Monthly Archives: January 2012

Success and Surrender–ROW 80 Check-in

By next check-in, it will be February. This first month of 2012 has blown by so quickly. I feel like round one just got started a few days ago, but that is not the case. Instead we’re twenty-eight days into this eighty day journey. I’m totally excited about the progress in some areas and less than impressed with others.  A mixed bag.

Reading– I finished Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind. In the end, I’d say I’m more than luke warm about it, but I won’t be having any fangirl meltdowns about it either.  This book was extremely slow moving in too many places for me. I’m invested enough in the main character, Kvothe, to read the next installment. I hope it picks up.

I went back to Story Engineering as well. Knocked out  a few more chapters of that this last week. Got some pages in today.

Novel Analyzing– Haven’t worked on that at all in the last few days. And when I’m truly honest with myself, I realize that I’m just  being stubborn. I asked myself a question: Would I rather sacrifice the drill for the sake of finishing the book or sacrifice the book for the sake of finishing the drill?  When I look at it that way, the answer is clear. 

I’ve been trying to prove to myself that I can finish this book and slowing my overall progress in this area down to a snail’s pace. I hate quitting things, but sometimes that is the best option. Forcing myself to stick with it is not an efficient use of time in this situation. There is a big difference between activity and productivity, and I’d much rather be productive than merely active. I’m starting a new book this week with the option never to return to the book that shall not named. Waving the white flag and moving on.

Writing- I am most pleased with the happenings on this front. My 250 word test mile has been the most successful thing I’ve implemented so far this year. I have written every day this month. I haven’t written this consistently in  a while. I’m going to start participating in some sprints again. Those are always fun and productive for me.

How are you feeling after your first month of the new year?

Hope you guys are having fun and hitting your marks. Catch ya Wednesday!


The Courage to Pursue–ROW 80 Check-in

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

Walt Disney


This Walt Disney quote is one of my favorites.  I have posted it on my wall for daily inspiration. Every time I read it, I am reminded that every action taken in pursuit of my dream counts. It doesn’t matter how big or small. It doesn’t matter if I can see how that action fits into the big picture. It is the forward movement that matters, the never giving up.

Since Sunday, things have continued to progress.

I haven’t given Story Engineering much of a look. I am almost finished with it, but I haven’t had the urge to pick it up for a few days. Instead, I’ve been getting deeper into Patrick RothfussThe Name of the Wind. It started off kind of slow for me, but I finally hit the point where the story really gets moving. Now, I’m blowing through it.

I’ve written every day. My story took a  fun and unexpected turn last night. It involves a mysterious white house on a hill. I’m excited to figure out what will happen there.

I got a few more chapters done in novel analyzing. It’s not as many as I would like, but that’s okay.  I’m finding that working in fits and spurts gets the job done for me. I have a list of things to accomplish this round. I started out by trying to work on each of those things a little every day. That quickly got boring and proved too much for patience. Now, the only thing I’m committed to doing every day is writing. The rest I’ll work on whenever as long as I get it done in the time frame I’ve allotted myself.  So, that is the last few days in a nutshell.

Oh!  On a  more personal note, the roommate situation is sorted out. All of his things have been moved out, mail picked up. I feel free as a bird. 😉 And then there were two. Just me and the bestie again. Good times!

Wishing you the courage to pursue all your dreams, not just the writing ones. What words of wisdom keep you inspired?

Until Sunday!



Peace and Progress–ROW 80 Check-in

It has been pretty peaceful over the last few days. My best friend is feeling a lot better. My nephew is back home. I’m still wrapping up things with a former roommate situation that went bad, but that hasn’t even been able to get me down. Yes, I’m not happy that things didn’t work out. His behavior has been less than gracious, but it forces me to set boundaries and stand my ground. And that is a good thing.

My writing has been going well. The streak continues. I find myself working on one project more than the other of late. I can’t even remember the last time I worked on the first story I started. The protagonist in the second story has been holding all my interest. I am pantsing it, and I’m enjoying figuring out who he is and what he’s doing. I think writing in smaller blocks helps to ease any anxiety that comes from not knowing where the story is going. I am not a natural pantser, but experimenting is fun.

Ta-da! Big strides in novel analyzing. I’ve gotten several hours of work done over the last few days. The end is so near. I’m incredibly excited. So much so that I’ve already put in the hold at the library for the next book to analyze. From here on out, I’m not doing anymore books that I am luke warm about. It has been the great learning experience that I thought it would be, but a torturous one. Only books that I LOVE in my analyzing future. Gotta allow the learning to be more fun!

I’ve been getting my reading done as well. I picked up a book of short stories. Still working on the same humungous fantasy book and the craft book as well.

All in all, I’m very happy with my progress. The plan is to keep it going. Happy ROWing guys. Catch ya Wednesday!


