Friday Check-in, Week 7: Productivity Jail

IMG_20160218_075007Behold. This is the face of an introvert who has just marooned themselves in public, alone, for the next ten hours.

At my own request, my sister dropped me off at a coffee shop on her way to student-teaching, with one last, “You’re sure” and one additional, “Text me in the afternoon to make sure I don’t forget about you.”

With half a day working on #FairyPrisonBook in said coffee shop, and the other half ensconced in library bliss, what followed was the most productive square on my calendar thus far.

But before I get to that, here’s what I’ve been reading:

Green Star Reads for this week:

Finished AFTERWORLDS, by Scott Westerfeld. Really enjoyed it, especially from a writing standpoint and seeing how things in Darcy’s life affected her novel. I’m not sure I was quite as deeply swept up as with some of Westerfeld’s other books, but only because I was reading it from that perspective, more analytically? Soooo good.

Then during my productivity incarceration in the library, I stumbled onto THE MANUAL OF AERONAUTICS: AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO THE LEVIATHAN SERIES, by Westerfeld, and zipped through that. I’d thought about purchasing it in the past, but after reading it…I’m at peace with not getting it? It’s nice, and the illustrations are gorgeous at ever, but it felt like I’d already seen most of the information in the Leviathan series itself, an

cup of joe
Such a terrible prison. So. Terrible.

d there wasn’t that sheen of “EXTRA” on this companion guide. It was also a lot shorter than I expected.

Also in the library, I [finally] finished an ARC I’ve had for literal years, of MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1), by Caroline Carlson. It was so much fun, and reminded me in some ways of THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR
, though my main surprise was how many elements this book coincidentally had in common with the novel I wrote for my Honor’s Research project: talking gargoyles, a governess-type character, a land physically running out of magic… My working theory is that I somehow picked up these elements through osmosis as this poor, neglected ARC sat on my shelf, untouched…The end products are very different though, so no worries.

I’m about half through REBEL MECHANICS, by Shanna Swendson, and though a few things have felt kind of tell-y, I’m interested enough to keep reading.

And, last, I’m slowly working through REVISION & SELF-EDITING: TECHNIQUES FOR TRANSFORMING YOUR FIRST DRAFT INTO A FINISHED NOVEL, by James Scott Bell. Sixty pages in, it’s already helped spark a few ideas for how I want to tweak #FairyPrisonBook, and I’m hoping to buff up my revision skills a lot.

  • Soundtrack of the Week: I think it was this week that–in a fit of crankiness–I soothed my angry soul by building a playlist of songs for when a badass villain wins. Evil queens on thrones carved from bone. Sing-song taunts leveled at foolish heroes. Murderers with panache. Currently this playlist is 15 hours long.
  • Go-to method of procrastination: League. The Office. And introducing a friend to Ansatsu Kyoushitsu by marathoning the first third of season 1 until 4 AM last night.

Sticker Check-in

week 7
Guess which day was my productivity jail


  1. Red – 1/2 hr revision (WEEK TOTAL:  6 hr)
  2. Blue – draft 500 new words (WEEK TOTAL: 5,000 words)
  3. Green – read 100 pages (WEEK TOTAL: 1,000 pages)
  4. Gold – 1/2 hr studying Japanese (WEEK TOTAL:  5 & 1/2 hrs)
  5. Silver – blog post (WEEK TOTAL: 2)
  6. NOT PICTURED – I’m tracking exercise and adult-like responsibilities in a separate baby-sized calendar also courtesy of Easter Seals.(WEEK TOTAL FOR EXERCISE: 3 times, also cooked twice).

Points of Note:

  • Experimenting w/ how to track time spent revising when those revisions involve a lot of new drafted words. For the moment (and because it amuses me) I’m overlapping red and blue stars. Someday, these tracking methods will be more consistent. But this is not that day.
  • For the first time in this particular blog’s history, I wrote two posts in a week. The second was this Eligibility Post about the Campbell award for Best New Writer, and my impostor syndrome about even the remote possibility of me being nominated.
  • I literally just decided this, but it might be good to track how many stickers total I get from week to week, just as another way to see when I rock and when I…really don’t.

In summary, this felt like a great week! I may make the Productivity Jail a semi-regular occurrence (like, once a week?) so look forward to that. Also, if you’ve got any suggestions for my Villain playlist, share them in the comments! It’s the perfect remedy for a bad mood…or will at least help you own it.

Thanks for reading,




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