ROW80

Round One, Week Two — Ups and Downs

Medieval Writing, by Hans Splinter, WANA Commons

Last Wednesday, I didn’t have a lot more than a WIPpet to offer as progress  toward my goals. At least it did get me the two blog posts that I have been trying to achieve for a while, so that was good.  It was also fun to start to investigate a different aspect of a character I’ve been thinking about for a long time. A serendipitous find in a reference work opened up a whole story that has been unwinding itself in a lovely way.

I also took a brief look at some notes I wrote a few months ago about what might be an interesting A-Z blog challenge and thought about some possibilities for some more letters.

With a nudge here and there, I have been writing five sentences a day on fiction. I have been concentrating on the character mentioned above, but I also had a lightning strike about one of my World War II characters as well.

And as my pivot point from ups to downs, I did a decent job disengaging from the day job, although I realized I have to do some work tomorrow, even though it is officially a day off. Sigh.

On Friday, I had to go to New York City for a doctor’s appointment, and had planned to stay overnight to visit some of the bookstores and favorite restaurants. Unfortunately, the escalator to the track level was very slick, and I did a masterful free fall down the entire thing, managing an acrobatic split that I haven’t achieved since I was a teenager. Luckily, my doctor checked me out, and I’ve done nothing more serious than strained the ligaments in my knee, and several back muscles. Who knew I was that athletic? So, the other half and I didn’t make it to the Strand bookstore, but we did find a very nice Italian restaurant just a block away from the hotel.

I have had a pretty quiet day here, not getting the cleaning done that I had planned, but organizing lots of electronic files (some of which I had misplaced for about five years, so that was a victory). I suppose, now that I write it all down, it wasn’t a bad week, well, except for the banged up knee.

ROW80

Round One 2018 Goals

Ready for 2018

 

Happy New Year! In the oddly elastic way time moves, 2017 seems to have flown by and crawled by, depending on where I stood, whether I looked back at the swiftness of time passing, or was waiting for something, the day to end, or a vacation to begin. I no longer have the perception of the long, lazy, weekends and summers that I had as a child, but more often find myself looking back in astonishment at the end of the day, wondering who stole the hours I had planned to sneak into my office to write. At least, I managed to reset my desk to usefulness over the long holiday weekend, and am ready for 2018.

I do not make resolutions, but prefer to find words to live by. My 2017 words served me well, so I will continue to follow them: Contemplate, Plan, Organize. After that, my only hope is to plan and organize to a fare-thee-well, with flexibility and forgiveness. I have learned to seize minutes and increments of hours where I can, to set priorities and to allow myself and my writing to be a priority. I want to return to blogging, after far too long of being totally absent and completely inconsistent. I want to continue working on my fiction as well as to prepare for my large non-fiction summer project; finally, I want to pull back from my day job, which I have allowed to encroach too far into the rest of my life.

The following are my goals for the first round of the Round of Words in 80 days challenge which is described here, if you would like to join in. Please feel free to support the other participants, whose goals are here.

Work toward more consistency in blogging, beginning with one check-in and one other post weekly.

Plan the missing A-Z blog challenge topics and outline the ones already chosen.

Five sentences a day on a piece of fiction.

Disengage from the day job as much as possible, beginning with not checking email after business hours.

 

 

ROW80

Round Four, Check-in 23

Initially, I was looking back at the Round with mixed feelings because I didn’t do as well as I would have liked. However, upon reflection, I did more than I have done in a long time. In this penultimate check-in, I will focus on what I would change for the next Round. I will end on a high note on Wednesday, looking at what I accomplished.

I need to write more often. I know that there are many people who write only every weekend, or only once a month, or whatever. I am not one of those people. For me, writing infrequently is like putting down an uncapped fountain pen for a week. The ink in the nib will have dried into a hard glob, and no ink will flow. The words are stuck and have to be pried through a mesh barrier at great effort, making it too easy for me to put the piece down again to work on later. And later becomes later, and later, and finally never. It doesn’t matter that I won’t use all the words I write; it is the practice of writing, keeping the ink flowing that is important.  I have been reworking some pieces from long ago, and my reaction ranges from “What dreck!” to “Hmm, that phrase isn’t bad.”

In that vein, I need to blog more often. I had a lot of fun rejoining WIPpet Wednesday last week, although I have to admit, I fear not being able to keep up the pace, or to match the quality of the other entries–a self-imposed worry, since everyone is supportive.  I also posted a Stream of Consciousness Saturday piece for the first time, which is far easier because it is meant to be a raw piece, with only corrections of typos.

Finally, I need to be more of a participant in the community. As Eden said on the check-in post, life happens, but the support of this community helps, even if one just needs sympathy for a bad week.

So, looking at the whole Round, the goals that were difficult were to write a blog post every week and to work on the nonfiction. I need to add accountability for visiting ROWers’ blogs and responding to comments. However, as I look at the list, I did more than I did not, so I feel better.

