Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | July 11, 2016

RoW80 Check-in Ahead and Behind

Illumination from Morgan Library MS 775

Illumination from Morgan Library MS 775

It continued to be a crazy week, but that is starting to feel normal. DH and I spent yesterday planting flowers in the brick planter by the front door, and in a couple of concrete urns in the back yard, as well as putting up some hanging baskets.  It helped greatly to make it feel more like home.

Settling into the house is taking a fair amount of time and energy, but it feels good.  I have been keeping up with some of the writing I planned to do, but not all.  I plan to work more on it this week, and have some inter-library loan books awaiting me tomorrow. I realize several of you have more than five projects going at one time, but I encourage you to check out Pacemaker (  I really like it.

I spent five hours on the train to and from New York City on Friday, and despite best intentions to be productive, I slept most of the trip.  I can only accept that I must have needed the sleep.

So far, I have rather spotty progress on my goals, but I’m settling into the rhythm, and am not terribly worried yet. I am behind on my fiction, which should be at 960 words, and is at 0.  I have thought about it every day, teasing apart some of the conflict to see if it is strong enough. I wish the book could be delivered like the one in the illumination above, but I haven’t figured out how to tap into that delivery service.

I am ahead on my blog posts, since I am at 2,198 words, and am supposed to be at 1,250. I am behind on my article, which is supposed to be at 385, and is at 0, but I can catch up tonight and tomorrow.  I have read through what I have written, and targeted some holes in the argument.

I have some doctors’ appointments to make pursuant to the doctor’s visit I had Friday, and must call tomorrow.

Check out the goals of other ROWers, which you can find here. If you’re interested in joining ROW80 challenge, the FAQ will give you all the details. Feel free to jump in anytime.

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Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | July 6, 2016

Round Three Goals


*I try to slip into the back row of the room, hoping no one notices that I am late for the Round.*

Kait offered quite the challenge on Monday, bundled with a “geek’s delight” tool, for which I fell completely. If you’re interested in the tool, it’s here. Kait’s post made me think on the slow but sure progress I managed for several weeks in June, and how much it cheered me.

So I have put together three projects on Pacemaker. Feel free to question this tortoise’s sanity. The first is 15,000 words of fiction, which is roughly 192 words a day.  The second is 250 words a day of blog posts, hoping to resurrect my rather moribund blogs. The third is 6,000 words on a journal article, which is about 77 words a day.  I really enjoyed the research and the subject of this article, but it just well, dropped off the radar.

I have some life goals as well, which are still rather amorphous–get in better health, continue to organize the new house (it is day 5), but I will add those as they begin to hold a shape and be measurable.

Check out the goals of other ROWers, which you can find here. If you’re interested in joining the ROW80 challenge, the FAQ will give you all the details. Feel free to jump in anytime.

smaller EM

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | June 16, 2016

What? Yesterday was Wednesday?


As the lateness of this post attests, things have been crazy lately. I have to be content with baby steps right now.  I am writing every day, even if some days it is only a handful of sentences.  I am continuing to discard, pack, and plan for the move, in the face of having to travel for several days next week.  I have donned my hiking boots to scale the mountain that lies between today and two weeks from today when the trip will be done, the old place will be empty and the new place will be festooned with boxes and possibilities.  Until then, I can only plead sleep deprivation and stress have robbed me of any interesting developments to offer my readers.  All my words are going into my writing, it seems, so here is a small offering.

WIPpet Wednesday

I have 12 sentences for this snippet, 6+(1+5)=12. It follows right after the snippet from last Wednesday.

I shook off the worst of the disappointment—I could cry in my beer later.  “I needed an honest answer, and I got one; I can’t complain.”

She put her hand on my cheek, turning my face to hers, as I had done to her earlier.  “I do love you, Johnny, I just . . .” her voice died away.

“It’s okay, really.  Let’s not spoil the evening.”  I pulled her into my arms, burying my face in her hair, breathing the scent of her, praying that she wouldn’t disappear.  I didn’t regret asking; I couldn’t have spent another hour with Helen without asking. “I won’t badger you about it, I promise,”  I said, although I wasn’t sure I could bear to ask her again.

