Round Four, Week One –Autumn Thoughts

Last week was one of those where I wish I was not an administrator, since I had to run a strategic planning meeting with some staff, to get the grassroots level input. As most of them had been there for a long time, the cynicism was thick and cutting. I could not disagree, but contained my remarks to getting the discussion done and over with, so that we could all go back to getting our jobs done. Once I had to report the results, I found that most of our discussion was about objectives, not goals. Sigh. I am all for to-do lists, and planning, but moving the course of  a university library makes steering the Titanic around the iceberg look easy. The way scholars do research has changed completely with the rise of internet and instant communication, but some staff find it very hard to step from their comfort zones.

So that was the day job. Personally, I was hit with autumn allergies on Monday. Luckily, I felt better by Wednesday when I went to New York City to see my doctors. It was a mild, pretty day, and my husband and I sat in one of the parks drinking coffee and observing the wildlife, both human and non-human. While I slept most of the train ride down, it was a glorious ride back in the afternoon along the Hudson, the sun shining and the wind whipping the river into whitecaps. One can track the arrival of Autumn as one comes further north, the colors of the leaves intensifying along the route.

I did participate in a “Six Words” post that came out  last week. It is always nice to stretch myself with a different prompt like that. While it was not a great week for words, I thought through the plot points of the war bride novel and delved more deeply into the backgrounds and insecurities of the main couple. I am toying with creating a pinterest board for the novel, as well as a playlist. I do like to see and hear what the characters would have seen and heard. I have tomorrow off, so I may take a stab at those projects.

I hope all of you are doing well and still feel the excitement of beginning a new Round. Enjoy your week.


Round Four 2017 Goals

My Round Four plan is to put some time and effort into organizing and planning. I tend to rush into writing without thinking things through.  While there are many people who can do that successfully, but I am not one of those people. Therefore,  I am going to pull back and try to go more slowly.

Grounding mantra: Organize, plan, contemplate

Writing Goals:

Write one blog post every week.

Write three pages of fiction every week.

Write five pages of non-fiction every week.

Health Goals:

Walk forty minutes a day.

Use the standing desk at least three hours a day.

Keep up with medical appointments.

Organizing Goals:

Create project folders for each writing project.

Create a coloring book profile for each character in the novella.



Week Three–Digging In

It was a meeting-rich week at the day job, and the sort of meetings that leave one absent a brain at the end of the day. At some point during the week, my husband sent me a picture of socks which said “This meeting is b***s**t.”  Later in the week, I saw a similar pair and other wonderful ones at a book/gift shop next to where Eden and I met for writing time. It is always dangerous for me to enter a bookshop, because I am so torn between getting ALL the books, and being guilty about buying any books that I cannot justify sitting down to read. I do listen to audio books, and read e-books, but I find it difficult to sit with a print book and read for pleasure.  I hope this inability passes soon, since I usually love to read physical books.

I am not in the best place with the day job right now, in that I am constantly pulled away from the work that matters to attend meetings about things that do not matter. The good thing is that my muse sometimes performs well under stress. Thus I am at times madly writing in my head, jotting down a phrase or two so as not to forget what I was thinking. On the negative side, I am starting to slide back into the Slough of Despond. I plan to investigate medications and/or therapy again, to see if I can moderate the slide before it gets too entrenched. 

So, how did I do on my goals:

One blog post per week. Some weeks this will probably be my account of how I progressed on my goals, but I hope to expand to other posts. Last Friday I went back to my Lapidary Prose blog, and posted a very short piece about hope. Most of my former followers have unfollowed the blog, and I don’t blame them.  I plan to continue to post there and put the links on Facebook and Twitter, slowly building followers again. I have a Mother’s Day post written, and a Father’s Day post drafted.

Five sentences of fiction every day. More will be cherished and coddled, but five is required. My return to the day job disrupted my daily writing routines, but I am slowly getting it back. Thursday I met Eden after work, and ironed out more details about my hero and heroine in the World War II novella, figuring out where and how they might have met, and further details about their backgrounds. I’m still struggling to find a good time to work on the daily writing. After brainstorming with the husband, I am going to try a different approach and write in the mornings before the day job.  I’ll report on my progress next week.

