Round One, Week Five — A Better Week

Cod. Bodmer 49, Fondation Martin Bodmer

Last week, I hoped that this week would be better, and it was much better in many ways. I am still not sleeping, but I have essential oils arriving tomorrow that I am looking forward to trying. I also picked up a few books at the library on Saturday that will keep me from reading on my phone when I wake up at 2am.

The day job is running at between three to four meetings a day, not my favorite sort of thing, but I am wrapping up six different administrative writing projects and hope that there are not any more on the horizon!

However, there is good news from last week. I posted a WIPpet on Wednesday, a First Friday Photo on Friday, and a video of northern lights, also on Friday. Eden helped me iron out some plot points and directions with the story when we met at a local coffee shop on Friday. Clearly, I was wrong that these characters only talk to me when I am rested–or maybe they just got tired of waiting.

I also worked very briefly on the non-fiction sabbatical project at the coffee shop, but then went home and worked on it for seven more hours. I took yesterday off, but worked on it for 8 hours today. There is a nice synergy starting between the non-fiction and the fiction that is exciting. I am having fun with the non-fiction in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. So yes, it was a much better week.

How are you doing at this point in the Round? Need to adjust to a slower or more challenging pace? I’d love to know how everyone’s goals are going.

Have a great week, everyone.


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, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday

It has been a rough few weeks here, but I’m putting on my big girl panties and regrouping.  After I finished revisions on an article for the day job and sent it off to the journal, I just collapsed.  I read, I slept, I knitted, and that was about it. I’m slowly feeling like getting back into the swing of things.  This weekend, I will be in Manhattan helping out in the exhibits area at the Writer’s Digest conference–and I’m really looking forward to it.  I hope it will jumpstart some of the habits I have let fall by the wayside the last month or so.  That about all the news in this neck of the woods.  How are all of you doing?

Consider going around to cheer the other participants during these hot and steamy days.  The linky is here.

Medieval Writing, by Hans Splinter, WANA Commons
Medieval Writing, by Hans Splinter, WANA Commons

And for WIPpet Wednesday, I have 9 short paragraphs.  I added 2+9=11, then 1+1=2 and then 7+2=9.  This is very, very, rough, but I know this is a kind group.

Etienne stood in the doorway, visibly sweating.  Tomasso grasped the moist hand offered him, sternly reminding himself not to wipe his hand on his tunic.  

“Sir, I’m here to . . . um, I hope you will honor me . . . “

“I know why you’re here, Etienne.  You needn’t be nervous.” Tomasso remembered the terror that grasped him at the same moment, and paused, musing. “But, of course, you are.  She’s a good girl, despite her stubbornness.  You’ve seen that side of her, yes?”

Etienne nodded mutely.

“That’s exactly the right response, too.  Let her talk, and steer her when you can do it without her notice.  Do you think you can work with her, then?”

“I like that she thinks about things, sir. I mean, I can provide for her and take care of her, too.”

“She needs thought and debate as much as food and wine, Etienne. I couldn’t give her to someone who couldn’t provide that as well.”

“I enjoy being able to debate with her, sir.”

Tomasso smiled. “Let us hope and pray that lasts, Etienne. Now, go find her in the solar and ask her. If she says no,” he shrugged, ‘’then my blessing means nothing.”

WIPpet Wednesday is also a blog hop.  There are a lot of interesting snippets being shared on the linky here.

smaller EM


Late as can be ROW 80 update

Where the magic happens
Writing Desk

This semester is proving to be as wild a ride as I suspected.  I have not checked in since the beginning of the Round, which makes me sad.  I am working on the day job stuff, and allowing myself to work 15 minutes a day or so on creative writing (see number 4 below for details on that shiny), but it has been difficult. Thursday night, I came down with food poisoning, or just some feral form of gastric unpleasantness, which left me weak as a limp dishrag. I’m starting to feel a bit more human today, but it flattened me and my plans.  So, for a very short update:

1.  1500 words written every week on my final tenure article.  Nope, neither week. I did get 1000 the first week, and 500 the second, but, sigh.