Helen pulled away just enough to reach up to kiss me; she had no idea what she was doing to me, but I was amazed that my heart didn’t explode or just stop. I had grown up among people who lived hard lives, and romance did not prosper among such arid conditions.  Yes, there was love, but it was hard-won, worn smooth by adversity.

Want to read other works-in-progress?  Want to share snippets of your work?  WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Witt here  Check out the other offerings here, or add your own.

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Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | June 12, 2016

RoW80 Better Than Expected

How is it Sunday already??  I will amend the adage of “Time flies when you’re having fun,” because I’m not having fun, but it’s flying anyway.  Several good things have been happening, to be honest, though.  My prediction that the rental house I’m inhabiting (and was told to keep ready to show against my inclination) is massively overpriced is proving true.  It has been on the market a week tomorrow, and only one person has wanted to see it. Even if interest picks up, I am holding to my insistence that there will be boxes everywhere.

Also, packing is going pretty well.  There is rampant grouchiness among the denizens of Testosterone Palace, but it is understandable.  Husband and I have to go to a conference for several days the third week of June, returning one day before the putative closing, so everything has to be packed beforehand.  That means we all have to live out of suitcases sooner than we wish, and for longer than we would like; even worse, our sons don’t get to go anywhere to enjoy the inconvenience.

As for writing, it goes well, too.  I’m a JuNoWriMo rebel, and had planned only 5K for the month, because of the craziness of life.  I’m at 3551 at the moment, which makes me very happy, as long as I don’t fall into the trap of comparing word counts. I can easily get depressed if I let myself, so I have to make sure I concentrate on the positive. Also, I’ve had to do a lot of editing this past week, which makes me think that I should just be an editor, and not a writer.  I have to remind myself that I can do both.

Please go encourage the other RoWers, who are entering the last couple of weeks of the challenge, here.  What is RoW80, you ask?  It is an accountability group, with flexible goals and good companions.  If you’re interested, check it out here.

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Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | June 8, 2016

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday Still Writing

Where the magic happens

Writing Desk


It is Wednesday, and therefore time for a RoW80 update. Life continues to be crazy, but also provides an object lesson.  For years, I would have said that a crazy time like now would make it impossible for me to write–clearly I had too much on my plate.  This year, after being reminded by this post, I realized that I chose all sorts of tasks in the past that made excuses for my not writing, when  I could have chosen writing.  Am I perfect and writing 10K a day?  Far from it, but I am writing at least 5 days out of 7, slowly and in little pieces, keeping the well primed.  I can also recommend inner dialogues with one’s characters while packing dishes, clearly a task from some lower circle of hell.

There are a few blog posts in that paragraph, but I will write those a bit later. Please go encourage the other RoWers, who are sliding into the home stretch here.  What is RoW80, you ask?  It is an accountability group, with flexible goals and good companions.  If you’re interested, check it out here.

WIPpet Wednesday

My contribution to WIPpet Wednesday follows immediately after last week’s cliffhanger.  Yes, I was evil. My math is 6+8=14, so 14 sentences.

“That I’m falling in love with you.”

Over the pounding of my heartbeat in my ears, I said, “I loved you before you even looked my way.  Marry me.”  Those last two words were unexpected, but now that I heard them, I would never take them back. Helen’s face stilled. Her body froze.  I prepared myself for her rejection and perhaps even her anger.

“I don’t know.  Let me think about it.”

Well, she hadn’t handed me my head, but the axe had certainly nicked me.  Even while telling myself that she hadn’t gotten mad, or turned me down flat, I felt my heart shrink from the hurt.  I couldn’t hide my disappointment from her, either. It mattered too damn much.

Helen smiled wistfully,  saying softly,  “I’m sorry. “

Want to read other works-in-progress?  Want to share snippets of your work?  WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Witt here. Check out the other offerings, or add your own.

smaller EM


Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | June 5, 2016

RoW80 June arrives

My father holding me, with my sister beside him


Yesterday was my father’s birthday, so the above picture of him holding an unhappy me early in my life is in his honor. The house in the background is one where I lived for only the first eight weeks of my life, so I know I am younger than that age.  My sister, who is peeking into the frame, is four years older than I, and a daddy’s girl, so it is not surprising to see her in the picture. She was never far from him. This year is the first that my sister will celebrate her birthday later this week without him, without the joint celebration my father and she enjoyed with birthdays only four days apart.

