What’s Up Wednesday (It’s giveaway time!)

“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you.

{Please make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, other participants can visit your blog and check out what you’ve been up to. In that same spirit, I urge you to visit as many new blogs as you can every Wednesday. The most awesome aspect of What’s Up Wednesday and Ready. Set. Write is that they include a built-in support system. Let’s make sure we’re rooting each other on and offering as much encouragement as we can. Who knows… You might make an awesome new writing buddy, or a find a fantastic beta reader, or hook up with an amazing critique partner!}


What I’m Reading: I finished Katie McGarry’s Dare You To. It was an entertaining read. Beth, despite all odds, grew on me, and Ryan was pretty freaking adorable. If you like Pushing the Limits, you’ll probably like this one too. Now I’m reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, this month’s selection for YA Book Club, hosted by Tracey Neithercott. So far I’m… confused? I’m not sure I like the story, exactly, but I have this funny feeling that the end is going to be amazing and the payoff will be grand. Only time will tell.

What I’m Writing: I smashed last week’s 3,000 word goal with a grand total of 6,183 words for the week. The best part? I think there may actually be some good stuff hidden among all those words. Win! In other news, I’ve decided to change my WiP’s setting (for some reason I set it in a small Appalachian town I’ve never visited. Why, Katy?). I’m going to switch things up and set the story in a fictional California town, one based on a town that’s about an hour from where we live. The change shouldn’t be too drastic; I’ve still got the small town life atmosphere going for me, but I’ll have to do some adjusting regarding weather and scenery and other such details. Sounds tedious, but setting is kind of a big deal to me, so I’m excited about the change. I think I’ll do a better job of writing about a place I’ve actually been to. I like details. 🙂 Goal for next week: 3,000 words, along with some research on a few religious aspects of my story.

ready set write button

What Else I’ve Been Up To: We had a busy holiday weekend (belated Happy Fourth of July to all who celebrated!)…

   Fireworks are strictly forbidden in our town which, frankly, is fine by me. So, on the Fourth, we headed to our favorite beach for a barbecue and a bonfire. It was a gorgeous night, and we had a blast hanging with friends, playing in the waves, and devouring delicious food. 

I’ve been writing, therefor I’ve been baking. When I’m drafting, I’m usually good for about an hour before I have to get up and do something else (clean, run, play with my girl, whatever). My favorite thing to do is fix a treat because baking is mindless and the outcome is awesome. This week, I made Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (pictured left — no-bake!) and Oatmeal Bars with Dark Chocolate Frosting (pictured right, recipe from the Linen Napkins to Paper Plates cookbook). I also made a Banana Blueberry Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Nordy Bars. I went through tons of butter and chocolate chips.

On Sunday we hiked the Pinnacles and it was beautiful. We ventured through some caves and found a lovely man-made reservoir. It was about 95 degrees outside, so our hike was cut short by a sweaty, somewhat grumpy five-year-old, but it was definitely fun while it lasted.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: I’ve been suffering from a bout of Writer Crazies. Meaning, I’ve been second-guessing everything about my WiP (see the above comments about setting…). Is the story too weird? Too edgy? Are the characters unrelatable? Are they boring? New doubts contradict their predecessors, and then a whole new crop of insecurities emerges. I’m terrified that I’m getting it ALL WRONG, and that’s making me grouchy. But, I happened upon the following quote the other day, and it really hit home:

Lose the fear, Katy. Lose. The. Fear.

Ready. Set. Write! Giveaway

As promised by myself and Ready. Set. Write! co-creators Alison MillerElodie NowodazkijErin Funk, and Jaime Morrow, participants in this summer’s most awesome writing intensive now have the opportunity to win a fantastic Writer’s Care Package featuring goodies from all over the world (literally!). Celebrate five weeks of writing productivity by entering to win a journal, tea, a mug, a book on craft, tasty treats, and other fantastic writing-related surprises.

