All posts by Kathryn Birchfield

Falling Behind

Editing has been extremely stress inducing for me. I’ve been doing more research into how to plot and trying to decide if something needs to be cut or moved. Making my work cohesive is really tough for me.

I understand plotting and novel structure from a reader and editor perspective, but for some reason when trying to use what I know for my own work I start to spiral. “Does this make sense? Should this scene follow this one? Should the chapter end/begin here?” etc.

I am falling behind on what needs to be done. I am trying to keep up with this project and just constantly feel like I am choosing what class(es) work I will not complete each week just to make my schedule work.

My Lit Review is something I am not worried about at all. I have read about 6-7 pieces and 4, maybe 5, of them will be in my Lit Review. As for note taking, I have annotated them and written a paragraph or so about my thoughts around them so when I need to come back to place them in the review document I have something to build on.

My Week

Honestly, the week has flown by and I feel like we were in class yesterday talking about our two week goals.

I had a busy week last week and am still in catch up mode so not much as happened with my thesis. Finding a scene to read has been difficult and I have been spending a lot of time researching how to plot. I have many scenes but trying to line them up, understand what exactly is a scene, what is missing, etc. has been extremely difficult and overwhelming.

I haven’t made the progress that I had hoped, but am excited to continue to break ground on this aspect of my project. The fact this is so challenging let’s me know I will learn a lot about my project and my process as I am working through it.

My overall feeling for this week in everything work, personal, and school is “under prepared and overwhelmed.” Because of this I have set aside time to just sit down and lay out what I need to do and turn to resources that are around to support me.

Here is a meme I found that accurately portrays how I am feeling.

Did I Meet My 2 Week Goal?

Short answer: YES!!!!

Long answer:

Also, yes, obviously. I hit my 20 pages last night! I am calculating pages by 300 words equaling a page via YA novels. I am almost at 21 pages, but writing will no longer be the focus going forward for the next few weeks.

I have been focusing on writing even when I knew I was re-writing a scene that I had somewhere else or information that I couldn’t remember I had or not. Most of what I wrote was inner monologue and dialogue, I write in script form first and then flush out things later. I just needed words on a page. Now that that is done, I have the harder, more daunting task for a non linear writer like myself: editing, plotting.

Editing is something I love and one of my favorite things to do…for other people. I love taking someone’s project and helping them craft it to become exactly what they want it to be. It’s why I enjoy my academic editing job now and helping Communication student’s with their scripts.

That being said, having to go through and edit my own work. It’s tough. I am not nor have I ever been someone who plots their work from start to finish. I just write and let the scene, characters, take me wherever. Which can be nice and necessary, but extremely unhelpful when putting a big project together.

So I reached my goal and I am stoked about that, but now the bigger task comes and I am a little nervous and feeling a lot like I will be fighting procrastination moving forward on this.

To help keep me accountable, I plan to use novel writing tools and books and dedicate 30 min a day to sitting down and plotting. That will be the goal of the week and then hopefully after that I will have a better idea of editing and moving the scenes I wrote around as needed.

Update on 2 Week Goal

My two week goal (Sept. 14-28) is to have anywhere between 8-20 pages of my thesis complete. I am calculating this by word count (300 words = 1 page).

As of today, I have written 3 pages total from Sept. 14-20 and I am learning to incorporate a daily writing habit and planning for my next two week goal which will be focused on completing other writing for college applications while focusing on the revision of the pages I have written between Sept. 14-28 and compiling them with the scenes I have previously written for this project (and revising these as well). I think in total I have 8 pages for this project (but won’t know until I look back at all the scenes and work I have), but I am not sure if they are cohesive pages yet.

When focusing on just word count and pages, I feel good. If I think too much about revision, compilation, how much of the story is written, and the role these first pages will play in applications I start to get a little anxiety.

I am trying to focus on writing and creating a daily writing habit and just cranking out work even if it is subpar.

I can’t create my best work if I don’t create any work.

Introduction & Reflection

Hey everyone! As we all know each other I will save a formal introduction and jump into how I’ve been and what my hopes are for my project this semester.

If you want an introduction you can check the homepage of my E-Lit site here.

How I’ve Been

Life has been…eventful. Back in April, my hope for the summer was to jumpstart my thesis and make significant headway; however, that did not happen. Family became a huge priority and obligation and that was my focus for the entirety of the summer.

As fall came into view, I moved into an apartment and, while it has been exciting, that within itself was full of challenges. Some of those challenges included family and work obligations on top of internet issues and laptop issues (I am now split between three different laptops at the moment as one does not work with my apartment internet, one can only do minor projects and nothing substantial and the other has the only working camera of the two that can function on the internet).

I am happy that after this weekend work and family obligations will be scaling back and I will, hopefully, get my main laptop fixed.

So, that is how I have been, recently.

My Thesis

My thesis is a YA novel. However, on top of that I will be applying to MFA programs whose deadlines fall in November and December. So I need to have 40-60 polished pages by those deadlines to submit for the grad applications. My plan is to write 5-10 pages per week (not including this week) and start editing/polishing pages after 20-25 so while drafting the last half I will be polishing the first half and hopefully be finished with all of that by the Thanksgiving break and I can turn my focus to the rest of the grad applications (I still need to do a little research about all the requirements which is why I am not including pages this week as this is all subject to change at the moment).

I am excited to start focusing on this as well as to learn and support each of you and your projects.