The Writing Sparrow Episode 30 | Holding One Another Accountable: Sarina’s April-June 2021 Goals

As requested in my reader group on Facebook, I will be sharing quarterly writing updates and goals. If that’s not why you’re here, don’t worry – it’ll only happen four times a year. Hopefully, my process, goals, and achieved deadlines (as well as surprise challenges) will be interesting for you whether you’re here as a writer or as one of my readers!
 
Listen to find out what I’m working on, what progress I’ve made on my WIPs, and what I’m planning next.
 
And if you’d like to share your goals with me, too, go right ahead! Let’s hold one another accountable *high five*

Listen to the Episode

Read the Transcript

[The Writing Sparrow theme]

Sarina: Hello, and welcome to The Writing Sparrow Podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing, and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at sarinalanger.com. Let’s get started.

[music]

Sarina: Good morning, friends and Sparrows. It’s the 5th of April 2021. This is Episode 30, and this is my quarter 2 writing update. First of all, thank you so much to everyone who listened to the first update back in January. I know it’s not writing tips or routines or any of the usual stuff, so it means a lot to me that you listened in any way to hear me ramble about my own works and progresses. From now on, I will of course give you those writing-related updates too, but I’ll also make sure to let you know what’s coming up on this podcast to bring it back around. [00:01:00]

So, writing updates. It’s been a very busy three months. Blood Song is finished. Blood Vow, I’m currently struggling through. I’ve reached the midpoint. More on that in a second. I’m preparing to do the next big edit of Blood Wisp during Camp NaNo. Let’s unwrap that a bit. As I said, Blood Song is finished. That’s pretty much everything said on that. Actually, no, it’s not. I’m introducing quite a few new characters in Blood Song, which is book 2 in the trilogy. I realized, by the time I was diving into book 3, Blood Vow, that I didn’t really introduce any of them properly and that I didn’t actually know any of them, so that will be fun in the rewrites. Already dreading it a little bit, but I know them all quite well now, so it won’t be a problem, it’ll just [00:02:00] take up a lot of time. But I knew what I was doing to myself, so there.

Blood Vow, I am struggling through right now, but I have reached the midpoint last week. I am officially in the second half. Normally when I read books, the second half goes by a lot faster. I’m hoping that the same thing will be true when I’m writing the second half of this, but we’ll see. It’s not that I’m really desperate to be done with it. I think I said this on my last update back in January that I’ve just spent so much time on this trilogy already that I’m really itching a little bit to move on to different worlds and different characters and just plan something completely different. I also really want to finish it now because I’ve been on it for so long. That is my priority definitely at the moment, and it’s going well. 

I’m in my second 100-day writing sprint right now. Today is– let’s see, what day is it? [chuckles] [00:03:00] Where are my notes? Yeah, I’m currently on day 42, so I’m nearly halfway through it. It’s going pretty well. I’m on track to doing at least 100,000 words this time around. Yeah, I’m really excited to think that by the time this writing sprint is done, that the first draft of Blood Vow will be done, and I’ve actually done writing this damn trilogy. Again, no offense, I love the characters and the world, just ready for something else. 

Speaking of which, Blood Wisp, Book 1. I’m currently preparing to really dive into again during Camp NaNoWriMo next month. Sorry, I say it’s next month. I’m recording this episode, at the end of March. It’s the 29th of March as I’m recording this. Of course, by the time you listen to this, it’ll already be April, I will already be knee deep, or probably neck deep, to the [unintelligible [00:03:58] [00:04:00] in Camp NaNoWriMo edits. It’s got a lot of rewrites coming. I think the worst is probably behind me because I’ve done a massive restructure on Blood Wisp, which was not great, and it was not fun. I might talk about that at some point in case you also need to do a really big restructure at some point. Yeah, so the worst is definitely behind me. [laughs] Watch as I take that back in three months’ time. I think the main thing that I need to do really is just adding in a few more chapters where I have changed what happens in it quite a lot, and just making sure that all the chapters actually are in the correct order and that I’m not doing anything really confusing. 

I know at the moment because I have moved things around so much that I’ve got probably quite an early chapter that used to be a late chapter where I have something like, I [00:05:00] remember when this happened, but at this point now, it won’t happen yet, [laughs] so this sounds really confusing, I imagined, but as I said it’s just because I’ve restructured it so much, so that some of the chapters that used to be at the end are now at the beginning and some of the things that used to be around halfway through one at the end, so there is some inevitable crossover where I’m talking about things that used to already have happened that now haven’t happened yet. [chuckles] Honestly, I think you possibly need to have done a big restructure to notice how confusing this really is. But I think it’s fine and I should probably move on before I talk myself out of it. [chuckles] 

Silence of Magic was another work in progress I was looking forward to working on over the last three months. It’s benched for now, as are all other works in progresses by the way. My entire focus now it’s just this Blood Wisp trilogy. Everything else is benched, [00:06:00]. But it may be next, I’m not entirely sure yet because I’m now also drawn again to coming back to Dreamer instead, but yeah, I haven’t quite decided yet so. At the moment, unless it’s in any way related to the Blood Wisp trilogy, it is benched, and will need to wait its turn. It’s something to look forward to. I’m really looking forward to working on something else, I may have mentioned that. 