To be considered eligible for the Ready. Set. Write! Giveaway you must have participated in AT LEAST one week of Ready. Set. Write! and shared an update of your goals and progress on your blog (most likely in the form of a What’s Up Wednesday post). To enter, click on the link below and fill out the Rafflecoptor with information about your Ready. Set. Write! progress, as well as any bonus entries you may have earned. The giveaway runs through Tuesday, July 23th. Winners will be announced Wednesday, July 24th. Open internationally.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Good luck, writers!

Tell me: What’s up with you today? 


51 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday (It’s giveaway time!)

  1. Alison Miller says:

    I really needed to hear (or read) that quote today. I am at the same place with my story where I love it, but those same questions plague me. Thank you for that quote.

    Also, 6000 WORDS?!?!? That is incredible! Go YOU!

    Also, your pictures are making me really hungry now for chocolate. Trying not to drool over the keyboard.

    Have a great week! No more vacations in the immediate future so I’m down for some Twitter parties!

    • katyupperman says:

      Bake yourself something yummy this weekend, friend. 🙂 And you were over 6K for the week too, right? We are rocking our summer word counts… Here’s to keeping it up!

  2. Raven says:

    I needed that quote. I’m getting a lot of writing done but it still feels like everything I write is horrible/there’s a lot of doubt mixed in with hope that a good story will come out of this draft. It is important to try to lose the fear, and remember that every day you continue to write, it’s you showing your fears who’s boss.

    And, yeah, 6K IS incredible! Keep up the great work! Also, it seems like you made a good choice in changing setting. Since this one (though fictional) is based off of something familiar, you’ll be able to make it more authentic.

    Now I really want something chocolate. I love Reese’s Cups so I might have to try that recipe.

    I’m glad you had a great 4th of July! I wish fireworks were banned where I lived. I’m not a huge fan of loud noises.

    Good luck with writing this week! 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Raven! I think we all suffer from the first draft doubts from time to time. It’d be delusional to assume that our first attempt is perfection, right? And definitely give that Reese’s recipe a try. It’s easy, and SUPER yummy!

  3. Kaitlin Bartlett says:

    I’ve always had trouble with setting. I never know whether to set my story in a real place or a fictional one, if it has to be something I know/can see in my mind, how much detail to go into…I’m glad your setting change will work better for you in the long run! I’ve struggled in the past with setting stories in places I have no clue about (way too much research is involved, and I usually still can’t get it right).

    And oh my goodness, all those desserts sound AMAZING! I love to bake, too, but my family’s currently on a health kick, so that cuts back on what I can make.

    Congrats on your fantastic word count, and good luck with your goals this week! 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Thank you, Kaitlin! I generally set my stories in a real place, then swap the name for something fictional so I can change physical details as the story requires. Is that cheating? 😉

      We try to eat healthfully too (for the most part), so I do most of my baking when we’ve got friends coming or a party to attend. Then I can share. I think I’m becoming the Dessert Lady among our circle of friends!

  4. Rebecca B says:

    I seriously needed that writing quote today, so thanks. 🙂
    Good luck with the setting change! It sounds like a lot of work, but also fun to recreate the setting based on a place you know. (And if it’s anything like your other California pictures, it’s probably lovely.)

  5. Lola Sharp says:

    WOOHOO for crushing your WC goals!!!! But boo for the self doubt. It’s hard, i know, so hard sometimes to differentiate what our gut knows needs to be fixed and what is just fear. It sounds like your gut is right about the setting change. Setting IS important and I think if you have more confidence over a setting you know and can easily visit at whim for more vibe or research, then you definitely made the right change. As for the rest of the doubts, first of all, allow yourself to ‘suck’, to play, to discover the organic story you are truly meant to tell. What is this “is it too weird” or “too edgy”? No such thing. There is only telling the story that wants to be told. You can’t write for market or what you perceive others will think…you can only tell the story that wants to be written. My rule of thumb is: follow the fear…all the way. Write bravely and messily and see where it takes you. That’s where the real magic lives.
    You can clean it up in later drafts. (and you like cleaning it up…so learn to love the freedom of getting messy and creating something powerful. You can make it perfect later.) FOLLOW THE FEAR and you lose the fear, like magic. 🙂
    Lawdamercy, it’s a good thing you run so much, what with all the baked yummy treats!! *drools*
    Glad you had such a lovely 4th. 🙂
    Make it a great week, Katy! ❤

