RSW – Update 4


Ready. Set. WRITE! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkElodie Nowodazkij, and myself.

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

1. Draft at least 30K words in my new WiP by summer’s end. –> In progress. I drafted a total of 4,085 words this week. Feels good to be back to writing!

2. Read 12 books by summer’s end. –> In progress. I read Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu, which was absolutely fascinating.

3. Get stronger. –> In progress. This week I ran twice (a total of 7 miles — I’m trying to get back into running without destroying my old lady joints) and practiced yoga three times. I’ve been keeping track of my workouts in my planner, which is super motivating.

4. Explore a new place each week. –> Success! We visited D.C. and saw the Lincoln Memorial, The White House, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. So cool. We also visited the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland, an interesting and sobering experience.


5. Cross at least two items off my Thirty Before 35 list. –> In progress. I’m working on #17 as I draft my WiP.

* Stretch Goal: Unpack and organize our home office. –> Success!

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

Write at least 2500 words. Read Robin Benway’s Emmy & Oliver. Run at least twice, and practice yoga at least twice.Take my daughter swimming. Get our basement in order. Get a library card.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised.

I didn’t want to come to Camp DeLuca. It was a pull, a compulsion, an obsession. A constant, dogged whisper: closure. In hindsight, that’s stupid as shit–there’s no easy fix. And now, instead of reclaiming the peace that was wrenched from me thirteen years ago, my life’s complicated to the tenth power. All thanks to the russet-haired girl sitting cross-legged beside me.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write).

I’ve come to terms with the fact that this first draft of my WiP is an absolute disaster. I’m figuring things out about the characters as I go, which means that sections I wrote earlier are all wrong now, plus I’ve got plot holes the size of the freaking Grand Canyon. Discouraging. *breathes deeply* *chants drafting mantra: revisions are my friend, revisions are my friend*

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

Last week I wrote a Big Reveal scene I’m kind of proud of. And the main characters… I still love the main characters.

Are you participating in RSW? 
Don’t forget to link to your first update below!

And… Remember how, at the beginning of Ready. Set. Write!, we mentioned giveaways? Well… this week we’ve got our first — a gorgeous writer’s care package assembled by Jaime

Writer's Care Package

Here’s what’s included: a coiled journal with Every Summer Has A Story on it, a to-do checklist pad of paper, heart-shaped Post-it notes, Fineline markers (fine tip), a pencil case with flip-flop pattern, mini binder clips in fun colors, two rolls of washi tape, a Revlon sparkly nail file, Haute in the Heat Essie nail polish, EOS sweet mint lip balm, Maynards wine gums, Smarties, and a Cadbury Dairy Milk Cookie Crunch bar.

Giveaway open internationally, to RSW participants only.
To enter, click the link below!

A Rafflecopter Giveaway


54 thoughts on “RSW – Update 4

  1. Elodie says:

    🙂 Love the pictures. Looks like you guys are enjoying discovering the area!

    I’ve mentioned this I think on IG but there’s this estate in Towson that not a lot of people know about that is super interesting if you want to venture this way (

    I’ve been meaning to check out DEVOTED and your review is one more reason to do so 🙂

    And yes for your new words! You will fix them later and you might find that it’s not as awful as you think at the end 🙂

    The ones you shared are pretty amazing!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Ooh, I just clicked that link and Hampton sounds incredible. Definitely going on my list of places to check out. Thanks for the rec! And yes, I’ll definitely be doing a lot of fixing later — yikes! 😉

  2. Alison Miller says:

    Ha. My first drafts are ALWAYS full of holes the size of the Grand Canyon and enough crappy writing to fill it. BUT, revisions are our friend and as long as the character love is there, that’s important for now. Push through, Katy. I’m cheering you on this week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks, Alison! I need all of the cheering I can get, I think. 🙂 Usually it’s hard for me to press on when I know I’ve got an enormous mess on my hands, but I’m forcing myself to do it this time. We’ll see how it goes!

  3. Tonja Drecker says:

    First drafts are meant to be disasters. I don’t know where we’d be without edits and revisions! Enjoyed the excerpt and yay to getting those words!

  4. Valerie Cole (@ValerieColeYA) says:

    You are going to rock this revision. I know the frustration and the doubt that starts to creep in when you have holes that big. You will get this, Katy. I am rooting for you.

    Also–YAY! You are near me!! Did you visit the Inner Harbor yet? The aquarium is A+.

    • Katy Upperman says:

      We haven’t visited the Inner Harbor yet, but now I want to! My daughter loves aquariums. 🙂 Thanks for your words of encouragement, Valerie. Much needed and appreciated! Also, we’ll have to meet up one of these days. Close proximity to writer friends is the very best part about moving to the DC area!

