Assessment of progress toward RoW80 goals

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Writing Desk

When I checked in last Wednesday, I got a notice from WordPress that post was my 200th on this blog. In celebration of that blogiversary, I felt it would be a good time to assess how I was doing toward my goals. My first goal was to protect my writing time.  I have been doing better than previous Rounds, although I haven’t quite nailed the goal yet.

My second goal was to connect with Rowers, and on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve been able to avoid getting lost in the rabbit holes that are Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve managed to keep up with my assigned folks, but have not been as responsive to comments as I would like.  I want to do better on keeping up with comments.

My goal to organize has gone better this Round.  I have spent several hours per week getting email tamed, and compiling versions of files on hard drives.  I do hate to file papers, so I’m behind on compiling my craft book notes.  

I’ve also fallen behind on writing, although I am still doing better than previous Rounds.  I am very proud of the fact that I manage to “write on demand” every Sunday night during the sprints, since I have been convinced for years that I could not do such a thing. I have also had to do a fair amount of writing for the day job, and have been able to force myself to write when I am certainly not inspired.

My major goal for this Round is to move from victim to author, as described in Kait’s opening post. If I look at it as a paradigm shift, I am certainly making progress.  I no longer give up if life interferes as much as I used to do, and I have managed to find other times and venues to write that I would not have tried in the past.

How are you progressing with your goals?  I’d love to hear about it. Also, 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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Random deep thoughts

Only some random thoughts from me this check-in, but I have gotten away from checking in on Wednesdays and want to get back into the habit. Wednesday WIPpet calls to me as well, although I don’t have anything to post quite yet.  I’m trying to go back to the beginning and learn the elemental structure of fiction, but find myself frustrated and impatient.

I did several sprints with the Sunday group, spending one session getting back in touch with a character who has proved elusive for me, despite my intense interest in her.  She’s my World War II bride, who has to have some grit to move to America after the war, but I haven’t been able to find her sand in my drafts yet.  I’m plugging away at getting into her psyche, though. I got more words yesterday, since I took the day off from the day job. My college was holding my tenure vote, and I didn’t want to be wandering around trying to read everyone’s expression.

I continue to think about blogging, and where to go with my blogs.  I love researching the nerdy language history and such that I used to post, but, like several people who commented last week, it is a time investment that I may not be able to swing. I am spending a lot of time in my head, and the best conclusion i can come to is to do what I enjoy without shorting other things I enjoy.

Finally, let me steer you to a couple of worthwhile reads:  Kait posted this article on FB, which is very thought-provoking for someone who expects to be perfect (raises hand). Also, Eden’s sponsor post could have been written by me, at various times during the last several years. It is also well worth a read, and a further commitment to get back to writing, no matter how long the break.

And, as always, do take a minute or two to visit with the other RoW80 participants here

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RoW80 check-in Being Accountable

One week in, I’m thinking a lot about accountability and not falling into the victim mentality.  I make too many excuses for myself, and I need to stop. My reaction to Kait’s opening post was recognition and shame. What was your reaction?  I’d love to know, so feel free to go read it if you haven’t done so yet.


  • I am getting much better about checking in, although I do realize it is early days yet.
  • I have been getting around to other RoWers reasonably well.
  • Although I haven’t yet achieved my time goals, I am better about social media.


  • I have begun working on electronic files, comparing copies on hard drives, flash drives, and the cloud.

In progress:

  • I need to work better to protect my time.  I tend to give up when life gets in the way.
  • I hope to get better about visiting participants and replying to comments.


  • I’m going to add more measures to the goal of protecting my time, and a measurable goal to the writing.  I want to write or outline for an hour five days a week, with a goal of 350 words a day.

Please support and encourage other RoWers by visiting the linky

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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.


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.


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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Still on the horse

It has been an interesting, contemplative, half week since last Wednesday’s check-in. There has been a lot of reading, so I was happy to see Kait’s admonition in the check-in post to read.  I spent some time visiting some ROW80 and WIPpet Wednesday blogs, as well as reading some books.  I can’t get around to as many blogs as I would like, but the reading I have done has been very beneficial in pointing out where I need to work on things.