    • katyupperman says:

      Lola, thank you for telling me exactly what I need to hear. FOLLOW THE FEAR is an awesome way to approach first drafts. If it’s scary, it’s probably powerful, and I think I need to keep that in mind more. And you’re right — I do love the cleaning up and the polishing. In fact, that’s what’s motivating me to get through this draft!

      Hopefully we can meet up for more Twitter writing in the next week. I’m loving writing with buddies. ❤

  6. prerna pickett says:

    Wow, over 6,000! You kicked that word count’s booty! My favorite part of the fourth is all the food, and the fireworks, but mostly the food. And I love that quote, I needed it because I’m also questioning things with my WIP. I just have to remind myself that my story is not mine to tell, but my characters’.

    • katyupperman says:

      It seems like a lot of us are at the questions-and-doubts phase of our WiPs, Perna. It’s nice to know that the feelings are common. I’m going to choose to follow Lola’s advice: FOLLOW THE FEAR and clean it all up in revisions. 🙂

      Best of luck with your writing this week!

  7. Margo Berendsen says:

    I keep forgetting to join one of these What’s ups! I always enjoy them when I run across them. Couldn’t help myself to check out the Pinnacles link, because I’m sucker for beautiful places. But oh my those food pictures and descriptions… yikes…. you’ve started a craving!! Love the quote, too. I pinned it on my writing board.

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Margo. I pinned that quote too. I think I need to print in out and display it where I can always see it. 🙂

      You’ll have to check out the Pinnacles if you’re ever in this area. It’s a beautiful park!

  8. Ghenet Myrthil says:

    Gosh, you are a baking and writing machine!!!

    Glad to hear you had a fun fourth. It’s too bad they don’t allow fireworks, but a bonfire at the beach sounds wonderful!

    I love that quote. I need to keep that in mind as I figure out the direction of my WIP. Thanks for sharing!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Ghenet. I hope you find the same inspiration (and comfort!) in that quote that I did. Best of luck with your WiP in the coming days. 🙂

  9. Rebecca Barrow says:

    I wish I was as practical about setting as you–instead I choose to set my stories in American when I’ve never even been! Luckily my CW-show-addiction helps me out with that 🙂

    Whenever I get doubts I find myself repeating “I’ll fix it later”–I know if I think about things too much I’ll come to a complete stop, and if I tell myself that I’ll work everything out in the revision stages then I can keep on writing. Revising is my favourite part anyway, so it’s kind of like I’m giving myself a present! (Um…kind of…)

    • katyupperman says:

      “I’ll fix it later” has pretty much been my mantra over the last few weeks, Rebecca. I think I would have tossed the entire story if I didn’t believe that was possible. 🙂 Glad to know I’m not alone in the land of Writer Crazies!

  10. kate scott says:

    Good luck with your setting change. I’m a total panser, so I always end up making huge changes like that 1/2 way through the first draft, and they almost always make the story way better.

  11. elschneider says:

    Smashed last week’s writing goal? Katy, holy cow – to quote Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect, you “CRUSHED IT!” Way to go on blowing that goal out of the water…and believe me, I totally hear you in the whole second guessing thing. Often times it’s almost surreal reading my own writing and the feelings teeter back and forth from, “who wrote this crap?” to “huh, I wrote that?”. Usually it’s the first thought the majority of the way through and most of the time, it takes another set of eyes to tell you it’s not quite as bad as you think. Because chances are, it’s not quite as bad as you think.

