioned, and if there are any important plot points for it.

I know this sounds like more work than the detailed outline, but it works for me. I did my best in the book map to keep everything brief so it wouldn’t take so long to do. As mine is in Google Sheets, it’s easy to adjust and change and I always have access to it.

Since I am trying to write 130,000 words by the end of the year, I need to keep my focus on that, but I will do my best to do one full post and a writing prompt for the rest of the year.

I will eventually have a second Write Reads post on here soon, but until then, check out the first one and let me know what you think.

-Keep Writing