How to UP Your Word Count and Write Like a Boss! (Part 1)

Ingrid's Notes

Guest post by Sheryl Scarborough


I just finished the first draft of a new novel… my third.

I wrote it fast, with a vengeance.

280 pages, 63k words, 10 weeks. BAM!

That’s Wham, bam, thank you ma’am speed. Finishing this novel so quickly has restored my writer power. I’m excited and enthused, ready to roll up my sleeves and settle in for the revision stage. But looking back I’m a little amazed at my accomplishment. So, before my process becomes a hazy memory I want to document it and understand it, so I can do again. (And again… and… well, you get the idea.)

But before I get into my process, let’s take a look at how the Big Dog (and even some little dog) authors muscle through their drafts. You’ll find this interesting.

Sheryl_HemingwayErnest Hemingway… averaged 500 words per day.

… would begin his writing day in the early…

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My 2-Year-Old Judges Books By Their Covers

101 Books

My son will be 3 years old in June, and I love the fact that he’s into reading. A day usually doesn’t go by without him asking me or his mom to sit down and read a book with him.

During all those reading sessions, I’ve learned that he’s an imaginative little guy.

So I decided to put that imagination to use and see what he thinks about the books I read, not just the books about Elmo and Thomas The Train and Lightning McQueen.

So I grabbed a bunch of classic books, got him to sit in my lap, showed him the cover of each book, and then asked him one question: “What do you think this book is about?”

He took it from there:

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The Trees That Held Up Our Neighborhood

Monday Blogs


Flash Fiction

The Trees That Held Up Our Neighborhood


So, imagine if you will, set far off from the road, a light-mossy-green painted house with a wrap around porch, a swing on one end, and on the other two Great Oaks. In between these oaks was the best treehouse anyone could imagine painted the same mossy-green as the house. You had to climb high on a ladder and crawl through a hole and you had yourself a treehouse. There were no walls on the treehouse. There weren’t any windows and absolutely no roof but that didn’t matter to me. Camping out there and seeing the stars above my head was the best place to be.

But those two Great Oaks weren’t the best climbing trees, they had grown in that ground for so long there were no limbs to be reached. No, the best climbing tree was in the neighbor’s yard across the street. It grew to be climbed and climbed it we did. We felt like giants. But my mother said I couldn’t go in their yard unless they were home. She said it was not okay because that would be trespassing. In my mind, I understood the “tres” to be the front of the house. Why? I truly do not know. I imagine that’s just the way my mind worked at that age.

There was a lady in our neighborhood who sprayed her hose on every kid on the block who stepped in her yard, even if they fell off their bikes and just landed in her yard. But she didn’t spray me for some reason. I think it was because she and my Grandma were friends. Or maybe I told her while on her front lawn about the “tres”of her house and she took pity on me. Didn’t want to do more damage than was already done!

Back at our yard, behind the treehouse was the part of the yard that no one in my family used—except me. Yes, you are right, it was my secret garden, so to speak. The bricks that were laid long ago to separate neighbor from neighbor were overrun with ivy and on that ivy was my very favorite flower—honeysuckle. I loved that flower. I sat with my back against the ivy and smelled their scent and if a bee came by why I just stood still and it didn’t bother me. It was probably just as happy as I was to be hidden in those honeysuckles.

There was a man who lived in that great house before us that worked at the city Botanical Garden cutting bulbs for tulips and gluing them back together. Imagine that! But each time he did, he brought a glued bulb or two home in his pocket and then planted it in my special garden. If I was chasing after our dachshund, Gus or Gump, our St. Bernard was chasing after me, I always found deep red bottomed tulips with white tops or orange and yellow striped ones. It was like an Easter hunt, but the treats were laid for me a long, long time ago. I’d stop and look at them if Gus and I were playing and think they just grew for me. If Gump and I were playing, well I didn’t have time to stop! But I loved all of them tulips as if I was the only one to see them. And I guess I was!


I just saw a flash  fiction request by the lovely Ellen Mulholland (@thisgirlclimbstrees) and thought I would join in. The WordPress site (http://www.thepointofthequill.com) is taking up so much time trying to fend off hackers with my knife and sword, it gets daunting.






tulips  botanical garden



heart free photo from shutterstock_97614038The people in our lives that our there tangentially, during the times of difficulty become a part of us that never leaves our true nature as they have helped to strengthen us. In all cases, they our closer to our heart and soul than words can say. In the case of loves, that bond is so much stronger. The old saying that youth is wasted on the young applies as we don’t know what gem we held until we see the breadth of humanity; or lack thereof. Regrets are natural, but I prefer to look at the great wonder that brought them into our lives, the fun and special times we had together, and the lessons that they taught me. I see that as one of your strong suits as well in your writing. Even when writing of others, it is amazing how much of ‘us’ seeps through. The beauty of the art if you write from the heart

From one writer to another.

Image: Shutterstock


Keep Calm, Carry On and Don’t Look Back, for Long

Minute Hand on Clock

I was reading today a beautiful piece of writing sent to me in Brad Listi’s latest newsletter. If you haven’t yet acquainted yourself with The Nervous Breakdown, it’s a crying shame.

It reminded me of my first true love. A man with a red corvette, curly brown hair and a heart of pure gold. We lived a long-distance relationship throughout our college years. Many trips from either of our college towns down the nine-hour drive to a large southern city populated with either Limos or Toyota Corollas and, for a few weeks a year, one red corvette and two people in love.

During our summer breaks, I spent many a day or evening at his college-town apartment; until 11 pm or 3 am-if we fell asleep in each others arms. He was the quiet shield from the beatings at home of one parent or the crass treatment by a step-mother that only wanted me gone;. She got her wish; mine were not granted. Truth is slayed by hatred so often.

He has a family now and that door has been shut to me long ago Though, for a minute, I allow myself to wonder what our life would have been like to entwine into each others limbs as the evening turned into night and we grew closer through the years.  What would our baby we lost to miscarriage have looked like? His chin, my ears, his feet, my hands. The minute has ended and I must deal with the truth of today and count my blessings. My friends, my faith, the strength I have to fight each minute of pain. Nothing would stop me from working before, nothing will stop me from working through this dying disease today.

The minute has passed and I must deal with today. I count my blessings and move through the pain. Happy that it is in my bones but not my heart. That pain would be too much to bear.Those questions I also look at askance. Lot’s wife taught us not to look backward  No matter how much it hurts to move forward in this body, at least it is moving ahead.

Regrets? Yes, many. But I only acknowledge them peeping at me from the corner of my eyes. There is no point at looking them straight on. I must gather my strength and keep my faith for the current fight; alone, with this disease and its unending pain.

Count your blessings and be happy for what you have. Be happy in your heart for who you have become and, whatever war you face today; keep strong and carry on.