RSW – Update 11


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.


This is the last week of Ready. Set. Write! Next Monday, August 31st, we’ll be posting our wrap-ups. Seriously, how has this summer flown by so quickly?!

August 31st is also the date of our first ever Manuscripts and Manicures event. We’ll be painting our nails in a way that reflects our current WiPs, then posting a photo of our manicures, as well as anything else we want to share about the stories we’ve spent all summer working on, like a blurb or excerpt. So, get inspired, get painting, and enjoy this final week of Ready. Set. Write! 

In other news… Big congrats to Alicia Gregoire, lucky winner of last week’s Ready. Set. Write! prize package! I’ll be in touch for your contact info, Alicia!

1.  How I did on last week’s goals.

1.1a.  Draft at least 30K words in my new WiP by summer’s end. –> Success!
1b. Revise The Road So Far. –> Success!

No recent progress on my new WiP, but I did incorporate the beta notes I’ve received into The Road So Far. Sent the manuscript off to my agent last night. Cue anxious waiting…

2. Read 12 books by summer’s end. –> Success! I finished my twelfth book of the summer, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

3. Get stronger. –> In progress. I elliptical-ed once and practiced yoga four times. I love yoga, y’all. I’m starting to notice tiny muscles in my arms and shoulders — yes!

4. Explore a new place each week. –> Success! We visited downtown Manassas, Virginia, as well as the sight of the Battle of Bull Run (AKA the Battle of Manassas). I’ve got plenty of gripes about living in this part of the country, but I do love that there are tons of (often free) things to do. Plus, there’s lots of history, and the landscapes are gorgeous.

My girlie and I also went back-to-school shopping. Below is a photo of her, lamenting one of the super cute outfits I picked out. All she wanted was graphic cat t-shirts and leopard print leggings. Isn’t parenting fun? 😉

5. Cross at least two items off my Thirty Before 35 list. –> Success! I’m still working on #17 as I draft my WiP, but I’ve planted my herb garden and completed my 500 piece puzzle.

2.  My goal(s) for this week.

Add words to my (somewhat abandoned) WiP. Read Miranda Kenneally’s Jesse’s Girl. Keep up my exercise routine. Lots of family time.

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

“It’s a California Historical Landmark,” Callie says after a sip of coffee. “It’s a good thing we stopped in Crescent City, guys. Lighthouses are good omens.”

Drew snorts. “Says who?”

“Says me. Their whole purpose is to guide sailors to safety.” She looks to me for confirmation, and I nod with exaggerated devotion.

Drew laughs. “Tuck, you’ll say the sky’s green if she tells you to.”

I shrug. “Maybe it is.”

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

Doing the REAL work on The Road So Far. I had no problem addressing the easy-to-execute notes from my betas, but I dragged my feet big time when it came to the down-and-dirty stuff. Revisions are rough!

5.  Something I love about my WiP.

Over the last couple of months, I revised a sequel into a stand-alone novel. It was hard. I’m proud of what I accomplished.

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


36 thoughts on “RSW – Update 11

  1. Alicia says:

    i know I’ve said it before, but I’m in awe of how much you’ve managed to do this summer. And I’d be super proud of switching a sequel into a stand alone too. That must have been so, SO hard.

    Good luck this week, Katy!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      It *was* hard! But it was a good challenge, and to be honest, I wrote that sequel with the reality that the first book might not sell in the back of my mind, so I’ve been thinking about how to revise it for a good year. Anyway, thanks so much for your kind words and support this summer, Alicia! Good luck during this last week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I hope she loves it! She was on-board with the original version, so I have high hopes. 🙂 Thanks so much for all of your help and support this summer, Liz. Hope you have a wonderful last week of RSW!

  2. Tonja Drecker says:

    Yay to getting the MS done and off to your agent! Here’s hoping she’ll love it. Love your daughter’s outfit. I’ve given up on helping my oldest and just mention when something is a little too out there (she’s 16). But the youngest is fun-she loves anything frilly and glittery. Good luck this last week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks so much, Tonja! Kiddos are fun to shop with when they’re in to all of the bright and sparkly things. I have to dial my daughter’s love of all things gaudy back a little sometimes. Love her sense of style, though! Have a great final week, Tonja!

  3. leandrajwallace says:

    Haha, I love the look on her face, like ‘MOM!’ B/c of course you don’t have good fashion sense, you’re old. 😉 I love to visit historical sites, I wish we had some more major ones in our area. (though that would prolly mean lots of ppl had died, so maybe I shouldn’t wish that…) And lovely puzzle!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Ha — right? I’m just a nerdy old mom without a clue. 😉 You’d get along famously in our family if you like visiting historical sites. We do it all. The. Time. We tease my husband because he’s so into learning ALL of the details, but it’s actually pretty great. Hope you have a wonderful final week of RSW, Leandra!

  4. Jennifer Pickrell says:

    I have JESSE’S GIRL on my list to read, too.

    “All she wanted was graphic cat t-shirts and leopard print leggings.” Sounds like a perfect outfit 😉

    Hope you and your girl have a fun week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      My girlie looks pretty cute in all of her kitty clothes. 🙂 Jesse’s Girl is awesome so far — hope you get to read it soon. Have a great last week of RSW, Jennifer!

  5. Carrie-Anne says:

    I’ve wanted to visit all the Civil War sights since I got into that era when I was about eight years old. It’s kind of surprising how that’s one of my favorite historical eras, and yet I’ve never visited any battlefields, former plantations, or anything.

    I can imagine my maternal grandma having bought me cat shirts and leopard leggings, since she let me buy some clothes my mother was horrified at the summer before 8th grade. My grandma was very hurt when my mother made her return some of those clothes, like a red top which was extremely tight and called attention to my larger than average chest.