Half an hour of editing the non-fiction book every day. Yes, it’s not always pretty or fun, but necessary. This editing did not happen every day, which was disheartening.  I had planned to do it during lunch break at the day job, but I sometimes get pulled into meetings so that I don’t get a lunch break.  I am involved with an academic writing group that keeps me somewhat on task for that sphere of writing, but we are on a break right now, and I don’t have the incentive to keep up as much as I do when we are reporting every week. 

Have a great, fruitful week, everyone!




Week Two–Still Writing

Two weeks in.  Happy Easter, happy Passover, happy April 16th, however you may be inclined. I’ve been doing well on my goals, so I’m in a pretty good mood. Last night, I wrote 2916 words on a set of blog posts for next year’s A-Z challenge.  Yes, I know that’s a year away, but I find I should write things when I want to write them.  Well, I write every day, but I sometimes let inspiration guide what I write.  I also wrote 643 words yesterday on a different blog post that should go up reasonably soon, and last Wednesday I wrote about 300 words for a Mother’s Day post (handwritten, so harder to count) and spent a lively few hours discussing my characters in the World War II novella with Eden.  It was good to discuss and share on such a bittersweet day–Wednesday was the third anniversary of my mother’s passing, as well as my youngest son’s 24th birthday.  It was also very good to write.  

I am clearly still awash with blog post ideas, but hope to dust off my story toolkit/outline/coloring book even further after the discussion of the characters and their respective backgrounds. I took notes like mad as we talked, but I know I can refine some things when I type them in. I’m glad to be back writing and thinking about writing on a regular basis

Oh, and because I saw an interest in writing spaces mentioned on Facebook, here’s the writing space I had in the last house (we moved in July 2016).

Pen cases
Left side of the writing desk

As for my goals, which I will probably start monkeying with now that they seem attainable:

One blog post per week. Nothing posted this week except for this one.  I do have seven more in draft that I hope to post soon.

Five sentences of fiction every day. Yes, most of it on Wednesday, but I’ll definitely take it.

Half an hour of editing the non-fiction book every day. Four days this week.

I hope everyone has a great week.


RoW80 Check-in Ahead and Behind

Illumination from Morgan Library MS 775
Illumination from Morgan Library MS 775

It continued to be a crazy week, but that is starting to feel normal. DH and I spent yesterday planting flowers in the brick planter by the front door, and in a couple of concrete urns in the back yard, as well as putting up some hanging baskets.  It helped greatly to make it feel more like home.

Settling into the house is taking a fair amount of time and energy, but it feels good.  I have been keeping up with some of the writing I planned to do, but not all.  I plan to work more on it this week, and have some inter-library loan books awaiting me tomorrow. I realize several of you have more than five projects going at one time, but I encourage you to check out Pacemaker (  I really like it.

I spent five hours on the train to and from New York City on Friday, and despite best intentions to be productive, I slept most of the trip.  I can only accept that I must have needed the sleep.

So far, I have rather spotty progress on my goals, but I’m settling into the rhythm, and am not terribly worried yet. I am behind on my fiction, which should be at 960 words, and is at 0.  I have thought about it every day, teasing apart some of the conflict to see if it is strong enough. I wish the book could be delivered like the one in the illumination above, but I haven’t figured out how to tap into that delivery service.

I am ahead on my blog posts, since I am at 2,198 words, and am supposed to be at 1,250. I am behind on my article, which is supposed to be at 385, and is at 0, but I can catch up tonight and tomorrow.  I have read through what I have written, and targeted some holes in the argument.

I have some doctors’ appointments to make pursuant to the doctor’s visit I had Friday, and must call tomorrow.

Check out the goals of other ROWers, which you can find here. If you’re interested in joining ROW80 challenge, the FAQ will give you all the details. Feel free to jump in anytime.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

What? Yesterday was Wednesday?


As the lateness of this post attests, things have been crazy lately. I have to be content with baby steps right now.  I am writing every day, even if some days it is only a handful of sentences.  I am continuing to discard, pack, and plan for the move, in the face of having to travel for several days next week.  I have donned my hiking boots to scale the mountain that lies between today and two weeks from today when the trip will be done, the old place will be empty and the new place will be festooned with boxes and possibilities.  Until then, I can only plead sleep deprivation and stress have robbed me of any interesting developments to offer my readers.  All my words are going into my writing, it seems, so here is a small offering.

