ROW80 check-in Back to the basics

I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t checked-in for the last three check-ins.  I was knee-deep in a conference  over this past weekend, which was exhausting and wonderful all at once.  It followed a week of not so great medical news, with each test seeming to bring back worse results.  So, bluntly, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself.

I have been reading and commenting on blogs, several of which have inspired me to write posts in response, but all the responses are in outline, note, or even graphic, form.  I am no artist, so trust me, those last are truly not ready for primetime.

During my hiatus, my inspirational post appeared on the ROW80 blog, and I did finish and send off a guest post for Cate Russell-Cole.  Trust me, I will alert everyone when that is posted.

I am still in the gathering, planning, and synthesizing stage of many projects, and at the moment I am all right with that.

How is everyone doing on their goals?  If you need help, sing out.  And, if your goals are coming along well, reach out to encourage someone else here.


September 2 Check-in Soaring slightly

This week, I must have been primed to have what I read reach into the shadows to shine light on aspects of my personality.  Jenny Hansen’s post
on starring in our own life hit me.  Her post is about Marianne Williamson’s book  A Return to Love.  I found the part  where Williamson says we are more afraid of our light than our darkness so very interesting, and true.  I was brought  up to be invisible and silent; my greatest goal was to fade completely into the wallpaper.  

The reasons are complex, and would need their own post, but part of it includes my mother telling me very early on I should not speak up, I should especially not let others see that I was smart. I realize now she had her reasons, because I seem to have been born a smart aleck.  In first grade, my classmates bullied me because the good sister had me read aloud to the class while she took a break. Every year, it seemed there was a new reason to be spotlighted, and vilified. Eventually, the bullying made the smart aleck go underground, and I became a chameleon–tell me what you want me to be, and I will be that.  It sounded like a good plan, but it didn’t work out so well.  I lost my strength, my soul.  Actually, that’s not true–my strength and my soul grew into a caldera in the closet, fed by my journalling and my writing about women who could be brave and strong and smart without losing all their friends.

I do have my darkness.  I’ve been raped, beaten, abandoned; I’ve been homeless and gone to bed hungry.  It takes a better person than I am not to have the darkness build in those circumstances. But when Williamson said that we fear our light because we don’t want to offend others, my life before age 30 rolled out before me. I still have the remnants of fear that people won’t like my work or me, but I’m much farther along the path than I was at 30.

The second post that hit me was Kristen Lamb’s on maturity,
especially her line about the day job being there for a reason. I accepted this day job when I was struggling with wanting to write full-time, but knowing I wasn’t ready on many levels.  It hit me that my day job really is there for a reason.  I have to be the adult everyday, even when I don’t want to be.  I have a lot of responsibility, but I also have a lot of authority. I believe in strong women and I write about strong women, but I still suffer from impostor syndrome, and do not believe I am strong.  

I nearly spewed my coffee when a colleague of mine described me as a “steel magnolia,”  but she’s right.  My day job is helping me understand my protagonist, a woman who overcame the odds and social conventions to build and run a company, despite being called names, vilified, made fun of, having her intelligence and learning doubted.

And to finish the trifecta, while looking at the website of a new follower, I saw a quotation that resonated: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got, and you’ll always feel what you always felt. Recently, I decided that not trying new things was suffocating any creativity I have.  New things may not work, but as I say at the day job, “Will anyone die? No?  Okay, let’s give it a shot.”

What, you may ask, does all this have to do with writing?  Well, while still honoring my tortoise, I am going to up the ante a bit.  Jenny Hansen challenged me to stop inching and soar, so this next month, I am going to write for at least an hour a day.  In the midst of everyone’s Fast Draft and Camp NaNo, I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but for me, it is.

Welcome, Ryan and David, to the blog. Thank you to David who had the great quotation I mentioned above.

Check out some of the ROWers here. They will appreciate your encouragement.

My goals and progress are below:


  • I will write at least one half-hour a day. Updated to one hour a day.

  • I will continue to refine my main author blog, which may involve combining the Lapidary Prose blog with Elizabeth Anne Mitchell. I just can’t get excited about this goal, but I think it makes sense.


  • As I’ve returned to being a sponsor, I will visit all my 8’s twice a week. Slowly, but yes, I’m doing it.

  • I will catch up with Facebook, Twitter, and my other sites for no more than an hour daily. I have been keeping up with this goal.

  • I will reply to all comments on my blogs. Again, slowly, but I am keeping up with comments.


  • Walk at least 1,000 steps a day, preferably 2,000, tracked by a pedometer. I got 1,000 steps 6 out of 7 days. I’ll take it.

  • Use the stairs going upstairs; if I want to, I can cheat going downstairs. I’m now doing this, even for multiple stories at work, even when I *really* don’t want to do it, so I think it is now a habit.


  • 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. Fail at the individual contacts.  I need to manage my time better.

  • 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. A little better this week. I have been able to spend some one-on-one time with each of the sons; I need to be better about the daughters.


June 10 Writing, by gosh!

Following the theme of last week, I have continued to make baby steps. Yesterday, I managed to post Shan Jeniah’s guest post on kinship here. I have also spent the past week slowly getting more involved with old friends and new through Facebook and Twitter, but also through WANA International, a new venture by Kristen Lamb and Ingrid Schaffenburg, which looks exciting with classes from several of our ROW80 crew (Jenny Hansen and Kait Nolan, for example) and other luminaries.

I also joined Jeff Goins’ 15-day challenge, outlined here, which is forcing me to take some scary steps–all to the good. I admitted to a colleague at the day job that I wrote things other than academic articles, and was pleased that she didn’t laugh outright.

I went back to getting up early to write, something I had let fall by the wayside in the past few weeks. Further, I made myself stay off the internet for the first part of the morning, so that I could actually write–create rather than react.

What I have learned: I have ideas about what to write. Not having anything to say was one of my greatest fears in coming out of my corner–people laughing at me being one of the others. But I found in the early morning hours that not only was I managing to come up with ideas for blog posts and themes (sheesh, finally), but I was coming up with ideas that had plots and characters, somewhere to go and things to say.

I also learned what a wonderful, giving, supportive cast of characters the writing community holds. I never had to worry about anyone laughing at me in the ROW, or in the other groups I’ve joined in my travels these past months.

Penultimately (sorry, but I love that word), I want to shout out to the people who have followed my blog in the past month. I’m not going to try to catch up in one swell foop, but here are some people who are worth checking out, if you don’t know them already.

Janet at

Ruth at

Eric at

Kourtney at

CK at

Tune in next week for the next installment 🙂 In the meantime, please go encourage the rest of the ROWers here as we try to redline it for the last weeks of Round 2. There are some wonderful people in this group 🙂