Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's summer

by: Joelle Charbonneau

Summer means time for barbeques and fun in the sun. It’s the time of year for pool parties and weddings and all sorts of frolicking. Of course, if you’re like me, you find yourself having to work hard to sit down at the computer, ignore the sunshine and get yourself writing.

However, despite the lure of fun in the sun, I admit that this is my favorite time of year to write and set goals. And there’s a reason why. While the publishing industry gets work done in the summer, it is at a much slower pace. Sure, there are still deals being made. James Patterson just sold the next bazillon books for a bazillion more dollars. But really, the pace of the sales and the pace of the business slows down a great deal. Editors take vacations. Editorial boards don’t always have everyone present to have an acquisitions meeting. Agents take vacations. They close off to submissions in order to catch up on their work loads and start fresh in the fall. The pace of publishing slows down as summer heats up. Once Labor Day hits, the wheels will begin to spin at a faster (well, faster for publishing) pace.

Which means this is a great time to forget about the business of writing and just write.

So here’s the deal. I want you all to list your writing goals below in the comments. Do you have a book you are trying to finish? Are you going to write 100 words a day? Do you need to create a query letter to wow those agents and editors when they come back from vacation? What are the writing goals you want to hit before September smacks you in the face? List them here and when Labor Day arrives, I’ll check back in and see how everyone did with their goals. If you hit them, I’ll put your name in the hat to win a really cool prize. What is that prize you ask? I haven’t the slightest idea. Could be gift certificate to Barnes and Nobel or another cool bookstore. Could be a copy of SKATING OVER THE LINE – if I get my author copies in time. Could be a rubber chicken. The point isn’t the prize (although I promise it’ll be something fun). The point is that this is the time to set your goal and get to work knowing that everyone else signing up for the challenge is right there with you.

So –who’s with me?


angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Before I read your post, I'd planned my summer goal: to finish the first draft of the story I've been writing for the last 20 years. In May I started afresh from page one after trashing the entire 45K words because it dead-ended. Now I'm already at 35K. My idea is to arrive at 90k+ by 31 August, but labor day will give me an extra week.

I'm up and writing but it is not "noir", I hope this doesn't matter.

Steve Weddle said...

I know I'm supposed to always disagree with you, but I can't on this one.
Summer is a great time to write. I've been getting a thousand words down each morning before work. That works out great, because it frees me to read in the evenings instead of having to worry about writing.
My goal is to have this book done and in my agent's hands by July 4, 2016.

Dana King said...

Uh, actually, I take the summer off from writing. I tried it last year and it refreshed my batteries wonderfully.

Oh, I'm going to do a flash piece for a challenge from Dan O'Shea, and I'll plot out most of the next book, but I intend to do no "organized" writing.

I will have a book coming back from the formatters in August, and I hope to post it to Kindle by Labor Day. My next goal is to have the next book written by Memorial Day, 2012.

So I can take next summer off.

Holly West said...

I write 1000 words a day. I 'd like to say I hit this target every day but it usually ends up being 4 or 5k words a week.

I'd like to finish at least one short story by labor day and continue progress on my WIP. Ain't no way it'll be done by summer's end though.

TDH said...

Nice post. My goal is to finish the first draft of a novel I'm writing as an ebook experiment. Looking at half a chapter per day, which translates to some 2000 words daily.

Now for that rubber chicken...?

GateGirl said...

My main goal is to get up the courage to actually SUBMIT the ms I finished.... :(

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Angie - your goal sounds awesome. Noir is not required. Trust me - while I love it, I can't write it. (Yes, I'm the odd girl out on this blog!)

Steve - HA! For once we agree. I am writing this day down on my calendar for future reference.

Dana - taking the summer off works, too. It is always a good idea to choose to take a break from writing at some point during the year. Vacations from work are necessary. I do it during the Christmas holiday season. I've tried to write then and find that I always end up failing at my goals. So I have given myself permission to not write. Life is much happier now.

Holly and TDH - your goals are great. I can't wait to celebrate when you hit them.

John McFetridge said...

Mostly I use the summer for research. I'm planning to write a book set in 1970 so I'm reading a lot from/about the era. I was 10 at the time so it's fun to see the stuff that happened from a completely different perspective.

For a few years I was on a good schedule of starting a book in September and finishing in June and I'd like to get back to that.

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Gate Girl - if you need some encouragement - let me know. I am happy to cheerlead every step of the way. (And if you need someone to look over your query letter, drop me a tweet or an e-mail.)

Oh - and as for my goal - I have a novel I want to finish in the next eighteen days. I then plan on getting the sucker edited and off to my agent ASAP.

Sarah M. Anderson said...

I need to crank through this next book by Sept. 1 in an optimistic sense, although it may be Oct. 1 before it's done. And write the accompanying synopsis. The book will be easier.

Patricia Kiyono said...

I plan to have at least one more short story submitted, and my full length novel ready for edits.


Al Tucher said...

I'm working on a spin-off from my Diana Andrews stories. The novel focuses on a detective with the Hawaii County Police and is set in the rainforest of the Big Island.

Right now I'm still groping for the story. (That's the way I usually work. Very seldom do I know where I'm going in advance.) My goal would be to have a coherent first draft by Labor Day.