WIP update: 10,500 words! I’ve crossed a threshold! I’m really doing this! I can totally write this book!

Granted, I might have gotten a little farther if it weren’t for the Oscars last night… but whatever.

What I’ve noticed is that 500 words (my Mon-Thurs quota) has become easy for me. 1000 words (my Fri-Sun quota) isn’t easy, but it isn’t hard anymore either. Even on the nights when I start my writing at 11 p.m. — which unfortunately is fairly often — I can usually expect to collapse into bed around midnight or 1 a.m. I think my average is 500 words an hour. IF I’m focused.

(Which is why even though technically I can write at work, I never really get that many words down. There are just too many interruptions.)

Given that, I may up my daily quotas to 750 and 1250, respectively. Maybe in, like, a week? I don’t want to rush it, because the key is to set myself up for success. I want to make sure I set goals I can realistically achieve. Or else I could fall into that negative cycle of failing, beating myself up for failing, going into the next day/goal with a pessimistic outlook, and thus failing, beating myself up for failing, and so on and so forth…

Hey, can we go back to the Oscars for a moment? (Why, yes we can! Because this is my blog and I say so.) Besides all the glam and glitz, I enjoy Hollywood because it’s all about the same thing that I’m all about: stories.

Whether comedy, drama, thriller, or what have you, movies (like books) are about good stories. And I’ve learned a lot, both from movies and TV shows, about good storytelling. The compelling nature of friendship, from Sex and the City. The shades of grey that characters can (and really should) live in, from Battlestar Galactica. The simple power of real life highs and lows, from Life Unexpected. The list goes on.

(Obviously you can learn a lot about what not to do from bad movies and TV shows, too. But I like to focus on the positives.)

So last night (the Oscars) for me was a celebration of good stories, and the people who make them successful. And I have to admit, I was really happy when Sandra Bullock won for Best Actress. Because hers has been a long and varied career, from Speed to a Time to Kill, Practical Magic to Crash. And that’s what I want: variety. I’m terrified of being pigeonholed. Literary, Young Adult, New Adult, fantasy, mystery, chick lit… Truth be told, I’d like to try my hand at all of them. But nowadays, in the world of “author brands,” I worry about how much flexibility I’ll really have.

(Of course, Andy’s (extremely practical) advice is to just get a book published first, then I can worry about the next ones. But it’s so much easier to worry now!)

I know it’s a different industry, but still, Sandra Bullock gives me hope. That I too can experiment with different styles and roles. That I too can flop a few times and still come back strong. That I too don’t have to bend to my brand; I can make my brand grow to fit me. That I too can find success while staying true to myself.

16 responses to “Why Sandra Bullock gives me hope”

  1. Kimberly Franklin Avatar

    It does seem that authors are sort of pigeonholed these days. But hey, look at Stephenie Meyer. She wrote a successful YA novel and a successful adult novel. So, just because you get published in one genre doesn’t necessarily mean you will be stuck there forever. : )

    Great post! And good luck with your word goals!
    .-= • Recent post by Kimberly Franklin: Hush, Hush… It’s an Interview & a Giveaway!!! =-.

  2. Sonja Avatar

    I’m pretty impressed with your dedication to this manuscript, too. I’m really looking forward to seeing you get to the end of it, and I’m also interested in what will be involved with a re-write.

    As for Sandra Bullock… well, I don’t draw that much hope from her, although I did like the part where she thanked “her lover Meryl Streep.”

  3. Aurora Avatar

    yes, I am happy that Sandra Bullock won, on the plane of mere mortals anyway.. which someone like Meryl deigns to visit only a few times a year, for the awards shows… =)
    .-= • Recent post by Aurora: Find your flow and the money will follow (How I earned my first $1000 as a freelancer without really meaning to) =-.

  4. Liz Czukas Avatar

    I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy! (that’s me, bowing down before the wonder that is your daily word count goal.)

    You can totally do this, Kristan. And I, for one, can’t wait to see it on the shelf at Barnes & Noble.

    – Liz
    .-= • Recent post by Liz Czukas: I’m a Tepee, I’m a Wigwam: I’m Torn Between Two Tense(s) =-.

  5. Jon Avatar

    Agreed about Sandra Bullock. You gotta respect an actress who one day earns the Razzie for worst actress then bounces back the next and wins an Oscar. What a range! I love her. Did you see the Blind Side?

