Today we’re so pleased to be hosting author EJ Russell on the tour for her new novel, Clickbait. She’s joining us today to talk about something near and dear to my heart–making lists–and there’s also a giveaway, so be sure to check out the details below.
I never used to be a list maker. I didn’t have to be because I’ve always had a pretty good memory: remembering stuff was easy for me (although as I’ve gotten older, forgetting stuff has gotten easier too). But once I started splitting my time between two jobs—my left-brain, 8 to 5, Monday through Friday tech day job, and my right-brain write-brain all the rest of the time, I discovered something unexpected.
Lists are awesome!
Lists help you plan (and I dearly love to plan), but more importantly, lists can let you know something even more vital: when you’re done.
Before I started using a word-count goal list, I always felt as if once five o’clock hit, or when Friday rolled around, I had to write all the time. If I sneaked in an episode of DS 9 on Netflix, or met friends for brunch, or even went grocery shopping, I was failing at my writing job.
Without knowing where the finish line was, I had to keep running, no matter how exhausted I was.
Then, during the second year I participated in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), I discovered an invaluable tool. In NaNoWriMo, participating writers are challenged to write the first draft of a novel of at least fifty thousand words during the month of November. If you write a minimum of 1,667 words a day from November 1st through November 30th, you’ll hit that goal. The organization that runs NaNoWriMo—which is now actually called National Novel Writing Month—has created an incredible community around the event, and one of the bonuses that year was a word count spreadsheet developed by one of the participants and made available on his website.
With that spreadsheet (which I’ve altered over time for my own use), I was able to tell not only when I was done with the project, but when I was done for the day. Wow. What an epiphany!
As an added benefit, the spreadsheet (aka goal and progress list) enabled me to discover how long it takes me to write a book.
So now, whenever I start a new project, I set up a new spreadsheet—a new list. I can tell my publisher with reasonable confidence when I’ll turn in the book. When I know how big the project is (target word count for my average novel is seventy thousand words, give or take), and how long I have to reach the finish line, my list tells me how many words I need to hit per day minimum, how many per day as a stretch.
Then I write. When I get to my minimum, I know I’m keeping my contract with myself. If I exceed it, that’s great, but not required. Once I get to that point, I can be done for the day with a clear conscience. Maybe I’ll be on a roll and I’ll keep going. Maybe I won’t.
But the point is, I don’t have to feel guilty about doing something else. Something fun. Something that reminds me I have a life outside of both my jobs.
Lists. Who knew I’d turn into such a fan?
About the Book
After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective—but fabulously shiny—outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project—as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.
Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.
Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content—not presentation—that matters.
About the Author
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
To celebrate the release of Clickbait, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!