    Best of luck with all the changes to the setting you’re going to be making – but now that you’ve set your mind to it, I’ll bet it’s the total right thing to do and you’ll be much happier with the outcome.

    Amazing pictures, as always – I love making homemade Reese’s peanut butter cups…always a great summertime treat to have around!

    Best of luck surpassing your writing goal this week. Just keep reminding yourself to lose the fear. I like that. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      “who wrote this crap?” to “huh, I wrote that?” <— Totally me too, Erin! And thanks so much for your encouragement, friend. Glad to know I'm not alone!

  12. Rebekah says:

    Katy! Stop feeling insecure. It can’t be too edgy, first of all, as long as it is well executed and all edginess is for a reason. Secondly, if it resonates with you, it likely will resonate with others. If it is authentic, and you aren’t trying too hard but letting your words happen, your words will connect with others. Also, setting is vital. Like the time period you choose, the social and cultural dynamics vary regionally. Good choice in changing setting to something easier for you to illustrate.

    • katyupperman says:

      Thank you, Rebekah! You make awesome points, and I am taking them all to heart. I agree that setting is vital. I love when stories have settings that become characters in their own right. Hopefully I will do this new locale justice. 🙂

  13. Cecilia Robert says:

    Congrats on meeting your goals!:) love the photos.

    I LOVE that quote. The last week I went through what you called “Writer Crazies” hopping between “Should I stick with 1st POV past or change to present. I ended up changing the whole thing to POV (about 42k in)
    Thanks for sharing this one. I’ll print it out and stick it on my board. Just the kind of quote I need when the Crazies attack. 🙂
    Good luck with this week’s goals.

    • katyupperman says:

      I think I’m going to print out that quote too, Cecilia. Also, I’m going to make it my desktop background while I’m drafting this story. Words to live by, right?

  14. mandiebaxter says:

    Great job doubling your word count goal!! That’s awesome. And ah..scenery. That’s a biggie for me too. I tend to use places I’ve been or have lived in. One, it’s easier. And two, who wouldn’t love to see a book set near where they live?! Oh my word! All those baked goodies! I do love to bake. It is relaxing and mind numbing. And delicious. Good luck with your goals this week.

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Mandie. I recommend all of those recipes I linked if you’re looking to try something new. 🙂 And yes, it is SO much easier for me to write about a place I’ve actually visited. I feel like I can make the scenery come alive much better than I can through online research (though, online research is DEFINITELY my friend!).

  15. Alexa says:

    What a great quote. I’m going to write that down because I usually start second guessing myself about 3/4 of the way through. I think it’s something about seeing the finish line sends me crazy!

    Gorgeous photos, you live in such a beautiful place and your daughter is such a cutie pie. Also those bars are making my mouth water – want!

    Good luck with the writing this week. I hope you can keep the dear at bay and have fun changing your setting, I live details too 🙂

    Oh and thanks for the giveaway. I can’t believe we’re half way through!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Alexa! Story details are the *best* and I think they’re what make scenes come to life. Hopefully I’m doing that area of my WiP justice, and if not, I look forward to “texturizing” during revisions.

      And yes… I can’t believe we’re halfway through either. Seems like the summer just started!

  16. Jessica Silverstein says:

    Katy! You are a baking machine! I’ve got a baking project planned for tomorrow, since we’re going away with friends this weekend and I want to bring something to share (yes, it will involve cherries) but holy MOLY are you productive!

    And that setting change sounds like it makes a lot of sense. I’ve been contemplating the same with my WiP–for some reason, I started out with the idea that it was all happening in some tiny suburban town, but I have zero experience of what that’s like, so as I write it’s becoming more and more my hometown. You’re right–detail.