The initial meeting with my colleagues went quite well.  Three of us do not have offices, but cubicles (veal-fattening pens), so we ended up getting interrupted a fair amount.  Along with congratulating ourselves on what we got done, we brainstormed ideas on how to do better. We talked about our projects and goals, as well as planning a writing day at least once a month.

I managed to meet Kait’s challenge in last Sunday’s check-in post to increase my word count.  I’ve written enough already to have next Wednesday’s  WIPpet excerpt ready to go.  My feeling of accountability there is still working, which is gratifying.  My latest entry, if anyone is interested, is on my platform here, with earlier entries easily found, due to the  lack of posting there (blush).  I’ve settled, for the moment, on my memoir, which is difficult to write, but is helping me work through it all.

I reported on Wednesday that I was starting to see themes for the blogs.  My love for words and literary history is deep-seated, such that I don’t think I can give that up.  I’ve also been contemplating the impostor syndrome that I still find myself fighting.  I know I’m not alone in that, and want to to explore that as well. Finally, I’m looking into topics that crop up while worldbuilding.  There are so many things I take for granted in the 21st century.  Most people think of  technology, but I’m looking at the availability of food, water, shelter, clothing.  I know a lot about the 14th century intellectually, but when it comes to describing the life of a character, it becomes a different and emotional investigation.

The horse and I have settled into a comfortable co-existence, with the occasional fright at a shadow, or the discomfort of being too long in the saddle.  It is proving to be very good for me.

If you have a chance, do visit some of the some of the ROW80 participants here. It helps immensely to have the encouragement.

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Cantering carefully along

Trying not to lose my hat! Seriously, how am I doing?  Quite well, I think.  I feel as though I’ve gotten the horse over a few hurdles, and feel pretty confident about how things are progressing.

Today, I’m meeting with my colleagues to report on my progress on the article, which will force me to work feverishly. I’ve proven that I respond to accountability, and have cleared  more than two hours today to work on this goal.  Stay tuned for my report on how I did. 🙂 

As for my fiction goal, I decided to take on Kait’s challenge in the Sunday check-in to increase the word count.  I started writing ten sentences a day, and although it’s early in the race, I’m keeping up with it.  Part of the driving force behind this added productivity is my participation in WIPpet Wednesday. I recently added the goal of posting an excerpt every Wednesday, and so far, I’m succeeding.

I’m also continuing to ponder and plan the blogs. Even more exciting, I’m starting to find the themes and topics I want to write about. The exploration is helping me find my voice as well. Eden Mabee’s sponsor post engendered some deep contemplation, with some signposts for further discoveries. I’ve struggled with impostor syndrome most of my life, so that admonition to be who I am was scary and liberating in the same breath.

I hope everyone is clearing their fences with hats intact this Round.  Please drop by some of the ROW80 participants here. They are a diverse, interesting group.

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A slow walking gait

I liked Kait’s horse race metaphor so much, I have to continue it for a while. I have left the gate, but only at a slow walking gait, as if I have been riding astride all my life and find myself in a side-saddle. Also, although I have no pretensions to being irreplaceable at the day job, it is stunning how much work was waiting for me upon my return from a week and a half at a conference and then on vacation.

1. I am dedicating a 1/2 hour everyday to a non-fiction, scholarly, article. Only two out of four days, although I plan to adjust this goal to five days–the work week.  I don’t really want to think about it on my days off.

2.  I will write at least five sentences everyday on my fiction. Three out of four days–I’ll take it, and keep working on it.  I am keeping up, so far, with WIPpet Wednesdays, but am putting them up on my author blog.

3. I will spend 1/2 hour everyday on one or more of the blogs. Two out of four days–again, room for improvement, but some movement at least. I got some great advice at the end of Round Two that I am mulling.  I need to learn some WordPress tricks, and am working through whether to try to learn by myself or pay for help.  I do need to do something, though, that is clear.

We have a bumper crop of enthused people beginning this Round.  If you are intrigued by ROW80, check out my fellow participants here to see what it is like, or check out the FAQs.

ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

Tangled in the Reins

Kait’s check-in post made me laugh.  Far from starting nimbly from the gate, I am hopelessly tangled in the reins, and the horse is contemplating having nothing more to do with me.  But it’s all right–sometimes untangling is a necessary first step.

I will also try to have more interesting check-ins as time goes on, but here’s the short and tangled:

1. I have to write a non-fiction, scholarly, article this summer.  It has to be accepted for publication by the end of Round Four, so I am dedicating a 1/2 hour everyday to it. Monday and Tuesday I was correcting the copy edits from an article that was accepted for publication last week.  What is my excuse today?  Not much of one, but there was a massive hailstorm that made me unplug and stare out the window for a half-hour, and thunder that continued for several hours thereafter.  Does that count?

2. I want to get back to my fiction, if only on a small scale.  I have a series of small pieces planned. I will write at least five sentences everyday on my fiction. I have cheated here somewhat, as I will post a WIPpet, but I had notes before I wrote it.

3. My blogs are a moribund, disorganized, mess. I will spend 1/2 hour everyday on one or more of the blogs. Nope.  I did think about them and read some drafts, though.

And as a generalized excuse, I spent a leisurely lunch with Eden Mabee, during which we were so busy catching up, we didn’t write a word!

Check out my fellow participants here.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

Joining WIPpet Wednesday and a ROW80 update, too

This is my first foray into #WIPpet Wednesday, the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. I feel like I did when I peered down at the pool from the high dive the first time.  In order to feel just a tiny bit more secure, I’ve pulled 8 sentences (6 for June +1 +1 for the date) from a novel I’ve played with for a few years now. My protagonist is a young woman in 14th century Paris, who has just opened a message.

Christine remembered how Estienne had looked at the church door.  He had not smiled, and his hands trembled, but his eyes met hers with kindness.  The breeze had ruffled  his dark, curly hair, and lifted tendrils of Christine’s hair to reach toward him in concert with her thoughts.  Her mind wandered as the priest said several prayers, although a phrase pierced the fog now and then.  She blushed at the mention of children and grandchildren.  Finally, Estienne put his family ring on each of her fingers in turn, rubbing the inkstained one with a smile, before replacing it firmly on the one carrying the vein to her heart.  His hand was warm,  and so solid she could remember its touch ten years later.

Her hand cramped, crushing the parchment, driving its edges into her palm.  How could he be dead?

WIPpet is a blog hop, the links to which are here.

And for something completely different, my ROW80 check-in. It is the brain child of Kait Nolan, who describes the challenge here.

After paring down my goals, and focusing on a different project, the words are coming, at a drip, but I’m very glad to see them.  It helps to write about my childhood, even though, as I have always said, the truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. I’m learning what to write and throw out as an exercise in catharsis, which has no place in the memoir.

I’m managing to keep up with meditation and the simple yoga poses, which is helping to diffuse the stress of the day job.

I found, to my amazement and dismay, that I had begun over a half-dozen blog posts that were moldering in my drafts. I’m very glad to have found them, but horrified that I forgot all about them *facepalm*. It is past time that I should do some serious housekeeping on my blogs!  The upside is that after reading through them, several more ideas have surfaced. Also, my moribund blog is still receiving hits, so I need to pull the plug and direct my few hits to the main blog.

ROW80 is a blog hop as well.  Please go check-out the participants here.

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Writing has commenced

This morning, I woke up with the need to write, something that has not occurred for months. *happy dance* While I am not one to write only when the muse is happy, it was nice to feel the creative flow again. So I sat in my dark little office cubbyhole with the quiet of the morning around me, and continued to write on the paper I am presenting in a couple of weeks.  Shan Jeniah asked what I meant by a zero draft.  I have no idea where I got the term, but I mean the kind of writing one is supposed to do in NaNo.  No editing, no stopping to look things up and the like.  I know way, way, too much about this subject, so I don’t need to fact check while writing, which is extremely freeing.

Although I’ve been able to keep up with sponsor duties, I still have to catch up with comments on my previous posts, but I am making progress.

I have been keeping up with meditation and keeping up with my family. I’m working to be kind to myself, as Kait advised at the beginning of this Round.

ROW80 is a community blog hop.  Please go check out the participants here.