  5. kaitlinbartlett says:

    My draft is in the exact same boat, Katy. It’s rambling and meandering and I have zero clues where it’s going. Really, really trying not to focus on it. I read somewhere recently that the job of the first draft is to tell the story to yourself. Since I took the pantser method for this draft, I didn’t outline a thing and am letting the story take me where it wants. We need to learn what our stories are before we can shape them for others to read. Or at least that’s my theory right now. It’s helped me stay calm(-ish) about things so far.

    Hope drafting doesn’t get you down this week! 🙂 Also, I cannot WAIT to hear what you think of EMMY & OLIVER. I’m itching to get my hands on that book!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I love what you mentioned about the first draft being a time for the writer to tell the story to herself, Kaitlin. I’m usually such a planner, but I’m learning as I go with this draft. As anxious as the meandering and the plot holes make me, there are aspects of the freedom that I really enjoy. So, for now I press on. 🙂 And I’ll definitely let you know about EMMY & OLIVER!

  6. leandrajwallace says:

    Haha, I was just thinking of Lincoln, as I saw where we have Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter on our DVR. I’d love to visit the Lincoln Memorial sometime. Yay for 4K+ words!

  7. HM Shander says:

    Love the idea of visiting some place new!
    I’ve always wanted to visit the Lincoln memorial. Cool!
    Good luck with your goals.

  8. Liz Parker (@LizParkerWrites) says:

    Love your excerpt! And I’m with you on figuring out characters as I go. Thank god for revisions. Though I have gone back and added in a few scenes for said characters, but yeah, revisions are our friends. 🙂

    • Katy Upperman says:

      It’s taking everything I’ve got not to drop back to the beginning and “fix” all the things I know are wrong. 😬 The time will come, though, and for not I’m pressing on. Hope you have an awesome week of writing, Liz!

  9. Emma Adams (@ELAdams12) says:

    Great photos! 🙂 I’m at the muddled middle of my draft at the moment, and I know I’m going to have my work cut out for me in revisions. Trying to keep the fears at bay and just concentrate on getting words down!

  10. Carrie-Anne says:

    Figuring out your characters as you go along is something most writers do. The most important thing is becoming familiar with them eventually, and thus being able to write them authentically once it’s time for revisions.

  11. Jaime Morrow says:

    I think you and I come at the drafting process with a similar mindset. I have a hard time with crappy first drafts and would much rather sort it all out before revisions. (Which doesn’t make much sense.) I’m confident that you’ll sort it all out, and I hope that happens with little to no headache. 🙂

    You’re doing so great with your goals, Katy. Over 4K in a week is fantastic! I’m happy you’re also settling into your new surroundings and enjoying what the area has to offer. Sounds (and looks) like you’re seeing some incredible things. Have a wonderful week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      “I have a hard time with crappy first drafts and would much rather sort it all out before revisions.” <– Ha! Yes! This, exactly. Why isn't it possible?! Hope you have a great week, Jaime. Let's find time to write together!

  12. Stephanie Scott says:

    Ah so Emmy & Oliver is by Robin Benway. I have one of her older books on my TBR recommended by several different people. And Devoted was like my #1 summer read and yet I still do not own it! I went to buy it but the bookstore didn’t have it in stock, and my usual bookstore I haven’t been to since it came out. I really want the hardcopy, not ebook and would have it now if I’d ordered! Oh well.

    How fun you’re exploring your new city. I haven’t been to D.C. but would love to. I hope you have continued success with your writing this week. It does feel great to get going in a groove after time away.

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I’ve only read Robin Benway’s AUDREY, WAIT! and it is freaking fantastic. One of the few YAs that’s actually made me laugh out loud. I’ve heard EMMY & OLIVER is more serious which, honestly, is more in keeping with my taste. I’ll let you know how I like it. And yes! DEVOTED was excellent. Have a wonderful week, Stephanie!

  13. Erin Funk says:

    Revisions are frustrating me lately too, Katy. Sometimes when you try to fix one thing, it feels like everything else starts to unravel, doesn’t it? The first half of my WIP feels like a major disaster too, so I can totally relate. Hope everything starts to fall into place for your WIP soon.

    Love the photos and the lines you shared! That excerpt really hooked me. 🙂

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks so much, Erin! Revising this messy, messy draft is totally intimidating me, but it’ll be awhile before I get there. Hopefully by then I’ve got it all figured out. Have a wonderful week, lady, and best of luck with all of your painting projects!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Summers are hard for writing goals, aren’t they? I always want to do fun things, and even when I do sit down to write, I feel guilty about not spending time with my kiddo. Ahh, balance. 🙂 Have an awesome week, Melanie!