    Lose the fear is right–I think maybe the reason you’re feeling fear is because, just from the little bits you’ve posted, it seems like you’re writing something new and unusual. Those are good things–but also scary things. It means you’re writing your own rules. I can’t wait to see where it goes, so you HAVE to finish writing it!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thank you so much for the encouraging comments, Jess! I am committed to finishing this story (I actually know how it’s going to end — yay!), so I suppose I’ll just sort out all the junk in revisions like a good writer. 🙂

      Your mention of a cherry dessert has me inspired. I don’t think I’ve ever baked with cherries. You’re using fresh? Hopefully you’ll share the recipe you decide on. Yum!

  17. Carrie-Anne says:

    Those recipes look awesome! That hike also sounds pretty groovy. Good luck with changing the setting of your WIP. Altering a detail like that can be hard work, but if you feel it’s the right decision, it’s worth all the effort.

    I think I wrote 12,000ish words this past week, in addition to a busy first week of camp and moving into an apartment with a slightly older friend of mine, a fellow spinster. I only have Internet access at the library or other WiFi zones, and judiciously outside of a network through my phone. It feels like I’m writing 20 years ago, when our computer didn’t have Internet and there were no distractions from writing besides Solitaire and Tetris.

    • katyupperman says:

      I think I’d be insanely productive without the distraction of the shiny Internet. But, I often pause in my writing to Google something real quick, so I might end up a little crazy without that convenience. 🙂

      Best of luck keeping that writing momentum, Carrie-Anne. Sounds like you’ve been super productive!

  18. Liz Parker (@LizParkerWrites) says:

    In the midst of this crazy summer, I missed the YA book club selection! So glad you mentioned this as I now have something to read next 🙂

    Also, thanks for sharing the quote. That’s so good and right on. I’m impressed with your words and wish I had anywhere near as many! But last week was just slower for me and filled with family time and little writing time. Hope this week is good for you 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks, Liz. Yes, definitely try to get ahold of a copy of THE WESTING GAME. It’s a quick read, and I’m curious to see your (and all the book-clubbers’) thoughts on it.

      Best of luck with your writing time this week. I’ll be working tonight (and most nights this week) if you want to have a Twitter date. 🙂

  19. Erin Funk says:

    My son and I are reading THE WESTING GAME right now for the YA Book Club too. I’m not sure if we’ll finish on time, but since I loved it when I was a kid, I wanted to pass it along to him. It’s definitely a bit on the kooky side, but I remember thinking the ending was so cool way back then.

    Wow, you completely obliterated your writing goal this past week! Nice! Thanks for sharing that awesome quote. That’s something I need to keep in mind too. I’m sure your story is awesome, Katy! I’ve read enough of your book reviews to know you have great instincts about these things. Hope the Writer Crazies settle down and that you have another super week of writing ahead of you!

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Erin. I’ll probably always struggle with Writer Crazies, but I’m trying to embrace the insanity. 🙂

      I’m so interested to hear that you loved THE WESTING GAME as a kid. I finished it this morning and I thought it was… strange. I kept wondering how it was considered MG, and if I would have liked it when I was a part of the target audience. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s thoughts when Book Club rolls around.

  20. Krispy says:

    I need to get to Westing Game too. Next, after Dream Thieves (which seems to be living up to Bk 1 so far)! 😉 Also, great job on your word count. I approve of your moving your town to California. I always feel like there’s a dearth of YA lit set in California, and it’s like Why? We’re fun out here!

    I always love seeing your pics here and on instagram. The Pinnacles look gorgeous, and I’m kinda glad I don’t live anywhere near you because everything you bake looks scrumptious and I would not be above showing up at your door to borrow a cup of sugar if it meant I could get a bite. 🙂

    Anyway, I can’t believe we’re already halfway through RSW! What a fantastic giveaway gift! Thanks!

    • katyupperman says:

      I would totally bake treats for you if you lived nearby! I’m always happy to pawn some calories off on my friends. 😉

      I agree with you about California as a setting. There really aren’t a ton of YAs set here, which is crazy because it’s such a diverse (and awesome) state. Hopefully I will do the setting justice.

