JUNE: DIY MFA update

Words written this month: 30,000


  • completed another draft of SM and sent it to my editor
  • Began writing WIP
  • Wrote a nonfiction mini-essay “behind the poem” for a literary magazine

Inspiration Novels Read:
100 Cupboards by ND Wilson
Dandelion Fire by ND Wilson
The Chestnut King by ND Wilson ( this series was excellent! Highly recommend especially for 10-12 year olds)
Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George
Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George (loved the first book but the other two dragged)
Babe by Dick King-Smith (amazing)

Craft books Read:
This Year You Write Your Novel by Walter Mosley
Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley
The Last Fifty Pages by James Scott Bell
Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon

I started out the month with another read through and “riff writing” on the middle grade novel I wrote in January (which may just have a small press interested in publishing it….). After sending that to my editor, I got to dive into a novel I started plotting out way back in February— a sort of Ray Bradbury style middle grade sci fi. I have been dying to work on it but just couldn’t find the time while we were still homeschooling, so I had to wait til summer break.

I find that writing on a novel is very different from writing my poetry. Poetry lends itself to 5 minute pockets of time much easier than novel writing. Usually to write on my novel, I either take our quiet rest time (if quiet rest time happens!) or write at night, since I often go running in the early mornings. This month I’d like to start writing in the early mornings on days I don’t run— I will just need to be more disciplined to get up at 5am Every day!

One aspect of writing a novel that I really enjoy is the daydreaming. Even when I am not actively writing, I’m often thinking through the plot and getting ideas. That way when I do get a chance to sit down at the laptop, I’m ready to go. I try to write 1000 words a day, and I never waste time staring at an empty page because I simply don’t have the time to waste. That said, I’m in the end of the middle of the book now and need to start thinking about how it will all wrap up— maybe it would be useful to take one day a week of writing time and work on plotting.

This next month I think I’m going to switch to listening to podcasts on craft instead of reading craft books— too much of the information has been repetitive. I’d also like to try to finish my first draft in July – 40-60k words is a decent length for a middle grade novel, and my books tend to fluff out as I revise. I tend toward brevity- perhaps it’s the poetry writing- but always find places to expand as I read through.

Some days I think it’s probably a bad idea to try to write books while parenting 5 very young children, but other days I think, why not? And also how can I not? I think I’d go more crazy if I squelched the desire to write than I do trying to fit writing into our busy days


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