Rambling– ROW 80 Check-in

Yesterday, I took my bestie to the doctor. Her breathing had been really shallow, and the inhaler that she had for occasional use was seeing way too much action. There is nothing like watching someone gasp for breath and not being able to do anything about it.  She has an upper respiratory infection that she’s been fighting for a few weeks now. They decided to change her meds to a more aggressive protocol. She started to feel better immediately.

Then last night, I saw a wayward Facebook status or two and discovered that my nephew had been hospitalized. I saw phrases like “I know you’ll pull through” and “Praying that he’ll make it.” I tried to stay calm until I talked to my family, but it didn’t help that one of the statuses came from my nephew’s younger brother. I contacted my sister immediately and waited with my family via phone. We eventually found out that he was okay, but by then my nerves were shot.

Two very close calls with people I love and hold dear. I had this crying, hyperventilating thing going for a few minutes. It came over me in a rush. It was my reaction to the relief. I was able to be strong in the face of uncertainty, but the confirmation that all would be well soon was too much to handle.

Today, I’m just grateful. I honestly don’t know why I’m writing all of this in my check-in, but when I sat down to write it –this is what came out. So, I’m going with it.

I got a lot of reading done while sitting in the waiting room yesterday. Story Engineering was an excellent distraction. I got my writing in after I got home, and before I got the news about my nephew. Today’s writing is done as well. I don’ t know what else I’ll get in today.

I feel like I’m rambling. So, I’ll end this here. Hug someone you love and tell them so.

Happy ROWing. Until Sunday.

Last Week’s Lesson–Row 80 Check-in

Last week was kind of hectic for me. I’m a bit rebellious by nature. And while I love the structure that comes with setting goals, I have to be flexible in the way I pursue them. I read a lot of books on self-discipline and productivity last summer.  They were helpful in many ways, but they also drilled into me this rigid way of doing things. Being rigid, I’ve learned, leaves me railing against guidelines that were put in place to help me. The week’s theatrics have left me with this lesson–

This is my path; I get to make the decisions.

With all the writing advice out there, sometimes it’s hard not to wobble to and fro trying to keep up with it all. It is absolutely exhausting trying to read every blog or book that’s recommended. Or trying to match my way of doing things up with some successful author validated routine. I have been making myself crazy.

I found myself on Amazon the other day looking through books that were recommended to me and discovered that I was completely unmotivated to read them let alone buy them. They’d just become more shoulds on a list that I’m already working to shorten. I’m choosing to spend more time doing the activities that I want to do and the ones that I feel will benefit my writing the most. I am officially in charge.

On to goals:

The writing is still going well. I haven’t missed a day. I’m thinking that 250 will probably become my permanent test mile number. It seems that I can bang out that number no matter what. I’ve tried 500 words before and found that I tend to miss a few days. I used to write 250 word articles for a website. I think that I’m so used to that word count that it is second nature at this point.

I haven’t done any novel analyzing work since Wednesday, and I’m okay with that. Of all the goals I’ve set for myself, it is the one that gives me the most grief. And to cut down on that angst, I’m letting go of the time frame I set for myself. I’m not adjusting it. I’m scrapping it altogether. The funny thing is I’ll probably get it done faster because I’ve stopped pressuring myself.

Story Engineering is getting it’s due. I’m not a fast reader in general, but craft books, especially the good ones, tend to be slower reading for me. Still loving it though.

And I’ve picked up Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind which is another hulking fantasy book. I’d been putting off reading it trying not to take too much time from (you guessed it) novel analyzing. I start to get weird when I’m not reading fiction, weirder when it’s because of some self-inflicted torture. Sooo…

I hope all is well with you guys. Happy ROWing! Until Wednesday.

Flogging Optional–ROW 80 Check-in

I’ve gotten all my words in over the last few days. Aiming for 250 words a day didn’t seem like much to me when I chose this goal, but I’m finding that it makes me more productive. It’s a number I can hit without feeling stressed. It’s a number I can hit even when my day has been crazy.

Story Engineering is taking over my mind. In fact, I’ve been having a hard time putting it down. I don’t mind that in general, but it’s taking away from other things at the moment (namely novel analyzing). It’s kind of funny how that works. This thing is going too fast and the other isn’t going fast enough. Even as I write this, I am laughing. Who cares?

There are no deadlines. This is not for a class or a job. I mean, does it even count as an Ooh Shiny! moment when I’m doing something that is productive and that’s on my list? My inner control freak is showing. Excuse me while I put her to bed.

Okay, now that some semblance of sanity has been restored, let’s talk novel analyzing. It’s going, just not at the pace I’d prefer. I think I’m just too overly attached to how quickly I get this exercise done. I do recall Amy Kennedy mentioning something about the plot drill making me crazy. It just feels like it has been forever and that it’ll take until next Christmas if I’m not flogging myself about it constantly. Yet, the flogging doesn’t make the work go any faster. It is time to relax, relate, and release. Whooosaaaa.

