ROW80

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.

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ROW80

Round One Goals 2016

Hello, Round One!

If you are unfamiliar with a Round of Words, or ROW80, click here to read more about it from the creator of the challenge, Kait Nolan. It is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life.”

My life during this first month of the Round is a bit frazzled, so I will be keeping that flexibility in mind.  I have a four-day long conference for the day job, followed a day later by surgery.  I am hopeful that I will have some chance to write and learn during my recovery.

Kait has given me a goal in her opening post by pointing out the need to tack down story structure in order to write good fiction.  She mentions specifically Story Engineering, which was sitting on a shelf not arm’s reach from me as I read her post. I believe in messages from the Universe, so reading Story Engineering more carefully, taking notes, for three hours a week, is my first goal.

I plan to work on a non-fiction project that has been simmering on my back burner for more than a decade. I am so very, very close to finishing, I want to put in a push to get it done.  So, I will write for a half an hour 6 out of 7 days.

I also plan to resurrect a fiction piece that arose from the research for the non-fiction book.  I will write for half an hour 6 out of 7 days.

I plan to return to blogging, posting every check-in for a start.  I would like to expand my topics, but I need to re-establish the habit first.

Finally, I need to continue to take care of myself. The surgery will be a pain, but should help me to feel better by the end of the month.  My plan is to avoid stress at the day job, which can be quantified by working fewer hours.

So these are my goals for the beginning of Round One.  I hope that my reach will extend as the Round continues, and I will continue to grow as a writer.
Please go visit around the other ROWers, whom you can find here.

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ROW80

Round Four Assessment

Where the magic happens
Writing Desk

My overarching goal in Round Four was to establish habits. I began with very small goals that I hoped to expand during the round. I did quite well on re-establishing habits, although I did have some difficulties getting things finished during the round.

Write

Write for 5 minutes five out of seven days. I really have accomplished this in great part. While a lot of the creative writing was more outlining and plotting, it is very helpful to have regained the habit of sitting down every morning to work on something that brings me peace, and often, joy. Most of my actual writing went into helping my DH with his article, but that’s okay.

Connect

With RoWers twice a week, both my assigned folks and others as possible. Not so great. I always visited by assigned folks, but rarely got around to visiting those who commented on my posts, or other RoWers.

Plan blog posts and update of widgets and peripherals. I drafted over 30 posts, but none have been published as yet.

Take care of myself

Walk for 20 minutes at midmorning. Yes, and I made further distances during the Round–up to 40 minutes at a time.  I have been eating better, exercising more, and feel much better.  I have more surgery in January, which should increase my mobility by helping me break less.

Do not eat lunch at my desk, but in a peaceful environment. I did get away from my desk for lunchtime.  I wasn’t very good t taking my lunch, so it was expensive but worth it.

Make and keep doctors’ appointments, schedule all the tests.  Done

Please go visit around the other ROWers, whom you can find here.  Round One starts on January 4th.  Need an accountability group? Think about joining in.

If you are unfamiliar with a Round of Words, or ROW80, click here to read more about it from the creator of the challenge, Kait Nolan. It is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life.” I find its flexibility extremely helpful.
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ROW80

Gallstones and Coloring Books

 

Much as I tire of reporting tough days, I’m afraid I have more to report.  We ended up having to euthanize our Weimaraner on Friday morning.  For several months, he had been doing better, giving us hope, but he declined quickly Thursday morning to being unable to eat or walk.  We had him for seven years, so we are all very upset.

Also, I had to say goodbye to him very early Friday morning, without even knowing if the vet would recommend euthanasia.   I had an appointment with a gastroenterologist in Manhattan on Friday that took several weeks to schedule, so I could not reschedule.  After many hours of testing, the diagnosis is gallstones.  I have to call a surgeon tomorrow to schedule surgery.  The diagnosis is unwelcome, but not unexpected, and it does help to have an end in sight.

