Ready. Set. Write! 2015 Wrap-Up


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.

*** Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for RSW this year. It’s been an incredible summer, and I’ve had so much fun following along with your progress and celebrating your successes. Thanks to my fellow hosts, too, who’ve been a constant source of support and encouragement. ❤ ***

How I did on this summer’s goals…

1a.  Draft at least 30K words in my new WiP by summer’s end.

Success! My new WiP’s sitting pretty at 30,619. I plan to finish the first draft during the next few months. (Hopefully.)

1b. Revise The Road So Far.

Success! The Road So Far is currently with my agent.

2. Read 12 books by summer’s end.

Success! I actually read 14: Something Real, The Wrath & the Dawn, Devoted, Emmy & Oliver, The Devil You Know, Saint Anything, A Summer Like No Other, More Happy Than Not, All We Have Is Now, Pretty Baby, Play On, Lord of the Flies, Truth & Temptation, and Jesse’s Girl.

3. Get stronger.

Success! I kept up with my exercise goals all summer. Hoping to do the same through autumn.

4. Explore a new place each week.

Success! Guys, we’ve been all over the place, and seen so many cool things! Highlights: swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, a walk through Savannah, a ghost tour in Charleston, putt-putt golfing in Hilton Head, a tour of downtown DC, a journey around Antietam Battlefield, kayaking in the Occoquan River, a trip to Mount Vernon, a visit to the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian, shopping at the American Girl store, Taylor Swift and Toby Keith concerts, The Beach at the National Building Museum, a visit to the site of the Battle of Bull Run, and most recently, a tour of downtown Philadelphia and a day riding coasters at Hersheypark. So fun!

5. Cross at least two items off my Thirty Before 35 list. 

Success! I planted my herb garden and completed my 500 piece puzzle.

And now… Manuscripts and Manicures

I’ve chosen to focus on The Road So Far for Manuscripts and Manicures, first because it’s done, and second because it’s my favorite. It’s about Tucker, an eighteen-year-old who embarks on a west coast road trip with his girlfriend and two best friends in search of his mother, who’s been missing his whole life.

 Here’s the story’s Pinterest board, if you’re curious. 


And here’s an excerpt…

We fall back onto the highway. Callie pulls the pastries we ordered from their paper bag, tucks a leg under to twist in her seat, then feeds me pieces of croissant and coffee cake.

“You’re the best travel buddy ever,” I tell her between bites.

She smiles. “No, you are.”

I snag her hand and kiss her palm. “Seriously, Cal. You’re my compass.”

We drive on, through flat colorless terrain. The sky’s unobstructed and endless, an electric blue that’s incongruous with the scrubby, monochrome landscape. Puffy clouds drift by. Callie points out shapes: a dragon, an angel, a dolphin, an arrow pointing west, backward.

Not an omen, I tell myself. Not. An. Omen. 

It isn’t long before we’re approaching the Colorado River, marked by a sign with Arizona’s state flag, a golden star surrounded by rays of red and yellow. The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You, it declares. Callie squeezes my hand as we cross the bridge. She looks as anxious as I feel. If ever we’ve had a there’s no going back moment, this is it. We’re driving blind now, into a state none of us has visited, searching for a person who might’ve left years ago. We’re setting ourselves up for disappointment, for failure, and I’m leading the charge with my dumbass flag flapping proudly in the breeze.

And… my manicure! 

IMG_2351Dashed lines like the middle of a road, bright red like stop signs, silver sparkles like snow, and a heart, because romance (of course).

Did you participate in RSW this summer?
Don’t forget to link to your wrap-up below!


41 thoughts on “Ready. Set. Write! 2015 Wrap-Up

  1. Pax Asteriae says:

    Congratulations on meeting all your summer goals. 😀 I love that excerpt, and the final line is fantastic! And you really did manage to pack a lot of visits into your summer, I’m a little jealous you have so much awesome stuff in visiting distance… I hope your herb garden behaves itself, and big congratulations on the jigsaw because those things are pains (there’s always one piece that decides to hide…). 😀

    Your nails look just as fantastic, I love the way you tied everything in to your story. All the tiny details work beautifully together… much like your story!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thank you so much, Pax! I had fun thinking about my manicure and trying to pull it off. 🙂 It’s been a blast working with you this summer. Congrats on all you’ve accomplished!

  2. Leandra Wallace says:

    I love your nails!!! The red and grey look great together, and those little dashes are so cute! And I cannot wait to one day read A Road So Far. Congrats on crushing all your goals!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks so much, Leandra! I *hope* you’re able to read ROAD one of these days. *crosses fingers* Thanks so much for joining us for an awesome summer of RSW, and best of luck as we head into fall!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks, Liz! My story is definitely stronger thanks to your feedback. I wouldn’t have been nearly as productive without RSW this summer either. So glad you joined us and got tons done! I can’t wait to read your story!

