RoW check-in First World Musings

Fair warning–this first paragraph is a rant! My throat is sore, my nose is running, and I am feeling extremely sorry for myself. I’ve been fighting this dreck that has hit most of my staff.  Sadly, although I have been begging them to stay home when they are sick, there is some weird corporate culture here that it is better to come in when they are coughing and sneezing on everyone.  What is up with that?  I sometimes have to go in because I used a lot of my sick days on fun things like surgeries and days in Intensive Care, but these staff of mine have more than two or three months worth of sick leave.  Doesn’t anyone know how fast sickness skates through cube farms?  STAY HOME!

Okay, you’re safe now, gentle reader. I’ve also neglected my writing the past couple of days, although I am writing this as part of a group sprint, so thank you, Eden, again. I have also been planning, drawing, thinking about the world and how things like getting water and food work in that society.  I am very bad about posting check-ins–feeling meh, and not like I have anything interesting to say.

All household members have been madly packing the past several days–ever since the weekend, and it is coming home to all of us 1) we hate packing 2) we keep too much stuff 3) we are actually forcing ourselves to do it right this time, no matter how horrible it is to do so.  We bought more trash cans, and recycling bins, and have filled up donation bins nearby with clothing and other usable items. It makes me feel better, but I am swearing to live less cluttered in the future.

I have also been on the other end of the first world spectrum, needing help to clothe and feed my family, so I am happy to pay it forward.  It is part of what I have taught my kids as well, and I am pleased to see how much they are donating as well.

First world problems, I know. I thought the other day of how precious paper was when it first began to replace vellum and parchment, and how amazed (and appalled) 16th century people would have been at the hordes of paper that invade our homes.  It is a different perspective on all the stuff we have, to think about the people who had one good dress and one work dress for most of their lives, and who wrote letters on every available space, since paper was so dear.

I’ve been thinking about the way that I take so many things for granted–the light that allows me to type this at night, the electricity that powers my laptop, the gas that heated my water for tea, the water that comes from the tap.  I planned a series of blog posts about that awhile back, but it slipped off my radar.  I’m beginning to think about it again.

I want to do better about check-ins, too.  I feel very cut off when I don’t check-in and read and comment on other RoWers’ posts, so I just need to schedule it and do it, right?

Please go check out how all the other RoWers are doing here.

smaller EM


Assessment of progress toward RoW80 goals

Where the magic happens
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.

smaller EM




Another Good Week

Photograph by Dana Ross Martin WANA Commons under a Creative Commons license

I am a bit sad today, since it is my late brother’s birthday. I’ve been thinking about my mother a lot, now that flowers are starting to show up here after our long winter. My mother didn’t pass her green thumb down to me, but I love flowers and work hard to keep them flourishing.  I remember that my mother planted iris like the one in the picture along our garage.

Despite my slight sadness, I had a good week, and I must admit I could get used to this new trend. Last Sunday evening, I crashed the local NaNo group writing meeting. Well, not exactly crashed, since I was invited by Eden. Also, I did sign up for NaNo in November of 2013, and was still somewhat a member of the group, even though I crashed and burned spectacularly that November.

During three 20-minute sprints, I managed to write over three handwritten pages, which is stunning for me, especially given the word count is closer to 300 than the standard 250 per page.  During the fourth sprint, I did some world building, which was still more than three-fourths of a handwritten page. It felt good, empowering, and proved again that I do not need perfect conditions, since I am definitely a lark, and writing from 7-9 in the evening is not optimal for my circadian rhythms.

This revelation helped me glide through almost a full week of frustration and having to redo work documents four and five times.  The week did end on a positive note, thank goodness.

I decided to resurrect Lapidary Prose, a long moribund blog, posting a First Friday Photo in a blog hop set up by Eden Mabee.  If you are interested, check it out.  No one needs to be a professional photographer, but merely to enjoy it.

I also had let Elizabeth Anne Mitchell, my other blog, fall into disuse, although not as long.  I posted a Friday Laugh, to get myself back into the swing of things.  I also spent some time yesterday queuing up posts.

In the past several months, I have seen a fair amount of push back against the common wisdom that authors have to blog often.  The argument is that blogging is fine, but if it interferes with writing, it is counter productive.  The proponents of blogging cite the admonition of those who say authors must create their own platforms to garner interest from traditional publishers. To be honest, of late I have blogged only for accountability, but then I have only been writing for the day job, so I can’t say blogging has gotten in the way.  

Have any of you noticed a change in the past couple of years regarding the advice about blogging versus writing?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Also, take a minute or two to visit with the other RoW80 participants here.

smaller EM





February 5 Check-in Dredging the Delta

Thank goodness for this group. Since last check-in, I have been travelling or packing without pause. The test mile refuses to stay in the clear water of the delta, and is dredging the mud and silt of decades. It is fascinating, informative, and exhausting.

I have also come to realize that I have to back off a bit from some of my goals for a little while, and that the world will not end if I do that.

Writing: The test mile continues to be a place where I can vent about the insane family things that have imploded over the past two weeks, or to realize the origin of some character traits that have caused me problems in relationships in the past.

I spent most of Wednesday travelling, getting home at midnight; other than the test mile and an impromptu #wordsprint on Thursday, I have not written, but I’m okay with that.  I have not yet replied to comments on my Wednesday check-in; I am not okay with that.

Exercise: After lots of walking on Wednesday in various airports, I have only had packing as exercise. Something is making my muscles hurt, so I suspect the packing is the culprit.

Family: Due to the ongoing family crises with my mother, my mother-in-law and our youngest son, the family contact has been increased; it’s not always the most positive contact, but more of it is supportive than I would have expected. 

Friends: My on-line friends have been truly supportive these past days; I have been leaning heavily on them, and hope to repay the favor when it is needed. Today, some lovely neighbors of ours invited us over for snacks mid-afternoon, providing a very needed break from the packing.

Day Job: Neither the old nor the new occupies my thoughts; I am very Scarlett about both of them, although I do write down any good ideas I have about the new one before I sweep them out the door.

Have a lovely week everyone, and click here to encourage all the other ROWers.