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May 2012

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Mes Anges! I have been away for quite some time! However, if you've been following me/this blog for awhile, you know that this is par for the course. I tend to disappear right after a book release, mostly because I get so very tired of talking about myself/books/anything on the entire planet, yes, even Jon Snow's hair.

And let's be real, that's some discussion-worthy hair.

I think sometimes I tend to forget that despite my Extreme People Personish Ways, I am technically an introvert at heart, so while I LOVE PEOPLE AND TALKING TO THEM AND THEM TALKING TO MEEEEE, I'm also SO FREAKING wiped out by it. And considering the fact that I was bascially on the road for 4 weeks out of 6 back in March/April....yeah. I looked like this:

All of this to say, that is why there's been no blogging. And no blogging over at my Game of Thrones blog, because man, that ended up being more of an endeavor than I'd expected. May resume once books go in and stuff, but sheesh. TV recappers, I tip my cap.

But I'm BACK now, and I'm SO EXCITED because I'm going to share my Writing Plans For This Summer with you! And hope that maybe you will join me in the Wacky Imma throw down.

I've written 5 books now. 5 books in 4 years. That is...unbelievable to me. Mainly because, as I've discussed before, I am the QUEEN of starting books and not finishing them, so the idea that I've finished FIVE is unreal.

HOWEVER. I have learned something in the 4 1/2 years I've been at this. Namely...y'all, I am a SLOOOOOOOW writer. I mean, molasses in January. Slower than Christmas. Slower than a Slow Loris being tickled.

The last draft I turned in that I was really, truly 100% happy with (okay, more like 70% happy with. I am my own worst critic) was DEMONGLASS. That book took me....7 months. 7 months to write with basically NOTHING going on at the time. I wrote that book the year before HEX HALL had even come out. So while yes, I was Wife-ing, and Mama-ing, and Human Being-ing, I still wasn't a Published Writer in the sense that my book was out on the shelves and I had to do stuff for it. I think by the time I started DEMONGLASSS, HEX HALL was already into pass pages, AKA the last stage of edits.

I remember at the time thinking, "Wow, this wasn't THAT bad! I think I've GOT this professional writer thing!"

I hate Dane Cook, but I think he says it best here:

So 7 months to make a draft. 7 months with nothing else really to worry about except writing said draft. Do you see where this becomes an issue when you have 2 books due a year, PLUS books to promote/tour for/edit?

And then my brain broke and making books was hard and I was trying to find a way to write books that made me happy and made me feel like the drafts WEREN'T giant bags of poo while still cranking them out in time to meet deadlines and stuff. But then I COULDN'T, and I would MISS deadlines, and then I was the giant bag of poo, and OH, MES ANGES, IT WAS A TRYING TIME.


Last fall when I was working hard at both REBEL BELLE (Putnam! Summer 2013!) and the As Yet Untitled HEX HALL spin-off (Hyperion! Fall 2013!), I stumbled on something that was kind of magic. See, my biggest issue is getting lots of words out in NOT lots of time. Going at my natural speed, I will write like 500 words/day. Maybe 1000, but then I'll DELETE half of those, and we're back to where we started. With both of these drafts, the main thing was GETTING WORDS ON A PAGE so that I could then FIX said words, but mostly just WRITING. MOAR. WORDS.

So one night, I set myself the challenge of writing 5000 words before I went to bed. This was a very motivating challenge because UGH YOU GUYS, I LOVE GOING TO BED. I have friends who love nothing more than to burn the midnight oil working on a book, but I always feel super- sad when I'm up at midnight and everyone else in the house is asleep. Therefore, I knew I had to get those 5K pretty quickly, and to make that happen, fired up Write or Die and set my goal for 1000 words in 30 minutes.

And I did it! In fact, I met my goal with a few minutes to spare. Then I took a 15 minute break and plunged back in for my next 1K session. Now, I'm not gonna lie. The first 3K came relatively quickly, but that last 2K was like pulling teeth. But at the end of that 3 1/2 hours, I had 5K words. Were they perfect and lovely and shiny? Not really. But they were THERE.

And now here comes the magic part: I didn't edit those words all that heavily. Nothing written in those 1K/30 minute bursts was ever scrapped. And then, when I turned the drafts in, those bits I'd written so quickly? Those were the spots where I had the LEAST AMOUNT OF NOTES FROM MY EDITORS.