WIPpet Wednesday

I have 12 sentences for this snippet, 6+(1+5)=12. It follows right after the snippet from last Wednesday.

I shook off the worst of the disappointment—I could cry in my beer later.  “I needed an honest answer, and I got one; I can’t complain.”

She put her hand on my cheek, turning my face to hers, as I had done to her earlier.  “I do love you, Johnny, I just . . .” her voice died away.

“It’s okay, really.  Let’s not spoil the evening.”  I pulled her into my arms, burying my face in her hair, breathing the scent of her, praying that she wouldn’t disappear.  I didn’t regret asking; I couldn’t have spent another hour with Helen without asking. “I won’t badger you about it, I promise,”  I said, although I wasn’t sure I could bear to ask her again.

Helen pulled away just enough to reach up to kiss me; she had no idea what she was doing to me, but I was amazed that my heart didn’t explode or just stop. I had grown up among people who lived hard lives, and romance did not prosper among such arid conditions.  Yes, there was love, but it was hard-won, worn smooth by adversity.

Want to read other works-in-progress?  Want to share snippets of your work?  WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Witt here  Check out the other offerings here, or add your own.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday Still Writing

Where the magic happens
Writing Desk


It is Wednesday, and therefore time for a RoW80 update. Life continues to be crazy, but also provides an object lesson.  For years, I would have said that a crazy time like now would make it impossible for me to write–clearly I had too much on my plate.  This year, after being reminded by this post, I realized that I chose all sorts of tasks in the past that made excuses for my not writing, when  I could have chosen writing.  Am I perfect and writing 10K a day?  Far from it, but I am writing at least 5 days out of 7, slowly and in little pieces, keeping the well primed.  I can also recommend inner dialogues with one’s characters while packing dishes, clearly a task from some lower circle of hell.

There are a few blog posts in that paragraph, but I will write those a bit later. Please go encourage the other RoWers, who are sliding into the home stretch here.  What is RoW80, you ask?  It is an accountability group, with flexible goals and good companions.  If you’re interested, check it out here.

WIPpet Wednesday

My contribution to WIPpet Wednesday follows immediately after last week’s cliffhanger.  Yes, I was evil. My math is 6+8=14, so 14 sentences.

“That I’m falling in love with you.”

Over the pounding of my heartbeat in my ears, I said, “I loved you before you even looked my way.  Marry me.”  Those last two words were unexpected, but now that I heard them, I would never take them back. Helen’s face stilled. Her body froze.  I prepared myself for her rejection and perhaps even her anger.

“I don’t know.  Let me think about it.”

Well, she hadn’t handed me my head, but the axe had certainly nicked me.  Even while telling myself that she hadn’t gotten mad, or turned me down flat, I felt my heart shrink from the hurt.  I couldn’t hide my disappointment from her, either. It mattered too damn much.

Helen smiled wistfully,  saying softly,  “I’m sorry. “

Want to read other works-in-progress?  Want to share snippets of your work?  WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by Emily Witt here. Check out the other offerings, or add your own.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday Plodding

Honestly, I don’t have a lot to update in RoW80.  I’m plodding along in the writing, and actually signed up as a JuNoWriMo rebel.  I have a couple of scholarly articles I want to work on, as well as this rebel piece, so I don’t want to go down in flames. I’m not complaining, trust me.  I am delighted that the words are still coming and the characters still talking to me.

I am steadfastly working to pull back from the day job.  I have the bad habit of working through lunch and breaks, but want that to stop. I did have Monday off, and got most of the china packed–an impressively intricate and slow job!

Please go encourage the rest of the RoWers here.

And for WIPpet Wednesday:

My last two snippets have been from the point of view of my female protagonist, but this is from the male POV.  There are 7 short paragraphs (6+1) of dialogue between the main characters, a very few dates after the earlier snippets:

“You haven’t said much of anything about what you want to do with your life,” I said.

“Oh, I haven’t thought about it very much.  I suppose the usual, husband and family.”  

Suddenly, she began to shiver uncontrollably.  I thought she might be cold, even though it was rather mild, so I gathered her into my arms, but only close enough to warm her.

“I’m not cold,” Helen muttered into my chest, so I let her pull away.  

