Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flexing Your Writing Muscle

Good morning, everyone!

Let me go get a cup of coffee, and we’ll talk about getting fit! Writing-wise, that is. I’m eagerly anticipating the release of All or Nothing, as many of you already know. May 29, 2009 seems to be spiraling toward me! Release day has led to a flurry of pre-release promotion, seeking out new readers, alerting friends, family, and writers who’ve supported me all the way on this journey.

But even with all that promotion and planning book signings, blog tours, chats, and finding new ideas for selling e-books and print books alike—it hit me. God didn’t just put one book in me. Since finding The Wild Rose Press – and White Rose Publishing – it seemed like the floodgates of my mind increased. The words wanted to jump out of my fingertips. Hearing about contests, and story prompts, and knowing I have drawers-full of partial manuscripts I’ve carted around since I left the shelter of my parent’s home, I knew that the Lord gave me a gift, and now, I had someone who believed in me.

As you know, By Another Name came out of this frenetic energy. It truly was a gift—a story about bullying and overcoming those scars. Then, a couple of free reads—and then…two different projects, both short stories – one still to edit, and one getting its final polish before send out by the end of May. I’ve done a whole lot of blogging. But what about the writing? What about the full length novels waiting to be written, already plotted and planned? A few of which I’ve *ahem* promised my editor—and am working on in fits and starts. Really. I am.

I’m tired of stopping and starting projects. It’s time to commit. To get back into the research I love, and finally get the next novel going and finished, I’ve pledged to write 1,000 words a day for 90 days. This isn't – which I participated in the year before All or Nothing was published. The idea is, you get a novel-between 80,000 and 95,000 words by the time you’re done. This isn’t 30 days of writing whatever comes to mind, in a frantic hope of achieving a goal. This is a methodical marathon of words, carefully planned out, and I feel – divinely inspired. What's more, it's an excellent habit of flexing that beautiful writing muscle that we're blessed with.

All or Nothing coming to print is answer to prayer. But it also shows God's sense of humor. Almost as if He's daring me to increase the size of my dream. Yes, my pre-order is in. I’ll hold it in my hands in a few weeks. See my name on the cover. But I know that the next novel will be even better, because my writing has improved ten-fold since White Rose Publishing took me under their wing. Thanks Elizabeth. Thanks, Nicola. Thanks, Rhonda and R.J.

Now, off to write my 1,000 words!


Linore said...

I'm with you double-time, Ashley. I'm shooting for a minimum of 2,000 words a day, as I'm on deadline for my next inspirational regency romance.
I'll be thinking of you and praying that both of our goals will be met daily, by God's grace.
Isn't it wonderful to know that He who has gifted us has done so with utter authority? No one can take the gifts God gives. And as we flex those writing muscles, as you put it, He continues to develop the gift in us.
Be blessed as you write,

Ashley Ludwig said...

Linore, you are a whole heap of inspiration.

Looking forward to seeing how your story comes together.

Thanks for dropping by when you are so very busy.

((hugs)) back!


Sarah Simas said...

Hi Ashley!

I'm going to take your challenge as I need to get my own book done. I made a spreadsheet a couple days ago so I could write in my word count each day. (I guess I worked too long in a lab! lol) I want to finish by Jun 15th. Thanks for the 'push' to get going!

And congrats on your new release!

Teri Wilson, Romancing the pet lover's soul said...

Hey Ashley,

I'm looking forward to your release. I try to write 5000 words a week - 1,000 words per day Monday through Friday. Then, if I fall behind, I catch up on the weekend. Yesterday I only wrote 800, so I'm 200 in the hole. LOL

Blessings, Teri

Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover's soul


Miss Mae said...

Okay, you all have me beat by a country mile! Some times I'm lucky to pound out a couple hundred of words.

Go, girls, go!! :)

Ashley Ludwig said...

Sarah - *snort* - I put my word count into excel, too! What is it with us analytical types? LOL

Keeps me focused...on those days when I can see - only 250 more to go!! and trudge through, or the other days when your characters drive the story and you frantically keep up! On those 2,500 word days, you can breathe a bit, because you've got your buffer words there... and can still meet your goal.

Good luck! and I'd loooooove to see your spreadsheet. :)


Ashley Ludwig said...

Teri - you are a prolific writer, to be sure!

How many stories do you go through in a year?

Last year (2008) I wrote 4 short stories, and of course - finished the novel.

In 2007, I wrote a 50k novel with - and am still not sure if it's any good! I recently started rereading it with the hopes that something in it is salvageable.

Thanks for your comment! I do love your writing style...


Ashley Ludwig said...

Miss Mae - you HAVE to keep writing, because I'm entranced with your stories!!!



Kara Lynn Russell said...