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I hope you get a chance to visit some Civil War sites one of these days, Carrie-Ann. There are so many around here, and they’re pretty impressive. Well kept and moving and beautiful. Hope you have an awesome last week of RSW, Carrie-Ann!

  6. Alison Miller says:

    I MUST HAVE THAT PUZZLE! Also, yay for all the sight-seeing! I hope you have a lot of fun in the next few days and are able to enjoy the rest of the summer. Mine is over. 😦 Why do all good things have to come to an end?

    Also, so many congrats on finishing your revision! I still do want to check out the new version so feel free to send it my way anytime. Have a great week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I’ve been thinking of you and your concluded summer — sorry, lady! I’m starting to dread the end of our summer, but the silver-lining is MUCH more writing time. Now that (after years of friendship!) we’re finally on the same coast and in the same time zone, we’ll have to have morning writing dates on weekdays. I need all of the accountability I can get! Thanks for another awesome summer of RSW. Have a fantastic final week!

  7. literallyalice says:

    I can’t believe how fast summer has flown by! You’ve been doing great on your goals, and I love seeing your weekend adventures every week. 🙂 Hope to join in on the manicures! Good luck with your goals this week.

    (Oh and congrats on crossing 2 30 before 35 items off your list!)

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I hope you get to join in on the manicures, too, Alice! I’m still ironing out what I’m going to do, but I think I’ve got some cute ideas. 🙂 Enjoy this final week!

  8. Stephanie Scott says:

    Nice on your summer reading and other goals! I so get the anxious waiting. There is so much of that waiting even after getting an agent, or a publisher.

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Oh, Stephanie. I have been SO anxious lately. My head knows there’s no point in stressing, but man. It’s hard to just chill out. Here’s hoping for good news for both of us soon! Have a great week, lady!

  9. crystalschubert says:

    You SHOULD be proud of all you accomplished! Yay! And I hear you about gripes with where you live. Virginia’s def not my favorite place, but it has a lot going for it all the same! I really need a constant reminder that this place is not all bad, haha… My husband gets sick of my complaints. Anyway, good luck with your goals this week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      VA does have a lot going for it, and I’ve mostly enjoyed living here so far. I am DREADING winter, though. I’m so not a snow person! I try to keep the complaining to a dull roar, too. Maybe we should be venting to each other. 🙂 Have a great final week of RSW, Crystal!

  10. Erin Funk says:

    Your excerpts always sounds so natural, Katy. Even these small glimpses I’ve seen of your characters over the summer make them seem real. That’s tough to achieve, but this snippet of dialogue definitely does it. Love it!

    That puzzle and your daughter’s outfit are both so cute! I have trouble getting my son to wear anything that doesn’t have a sports logo on it, so I hear you on the clothing issue.

    Enjoy the last week of RSW! Hope you get some positive feedback on your ms from your agent!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I hear boys are easy to dress than girls, Erin, but I suspect they come with their own wonderful challenges. 😉 Thank you so much for your kind words about my excerpt. High praise from you, because your excerpts are always so beautifully written. It’s been another awesome summer of hosting RSW with you. Hope you have a fantastic final week!

  11. cuzwewrite says:

    You are so great at all things “adulting” from taking care of your daughter to making sure that you make time to relax and do things with the whole fam, we just admire you so! Also, you go to the see the sight of the Battle of Bull Run/Manassas! How amazing! We’ve lived in VA pretty much our entire lives and have never taken advantage of all the things here–shame on us. Good job with your goals this past week & good luck (like you need it- pashaw!) and your upcoming goals 🙂

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Aww, thank you, girls! I’m actually pretty terrible at adulting. I just fake it well. 😉 We’ll have to chat about where, exactly, you girls are. Maybe we’ll be able to meet up for coffee/food/drinks/writing talk one of these days. How fun would that be?! Hope you have a wonderful final week of RSW!

  12. Kitty says:

    I can so totally relate to your back-to-school shopping experience! Ugh. And my youngest will soon be 13 and then I will have TWO TEENAGE GIRLS in my house!! Send help! And wine.

  13. kaitlinbartlett says:

    Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished this summer, Katy! Your sequel-to-standalone sounds SO challenging, and I’m sure you pulled it off well. 🙂

    Also, I’ve just gotten back into yoga after a couple years away and I’m WAY obsessed. Anything that helps me touch my toes, I’m bound to love! Although crow pose is my current nemesis…can’t seem to get there yet!

    Have a great week!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      I *hope* I pulled that revision off, Kaitlin. Somedays I feel really great about it, and some days I freak out about how maybe there was something more I could have done. It’s so hard not to open that document up and continue nit-picking. And oh, my gosh — crow pose is my nemesis, too! It’s actually one of my Thirty Before 35 goals, so I need to start working on it every day. This video (especially the standing on a block part) has really helped me, though: Anyway, hope you have a fantastic final week of RSW, Kaitlin!

      • kaitlinbartlett says:

        Thanks for the crow pose video, Katy! Here’s hoping it gets easier for both of us. 🙂 And I totally understand the urge to keep nit-picking…it’s so hard to know when to stop revising. We’re all perfectionists, us writer folk! 😉

  14. Rachel says:

    That puzzle is so great, Katy. I am impressed you put it together. Also C has the classic “Mooooooom” face on. For the record, I’d wear that outfit. 😉 I’m so impressed with your goals this summer – you do so much in 3 months, especially turning a sequel in a standalone, WOW!!! (Speaking of Wow, I actually updated my blog today? I know I know)

    Good luck completing your weekly goals. Let me know how Jesse’s Girl is!

  15. Erin Zarro says:

    Congrats on your awesome progress!!!

    Revisions, I believe, are the hardest part of writing. Drafting to me is like flying, but then I hit the ground in revisions. But, necessary. 😉

    Loved your snippet!

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