  6. GingerMandy Avatar

    i love sandra too, i think she’s funny and genuine and comes across as a lot more “real” than many actresses today.

    and good job, girl! i get excited every time i hear about how far you’re getting.
    .-= • Recent post by GingerMandy: Aerial Yoga =-.

  7. Kristan Avatar

    True true, it’s done. But Stephenie Meyer’s trajectory isn’t exactly one we can all hang our hats on… ;P

    Haha yeah, her speech was great! Heartfelt and humorous at the same time.

    Aurora, Jon, and Mandy-
    Precisely! That’s why I like her (and always have) too.

    I haven’t seen the Blind Side yet, but I have it in queue.

    PSSH. You are SO worthy, Miss I have finished a bazillion mss and am now starting on a bazillion and one!

  8. Sarah Avatar

    Brilliant! That’s very exciting. I would like to try writing in different genres as well…after all, I am writing a YA, but I read mostly literary stuff. Aren’t you meant to write in the genre of what you read. Although, I’m really liking YA…just finished The Hunger Games. I can’t get it out of my head. I want to write stories like that.
    .-= • Recent post by Sarah: I’m NOT making this up as I go =-.

  9. Kristan Avatar

    YAY I’m so glad you liked Hunger Games! I can loan you Catching Fire if you want. I totally want to write books like that too!

  10. Erin Avatar

    So wonderful about your word count success and trajectory! Keep up the awesome pace! *high five* Now if only I could drag myself back into the constant habit of output…

    I also agree with your last sentiment about Sandra Bullock (and her career) as inspiration! Sandra Bullock has always been herself, and I really admire that.
    .-= • Recent post by Erin: Writing on the anniversary =-.

  11. Kitty Avatar

    I’m still not… writing. It’s disappointing, really, and I’m hoping I can get back to it when all of this new stuff settles. I am so behind, and I haven’t even had a cohesive idea in weeks.

    Congrats on your word count!
    .-= • Recent post by Kitty: Almost unexpected =-.

  12. Dara Avatar

    I really need to follow your example and write every day. At least 500 words. Or something.

    I also need to put The Blind Side in my Netflix quene. I meant to see that movie when it came to theaters but never got around to it…
    .-= • Recent post by Dara: 2010 Debut Author Challenge: The Iron King =-.

  13. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks! Not gonna lie, your sprint through your novel is still an inspiration to me. :)

    (Can I still call you Les? I’m so confuzzled now, hahaha.) Hey, no worries, girl. You are undertaking a whole new endeavor, and that’s bound to use up a lot of your time and energy. It’s okay to put writing aside for something like that!

    Even 250 words a day is a 91k novel by the end of a year!

  14. Meghan Ward Avatar

    You’re awesome for keeping up with your word count, and I totally agree that you should stick with this count until you’re really sure you can make the higher counts because you don’t want to set yourself up for failure (or try the higher count for a week and go back if you have to).
    I do know people who have written YA and then adult, or fiction and then nonfiction, but then they usually stick with one genre rather than bouncing back and forth. Then again, you could always use a pen name to write in another genre. There’s a rumor that James Frey is writing under several different noms de plume at the moment. As for Sandra Bullock, I haven’t seen the movie and would have liked Streep to have won because she was AMAZING as Julia, but I agree, it gives us mortals hope that we, too, can achieve our dreams.

  15. Kristan Avatar

    Yeah, I don’t doubt that I might “settle down” in one area, but I don’t to be limited from the get go, you know?

    (I mean, if someone KNOWS they only want to write mystery, for example, then they’re not limited; they’re focused. Me, I want to try it all, so not being able to do so would feel restrictive.)

    Streep is great in everything and has like 3 Oscars, lol, so I didn’t feel bad for her. Also, I know it was how Julia Child really spoke, but the voice was just SO annoying. (But seriously, yes, Meryl Streep — and Stanley Tucci! — are FABULOUS. Period.)

  16. Samantha Bennett Avatar

    Ah, good stuff Kristan! I’m a fellow unpublished writer who thinks about branding and all that jazz. Can we call it planning? I like that justification. :)
    .-= • Recent post by Samantha Bennett: Tricking My Brain =-.