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  • Writer's pictureJamie Sims Coakley

WIP, WIP it good!

Hello Beautiful Humans and Happy Halloween!

I hope that you dress up, watch a scary movie or two and eat some candy guilt free today! I know I am for sure going to do all of those things!

It's been a few weeks since I last posted and things have been rather busy around here as I have been preparing for National Novel Writing Month or “NaNoWriMo” for short! It has been a lot of planning and preparation for me, as I make time and space to write a novel in a month and also it's been a really wonderful time of change and discovery and growth that has me feeling really positive and happy about living a creative life.


For those of you that don't know, NaNoWriMo happens every year in November when people from all over the world, professional writers, first time novelists, and everything in between commit to writing 50,000 words by the last second of the last minute of the last day in November. It works out to be a goal of 1,667 words per day, every day! I think that is really the challenge. Can you make time and space to write 1, 667 words a day, every day? If you can you can be a very productive and successful writer.

Since this is my second novel and I did some pretty intense writing sessions on my first one, I feel pretty confident about hitting that 1,667 a day mark. Perhaps there will be a day where I only get 500 words, and experience tells me there will also be days when I write 3000+, so they will all balance out. Worst case scenario, if I have to do a marathon session at the end of the month because I have fallen behind, well—I know how to do that too! When finishing the first 100 pages of FREEHAND 2173 on a deadline, I wrote something like 10,000 words one long, long day! That was epic!


I have been doing a lot of research for my upcoming “work in progress” or “WIP”, Lovers Real and Imagined, and I even found a resource as part of that had a quiz you can take to discover which kind of outline for your novel best suits your personality and work style! Turns out I am a Plot Dot kinda girl. Also, I have committed to being part of the 5 a.m. writing club, which means getting up at 5 am so that I can be writing by 5:30 am. That gives me about 2.5 hours to write 1,667 first draft words before the rest of the world wakes up and gets busy. I’ll be honest, the quiet early mornings are a challenge for this Leo with their lack of light, but I also find it intriguing in a sacred kind of way—witnessing the darkness of the long winter’s night fade slowly, giving way to everything fresh and promising about a new day—the rising of the sun, the birds song starting and the warm winter sunlight washing over everything. It’s a bit romantic I think.



This is week nine of "The Artist’s Way" twelve-week course and boy, am I in love. I have been really consistent about writing the three hand written morning pages although most days now I do between five and eight. I have so loved writing my morning pages by hand, with ink on paper, that I have decided to write the first draft of the new WIP that way! I bought some beautiful journals with archival paper, and had my own pens made! After visiting the Huntington Museum and Library so often over the last few years, it struck me how important physical documents are to history and how wonderfully special it would be to have the first draft of this book handwritten in a special volume of books!

Also, I did some practicing and figured out roughly how many handwritten pages equals 1,667 words, and I also practiced how long it takes me to type the handwritten words into the computer. Luckily I worked for a law firm right out of high school where one of my duties was typing hand written billing sheets into the computer, so I am actually pretty fast and fairly accurate at doing it. If all goes well I should have plenty of time in two hours to hand write 1,667 words and then type into the computer a rough, unedited version. My plan is to do a quick edit pass on the days writing, that evening just before bed, so that the story is on my mind as I sleep. I want to see if planting the story seeds at bedtime cause me to dream about the novel and how it influences my writing flow first thing in the morning sessions!


Even though I will be busy working on the new novel, I am going to commit to putting together two newsletters/blogs for you guys in November, roughly every two weeks so that you can follow along with the process and see where I have had to make adjustments and how I am feeling about everything, what I have experienced and learned by challenging myself in this way. I hope you will find in insightful and inspiring. The new novel I will be writing was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and “The girl with hair as black as a crows wing” on page five. Her name is Grace and she will be telling us her coming of age story as she experienced Paris in the1920s after loosing her mother to Spanish Flu and her brother to the war. It’s gonna be an awesome month!

As always, if you are enjoying my blog, please feel free to forward/share with someone you think might also enjoy it!

Much love to you all and as always “If you had no fear, what would you create?”



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