2.  An hour a day writing, editing, and begging people to write nice letters for my equally fascinating tenure dossier. Yes, this has been accomplished with the exception of the Great Stomach Virus days.

3.  Every morning, yoga and meditation. Yes, except this past Friday, when the thought of even the child’s pose was not a good one.

4. Fill out worksheets, mandalas, mind maps and character sketches on the novella/novel/magnum opus as well as the memoir. Although I have only been able to commit one or two fifteen minute sprints daily to this project, it has been my sole source of fun the past two weeks.  

I was very naughty, and took a WANA workshop that uses lots of drawing, meditating, and plumbing Jungian psychology, with a dash of Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey (or shero’s in my case) to dig into one’s characters. It has been so, so very helpful for me to approach the novella this way, and I have also done worksheets for my memoir. The picture above is of me working on my various mindmaps, but I will share the colorful (ah pretty!) results of all this work soon.

I will try not to be a stranger. Please go cheer on the other ROWers here.

smaller EM


ROW80 Check-in October 30, 2011


First, I want to thank everyone who has been so encouraging to and supportive of me in the past several weeks when I was struggling. With your help, I’ve hauled myself out of the ditch where I’d slid. Again, the community here is so supportive, it just makes me grateful.

Progress on the goals:

Health: I managed to walk right by the Dunkin Donuts box that someone brought to work on Thursday, and have continued to avoid all sweets. I have managed to exercise three of the last four days. Also, I have finally remembered something a doctor told me years ago, that often we mistake thirst for hunger; I have begun to drink a glass of water when I’ve been tempted to snack, and amazingly, it works. I’ve lost 2.2 pounds in the past week. Big win. Hoorah.

Family: I have been in touch with several family members from three generations in the past three days, so I’m feeling pretty good about that, too. There are still some tough times coming this week, but I feel that more of us are shoulder to shoulder, which helps immensely. I took off most of Saturday afternoon and evening for my date evening with my husband.

Friends: I tweeted and emailed several friends with whom I’d not communicated in a while, and not surprisingly, I wish I’d done that far sooner. All of them are lovely people, and actually claimed they were glad to hear from me!

Writing: 1.5 hours/day editing and revising articles: This was a major win for me. I took Friday off (see Day Job below) to write, and boy, oh, boy, did I write. I worked for 3 hours on one article and it is ready for the Brutal Editor. There are still a few [CHECK THIS] marks here and there, but not major points. The really nice thing is that it is turning into a kickass article.

Then, I moved on a second article that needed major reformatting. I only had a typescript, which the OCR scan turned into something born of Finnish out of Hebrew. I spent 2 hours putting it back into English, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. The up side is that I realized that even though I wrote this paper as a mere infant, it has a lot of potential. It’s really good, (ducking the lightning bolts for hubris) and will be fun to make into another kickass article. I am having so much fun, I don’t even mind that I’m good at something I can’t monetize.

          0.5 on the dissertation: Although this did not happen, I wrote my Literary Post of the Week on the text which is the basis of the dissertation. It was good for me to try to write for the educated layman, since I want to write more essays for that audience.I don’t feel bad about having gone this direction, as it still continues my love affair with the dissertation.

0.5 on creative writing: This didn’t happen. I’m in a very interesting class using Tarot cards for brainstorming, which C. M. Cipriani and Raelyn Barclay, fellow ROWers are also taking. I haven’t done any of the assignments or exercises since Tuesday, but the ones I have done have knocked many ideas loose and I plan to do many readings for the ideas knocking at the gates.

          2 hours/week on book reviews: This didn’t happen either, to my extreme shame. I have to move this to the top of the list, clearly. Sigh.

Day Job: My day job includes 4 hours per week of research leave. Most of my colleagues do not take it, since the corporate culture is not to take vacation or any kind of leave, barring stroke, heart attack, or major surgery. I’m not using hyperbole here; one of the staff in my department has over two years of accrued sick leave and a year and a half of accrued vacation. He last took a day off when he had open heart surgery. He is by no means alone at my workplace.

I know some people love their work, and I envy them. I am very good at my work, but I think I’d have to be the endowed professor of medieval literature somewhere to love my job. Sticking to my life goals, I took Friday for a writing day, and I absolutely loved that plunge into words and research. I will have to pay for it on Monday with numerous fires to put out, but it was well worth it.

