Round One–Week Eight in the Rear View Mirror

The past few weeks have not led to any blogging, so I clearly am not meeting that goal. Things are generally better they were when last I posted, so I’m pleased about that. My sleep is still not where I want it to be, but there is definite progress. In part, I was thrown off by having a conference in Denver. The change in time zone was exacerbated by getting back to town at midnight; my poor psyche didn’t have a clue what time it was for a day or two. I have been using essential oils (thank you for the suggestion, Chris Kincaid), as well as turning off screens an hour before I go to sleep. Both methods help immensely.

Despite not blogging, I have been continuing to plan the A-Z blog posts for April, so that goal is coming along. I have also put in many hours on the sabbatical project. I have been hyperfocussed (ADD is sometimes handy), and spent over twelve hours this weekend working on it. The fiction is simmering in the background, but I can’t seem to give more than a few minutes a day to it. The good news is that I will be at the point where the non-fiction and the fiction intertwine in about a week, so there may be more synergy there.

I’m not at the point of giving up any goals, although I am falling behind on keeping the day job at bay as well as neglecting the blogging. I believe both goals are still within reach, if I just stretch a bit.

How are you doing with your goals? Just in your grasp, or still just beyond your fingertips? Whichever it may be, I hope everyone has a productive week.


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 One, Week Four — Back on the Horse

Despite having had a good week two weeks ago, last week was very “meh.” The day job was partially responsible, in one of those “What crisis awaits me this morning?” sort of ways. Partially, I fall into the trap of being responsible beyond what I should be, so it is not all the day job’s fault. Also, I slept an average of 4 hours every night last week, which is just not enough. I have read up on some things that I can change, and have tried several of them. It may be time to do them all.

So, goals–well, I have been able to get some things done in the past couple of days, so I am on the upswing. I am momentarily alienated from my fiction characters, who now seem to appear only when I am well-rested, but I did finish planning the entire A-Z blog list and have all of the topics briefly outlined.   I have been able to throw myself into the non-fiction, so I’ve gotten a lot of drudge work for the day job written, and outlined/planned/compiled my sabbatical project.

I hope for this coming week to be better, and hope everyone is having a good week.


Round One, Week 3–Slow Progress

Last week was somewhat slow, but I managed to be purposeful and to do some writing in the evenings, which is very unusual for me. Last Wednesday, I decided to change my routine slightly, and posted WIPpet Wednesday as a stand-alone on my Lapidary Prose blog, rather than folding it into a RoW80 check-in. Monday, I posted a quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt for Martin Luther King Day on my named blog, and Friday I posted a video as part of resuscitating a Friday Laugh tradition, also on my Elizabeth Mitchell blog.  Here I am with a (almost late) Sunday check-in, so I have more than achieved my goal of two posts weekly.

I’m still hobbling about a bit, and not sleeping well, since my knee is still swollen from the fall last week. The only good thing about waking up at three a.m. is that several of my characters also like to ruminate in the middle of the night. The main male character in a piece I’m writing for the WIPpet was a peripheral character for the past decade in my 14th-century novel, but he swept out of the shadows with gusto a few weeks ago.

The A-Z planning is coming along, although I have to fight the scattershot brain that can think of four to five more topics that would be fun and interesting. I try to calm the brain by writing these ideas down for further exploration.

I have no problem this week writing five sentences of fiction a day. Happily, I’ve been able to write some non-fiction as well. Sleeping three to four hours a night helps immeasurably with that, although I don’t think I can keep this schedule up for long.

And, for my last goal, I have been very good about not working this weekend, except for my research, which doesn’t feel like work, honestly. In continuing to look through and consolidate my electronic files, I was delighted to find a copy of over thirty pages I wrote about fifteen years ago, which I had thought lost. Although it needs editing and updating, it was such a boon to find it.

The capstone of the week was a conversation last night about alternative histories with my younger son, who mentioned several scenarios that he thought would make great stories–and I agree. Now all those plot bunnies are floating around in my head, which is a very nice feeling.

I hope everyone is having a good week.


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, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 check-in and WIPpet Wednesday

Illumination from Morgan Library MS 775

While I haven’t fallen completely off the wagon on RoW80, I don’t have much beyond a WIPpet to offer for my check-in, but I’m happy that I have that at least.  It is very rough, but I decided to put it out there rather than continue to worry about it forever.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Wrayburn. The rules are quite simple–the length of the snippet has a mathematical connection with the date.  For example, for 1/10/2018, I am adding all five numbers in the date, which add up to 13. I am posting 12 sentences because I couldn’t make 13 work. This snippet follows immediately the one I posted in mid-December. It is set in 14th century Paris, where Christine, a widow running her own copy shop, has received a message.

Anastasia was continuing to amuse the other workers with what she had seen of the poem, but Christine turned away to hide her reaction. She strode briskly toward her desk in the corner with the best light, unfolding and smoothing out the parchment. It bore not just a poem, but a ballade, the verse form made famous by Eustache himself. “O douce suer,” it began. Christine smiled to herself. He doesn’t act like I’m his sister, sweet or not.  Reading quickly through the first verse, she stifled a laugh, then looked up quickly to make sure no one was observing her reactions, at least not obviously. So the master poet portrays himself a slave, craving her knowledge, learning at her feet? What could he possibly learn from her–well, a different view on women, but she wasn’t sure he wanted that. She read the refrain again. “‘Above all in France’–stuff and nonsense. Ridiculous old man,” she said, as she folded the parchment carefully and put it in her gown.

Feel free to jump into RoW80 here  or into WIPpet here.


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.