On a positive note, I stayed in New York overnight so that I could help out on Saturday in the exhibit area at the Writer’s Digest conference.  Rachel Funk Heller was in town for the conference, and I helped cover her table on the Writer’s Coloring Book. It was a delight to meet her in person, to talk to people about the Coloring Book, and to have Rachel spinning plots for my next, oh, four or five books or so!  I also saw Gabriela Pereira of DIY MFA, with whom I’ve spoken on the phone so many times, but had never met in person.  I had a lot of fun, even as tired as I was. I was too late to register for the conference, but I plan to do so next year.

I haven’t gotten much written these last few days, although I did manage a few blog visits and replies to comments.  I’m starting to feel a little better all the poking and prodding from the testing on Friday, so I hope to get back to normal tomorrow.

I hope all is going well with everyone on their goals. Please go visit around the other ROWers, whom you can find here.  Encourage as you can, share strategies, make friends.  It is a wonderful community.

If you are unfamiliar with a Round of Words, or ROW80, click here to read more about it from the creator of the challenge, Kait Nolan. It is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life.” Its flexibility is often helpful.

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ROW80

Looking behind and ahead

This past week continued to teach me lessons.  While waiting to be introduced to start my presentation, I heard nothing, but got a note to start talking.  I was rattled, and did not do very well the first few minutes, especially since I was unexpectedly muted halfway through my first sentence, then unmuted a few seconds later, again without warning.  I found my stride eventually, and by the end several of the people who were attending live thanked me.  The moderator also came on and apologized for the technical difficulties, thank goodness.  Not to be prideful, but I was pleased that I managed to roll with the difficulties better than I expected. Honestly, though, I think I will wait a while to do one of those presentations again!

I had one more article on my plate to finish this Round.  Last week, I finished the rough draft, except for the literature review, which is being written by my co-author.  I’m very proud of that!  It was a tough Round, with a fair amount of chest colds and bronchitis, as well as the enduring winter.  It snowed on the vernal equinox.  It is 19 degrees as I write this, in front of a blazing fire in the fireplace.  Really??  Despite it all, I got a lot of writing done. I would have been a bit happier if not all of it had been for the day job, but I did learn some lessons that will carry over to the rest of my writing.  I already have some goals for the next Round, and I’m looking forward to putting these lessons to good use.

Please go encourage other ROWers, whom you can find here,  in the ROW80 group on Facebook and at #ROW80 on Twitter.

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ROW80

Round One 2015 Goals

It is time for me to announce my goals for Round One. I’ve also been contemplating words for the year, and have settled on simplicity and minimalism.

For sanity, I want to reduce email, hard drive, and paper file clutter, to be better organized and spend less time frantically searching for things–four hours a week.

I also want to concentrate on people, not things. I will continue to go through my belongings with an eye to donate or give things away–two hours per week.

I will fulfill my assignment as a sponsor within 24 hours.

Re-establish contact via email, LinkedIn, or snail mail with one colleague or friend per week.

Writing

I got word this morning that the article I worked on last Round was accepted, with revisions. I want to finish revisions by the end of January,

Write a 45 minute presentation, due mid-March–an hour a week in this early, planning stage.  

Plot and outline my memoir and my novel–five hours a week.

Selfcare

Continue Qigong and meditation every morning.  Promote better sleep by avoiding TV and computer screens for the last hour before sleep.

Catch up with all the doctors’ and dentist appointments I have let slide for the past year.

Be mindful about stress and stress-related eating, hoping to exercise to reduce stress and, as a byproduct, become more fit–walk 20 minutes a day.

If you are unfamiliar with a Round of Words, or ROW80, click here to read more about it from the creator of the challenge, Kait Nolan. It is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life.” Its flexibility is often helpful.

Please go visit around the other ROWers, whom you can find here.  Encourage as you can, share strategies, make friends.  It is a wonderful community.

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ROW80

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.

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ROW80

Round Four Goals

 

IMG_20140913_232519It’s time to announce my goals for Round Four of ROW80.  I’m afraid this is the Round where the procrastination must stop, as the day job is on the line.