At least I’m posting earlier than I did last Wednesday, although my wireless provider crashed as I was writing this update, taking away over 500 words! Grrr. So, my plug for today is for Google Documents; although my Microsoft Word is supposed to save every minute, clearly I do not type 500 words a minute. Google Documents saves every minute, truly. And for all those who remember how badly Google Documents used to handle formatting, it is much better; no longer do I have to avoid using it in public so as not to teach young children new profanities.

So, I think I am back on the grid, very happy to be back among you all. I will be bloghopping later today and tomorrow. Please join me in encouraging everyone here.






ROW80 Check-in 9/4

I was replying to all the kind comments left on my last check-in, where I mentioned that my book proposal was rejected, when my mind flew back a couple of decades. When my sons were small, they played with these little toys, wide-bottomed persons who couldn’t be knocked over. “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” I still remember the jingle—any parent will know what I mean about having some songs implanted deep within memory through thousands of times hearing it. I do not jest; I do not exaggerate. My daughters and my sons watched things in continuous loops *Runs screaming from the memory.*

Back to the subject—what else can one do? I was not at all happy that I was rejected, but you know, you have to try very hard not to take it personally. I am SO not good at that, but I am really trying to be a Weeble.  Oh, it was my book proposal that was rejected, not me. Oh my, I still have work to do, don’t I?

One very nice thing happened last week, in that Jamila Jamison gave me the Leibster Award.  I am so honored, I can barely type! I am so looking forward to fulfilling my obligations on that—putting up the badge, linking back to Jamila, who is a fantastic writer, blogger and all-around good sort, and paying the award forward to five more bloggers. I plan to do that on Monday, when I will borrow a laptop for the entire day. Be still, my madly beating heart!

Oh, goals. Well, not too bad. Except for Friday, when I spent ten hours in the car to go pick up my youngest son from university, I walked Brigid. I am really happy to have DS2 home; he is actually quite a delight.

I did read a lot and take notes. I’m still so queasy about doing book reviews, which is patently ridiculous, really! One of the first papers I gave at a conference excoriated, well, eviscerated, one of the scholarly articles written on my topic. When the Q&A time came, a fellow stood up in the back, and said, “I’m the idiot who wrote that article.”  And truly, I’ve read some really good books from fellow ROWers as well as the lights in the industry. So, why am I so nervous? Heck knows.

I did post in the Literary Post of the Week. I don’t know why I didn’t think of writing about the woman who has been a part of my life for more than two decades, but I finally wrote about the author whose work gave rise to my Ph.D. dissertation. Christine de Pizan was the first professional female writer and publisher in France. Born in 1364, she was one heck of a woman, and deserves a lot more attention than she receives.

Oh, and I will, with your indulgence, talk a bit more about Google Reader, which I love! Jamila Jamison did a wonderful job on her blog here, but she may not use some of the features that I do. She did mention the folders, which are crucial for me—I have “Medieval Studies,” “Early Modern Studies,” “Rare Books,” “ROW80,” “Other Writers.” The folders are important for me, since I have so much material on Google Reader.

There is a wonderful function, called Notes. It’s a little bookmarklet that sits on your toolbar. Using that, you can grab anything on the internet and stick it in your Notes. There is also a Share function, where you can share things with your friends, in a mini-Google Plus sort of way. I am just putting together my Elizabeth Mitchell/Lapidary Prose Reader, so I have no friends yet,  but in my real-name Reader, I have posts I share with my husband, children, and friends through the Reader.

You can also browse for subjects, or get recommendation from friends, in the Browse function. It is really one of my favorite applications. If you have any other questions about the Reader, please feel free to ask.

Finally, I passed through a very dark night late last week, where I really felt like I was being disingenuous to think that I could write anything of interest to anyone, ever. I read through some of your comments and encouragements, and emerged in a much better frame of mind. Thank you all for your kindness, help, hints, and just downright, outright, goodness.

To check on the rest of the participants—and please do so, it is so helpful to the psyche—click here.