Sounds like a great goal. I'm not working on a novel right now but on a series of short stories. Maybe my goal can be to finish two every month this summer or something.

Sometimes we get so caught up in what should be the peripherals of a writing career - promoting, making contacts, attending conferences, etc. that we don't actually get any writing done!

Ashley Ludwig said...

Kara Lynn, You hit the nail on the head - exactly what I've been feeling! Too much promo, not enough solid writing time. I'm looking forward to reading your short stories! I love your work.

Linore Burkard, and a few other prolific writer friends of mine - in all their infinite wisdom - showed me just yesterday that this is the most important thing.

Keep writing.

Don't get so lost in the promo that you forget WHY we're doing this.

Thanks for your comment!


Donna B said...

I agree with the goal but it will clip my wings (my fingers) instead of the opposite. I know my schedule and my limitations, so I can't do that to myself. I will certainly cheer all you ladies on and be satisfied with whatever I write each day as long as I write something!

God be with you all!

Nicola said...

Writing? What's That? LOL! Seriously, challenges such as this are a fantastic way to set goals and get a whole lot of productive writing done. Thanks for posting, Ashley...So, will WRP see an influx of fantastic subs come summer? ;)

Teri Wilson, Romancing the pet lover's soul said...

Thanks Ashley!

Well, I try. But, you know, when a book comes out sometimes it takes a little while before you get back in the swing of things. Last year I wrote one novella, one novel, and six installments of my chick lit serial (approx 2500 words each). But you know, every writer is different. And sometimes we have more time to write than others. My only child is graduating this year - he needs me less and less it seems. Writing helps me with all that. :) It gives me another purpose.

Blessings, Teri

Ashley Ludwig said...

Nicloa - You bet! :) Looking forward to it, my friend. Hope your back feels better!


Ashley Ludwig said...

DonaB - God made us all different, didn't He? And with that - we all have our ways of getting motivated.

The SPIRIT of was great for me, however the act of cranking out 50k words in 30 days almost killed me. Sucked out my creative energy. The camaraderie of writing with like-minded folks? That's what really gets me going.

I'm cheating a bit, starting with a WIP that needs a tiny bit of slicing and dicing, but really wanted to get things moving forward.

I'm hoping to finish this one and make a significant effort toward another. We'll see where it leads!


Ashley Ludwig said...

Teri - you put a lump in my throat the size of a fist.

Just walked my girls up to Pre-School - and we parted with a flurry of hugs and I love you's! and laughter. So sweet.

And, as I walked past my neighbors house, she called through an open window, "I love ya, too, Ash!" LOL.

Isn't life funny? A blink, and they're 3 1/2 & 5. Soon, Kindergarten. Then, College. Where does the time go? And why does it speed up so much just when we're ready to settle in and enjoy the ride?


Stephanie Tallman Smith said...

Ashley, your challenge is truly inspired! While we all have goals, sometimes it takes committing them on paper, out loud to the world, to ourselves and to God. I'm in for 1,000


Ashley Ludwig said...


That's excellent! Glad to have you aboard!

The more, the merrier! and you know I can't wait to see where your story ends... Let's see where this takes us - and check word counts at our meeting on the 17th! :)

Thanks for stopping by, my friend.



Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Boy I WISH I could commit to 1000 words a day - with everything going on in my grandbaby due ANY TIME now, hubby's illness (though we are CERTAINLY winning that battle) and all the other stuff...full time job, promotion of existing books, articles for different publications, etc....I am LUCKY to get a paragraph a day on my novel!

However, I made a huge decision and backed out on 2 projects I was attempting to take on so that I can write - and know what?

Right after I did that I went to lunch, powered up the laptop and wrote a couple of paragraphs!

God is so good!

I won't commit but I will be cheering you all on and will do my best to write SOMETHING every day.

Good luck ladies.

Nicola said...

My back is much better. Thanks, Ashley. I still can't sit for too long, and there's a lot of discomfort, but the pain is minimal now, so I'm praising God and doing a happy dance (the dancing is all in my head, of course.)

Ashley Ludwig said...

Pam, we're praying for your husband's health. And how exciting for you that your grandbaby is coming! I was just talking with my mom about how it felt to become a grandmother - as one of my characters in my current project is a sassy, spunky grandmother. :) Based on my mom? Hmm.

Anyway, good for you - never commit to more than you feel comfortable with. You're a beautiful, prolific writer and I look forward to continuing to read your stories...


Ashley Ludwig said...

Nicola - You are such a dear. BTW - I am almost finished plotting that Gothic novel we talked about! I'm really excited about it. Of course, have to finish THIS one first. *sigh*

I love it when the ideas flow like water, but man! my carpal tunnel is complaining! :)