Since I have finished with the course I had to take for work, I may be able to fit some writing on the memoir into the month of June.  My World War II novella has a better framework, as do the scholarly articles calling out for attention, but the memoir may offer some salve to the losses of the past few years.

Yesterday was filled with words and stories, not all written down or tied to a certain piece, but I’m comfortable with that. I managed to make my word count for JuNoWriMo, but not easily or early. Sometimes the words need to fling themselves into the void, and perish in the effort, but they create paths for the next venture.  Words, even those tossed aside, are not wasted.

I also spent most of yesterday cleaning so that the property manager can take pictures of the house. I tend to scrub harder when I am perturbed, so everything is quite clean. 🙂

I’m off to write more words.  Have a lovely day, and please go encourage the other RoWers here.

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Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | June 1, 2016

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday Plodding

Honestly, I don’t have a lot to update in RoW80.  I’m plodding along in the writing, and actually signed up as a JuNoWriMo rebel.  I have a couple of scholarly articles I want to work on, as well as this rebel piece, so I don’t want to go down in flames. I’m not complaining, trust me.  I am delighted that the words are still coming and the characters still talking to me.

I am steadfastly working to pull back from the day job.  I have the bad habit of working through lunch and breaks, but want that to stop. I did have Monday off, and got most of the china packed–an impressively intricate and slow job!

Please go encourage the rest of the RoWers here.

And for WIPpet Wednesday:

My last two snippets have been from the point of view of my female protagonist, but this is from the male POV.  There are 7 short paragraphs (6+1) of dialogue between the main characters, a very few dates after the earlier snippets:

“You haven’t said much of anything about what you want to do with your life,” I said.

“Oh, I haven’t thought about it very much.  I suppose the usual, husband and family.”  

Suddenly, she began to shiver uncontrollably.  I thought she might be cold, even though it was rather mild, so I gathered her into my arms, but only close enough to warm her.

“I’m not cold,” Helen muttered into my chest, so I let her pull away.  

“But you’re shaking.”  She wouldn’t look at me, staring at the ground, or down the street, anywhere but at me.  All of a sudden, I realized she was scared, and said so.

“Yes, I am.”  She still would not look at me.

“Of what?”  I tipped her face up with a finger so that she had to look at me.  I was searching her face, her eyes, trying to read her expression.  The understanding hit me the second before she said it.

WIPpet Wednesday is curated by Emily Witt at Keyboard and an Open Mind. If you’d like to contribute, or want to read other offerings, they are here.

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Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | May 29, 2016

RoW80 Check-in Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and I want to thank everyone who has served in the military, and to remember all those whose service cost them their lives.  Both my husband and I have many family members in the services, including my nephew who is in Afghanistan right now.  My father, my brother, my brother-in-law served in the past; my niece, my nephew, and his wife, are currently serving in the military.  Thank you all.

The last few days have been busy, in an unsurprising way. I am finishing up an eight-week course that I just despised.  I figured that I would have known some of what would be in the course, but as it happened, I learned nothing new.  Nothing from my 40+ hours of work over the past eight weeks.  I’m terribly disappointed.  Oh well.

The packing continues apace–the property manager for the rental came over to fix the dining room ceiling, which was badly patched from the leak earlier this year. He reiterated that we need to get the boxes out of the house for it to be shown.  I suppose it is good that I am not the person dealing with this situation, because my husband can be more polite than I would be. (He’s of German heritage, while I reveal my Irish heritage often). I can only partially blame the incredibly hot weather that is visiting the Capital District this week, and the lack of air-conditioning.  Sigh.

There are several positive things about the past few days.  We went through some stored clothing, and gave away four large trash bags full. I have continued my flurry of cleaning my work files and filing things I have to keep, with a result of emptying three drawers of a five-drawer filing cabinet.

Even more exciting is that I am continuing to write in the tiny spaces of time that I have in my day.  I will have several more hours available now that the course is over, and I plan to spend at least part of it writing. Since my current WIP is set in World War II, it is only right that I spend part of Memorial Day writing it.