I haven’t written an extra blog post yet either. I’m starting to feel like the timing isn’t quite right for me to do that yet. So, I’m taking it off the table. Just the other day, I told  a fellow ROWer to focus on fewer things in order to get more done. Methinks said advice applies here as well.


Time Flies–ROW 80 Check-in

ROW week one has come and gone quickly. I’m sitting here on this rainy Sunday afternoon looking back over the last week. I can honestly say that I am pleased with my results. I guess time flies when you’re actually getting things done.

Writing-I’ve hit and surpassed my writing mark every day. I have two short pieces that I’m working on. It has been cool having them to alternate between. It keeps me from getting stuck. If I’m not feeling one on a particular day, I work on the other one. I’m confident that I’ll have a finished story by the end of the round.

Novel Analyzing- Progress here has been slow and steady. The further I get into the novel, the fewer the scenes. I like that aspect. Planning to pick up the pace a little bit.

Reading Story Engineering- I started rereading from the beginning and found myself bored (simply because I’ve read that part twice already). So, I decided to skip ahead to new territory. Smart move. The section on story structure is proving very helpful. I’m glad I invested in my own copy of the book.

Blog post- Didn’t get that in this past week. I had to make some decisions about what I’d blog about and when. I could have just made a random post to hit the goal, but the purpose of the goal is to add a regular day of posting about a specific topic. So, I decided to wait until I had it figured out. I should get that started this week most likely, next week at the latest.

What’s happening with you guys? Hope you’re hitting your marks. Until Wednesday my friends!

Plus One More–ROW 80 Check-in

Ahhhh…check-in. Yay! I have totally missed the accountability that comes with this challenge.  Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s get to it.

Things are starting to pick back up from the holiday slow down. My move has been pushed back until this summer. So, that is one less thing to distract me right now. I’m still job hunting, but there is considerably less stress to speak of. I’ve been putting the extra time and mind space to good use.

Writing- I’ve been hitting the 250 a day word goal pretty easily so far. I’m not shocked, that number isn’t much of a challenge for me in terms of output. The challenge is the every day part. I went to  the doctor’s office with my roomie yesterday, but that wasn’t enough to make me miss my session. Hopefully, that will continue.

Novel analyzing- I’ve been getting that done as well. I am still working on the novel that shall not be named (again). I’m sucking it up. I know once I’m done with this one, I’ll be happier about the work. Until then, I’ve vowed not to whine about it anymore. On the bright side, I’ll probably be done with it by Wednesday check-in next week.

Short story-I am working with something. I don’t know what it will turn into yet, but I’ve got a character that has been sticking with me for the last few days. We’ll see.

Reading- I am a few chapters into Story Engineering. They are chapters that I’ve already read a few times before. I’ve attempted reading this book at least twice. My inability to get through it has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with how hectic life has been lately. I’m excited to actually get to the meat of the book. That’s why I made reading it a goal in itself.

While I am happy with the progress made over the last few days, I’m adding another goal to the list. That goal is not to skip any check-ins this round. I think I only missed two last round, but I don’t want a repeat. Reporting in twice a week keeps me on my toes. It encourages me to get myself together quickly when I fall of track.

That’s it for now. Hope you guys are doing well. Catch ya Sunday!

Row 80 Goals–Round 1/2012

It’s round one of ROW 80 and I hardly know where to begin. As usual, I have a ton of things I’d like to do NOW. My dreamer side is busy throwing out ideas and my inner overachiever is salivating at the prospect of accomplishing superhuman feats on a daily basis. Those two often get me in trouble. I end up setting goals that are way too big. Then when it doesn’t work out, and it rarely does, I’m left feeling at a loss. But that’s not what ROW 80 is about, is it?

Nope. So, I sent the dreamer to see the pragmatist. She wasn’t very happy about it, but it had to be done. After lots of arm folding, whining, finger wagging, hair pulling , and tears, this is the plan:

  • Writing at least 250 words every single day.
  • One finished short story.
  • I’m so ready to be done with the plot drill. That requires analyzing 3 1/2 novels this round. This is my main focus. I need to finish this before I really move on to other areas of study.
  • One non-ROW related blog post per week. I’m thinking Thursdays and it will most likely be focused on wellness.
  • Read Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.

The dreamer and the pragmatist are not quite friends yet. Dreamer keeps staring longingly at the overachiever who is standing outside the window with her nose pressed up against the glass. The pragmatist doesn’t take it personally. She knows that dreamer will always have a flair for the dramatic and that the overachiever understands dreamer in a way that she never will. The pragmatist bides her time knowing that dreamer will learn to appreciate her contribution one day. The dreamer is skeptical, but she’ll be a believer sooner than even she thinks.

Let’s Rock the ROW!