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.



November ROW80 Check-in

Have you ever been torn between wishing a difficult time would be over, and dreading that everything that has to be done will not get done in time?  Yup, that is exactly where I am. This semester will live in infamy alongside the one in grad school where I was taking three classes and finishing incompletes in two more, writing five final papers totalling 117 pages in fifteen days. Those of you who know me as a snail among writers can imagine what that entailed.

The last several weeks, I had four to five meetings every day, often extending through lunch. My husband had urged me to block time for writing and pulling together the tenure documents, or I would have been in even more. I shuddered every time someone started a conversation with, “I wanted to meet with you this week. . . .”

I was sad when I saw that the last time I checked in was mid-October, and that I have not yet responded to the comments on that check-in. I know I’m late for the Sunday check-in, but I just don’t want to wait for Wednesday.  So here’s my progress in the last month:

1.  1500 words written every week on my final tenure article.  This is finally a win.  By the end of the week, I will have  a complete first draft of the article, which should be about 6,000/7,000 words long.

2.  An hour a day writing, editing, and begging people to write nice letters for my equally fascinating tenure dossier. On the whole, yes. I still have some writing to do and lots of editing and documentation, but I’m on track.

3.  Every morning, yoga and meditation. Yes. Meditation is the only thing keeping me from running screaming down the halls at work.

4. Fill out worksheets, mandalas, mind maps and character sketches on the novella/novel/magnum opus as well as the memoir. Yes, although I have not had new words for several weeks.  I “visit” with my character and world every day, if only for fifteen minutes. When I move into the editing phase of the article, I will return to writing this story. The memoir has been shelved for a little while, too. 

5. I’m adding a goal for self-care.  I need more sleep, more hydration, and mindful eating.  I have recently been apprised of some small health concerns, none serious, that require taking better care of myself.  Like many (often, but not exclusively, women) who were socialized to be caregivers, I find it difficult to take time for myself.

My promise in October not to be a stranger was an abject failure, but I will try again, because this community helps me immensely.  My heartfelt thanks to you all.

Please go cheer on the other ROWers here.

smaller EM


ROW80 Check-in October 23

The past couple of days have been an example of how the universe seems to pile on at times.  My brother has been fighting cancer for several years now, and finished a round of chemo and radiation last Wednesday.  Sunday night, he let me know that all his treatment options have run out. In his usual manner, he was far more interested in how my health problems were being addressed.

I had already been deep in ruminations about life and death, health and illness.  My brother made me think about our birth family and the choices that he (and I) made to fix the mistakes that were made by our parents (without malice, and in ignorance)  when we had our own families.  I have made mistakes with my children, but at least amended the lack of closeness and affection that affected both my brother and myself.

A majority of the past few days have been spent reminiscing, highlighting the good times with my brother and my parents. I am writing down what I would like to remember, perhaps to work into a memoir of sorts. I have often written to put some sort of order in my life, and it is second nature to do it here.

I have been touched by the ROW80 community and its outpouring of support for me during the past weeks.  I will continue to visit with as many of you as I can, hoping to pay your support forward in some way.

Please go visit the other ROWers, whom you can find here.


Small progress

Boy, the week flew by for me, so I didn’t get as far as I would have liked on my goals.  This is therefore a very quick check-in, slipping in under the midnight wire.


Did I write one hour three times this week? Yes, I did. I put up a minimal post on Friday showcasing a dog who does some fantastic tricks, but I don’t really count that as writing.  I did write my sponsor post for this Round, which always takes me a fair amount of time. I also had a guest post go live on Cate Russell-Cole’s site, although I did write it before the Round started.


Did I visit my assigned blogs twice a week? Yes, I did.

Did I reply to all comments? Nope, but I plan to create a schedule that will keep me on track.

I did not get to the non-blog related post on Facebook or Twitter.  This goal needs to be scheduled as well, so that it stays on my radar.


One hour three times a week at home going through paper detritus of modern life. Done! Happy dance!

One hour three times a week going through electronic files–rename, delete, archive. Done! More happy dance!

Here’s Stuart the dancing dog performing a lovely happy dance for you:


Walk. Seriously. 30 minutes a day. I managed only two days, but it is a start.

Follow-up on all the health issues.  Yes, I even followed up on two, yes, 2, health issues.  Go me!

Family day, no working and time with family, one day per week. Yes, even though I was a bit behind on some goals, I spent all of Saturday with my family.


Update Goodreads at least every other week. Umm, can I say this is for next week?

List and report on what I’m reading, even the dry, academic stuff.

Yes, I will do so. My youngest son has me reading Cold Days by Jim Butcher.  We are huge Dresden fans, so I need to finish so we can discuss.

During many insomniac nights, I read T. G. Ayer’s Dead Radiance and Jacquie Rogers’ Much Ado About Madams.

Go cheer on other participants here, and have a great week, everyone!



ROW80: Day Late, Dollar Short

Um, I really had a good excuse for not checking in yesterday.  Really!  My oldest son started his first college (university if you are outside the US) classes on Monday; since he had yesterday off, he needed to catch up on all his homework, on the only computer in the house.  

Not even for my sanity would I have stood in his way–the child who despised school, never did his homework, and left ten minutes after he turned 18?  No way. I sat nearby, encouraged,  cheered, and proofread two papers (punctuation and grammar only).

So, how did I do?