I hope everyone finds time to write today and tomorrow.  Please go encourage the rest of the RoWers here.

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Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | May 25, 2016

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday I’m writing!


There’s not a lot to report on my goals these past few days.  I have dived face first into getting rid of stuff in my cube at work, which is immensely satisfying and mindclearing, but it wasn’t on my goals.  That’s okay, since it will help with goals in the future.

The packing has slowed slightly, because we have filled up the garage and our smallish storage space with boxes and things we want to sell or give away.  We are borrowing a garage from a neighborhood friend which will be available this weekend, so we should gear up again for that.

I have two assignments and two quizzes left on my course, so I will be shut of that soon as well.  Then I can turn my attention to my non-fiction project again, which will be good. My World War II story goes apace, so that in surprising succession, I have yet another offering for WIPpet Wednesday.  

This is 12 sentences (5+2+5 for the month and the date), following a few sentences after my American has asked his English dance partner to take the air outside:

And we talked—my word, we talked for hours.  We talked about music and books, life and dreams.  Something about him made me feel so comfortable that I found myself telling him about my life,  even my adoption, although my parents had been completely wonderful to me.  Even though I noticed my friends calling out good-night, and asking if I was okay if they left, before I knew it the sky was streaked with the coming dawn. Johnny,  Lieutenant John Malone, of the Eighth Air Force, that is (‘but my friends call me Johnny”) walked me to my car.  I was hoping for a kiss, naughty me!  And I got one—and what a kiss. Except for the hand cupping my face and those lips on mine, he was a perfect gentleman, barely pressing against me, but warmth poured through me as though we kissed passionately, and had before, had shared even more intimate moments. That feeling threw me so completely that when he broke off the kiss, I felt faint, and he wrapped his arms around me so that I wouldn’t fall.  Me, sturdy me!  I laughed off my embarrassment while he dug in his pockets for something to write my name and address on.  He ripped the paper in half so I could take his name with me—not that I needed it.  After repeated attempts to part from one another, and a promise to meet him again in two days, I drove off.  He stood in the road looking after me, which made my heart beat a little faster, as did the fact that I was driving all over the road, watching him in the mirror.

I will leave you with the link to the rest of the RoWers. Here is the link to WIPpet Wednesday, as well.
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Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | May 22, 2016

RoW80 Checkin Spring Cleaning

It has been a busy few days since last Wednesday.  I found out that the president of the university approved my tenure, so I am not completely crazy to have bought a house.  We had a break from packing for (wait for it) cleaning!  I suppose I had let spring cleaning go this year, but it is finally nice out and I’ve opened all the windows while I scrub counters and walls and get cobwebs out of corners. I decided the idea of the house looking staged was not my problem, so I took down and carefully packed all our framed pictures.  Now at almost the close of the weekend, we can manage to make the place look neat with a few hours notice.

As for goals, my writing has been slow this past week.  I had to catch up on a course for work that is, well, just awful.  It ends this week, thankfully, with a group project, not so thankfully. I did spend a massive amount of time decluttering my cubicle at work this past week.  I noticed that someone had come into my cube to look at the nice writing notebooks I had on my desk, which weirded me out a bit.  I therefore decided that I had to have a desk where people who want to snoop at least have to put things back.  I had locked away all sensitive personnel stuff, but it still bothers me that someone was going through my personal stuff I had left out.

Part of the decluttering uncovered my notes from when I gave a talk about my non-fiction project in 2014, especially pictures of the illuminations I spoke about. I was very happy to find them, even though I have some cryptic notes from people talking to me after the paper that I can’t quite decipher. My mother had passed away two weeks earlier, so I didn’t give  a great presentation or take great notes of what people said afterwards.

Also on the plus side, I have gotten back into my World War II story.  My war bride wouldn’t talk to  me for almost a year, but she decided to confide in me, and hasn’t stopped talking since, not that I’m complaining.

Well, the packing is calling to me again, so I will leave you with the link to the rest of the RoWers. Give them a visit and some encouragement–we are in the middle of the Round, and determination often fails at this point.

smaller EM

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