Dawn Montgomery

The Guide to Getting it Done

In #amwriting, Challenges on July 7, 2013 at 12:01 am

Before I get started on my writing update, I want you to go forth and read this article where Joss Whedon gives advice on how to become (and remain) prolific. Go ahead. I’ll wait. *sips a glass of iced tea*

Pretty powerful stuff isn’t it? It’s actually printed out and sitting within reach of me at all times. A few things hit home. I’ll highlight those, if you’ll indulge me.

Rock a Little David Allen: the importance of choosing an element to finish, rather than a generalization.

Looking back on some of my daily goals, I realized the days I floundered were the ones where I’d vaguely stated… “I’ll work on Thunder and Roses today,” instead of “I’ll finish the fight scene between Dakota and [redacted].” On the days where I said a specific element of my novel, the day flowed better. I finished that scene and then some until I reached the end of my part in the book.

Reward Yourself Early and Often: 

How hard are we on ourselves? Do we look back on our day and say…hey…I did great, let me reward myself. Nope. More often than not my fellow writing friends and I look back on what we’ve done and compare to others around us. I didn’t do as well as Prolific or write as smoothly as Sungoddess (names changed to protect the innocent). Somehow I always feel inferior, but the truth is…I write the way I write. You’d think I’d realize my limitations and strengths after a decade in the writing game. Reward yourself. Often. Though not with cake (at least for me). That might cause health problems later.

Fill the Tanks: 

Creativity is not a bottomless well. It has to be filled in order to build something new. I want to point out this particular quote “Constantly watch things and things you don’t [normally watch]. Step outside your viewing zone, your reading zone. It’s all fodder but if you only take from one thing then it’ll show.” Ideas come from all over. Read voraciously. Watch everything (reality TV is a hard one for me to watch, but some of them are great…in moderation.).

Enlist Your Friends: 

Now here is where I’m solid. I manage a writing group of less than 25 individuals from all genres and writing levels. They are the most supportive group I’ve ever been a part of, and it shows in how we’ve helped one another through the tough times. Sounding boards. Devil’s Advocate. Speedwriting. Recommended reads, shows, movies, and software. Just. awesome.

On a side note…his feelings of social awkwardness really resonated. I always get uncomfortable and freaked out when I know I’m going to an event. It takes me weeks of build-up to work up the courage to attend (this usually comes down to the wire with I’ll go or not go. LOL). Once I’m there, I’m a nervous wreck. Then, when it’s over, it takes me days or weeks to get back to normal. I’m not talking about conventions, all. Get togethers include dinner out with friends, just so you know. No idea when it became that way, but there you have it. Moving on…LOL

Everyone Needs Some Tough Love: 

He really hit home with this one. There comes a point where you just have to say…I’m going to do it and stop talking about it. Put up or shut up time. LOL. There are a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t write…ignore them and find the courage to do so. Daily battle for me on this one, but sound advice.

Something else a friend said recently added to this part. She had read somewhere (and I can’t for the life of me remember where) a piece of sound advice in the Tough Love department. Don’t tell someone (your family member, friend, child, husband) you’re going to write. It’s kind of like asking permission and gives them a chance to tell you no (offering up something to do instead of writing amounts to the same thing as saying NO). Just write. They won’t notice the difference but you’ll be happy at the end of the day. I’m paraphrasing but the message was clear. Just. Write. Get it done and stop giving others a chance to block your efforts.

I hope you gathered some more tools in your writing arsenal after reading Mr. Whedon’s article. If not, discard it. My world won’t implode and neither will yours if you don’t follow the advice. Good luck on your journey, either way.

Now on to the writing update:

A Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge

The last few days have been nuts in the Montgomery household. We have a new foster pup who is turning everything into a new adventure (the kids are ecstatic and so am I…it’s the 3am dogs playing around and making a ruckus that’s leaving me exhausted). Once things settled down, we’ll be right as rain again. The 2nd of July was my oldest daughter’s birthday. Followed by the celebration of our nation’s birth. The new family member arrived. And the 6th was my husband’s (SuperChef‘s website) birthday. What a crazy five days. On top of NaNo. 😀

ROW80LogocopySo while I haven’t been able to sit down for longer than five minutes at a time (this blog post took about 12 tries to get through LOL), I’ve been working. Once my writing partner was finished with her read-through, changes and polish, I sent Thunder and Roses to my kindle. By changing the way I read it, my brain doesn’t try to make fixes immediately. I actually read (and enjoy) it. Ditter Kellen was totally right about how much of a difference it makes.

When I haven’t been doing my final read-through, I’ve been writing the synopsis for T&R’s submission. Not my favorite thing to do, but definitely necessary.

Cynnara Tregarth and I have been combing through a lot of our works in progress, creating writing schedules, and getting organized (both virtual organization AND office space cleanup LOL). Since she also just finished a MASSIVE NOVEL, we both needed the break to refocus. Several of us have been competing in word wars (also known as speedwriting) in a chatzy group I created. We all post our current word count (however we want, scene, book, chapter, etc). I start the writing session. Everyone works solid (hopefully) for the next 20 minutes. Then we post our word counts again. It keeps you focused on getting the words on paper, and trust me, sometimes it’s the only way I get it done.

I knew July 1st-6th would be impossible for writing and concentration. Thunder and Roses had a drop-dead date of 30 June for that reason. Luckily I have a good head start on Spirit Lake (Camp NaNoWriMo challenge). So I’m not too far behind. 😀

Today’s goals are simple:

  • Finish T&R‘s synopsis
  • Write short story for Cleis Press submission

More than enough for me. 😀

So there you have it…work has been chaotic, I’ve still managed to get stuff organized, my synopsis is almost done, and I did a final read through of the co-written novel. Final word count on that baby is 94k.

Keep Writing!



  1. Dudette, you’re lucky I love you. I still can’t believe that beast of a novel is done. Yours and mine. LMAO But now it’s onto smaller and beautiful things. Things that can be carried without cranes. I’m just saying. LOL

  2. Wow Dawn, what a post! I’ve certainly taken some tools and tips away from it. Best of luck on T&R, I envy you having a writing partner. X

  3. What a great list, Dawn. The Tough Love resonated with me–I rarely just slink off and write, when that is exactly what I should do!

    I’d say you are going great guns on goals even with the craziness of the week. I’m way impressed! I need to continue my clutter reduction, so that I can take a long hard look at my WIPs–some of which may need to be binned instead of renovated.

    Have a great start to your week.

    • Thank you so much! I hope your week is wonderful. My WIPs list is vast. I have dozens put in archives because I just couldn’t figure out what to do next.

  4. Great post! Just the motivational push needed for the week 🙂
    Good luck this week!

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