Accountability Roundup: What I Wrote and Read in July

July has been crazily insane. In the best of ways.

I signed with my wonderful agent.

I edited one book, outlined and wrote synopses for two sequels, and kicked off major revisions on my current WIP.

Here are my stats for July:

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Writing:

  • Goal: 500 words/day or 1 hour of editing
  • Total word goal for July: 20,000
  • Total Words written: 15,435
  • Total writing (and editing) days: 10 (+12 editing/outlining)
  • Average words/writing day: 1,544
  • Best writing day: July 30 (2,725 words)

July definitely was busy on the writing front after I had pretty much taken all of June off to read, road-trip, and get my edits in line. I learned a ton this month, including finally embracing writing synopses first and tackling edits quickly and efficiently (the Sticky Notes desktop app is a lifesaver, btw).

I also realized that I need to figure out a better way to track words written vs. hours spent editing, since that doesn’t necessarily just translate into new words. I participated in both Camp NaNoWriMo and the July Writing Challenge, both of which have been great boosts for me to just buckle down and write. I also had edits to get to my agent, sequels to outline, and really dove into my revisions of MENTAL NOTE, the current draft of which I hope to finish by September 30.

Ultimately I did fall a few thousand words short of my CampNaNoWriMo goal, but at the same time I probably wrote just as much in edits, synopses, and blog posts throughout the last month. My goal is to keep up this rhythm through August and the beginning of the new school year. It will take some serious compartmentalizing, but I’ll figure out a way to keep this up and boost my word count as I go, because let’s face it, I need to step up my game if I want to finish this revision by the end of September and committing to my goals publicly always helps.

Reading:

  • Goal: 8 books/month toward a total of 100 this year
  • Total books read in July: 9

While July hasn’t been AS insane of a reading month as June, I still read all the things in July. Just a quick aside here but I hear a lot of writers voicing skepticism about reading a lot in their genre for fear of being overly influenced. Um. Sorry, but you’re wrong. Not only should you read a lot in your genre to keep up with current trends and because it’s always, always cool and helpful to get to know and share author authors’ work, you also should branch out and read outside of your genre as much as possible. For me, there’s just something about reading both in and outside my genre that keeps me engaged, motivated, and ultimately inspired. One of my favorite things is to discover new books and I love how the writing community basically ensures that there never will be a shortage in awesome things to read.

Anyway, here’s what I read in July:

  • THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY – Shaun David Hutchinson: This book was both amazing and heartbreaking. I loved the mix of the traditional novel format and the graphic novel sections that added another level to the characters. Thanks to the amazing, Liz Mallory for the recommendation!
  • SKIN GAME (The Dresden Files, Book 15) – Jim Butcher: This concluded my epic re-listening to all of the Dresden Files audiobooks. Can’t wait for the next book!
  • RADICAL – E.M. Kokie: I need to write a full review for this, but I was fortunate enough to take part in a traveling ARC tour for the wonderful E.M. Kokie’s next book and I loved the way it reversed gender roles, dealt with survivalist culture, and involved girl-kissing on top of all that. Watch out for it releasing on September 13!
  • STORY ENGINEERING – Larry Brooks: This was a great refresher on plotting and structure. Just what I needed as I was tackling re-jigging the plot of MENTAL NOTE and outlining other books.
  • THIS SAVAGE SONG – Victoria Schwab: Loved this very vivid take on what makes someone human or monstrous set in a city where violence breeds actual monsters.
  • CHARMING (Pax Arcana #1) – Elliott James: What if Prince Charming didn’t actually have anything to do with fairy tale princes, but more with monster hunting, with a good dose of snark and shape-shifting thrown in? Really enjoyed the beginning of this series. More, please.
  • THE BETTER PART OF VALOR (The Confederation, Book 2) – Tanya Huff: This series gets better as it goes. I love how Tanya Huff moves from military SF into more of a character-driven version of military SF, with a great voice and kickass female lead to boot.
  • PAPER AND FIRE (The Great Library, Book 2) – Rachel Caine: This sequel to INK AND BONE, which I really loved really deepens the plot and character relationships set up in book one. Now I just need to wait for the next book… Sigh.
  • MS. MARVEL Vol. 5: SUPER FAMOUS – Wilson Miyazawa and Leon Alphona: I have a huge thing for YA comic series, but this one is by far my favorite. The new Ms. Marvel is diversity in comics done right and just makes me so, so happy.

As for my August goals, I basically want to up my writing to a word count of 25,000 for August, which will take some serious compartmentalizing given that the new school year starts halfway through this month. Talking about balancing writing with a heavy-in-brain-power day job is another post that I’ve lined up. In the meantime, I’m going to track words written as well as hours spent editing.

On that note, tell me how you like to track your writing/reading/life goals? Any cool new tracking methods I should know about?

In any case, happy writing!