      I am SO relieved to hear that DT is living up to RAVEN… I can’t wait to read your final review!

  21. Jennifer Pickrell says:

    Maybe you need a trip to Appalachia in case you decide to use your imaginary small town in another WIP??? I’m being all tourism center here for my neck o’ the woods 🙂

    Oh, I miss baking. I can’t turn on my oven during the summer for more than a few minutes without the temp in my apt shooting up to like 90 – bleck.

    Boo to the Writer Crazies! I was having them with my last WIP, to the point that if my MS was a person, I probably would have gotten into a fist-fight with him (her?). I think we’re slowly making up, but that self-doubt can be killer. Keep pushing through it because your book will be awesome!

    • katyupperman says:

      I will definitely keep a trip to Appalachia in mind for future travels, Jennifer. I actually love the Southeast and wouldn’t mind visiting at all. 🙂 And thank you for your encouraging words. It’s so comforting to know that the Crazies hit us all from time to time!

  22. Jaime Morrow says:

    Wow! You did an awesome job this week, Katy! I love that you’ve decided to set your story in a fictional California town. I’m picturing it set somewhere like in all of the gorgeous pics you share on Instagram. I know what you mean about setting a story somewhere you’re familiar with. My new WIP is set in Michigan in the Upper Peninsula in a fictional town because I’m very familiar with that neck of the woods. I was tempted to set it somewhere else, but I’d rather stick with what I know. And, Katy, you really don’t need to second-guess your writing. It’s fantastic! If this story is even half as good as the story I read, you don’t have to worry. You have a way with words! 🙂

    I love the pics you’ve shared here just as much as I did when I saw them on Instagram. I always look forward to your photos. (And Baby McClung pics from Sarah because they’re so darn cute!) Good luck with your goals this week, Katy! 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      I’m loving the Baby McClung pics too, Jaime! So fun to live vicariously through new-mama friends. 🙂 And thank you so much for your flattering words. I’m hoping to someday have the same amount of confidence in this WiP that I have in a few of my past projects. The First Draft Doubts are very dangerous, though!

  23. Colin says:

    There’s a lot to be said for setting stories in familiar places. I tried that with one story, and it really helped me concentrate on the story and not get hung up with world-building. After all, the world was already built–I just had to describe it! The danger, however, is getting hung up on details and forgetting I’m writing fiction. If I need to change something about my “real world” setting to make it fit my story, I can do that. While it may be based on a real place, it’s still MY world. And if that house at the end of the street I used to go to every week to play with friends is causing a plot problem, I can tear it down and make it into a swamp. No-one will care. 🙂

    And MEGA congratulations for your awesome word-count this week, Katy! May the words continue to flow. 😀

    • katyupperman says:

      Thanks so much, Colin! And yes, I feel EXACTLY the same way about fictional-but-based-on-a-real-town settings. Really, they’re the best of both worlds. 🙂

  24. Elodie says:

    Love this quote! It´s one of those that I should have framed above my writing spot…so I can look at it every single time fear starts dripping through my veins.

    I can´t wait to read more of this book you´re drafting Katy! And I know you´re going to nail that setting 😀

    The pictures you shared are as always amazing and glad to hear you guys had a great 4th!

    And…can I just say? WOW on your word count! Very very very inspiring ❤

    • katyupperman says:

      I made that quote my desktop background. I love it! Here’s to big word counts for both of us this week. (And THANK YOU again for the amazing package. So much fun… I’m wearing my shirt right now!)

  25. Tif Johnson says:

    Oh my, those Reeses bars! I’m totally making that! Argh, my kids will freak!

    And you killed your writing goals – way to go!

    Happy belated Independence Day to you too. Glad you got some quiet time. Those fireworks are L.O.U.D. 🙂

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