My progress on writing and health goals since the last check-in are indicated below. I will address the organizing goals on Wednesday. I hope all of you are ending your Round on a positive note; if something (like Life) got in your way, there’s always the next Round.

Writing Goals:

Write one blog post every week. Yes, two. Wednesday and Saturday.

Write three pages of fiction every week. Yes.

Write five pages of nonfiction every week. No.

 

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day. Yes.

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day. Yes.

Keep up with medical appointments. Yes.

 

Organizing Goals:

Create project folders for each writing project.

Create a coloring book profile for each character in the novella.

 

ROW80

Leaving the Comfort Zone

Today, I will take a page from the RoW80 blog post  about leaving one’s comfort zone, doing something one has never thought one could do. I’ll start with a small thing. Last Friday night, I went to a fundraiser at Eden’s son’s school, where the main event was painting a version of the painting being done by an artist (there were two, actually) at the front of the room. I went because I knew it was a good cause, but I was dreading doing the painting. I have not painted anything other than walls and doors since 6th grade, and was convinced that the world was better off for that fact. To my surprise, I did far better than I expected. My painting will never grace a gallery, and was darker and less detailed than the original, but I did not feel it needed to be consigned to the trash. A baby step, but one that felt somehow momentous.

A larger baby step out of my comfort zone is NaNo rebellion, which is going rather well. I have officially signed up for NaNo only once before, quitting at roughly 16,000 words. I have more than that now, and I am still writing, some new words as well as editing old ones. While the majority of the new words are from working through the details of the conflict and the scenes, they count as foundation, even if they might not all end up in the next draft. After all, 50,000 brand new words from NaNo may not all end up in the next draft either.

There are many more baby steps to take me further from my comfort zone, but each step helps. I haven’t yet nailed all my goals for this Round, but I am doing much better than at the start of the Round. I plan to concentrate on the organizing goals, which call on different creativity from me, and which don’t come as easily.

Where are all of you as we have turned the bend and are in the last half of this Round? Are there goals you need to tweak?  I’d love to hear how everyone is doing.

Writing Goals:

Write one blog post every week.

Write three pages of fiction every week.

Write five pages of nonfiction every week.

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day.

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day.

Keep up with medical appointments.

Organizing Goals:

Create project folders for each writing project.

Create a coloring book profile for each character in the novella.

ROW80

Round Four Week Four — Casting My Lot

Last week was still a struggle with my Type-A personality, but I made two baby steps in hopes that they will entice me to spend more time with my writing. I signed up for NaNo, fully planning to be a rebel and not to worry overmuch about word count. I also joined RWA and the local chapter. I think (and hope) that having committed to joining will encourage me not only to go to the programs, but to work on putting what I learn into practice.

I mentioned last week being awash with ideas. This past week I started to write some of them down and put them into idea folders. The RWA program I attended two weeks ago had to do with brand and identity, which I am still contemplating.  In the meantime, at least I have some ideas of what sort of things I want to write. I’ve been thinking about creature comforts lately, looking at the devastation in the Caribbean and the Sonoma Valley. I know better than to promise when these ideas will appear in the blog, but they are in formulation. As for my specific goals, listed below, I am doing far better on health and organizing than writing, but I hope all the thought will eventually pour out in words.

All the best to those NaNo pursuers out there, and words to all.

Writing Goals:

Write one blog post every week.

Write three pages of fiction every week.

Write five pages of nonfiction every week.

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day.

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day.

Keep up with medical appointments.

Organizing Goals:

Create project folders for each writing project.

Create a coloring book profile for each character in the novella.

ROW80

Round Four, Week Three — More Ideas Than Time

Autumn has remained in our neighborhood far longer than usual, with many trees still in full leaf. Unfortunately, rain and winds are forecast for tomorrow, so autumn may be on its way south. I’m a bit sad to see autumn go, but winter has its charms.

I have really fallen off the blogging wagon the past few weeks. I have swarms of ideas, but they tend to evaporate when I try to grasp them and wrestle them into words. Also, I am far too Type A for my own good, putting too much time and effort into the day job. It is crazy that I do so, because it is not neurosurgery, and no one will be harmed if I don’t do everything perfectly. Even so, it’s a hard habit to break.

Despite the pressures at work, this was a pretty good week, because I did manage to fit in some writing things. Saturday, I  went as Eden’s guest to the local chapter program of the Romance Writers of America. I have been reluctant, due to imposter syndrome, but I screwed up my courage. The program was very helpful, and all the members of the chapter were friendly, so I’m glad I finally convinced myself to go. It felt self-indulgent, but hey, it’s not as bad as chocolate, right?

So, other than falling on my face with blogging once a week, I did pretty well on my goals. I didn’t manage five pages of non-fiction, but I reworked the outline and schedule to make up for getting behind a couple of months ago. which was a necessary step to going forward. I met all my health and organizing goals as well. Of course, last night I managed to think of roughly six more projects so I need to set up folders and profiles for all of those projects as well.