[sighs]

Ooh, deep breath, nearly there. As I said, I’m in the second half of writing Blood Vow, but that’s me coming back to the trilogy again, and I was going to move on. Last time we talked in January, I think I had just sent Dreamer to my editor and I was awaiting her feedback, and I was then going to send it to my critique partners. I’ve got it back now from both of those of course. What I have learned more than anything else is that I should never, ever pants a book. [chuckles] [00:07:00] Please don’t let me do it again. Terrible idea, I cannot do it. It’s all over the place basically. It’s very chaotic. Most of it doesn’t quite make sense or doesn’t quite work out in the way that I wanted. If you’re a writer and you can somehow improvise the entire book without a plan, I salute you. But I have now seen just how much of a bad idea it is for me to do this. So, please never let me do it again, it’s chaotic. 

My editor really liked it, or at least she likes the idea of it, and I think my critique partners also liked the rough idea of it or the premise, but the execution, hmm-hmm. No. Let’s talk about the execution. I know it will need some very heavy rewrites when I come back to it. At the moment, I’m more leaning towards working on Dreamer next, but we will see what happens by the time I’m done with the book I promise not to mention again in these episodes. [chuckles] [00:08:00]

To be honest, what I’ll do is, I just start over, which seems quite drastic, but I think that’s probably the best thing for it. Because I’ve wrote it as a novella, I don’t have a massive word count on it anyway, and I think because I would need to restructure it so much and just change completely what happens and because I would need to add so much to it, I think it makes the most sense to just keep it in the background, maybe come back to it here and there for the one or two chapters that might survive and make it into version two. But I think otherwise it will be easier for me to just start over completely from scratch, or the plan this time, thank you. No, I will really need to plot it. I know I do anyway. I am a plotter, so I don’t know what possessed me to pants this one. Oh, that’s right, NaNoWriMo made me do it one year. There you go. I don’t regret doing it, anyway, for the record. [00:09:00] I’m glad I tried pantsing a book and I can now say with certainty that I cannot do it. Yeah, I’m looking forward to those rewrites, but they will be very heavy rewrites and I think I’ll just start over from scratch with a blank document and just try again, and hopefully, make it much stronger, because I still like the idea too.

While we are on works in progresses, I think I said at the start of January that the new prettier version of Darkened Light would be on Amazon by my birthday. It is, I managed to get it up, so now when you buy it, it’s definitely the pretty new version with a shiny new cover that you will get. KDP is struggling a little bit right now with some of my other books and inventing problems where there aren’t any [ahem] but I won’t go into the will make myself angry again, so let’s move on. 

Moving on to the marketing front, I said that I was going to try a [00:10:00] few things there. For the first time ever, I’m seeing results with my Amazon ads. But let’s not jinx it, it’s still really fairly early days, I haven’t done a second version of any of the [unintelligible [00:10:13] where I have gone in harvested good keywords that are working or keywords that aren’t working. I haven’t gone into any of that yet. I know how to do it, I just haven’t done it yet. I know I can get a lot more out of them and I will do at some point, but it will take quite a bit of time. I’ll probably set aside a day for it at some point. In case, you haven’t guessed, I’m a little bit busy right now with the trilogy I will try not to dwell on again. [chuckles] Yeah, it’s difficult. I know I can get out a lot more of those Amazon ads. I’m really pleased with how it’s going so far. As I said, it’s the first time I’ve actually seen some good results on them. Not massive results, but good results. So, it’s a good start, and [00:11:00] at some point, I’ll come back to that to get more out of them. For now, I’m happy to just let them run in the background. 

I’m also trying some other promos. I’ve actually got four scheduled for April alone, so that’s exciting. But it’s too early, I think, to talk in detail about those. I’ve made a note, and if all goes well, I’ll do an episode on what exactly I’m doing, what exactly the results were, and how you can use it as well for your own books. 