Writing: I scribbled a bit–I started a blog post on how words hurt, which was founded on this blog post by Tia Bach.  I filled out a character questionnaire for one of my characters who just isn’t talking to me right now.  I hope to figure out why she’s giving me the silent treatment soon.  I wrote an outline of one scene in one work, and a scene in another work.  I will have a chance to refine them when I type them in.

As for the website/blogs transition, I had a comment asking why I didn’t put this blog on my website.  Excellent question, and one I need to think through.  Some ROWers have some horror stories about moving blogs; not being the handy type (I still use fountain pens, for Pete’s sake!), I’m terrified of mucking things up.

Community: I have a few more folks to visit, but I have been more active on FB and Twitter than in a long time.  I just caught up on replies to comments this evening, yay!

Exercise: Whew, 5,000 steps is more than I had thought.  I am slowly working toward 5,000 a day, but the ultimate goal is to get to 10,000.  I may have to walk the three miles from home to work to get that much in!  However, I am standing a lot more at work; I pace when I am on the phone, and stand when I work on the computer.

Personal: I’ve made good progress toward this goal as well.  I’m not as present as I would like to be, but the trend is positive.  I meant to call my daughters yesterday, but my phone was mistakenly taken off our account.  It’s almost funny, in a way.  My youngest son upgraded his phone, but the carrier turned off my phone and gave my phone number to him.  He was a bit freaked out when all my phone calls and text messages started showing up on his phone.  Now that I have my phone back, I’ll be talking to the daughters this weekend.

So, not perfect by a long shot, but a good measure of where I have to work harder.  I’m finding my stride, and am happy to be back.

Welcome to my new followers, John Holton, L-Jay Health, Tia BachKnow Your Why and C. Dewar. I’m glad you’re here!  Also, please go encourage all the ROWers here.


ROW80 Round 3 2012 Goals

With this post I announce my goals for the third round of A Round of Words in 80 Days, which is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life.”  Click here to read more about it from the creator of the challenge, Kait Nolan. My goals for ROW80 reflect what I have learned in the 3rd and 4th rounds of 2011.   Although I stumbled a bit during Round One 2012, during which I moved far too much stuff 1200 miles; and frittered and stammered through Round Two, which suffered from my adjustment to a new day job, I remain committed to this community of writers.

Although I declared myself a writer at the end of Round 4 in 2011, I didn’t quite walk the walk.  This Round, I want to take baby steps in several arenas.  I am going to return to the breakout of goals I did last year, which were writing, community, exercise, and family/friends.  My new day job certainly impacts my time, but happily, it does not drag me down like the one I left.  Thus, I’ve not included it or the writing involved with it in this list.  This list is all personal goals.


  • I will write one page a day on each of the two fiction works that have bubbled to the top.  I may use 750 words for this, and throw in a page of blog posts or one of the other fiction ideas, but I’m not sure yet.
  • I will continue to refine my main author blog, which may involve combining the Lapidary Prose blog with Elizabeth Anne Mitchell.


  • As I’ve returned to being a sponsor, I will visit all my 8’s twice a week.
  • I will catch up with Facebook, Twitter, and my other sites for no more than an hour daily.
  • I will reply to all comments on my blogs.


  • Walk at least 5,000 steps a day, tracked by a pedometer.
  • Use the stairs going upstairs; if I want to, I can cheat going downstairs.


  • I have let many dear friends fall off my radar these past few months.  I will stay in contact with the group daily, if only briefly, and weekly individually.
  • I will stay in better touch with my daughters on Facebook or by phone.  My sons are back home, so my only trouble connecting with them is that they have vampire schedules.

February 22 check-in Dreams of Animate Boxes

My pride over replying to all the comments on my check-ins was short-lived.  Ah, well.  I do plan to reply to all the comments before the next check-in.  I do read them; they mean a lot.

Test mile: I managed to eke out the test mile 2 of the 3 past days, but I see the narrowing of the time tunnel ahead.  I will probably have to suspend writing while on the road, but I will try to continue in the meantime.
I did not manage to get the post on my other sites to act as a placeholder until I can get back to a regular blogging schedule, but I hope to do so before the next check-in.

Packing:  Gah.  I am at the point where I daydream of minimalism, and wonder why I bought all this stuff in the first place.  Of course, I didn’t buy it; I inherited most of it.  While I like some of the pieces, I yearn for my place not to look like indigent graduate student digs. Imagine, some people actually have matching furniture in their living rooms!

What I have learned: I don’t react well to stress.  Big surprise, but I didn’t realize how badly I react to good stress.  I’m excited and looking forward to the move and the new day job, but I have dreams of the boxes becoming animate in the night, shifting forward when I am not looking.  It’s a lovely metaphor and could be a really freaky short story, but in the heart-pounding dark of the night, not so cool.

I’ve also learned the importance to take some time to connect with friends.  I met C.M. Cipriani for a long, farewell lunch the other day; she and I had an interesting conversation about self-pubbed “authors,” (if you read her blog post here, you will understand the quotation marks) who do not edit, proofread, or in other ways improve their texts before they visit them on the public like yellow fever.  Even if we did trash-talk people who drag down our works in the same way that the washer on the porch next door and the three wrecked cars in the front yard two doors down kill our property values, it was such a wonderful thing to sit and share in person.  

I have not been on Twitter or Facebook much in the last several weeks, and I realize (again) how much I miss my online friends.  I need and appreciate your support, and can only hope that I can support you when you need it.

Please encourage all the other ROWers here.