Writing Goals:

Write one blog post every week. 

Write three pages of fiction every week. 

Write five pages of nonfiction every week.

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day.

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day.

Keep up with medical appointments.

Organizing Goals:

Create project folders for each writing project.

Create a coloring book profile for each character in the novella.

ROW80

Round Four, Week One –Autumn Thoughts

Last week was one of those where I wish I was not an administrator, since I had to run a strategic planning meeting with some staff, to get the grassroots level input. As most of them had been there for a long time, the cynicism was thick and cutting. I could not disagree, but contained my remarks to getting the discussion done and over with, so that we could all go back to getting our jobs done. Once I had to report the results, I found that most of our discussion was about objectives, not goals. Sigh. I am all for to-do lists, and planning, but moving the course of  a university library makes steering the Titanic around the iceberg look easy. The way scholars do research has changed completely with the rise of internet and instant communication, but some staff find it very hard to step from their comfort zones.

So that was the day job. Personally, I was hit with autumn allergies on Monday. Luckily, I felt better by Wednesday when I went to New York City to see my doctors. It was a mild, pretty day, and my husband and I sat in one of the parks drinking coffee and observing the wildlife, both human and non-human. While I slept most of the train ride down, it was a glorious ride back in the afternoon along the Hudson, the sun shining and the wind whipping the river into whitecaps. One can track the arrival of Autumn as one comes further north, the colors of the leaves intensifying along the route.

I did participate in a “Six Words” post that came out  last week. It is always nice to stretch myself with a different prompt like that. While it was not a great week for words, I thought through the plot points of the war bride novel and delved more deeply into the backgrounds and insecurities of the main couple. I am toying with creating a pinterest board for the novel, as well as a playlist. I do like to see and hear what the characters would have seen and heard. I have tomorrow off, so I may take a stab at those projects.

I hope all of you are doing well and still feel the excitement of beginning a new Round. Enjoy your week.

ROW80

Round Four 2017 Goals

My Round Four plan is to put some time and effort into organizing and planning. I tend to rush into writing without thinking things through.  While there are many people who can do that successfully, but I am not one of those people. Therefore,  I am going to pull back and try to go more slowly.

Grounding mantra: Organize, plan, contemplate

Writing Goals:

Write one blog post every week.

Write three pages of fiction every week.

Write five pages of non-fiction every week.

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day.

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day.

Keep up with medical appointments.

Organizing Goals:

Create project folders for each writing project.

Create a coloring book profile for each character in the novella.

 

ROW80

Round Three Week Four Feeling Energetic

This was actually a short week for me, since I had a stubborn migraine early last week. I managed to get a lot of things done in the few days left after the migraine finally took its leave. I spent most of yesterday decluttering my home office, emptying three large boxes of paperwork and files.  Some needed to be filed, but most needed to be shredded or tossed. It was quite freeing. Today has been more of a push with electronic decluttering, although I did find a file of handwritten edits that I need to combine with the latest electronic version of the non-fiction book. I also spent some time with the websites, although I still need some help from my niece. I’m getting there, though, and will be able to turn my attention to posting on the new, shiny, sites.

The day job was a bit much the last two days of the week. I’m still adjusting to the new boss, and not quite sure how to read her. I hope it’s just the first settling-in sort of thing. I’m also adjusting to a new medication, which seems to be working well, but tends to mess with my sleep. It should settle in the next week or so, but I tend to be cranky when I’m tired. Let the world be forewarned!

If you have a chance, I encourage you to check out the RoWers on FB and on the blog. Excelsior, everyone!

Writing Goals:

One blog post per week.

Five sentences of fiction a day.

One page of writing on the book per day.

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day.

Keep track of hydration.

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day.

 

ROW80

Round Three Week Two Feeling Creative

Very late this week!  I had a migraine progressively worsen during Sunday, and it didn’t let go fully until yesterday afternoon. Last week was pretty good, however, and I felt more creative than I have in some time.  I met nearly all my goals (posted below), with the blog post falling off the list, but I did spend some time on the websites–well, at least giving orders to my niece about the sites! She is writing up documentation for me to make my way with it from here, which will be great, but I have reserved the right to call her in for consultation in future.  She’s done a lovely job.

So now I need to turn my eye to the drafts and get those polished and posted.  The migraine slowed down my progress the first part of the week, but I plan to get back to writing later today.  Even so, I am still ahead of schedule on the non-fiction.  I also need desperately to catch up with comments and visits to other Rowers. I so appreciate the visits and comments, it is incumbent on me to return them!

I hope all is well with all the RoWers. Have a great rest of the week!

 

Writing Goals:

One blog post per week.

Five sentences of fiction a day.

One page of writing on the book per day.

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day.

Keep track of hydration.

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day.