In my first update roughly three months ago, there were two things I was unsure about. Patreon and short stories and writing and/or submitting them to anthologies. Patreon, I can now tell you is probably a definite no, because I know I don’t have the time for it, and there’s absolutely no point convincing myself that I have the time for it because I know that I don’t, so I won’t go anywhere near that. Short stories are a little bit different. I have actually [00:12:00] written two, I think– yeah, two sounds right. I have submitted three short stories and a drabble. A drabble for those of you don’t know are stories that are exactly 100 words long, which has been quite an interesting and fun challenge. I’m actually quite enjoying it. I’ve had said drabble and one short story accepted through an online magazine. Who wants to party with me? Yes, go me! It got accepted to The Raconteur Review, which I’m very excited about. I believe they will go live sometime in the summer. I haven’t got a date for it yet. The other two short stories I’m currently waiting on a response to, so I will see what happens with those. If they don’t get into those anthologies this time, maybe it’ll work out at some point with another anthology in the future. I’ve actually really enjoyed writing short stories. I’ve got a plan for it now.

I think that’s what [00:13:00] I was lacking, honestly. I have just mentioned how I can’t improvise stories. The same is definitely true for short stories. I realized that what I really needed for that was a plan, something that I could plot with. I’ve got now something in place for that and it’s going so much better. I actually feel like I can write short stories. Yay. Who’d have thought? I’ve got a few more ideas for others, and at some point, I will write them. Right now, my entire priority, as we’ve already mentioned, and I won’t go into it again. Let’s just move on. 

What’s coming up on this podcast? Well, quite a few things actually. I’ve had quite a few guests on, possibly more than otherwise. I haven’t had that many solo episodes. Whereas now I have a couple of planned, I haven’t recorded them yet. Just for April, I think I’m pretty much entirely scheduled already, everything is uploaded. [00:14:00] What’s coming up next is, I’ve done a writing routine shared with Julia Blake, she’s back to talk about her routine. I have recorded two interviews with Rachel Grosvenor, one about what a writing coach can do for you. And one, which I’m very excited about, about the pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional publishing with an unbiased look at both. I’m really excited about that one, because to know that, well, more pretty much every writer is torn between, which option is right for you, I have considered that and I know it’s such a big topic, so I’m really pleased to have someone with so much knowledge on both sides to talk us all through it. It’s a very exciting interview, but I don’t think it’s coming up until May. But yeah, it’s going to be a very interesting one. 

I have also, yes, got [00:15:00] [unintelligible [00:15:01] something on audiobooks, that’s finally coming up. Sorry, just quickly checking that. We’ll be doing an interview hopefully with Dana [unintelligible [00:15:07] hopefully being back. I have enough, so yeah. If she’s listening to this, we need to talk, Dana. [chuckles] I’m excited about that, and that’s pretty much all that I have got planned right now. Of course, there will be more writing updates coming in three months’ time. There will be more writing routine chats of other authors, which I’m enjoying immensely, and I hope you are too. 

The plan right now is to get to 50 episodes, this is 30, so we’re still a little way off actually, and to then possibly cut it down to, doing these two times a month as opposed to every week, but that’s not entirely decided yet, we will see. I’m back at work now, just two days a week at the moment I’m recording this, but I know that as we’re slowly coming out of lockdown, eventually I’ll be back [00:16:0] again five days a week, so I also need to think about how much time I’ll have for podcasting and whether once a week maybe be a little bit too ambitious, and it’s been a little way off. So yeah, we will see.

Those are my goals for the next three months. It’s basically all entirely Blood Wisp related. It’s finishing the trilogy, it’s finish writing Blood Vow sometime in the next one or two months, hopefully, and then editing Blood Wisp for Camp NaNo. Probably finishing it off in May, I’m not so deluded as to think that I can pull it all off in one month. And then sending that on to my critique partners, which will feel amazing and there’s cake planned for it, and possibly some cocktails and a [unintelligible [00:16:50] and some other very relaxing things which I will need very badly by that point. 

Then, the next work in progress that I [00:17:00] will tackle afterwards, I haven’t quite decided on yet. Currently leaning towards Dreamer, but it might also be The Silence of Magic, we will see. 

Thank you so much for listening in. Those are my goals for the next three months. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you maybe need some accountability for your own goals, feel free to get in touch, either leave a comment on this episode or better yet, maybe reach out on either Instagram or Twitter or via my website. Links for all those are coming up in a second. Let me know what you’re working on, let me know what you would like to achieve, and we can hold each other accountable. Thank you so much. Have a great April, May and June, and we will do the next one in July. Thank you very much, and bye-bye. Have a great day.

[music]

If you enjoyed today’s episode, maybe learned something along the way, hit the subscribe button. You can also connect with me [00:18:00] on Twitter @Sarina_Langer, on Instagram and Facebook @SarinaLangerWriter, and of course, on my website at sarinalanger.com. Until next time, bye.


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