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ER Murray’s #1stDraftDiary week 2 (14K-28K words)

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Article by ERMurray © 24 June 2016.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().
Waterstone's :)

Waterstone’s 🙂

The first draft continues… Usually I try and write more than 2000 words a day so I can take a day off here and there, but that is stretching my limits at the moment. This first draft is proving harder than the others I’ve done, and I think it’s because it’s been so full on since signing contracts. It’s my fourth book written or edited within 18 months & the last of the constant deadlines – and I’m still doing events and promotion. I’m loving it, but I’m not certain that I can keep it up this time. Maybe I will have to find a new way to work to get this book delivered in time? Here goes…

#1stdraftdiary Day 7: Today is, surprisingly, a breeze, so the seven days up to now must have given me momentum. I make use of it while it’s here! And somehow a giant octopus slips into the story. Word count: 14,000

#1stdraftdiary Day 8: Zero. I organise my events for Belfast Book Festival this week, and answer interview answers. The festival comes first time wise, so has to take priority. When you do children’s events, you’re performing, so you have to be watertight – and events change depending on the age of the children and the group size. I have two events in Belfast with 80 teenagers each event, plus a family fun day hour and an Eason’s event to prepare. This means, planning, preparation, timing, props, practicing for each. It takes time – like anything, when I do an event, I want to do it well. That means enabling the kids to get lots out of the time spent together – and this requires thought. Word count: still 14,000

#1stdraftdiary Day 9: I awake to that niggling, judgmental voice, but beat it away with gusto. I’m starting 2,000 words behind but kind words from Jane Mitchell and CJ Black (thanks lovelies) help me get going. I realise I’ve forgotten Winston in three chapters, so I spend some time adding him in. I reach my word count easily today and still have steam so I continue on and surpass it – 3,900 words in total and doesn’t feel like it at all. One of the really good days. Word count: 17,900

 (And an unplanned intermission…

Ginat's Causeway ERMuray

I also cheated & took a trip to Giant’s Causeway – somewhere I’ve wanted to go since I was seven years old!!!

#1stdraftdiary Day 10 (take 1): Zero. I had to freelance during the ten hour journey to Belfast Book Festival so no words written. Will try again tomorrow.

#1stdraftdiary Day 10 (take 2): Zero. By the time I finished my social media clients and have prepped for & then completed three events today, there is no energy left for words. I decide to pause for the Belfast Book Festival as I have two full days of travel and three days of events. With the best will in the world, I’ll never get through my various freelance stuff, attend events and do my own events as well as my first draft.)

#1stdraftdiary Day 10 (Take 3): Pausing was a good idea – I’m feeling energized by all the great events and festival atmosphere but also pretty tired from the ten hour journey home! As I expected, today was a bit of a slog – but I ploughed through the words and got back on track. Feeling relieved! Word count: 20,002

#1stdraftdiary Day 11: With freelance and other responsibilities today, I don’t even get started on my first draft until 8.30pm and by this time, I can actually feel my brain throbbing. I doubt brain-throb is a good sign but two hours later and my word count hits the spot – just 100 words short. Happy to leave it there. Sometimes, you have to know when to stop pushing. Word count: 21,900

#1stdraftdiary Day 12: I make writing the main focus today, before anything else, like it should be. The only interruption is a live radio interview at 12.15pm – and I’m only 500 words behind my word count at this point. I love radio, it’s a really nice way to chat about books, and so afterwards I’m excited and a little giddy so I switch to admin for a while, chasing up invoices and writing more. By 2pm, I’ve hit 24,400 words. I’ve passed my expectation and have plenty left in me. A medium-sized freelance project (40x 500 word articles with a two week deadline) comes in, so I decide to really go for it today and get ahead if I can. I also became a Patron of Reading today, so I’m celebrating . Word count: 26,400

#1stdraftdiary Day 13: Zilch. Today was spent travelling 3 hours to Cork city for two x1 hour school events in Waterstone’s (they treated me 5 star – such darlings), then a meeting, then a three hour journey home. The events went really well – the pupils were fantastic. Interested, excited, inquisitive – big thumbs up! Word count: still at 26,400.

#1stdraftdiary Day 14: And so, the day was marred by the shock result in the UK, but I decided to use it to my advantage and write the call to arms scene that I need before a battle. I rely on nature today to keep my head straight – the sea, birds, flora, vegtable garden. In the end, I write fast and the words are not completely awful. I stop the moment I reach the word count, leaving not just a chapter, but a sentence, unfinished. Word count: 28,000

Summary: word count on track, amazing schools events and a festival thrown in – but I’m feeling at the end of my energy reserves and I’m finding this difficult to admit. Let’s hope I can keep it up.


Follow Elizabeth online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Elizabeth Rose Murray lives in West Cork where she writes, fishes, and grows her own vegetables. Her first book for young adults Caramel Hearts (Alma Books) was published June 2016. Her debut novel for children aged 10-12, The Book of Learning - Nine Lives Trilogy 1 (Mercier Press) was chosen as the 2016 Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read for Children and the follow-up The Book of Shadows - Nine Lives Trilogy 2 was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book Awards. The final installment The Book of Revenge will be published in February 2018.

Elizabeth has poetry and short fiction published in journals across the UK and Ireland - including Ogham Stone, Southword, South Circular, Esc and 3am - and has been shortlisted in various competitions including TV3AM Short Story, Francis MacManus, and Aesthetica Creative Works. She has also performed in Ciudades Paralelas: Station - a live writing installation.

Hoping to encourage new writers, Elizabeth provides manuscript reports and online writing courses through Inkwell Writers and Big Smoke Writing Factory. She is a regular at literary festivals, and offers adult workshops on writing for children and young adults, as well as multiple events and workshops for children and teens.

You can connect with Elizabeth on Twitter @ERMurray, Facebook www.facebook.com/ERMurray.Author or her blog www.ermurray.com