  3. Rachel says:

    Wow, Katy. I LOVE your excerpt. The voice is so loud and clear and I hope I get to read this book on a shelf one day 🙂 Your nails look great and it sounds like your summer was jam packed. I love Hershey Park – did you and C (and M?) have fun? hope so! xo

    • Katy Upperman says:

      We did have fun at Herseypark! It was a long, crazy day and I felt like an old lady after, but it was awesome. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words about my excerpt, lovely!

  4. Rebecca B says:

    Your summer sounds amazing–you visited some awesome places! And I love your excerpt–such a strong voice. I want to read more!

  5. Courtney Leigh says:

    Freaking love that excerpt! Makes me want to go on endless road trips.

    I just want to let you know how much I appreciate you and RSW. The last two summers have been so amazing for my writing, and I couldn’t have done it without you and the other hosts and RSW. Seriously, please keep doing this if you can because it is THE BEST.

    Congratulations on all the words and all the adventures this summer. I hope you continue the awesome work into the fall! ❤

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Courtney, I’m so happy that you joined us for another round of RSW, and that you were able to get so much done. I agree — summer would be a wash without this intensive and the friends I’ve made through it to keep me on track with my goals. It’s been a blast following along with your writing and celebrating your successes. Best of luck with your writing as we head into autumn! ❤

  6. Alison Miller says:

    I love the nails!!! And the excerpt. And ohmygosh – what DIDN’T you do this summer?! Holy crap you’ve been so many places. Good for you guys. 🙂

    Also, I am so excited you finished your revision and made so much progress on the new one. Hurry up and get back on that, lady! I want to read this summer camp novel SOON.

    Thanks for hosting with me again! Ping me when C goes back to school and you’re writing. I needs all the accountability. 🙂

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Ugh. I *really* need to get back on track with my camp WiP. I’m sort of lost in its messiness, though, and now I’m scared to try to sort it all out. But, YES, as soon as C’s back to school, we’re so having writing dates. Can’t wait! Thanks for another fun summer of RSW, lady!

  7. Carrie-Anne says:

    You’ve had a really productive summer! I wish I’d been able to visit nearly as many places as you did. Good luck with your writing and revising plans this autumn.

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks so much, Carrie-Anne! Congrats on all you’ve accomplished this summer. I’m always so inspired by your amazing word counts! Best of luck with your writing this fall!

  8. Alicia says:

    I know I keep saying this, but I’m in awe of how much you achieved this summer. I love your excerpt and it makes me want to read the whole thing. And I love the symbolism with your maniscure.

    It’s been fantastic to get back “in touch” with you through RSW. Thanks for hosting.

  9. Kitty says:

    Oh my gosh, what an awesome summer you’ve had! It would’ve been enough to make great progress on your WiP but – wow! Look at all the traveling and such. You are an inspiration. 🙂 I love, love, love your excerpt, too. Have a great week, Katy. And thank you so much for hosting RSW!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thank you so much, Kitty! And back atcha! I’ve loved reading your posts and seeing all you’ve accomplished. Pretty incredible! Best of luck with your writing as we head into fall. ❤

  10. Erin Funk says:

    You crammed so many good things into your summer, Katy, and I’ve loved seeing glimpses of them all! I’m impressed with everything you were able to accomplish on your goals between your other activities. And this excerpt–just wow. It’s fabulous and I had to read it over twice. I love the sense that they’re heading out into the unknown together and it totally captures that feeling of anticipation near the beginning of a road trip. I’ve had a great time co-hosting with you again, and I’m looking forward to hearing about your writing progress this fall!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks, Erin! I’m so happy we got to cohost another summer of RSW. I can’t imagine a summer without it anymore. 🙂 I so appreciate your support and encouragement, and I’m rooting for you and your writing as we move into fall. ❤

  11. Jaime Morrow says:

    Awesome excerpt, Katy! I love a good road trip book, and this one sounds fantastic! Your manicure is pretty great as well. 🙂 I’m looking at the list of things you did this summer and thinking: WOW! So many cool places you’ve visited and such great memories you’re making with your girlie.

    It was wonderful co-hosting again with you! Thanks for all the encouragement!

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Ditto, Jaime! Here’s hoping we can still find time to write together this fall. You’ll have to let me know once you settle into your evening writing routine, otherwise I’ll miss our check-ins. Thanks for being a most excellent cohost, again. 🙂

  12. kaitlinbartlett says:

    You’ve accomplished SO MUCH this summer, Katy, wow! 😀 Congrats on accomplishing all your writing/revising/reading goals. And your family has been traveling up a storm…I’ve loved seeing the pictures from all the fun places you’ve visited!

    Thanks again for hosting RSW! It’s been such a fun summer! 🙂

    • Katy Upperman says:

      Thanks, Kaitlin! I’m so happy you joined us again. It’s been an awesome summer, and I’ve loved reading about all you’ve accomplished. Best of luck with your writing this fall! ❤

  13. Erin Zarro says:

    Congrats on all your progress! I loved the snippet. I would love to read the book. It is so intriguing. And your nails are awesome! Very creative and pretty!

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