I'm not saying that makes me some kind of magical word savant who can spin out lots of good, usable words in a small amount of time, but I AM saying that there was something about making myself write that quickly that freed me up and silenced all that stuff that makes my writing soooo sloooooow. There wasn't TIME to doubt myself because if I slowed down, Write or Die would EAT MY WORDS.

So with allllll of that in mind, I'm trying an experiment this June. Something I am calling JUNE SPLOON because "sploon" is an ancient Finnish word that means to write many words in a small amount of time.*

This time, I don't need 5K/day, so I'm settling for the slightly more reasonable goal of 2K/day, 5 days a week, in 2 30 minute writing sessions. I'm going to try and stick with my original formula of one 30 minute session followed by a 15 minute break and then back into another 30 minute session just because I think it's easier to keep going once I've started than it is to try and dive back in later in the day.

I'm hoping some of YOU might like to June Sploon with me! I'll be checking in every Friday to let you know how it's going, and I'll probably be updating on Twitter with the hashtag #JuneSploon. SO if you'd LIKE to play, here are guidelines! (No rules, obvs, because whatever works for you, do that. This is just what I'M doing.)

1) 2K NEW words every day, 5 days a week for one month. If you follow this guideline, you'll have 42K on something by the end of June. That's, like. HALF A BOOK. More if you're writing a MG/smaller YA.

2) NO editing. That comes later during July Sply, "sply" being Welsh for fixing your shizz.*

3)I'm using Write or Die, both because I love it, and because when I met Rachel Caine, she told me she swears by it. Rachel Caine writes 4 books a year, you guys. We should listen to her. I always set it on Kamikaze because I'm bad ass like that. You do not have to be so hardcore. There is NO JUDGING IN JUNE SPLOON.

4) Before starting each writing session, think about the scene you want to write. Just opening up Write or Die and GOING is scary. You can jot down a few notes beforehand, or just sketch out some ideas in your head. Whatever. But I reccommend going in with a plan.

5) You can obviously write MORE than 2K/day. That's just the minimum. But if you write 10K/day and it's so easy and fluffy and lovely for you, please don't tell me because then I'll have to punch you in the face. And I LIKE your face.

And that's it! Now you too are ready to JUNE SPLOON!

See you Friday!!

* It is highly possible I made both of those facts up.


Willing to Try

I'm certainly willing to try if you are! I always have same problem of over-editing and freaking out about every single thing. Thanks for the fantastic idea Rachel!


Count me in! I'm starting a new writing workshop and will NEED the push to get some chapters written for critique! Also, I heart Write or Die! Yay June Sploon!


I'll SPLOON with you! My goal is 2,000 words a day in June anyway. Book three of the Angel Eyes trilogy is due this fall and I'd love the accountability.

I'm in!


I don't know if you get many weirdos saying this to you, but you're exactly the kind of writer I want to be! I adore the Hex Hall series. The first was given to me as a gift, to cheer me up during hard times, and I was totally cheered and TOTALLY HOOKED.

I've got an English degree, and I'm an aspiring writer. I've been following you on Twitter thinking, "Dang I hope I'm that cool if I ever sell books."

This is great timing for me because I just started my first ever serious maybe-I'll-publish-this project, and June Sploon sounds great to me! Let's do it. :)

Thanks for being awesome and an inspiration,

Estelle (@FrauFaustus)

Ready to Sploon!

I'm in for the Sploonage! Sounds like just what I need! Thanks for organizing!


OMG I so need this. I desperately want to finish my new wip this summer! And with two of my four part time jobs being off for the summer, I *might* be able to accomplish it if I do JuneSploon!


Nice pep talk!

I was supposed to start writing on June 1, that was the deadline I gave myself, but here it is the 3rd and I didn't start. I think I'll use your plan and see what happens. Thanks for sharing!

june sploon

Hi Rachel, I've never read your blog before today--but, since I spent this afternoon editing the audio book of Hex Hall (and it sounds most wonderful--the narrator is just fantastic!) I was tempted to go looking. What a wonderful set of postings. I'm now a fan. Plus, your mention of "Write or Die" may change my life. Thanks!