1. My final, required article for tenure has to be submitted by the end of the Round. Dry as Saharan winds or not, there must be at least 1500 words written every week to this goal.

2. My equally fascinating tenure dossier must also be submitted by the end of the Round. Y’all are lucky, as I will not ask for beta readers for this Death Valley delight. However, I must spend an hour a day writing, editing, and begging people to write nice letters for me.

3. Yoga and meditation are the only ways to face my hours with nothing but saguaros for company.  Every morning, now in the dark, *eep*, before coffee and shower.

4. For balance and sanity, I will continue to fill out worksheets, mandalas, mind maps and character sketches on the novella/novel/magnum opus as well as the memoir.  Let’s give that a half-hour a day.

I will try to answer comments and return visits as I can.  It is going to be one interesting ride between now and the end of December, so please know in advance if I am in curmudgeon hibernation, it is because I don’t want to whine too loudly.  The encouragement is as big a part of ROW80 as the accountability, so please go cheer on the other ROWers here.

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ROW80

Tackling the Augean Stables

It is going to be 87 F degrees today, so I will offer a contrast that may help me accept the discomfort.

Feb15 snow 2This is a picture from my backdoor last February 15th.  It was one of those beautiful sunny days that often follow snow and wind.  Okay, now that I’ve cooled off, I can think again.

Although I do not recommend taking on huge cleaning projects in 80+ degree weather, I have been anxious to set up my office, which I ceded to my son two years ago.  I don’t know about y’all, but I find cleaning like following Ariadne’s thread. One thing leads to twenty others that should be done as well. In order to move my desk out of the master bedroom, I needed to rearrange the bed and dresser in my son’s room, which made my husband look covetously at the dresser, which meant cleaning out our closet, finally packing away the winter clothes, bagging the too-small clothes that we refuse to save in hope, laundering the (without hyperbole) twenty-something unmatched socks that were under aforementioned son’s bed and dresser, and a thorough scouring of both bedrooms.  Augean stables?  Definitely a bit cleaner, but just as big a job.

Thankfully, although my head still spins when I pick something off the floor, or stand up too fast, the vertigo is not interfering overmuch these days. My hay fever is epic, so colleagues at the day job stay several feet from me, disbelieving my protests that I’m not contagious.

I’ve given up on PT, sadly, but the bright side of the coin is that I’m usually writing during the time I would have been at PT.  I am still meditating and still doing baby yoga. The biggest change is the buzz of writing, constantly on a sub-channel of my brain.  It’s been such a long time since I’ve felt that, I am fiercely joyous. I have stopped playing computer games, I have pared my “must-see” TV down to a minimum, and I keep thinking about characters and plots during the boring parts of day job meetings.

So far, it is all disorganized: snippets of ideas, things to look into, possible character backgrounds. I get discouraged, to be honest, but I have to remind myself to look back at the wasteland of the last few years, and see the change. When I’m not writing, I want to write.  I don’t care that most of it will be subsumed into back story and never see the light of day.  I still want to take my muse out for a welcome home dinner.

Thank you to all my ROW80 friends for sticking with me.  Please join me in visiting and encouraging them here.

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ROW80

Asleep at the reins

Well, I haven’t fallen off the horse, but man, I have been nodding off.  I have been having massive bouts of vertigo, which seem to be due to an inner ear problem.  I can tell you, it is no fun to have the room spinning without the benefit of alcohol.  Well, I take that back–at least my stomach isn’t churning while the room is spinning.

So, all those goals?  Most of them are just not happening.  It’s okay, because the one that is, is writing. *throws confetti and jumps around* Whoa, not ready for that yet.  We’ll stick with confetti.

Therefore, I have next to nothing to report, but I have been writing.  I managed a short piece for WIPpet Wednesday, from a happier time of my life, which is on my author platform. I’ll try to be more interesting on Sunday. 🙂

And check out some other participants in ROW80 here.

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