  14. crystalschubert says:

    You always do so great on your goals! You rock! Love the Smithsonian museums. DC is so much fun to explore. My favorite is the American History museum, which is way cooler than I thought it would be. They have Dorothy’s ruby slippers!!! And with all this moving, I’m impressed you’ve managed to keep up with your fitness goals. Do you do yoga at home or go to classes? Good luck with your goals this week! 🙂

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks so much, Crystal! I love the Museum of American History, too. We haven’t taken our girl yet, but I’m so excited for her to see the ruby slippers, and the First Lady dresses, and the enormous doll house, and all of the other incredible things there.

      I’ve taken a few different yoga classes, but I like to do it in my own time, so I mostly practice at home. There are two awesome You Tube channels that offer tons of free workouts that are different lengths and have different focuses: Yoga With Adriene and Yoga With Tim. Highly recommend them both!

      Best of luck with your goals this week, and happy writing!

  15. Tracey Neithercott (@T_Neithercott) says:

    I hear ya on the plot holes. That was a huge part of my revisions last week and will still be this week. I just want to wave my hands over the computer and chant FIX YOURSELVES! (In case you’re wondering: doesn’t work.)

    But I’m glad you’re making such headway in the story. I’m really curious about it (LOVE the excerpt you posted). And when it’s time for betas, you know who’d be super interested? 🙂 Me.

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Maybe if I use a wand as I chant those magic words? 🙂

      Revisions are HARD, but I like them so much more than drafting. Drafting makes me feel so… incompetent. And thank you a million times for your offer to beta! I’ll definitely take you up on that when the time comes. You’re the best, Trace!

  16. Alexa says:

    Great photos, I’m so glad you’re enjoying D.C!

    My first drafts are always messy too, I’m trying to plan this new one out before I start writing, gives me an excuse not to start writing too, I always find beginning the hardest part!

    Good luck with your goals this week, I’m so impressed you got so much done during the move.

      • Katy Upperman says:

        Oh, I see about your link… I have no idea how to fix it either, but no worries! I think it’ll be fine. Your name is visible in the link, and that’s all that’s important. 🙂

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks, Alexa! Beginnings are hard. Hopefully all of your pre-planning will benefit you down the line. And I keep telling myself… Messy first drafts are okay! Have a wonderful week, lady!

  17. Kitty says:

    Aw, I’m sorry you feel like your WiP is a disaster! I’m sure you’ll find a way through. I’m sending you good vibes. The excerpt is just wonderful! I’m glad you got a chance to get out and explore. I visited DC on an 8th grade trip – so, back in the dinosaur age. 🙂 I really hope to go again!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks for the good vibes, Kitty. I’m afraid I really need them! Hope you’re able to make it back to DC one of these days, too, and happy writing this week!

  18. Alicia says:

    My first drafts are terrible. I leave huge notes to self for things to research. Once I even left a note like “he does something that gets her mad. it goes downhill from there.” By the time I get to revising, I have no idea what I was going for initially. Just remember that first drafts are supposed to be crap. Anne Lamont says so.

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I leave myself notes like that too! “Something exciting happens here.” “Game-changing scene here.” Haha… Isn’t writing fun? Also, I love Anne Lamont for giving writers permission to write crap now and worry about all of the fixing later. Thanks for the encouragement, Alicia, and have an awesome writing week!

  19. Carrie (@carriekpstyping) says:

    Wowza you had an awesome week! Haha I have just come to the same conclusion about my draft but I think it’s working FOR me because now I am really feeling free to just write crap and leave notes like “MAKE THIS BETTER OBVIOUSLY” but at least I’m getting something down to change later 🙂 Good luck with your goals this week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I leave myself revision notes like that, too. In fact, I’m too lazy to think of a name for the town my story’s set in, so I’m literally just calling it TOWN throughout the doc. Must. Fix. Later! 🙂 Thanks for the commiseration, Carrie. Hope you’re able to get tons done this week!

  20. Courtney Leigh says:

    Niiiiiiice work this week. And shoot. I didn’t even realize Jennifer Mathieu had a new book out. THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE has been on my TBR pile for a while now. I gotta get busy!

    Good luck this week and please keep sharing pics of all your amazing adventures!!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE is amazing, Courtney. I think I like it just slightly better than DEVOTED, though DEVOTED is a very different book and fascinating in its own right. Jennifer Mathieu is definitely a must-buy author for me now. Hope you get to read her soon! Have an awesome week, lady!

  21. mandiebaxter says:

    You have a basement?! WHAT?! I’ve seen one in real life in my entire life. Haha.
    Oh….what’s this non-contemp Ya book?! Loved the little scene. I want a look at this.

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