“But you’re shaking.”  She wouldn’t look at me, staring at the ground, or down the street, anywhere but at me.  All of a sudden, I realized she was scared, and said so.

“Yes, I am.”  She still would not look at me.

“Of what?”  I tipped her face up with a finger so that she had to look at me.  I was searching her face, her eyes, trying to read her expression.  The understanding hit me the second before she said it.

WIPpet Wednesday is curated by Emily Witt at Keyboard and an Open Mind. If you’d like to contribute, or want to read other offerings, they are here.

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RoW80 Check-in Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and I want to thank everyone who has served in the military, and to remember all those whose service cost them their lives.  Both my husband and I have many family members in the services, including my nephew who is in Afghanistan right now.  My father, my brother, my brother-in-law served in the past; my niece, my nephew, and his wife, are currently serving in the military.  Thank you all.

The last few days have been busy, in an unsurprising way. I am finishing up an eight-week course that I just despised.  I figured that I would have known some of what would be in the course, but as it happened, I learned nothing new.  Nothing from my 40+ hours of work over the past eight weeks.  I’m terribly disappointed.  Oh well.

The packing continues apace–the property manager for the rental came over to fix the dining room ceiling, which was badly patched from the leak earlier this year. He reiterated that we need to get the boxes out of the house for it to be shown.  I suppose it is good that I am not the person dealing with this situation, because my husband can be more polite than I would be. (He’s of German heritage, while I reveal my Irish heritage often). I can only partially blame the incredibly hot weather that is visiting the Capital District this week, and the lack of air-conditioning.  Sigh.

There are several positive things about the past few days.  We went through some stored clothing, and gave away four large trash bags full. I have continued my flurry of cleaning my work files and filing things I have to keep, with a result of emptying three drawers of a five-drawer filing cabinet.

Even more exciting is that I am continuing to write in the tiny spaces of time that I have in my day.  I will have several more hours available now that the course is over, and I plan to spend at least part of it writing. Since my current WIP is set in World War II, it is only right that I spend part of Memorial Day writing it.

I hope everyone finds time to write today and tomorrow.  Please go encourage the rest of the RoWers here.

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ROW80, WIPpet Wednesday

RoW80 and WIPpet Wednesday I’m writing!


There’s not a lot to report on my goals these past few days.  I have dived face first into getting rid of stuff in my cube at work, which is immensely satisfying and mindclearing, but it wasn’t on my goals.  That’s okay, since it will help with goals in the future.

The packing has slowed slightly, because we have filled up the garage and our smallish storage space with boxes and things we want to sell or give away.  We are borrowing a garage from a neighborhood friend which will be available this weekend, so we should gear up again for that.

I have two assignments and two quizzes left on my course, so I will be shut of that soon as well.  Then I can turn my attention to my non-fiction project again, which will be good. My World War II story goes apace, so that in surprising succession, I have yet another offering for WIPpet Wednesday.  

This is 12 sentences (5+2+5 for the month and the date), following a few sentences after my American has asked his English dance partner to take the air outside:

And we talked—my word, we talked for hours.  We talked about music and books, life and dreams.  Something about him made me feel so comfortable that I found myself telling him about my life,  even my adoption, although my parents had been completely wonderful to me.  Even though I noticed my friends calling out good-night, and asking if I was okay if they left, before I knew it the sky was streaked with the coming dawn. Johnny,  Lieutenant John Malone, of the Eighth Air Force, that is (‘but my friends call me Johnny”) walked me to my car.  I was hoping for a kiss, naughty me!  And I got one—and what a kiss. Except for the hand cupping my face and those lips on mine, he was a perfect gentleman, barely pressing against me, but warmth poured through me as though we kissed passionately, and had before, had shared even more intimate moments. That feeling threw me so completely that when he broke off the kiss, I felt faint, and he wrapped his arms around me so that I wouldn’t fall.  Me, sturdy me!  I laughed off my embarrassment while he dug in his pockets for something to write my name and address on.  He ripped the paper in half so I could take his name with me—not that I needed it.  After repeated attempts to part from one another, and a promise to meet him again in two days, I drove off.  He stood in the road looking after me, which made my heart beat a little faster, as did the fact that I was driving all over the road, watching him in the mirror.

I will leave you with the link to the rest of the RoWers. Here is the link to WIPpet Wednesday, as well.
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