Blog Archives

Slow Going

It’s been a little while since I’ve checked in. That’s due to a couple of reasons. One is that my mind is mostly focused on two things right now: working and moving. I’ve officially graduated from the training program on the new job. So, all that time spent doing book work and taking assessments is over. No more eight hour study days. However, that also means that I’ve entered the transition phase. Now, I have to apply what I’ve learned. That’s the new challenge. And being the recovering perfectionist that I am, I expect a lot out of myself. Despite my  amped up expectations, I’m doing pretty well. I have ninety days in transition. That’s enough time to get  a handle on things.

As for moving, it’s getting down to the wire. We’ve given official notice to our complex that we’re moving, but I haven’t started packing yet. The roomie and I have bought a few packing supplies, but that’s about it. We need boxes.We were supposed to get some free ones from the grocery store, but that hasn’t worked out so far. I get the feeling that we’re going to end up buying some.

As to Row goals, there’s not much to be said. That would be the other reason for not checking in. I’ve been a bit exhausted lately. While I see little spaces of time when I can get some writing in, my mind just hasn’t been in it. I’m starting to really miss my writing too. I’ve still been reading. I just finished a book today called Prince of Ice by Emma Holly. She’s an author that is new to me and I enjoyed her work.  Last week, I finished up that last George R. R. Martin book that I was reading. I’m glad that I’m at least getting read, but good books make me long to write them.

Hoping all is well with you guys! Happy Rowing!

Progress

Good news. I actually got some things done this week. I am so excited. This week has been much more progressive than the previous ones.  I got a workout in every day before work. I was able to meditate every day too. Those two accomplishments had me jazzed because they keep my stress levels down. It is easier for me to write when I’m clear-headed. I was able to hit my goal of two writing days during the work week. I think I have a story coming together.

I’m finally learning the ins and outs of my new phone. I am looking for apps that will allow me to write on my smartphone and easily sync up documents with my computer. Any apps that help with inspiration or productivity would be awesome too. I’ve been doing some research, but I’d like to get any opinions that you guys may have. I have an android phone by the way.

As for reading, I’ve started the third installment of George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and FireA Storm of Swords has gotten off to a brilliant start just as the others have. I am totally stoked and engrossed. It’s awesome watching the show and reading what happens next at the same time.

I feel like I’ve got my momentum back. My schedule will change again in the next two weeks, but I’m not worried. I starting to get the hang of managing it all. I hope that all is well with you guys. Please hit me up with any suggestions for apps. Best of  luck to you all.

Round One Wrap-up

Round one is officially ending today. It’s amazing how fast these rounds go by. It felt like we just got started, but we’re actually more than half way through the third month of the year. So, let’s get to the wrap-up.

Goal: To write every day.

Result: This went really well. After Kait Nolan’s post about choosing a test mile number, I found a groove. I can hit 250 words pretty easily. And so, I did write most days. I haven’t been this consistent with writing at any other time. I count this a success.

Goal: Make every check-in.

Result: Absolute compliance. I haven’t missed one check-in this round, even though there were certainly days that I wanted to do so.  The accountability that comes from always checking in keeps me grounded and on track. I know I’m carrying this goal over to next round.

Goal: Write a short story.

Result: Ehhh, not so much. I wrote a lot. I worked on two different story ideas. Neither resulted in a finished product. This round I learned that I don’t really have a problem writing often or hitting numbers. I need to do more planning so that I have actual projects to work on. Free writing is great, but it’s time to move on to specifics.

Goal: Analyze four novels. Later adapted to one.

Result: Epic fail. I didn’t complete any novel this round. I got through roughly half of one and a quarter of another. The only thing I’m sure about at this point is that I don’t have the will to finish the plot drill. Maybe at some point down the line, I’ll go back to it. I doubt it though. I find that I’m learning what I hoped to learn from the drill in other ways.

Goal: Read.

Result: There was no specific quota set for reading. I’ve done a lot of it though. So far this year, I’ve read fourteen books. In that lot is one nonfiction book, two books on craft, a collection of short stories, and ten novels. With all the changes happening in my life, this pace will likely slow down.

Overall, I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished this round. I’d give myself a solid B+ for my efforts. I can see what my weaknesses are and I’m devising ways to strengthen them. My goals for next round will reflect that. For now, I’m going to enjoy the days off until round two starts. Until then. 🙂

Inspired

The last few days have been writing light and reading heavy. I’ve blown through the rest of The Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve been totally engrossed in a series before, but none that made me so emotional. I can’t recall ever crying over a book. Some movies, but never a book. And I’m not a cryer, but this series did it. The first book was just a good read. The second one, Catching Fire, left me a little melancholy. By the end of Mockingjay, I was a complete mess.

My first creative writing teacher used to always say,”Your writing should say something important about living and dying.” Suzanne Collins achieves that. I am used to reading with a certain level of detachment. It’s that part me that knows no matter what happens in a story, it’s fiction. It didn’t really happen, at least not that exact way. While I know that’s the case here as well, I was unable to maintain that distance from the story. I felt it all.

And so, I am totally inspired. Good writing always does that to me. It amps up my ambition making me want to do more than just write. I want to write something great which takes me right back to learning the craft.  I’ve been deep into John Truby‘s The Anatomy of Story. Of all the last minute things I wanted to accomplish by the end of round, finishing it is probably the only one that will get done by Thursday. I’m cool with that.

Hope all is well with you guys. We’re almost at the end. Until last check-in.

A Few Kind Words

In better spirits today. Gave myself a nice pedicure. That always cheers me up. Things have been moving along since Sunday. I’ve gotten my writing in every day. I have read another novel, The Hunger Games. My best friend is determined that I see the movie with her. So I figured it would be good to read the book before hand. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I got into that story. I started book two last night, to the delight of many of my fangirl friends.

Monday I found out that my start date for my new job has been pushed back until April 2nd. That also just happens to be the day the next round of ROW 80 starts. I was considering skipping the round, but some wise words from Gene Lempp ( sponsor extraordinaire) have left me with a different perspective.

It would be so easy to just put certain things on the back burner for while, especially my writing. Ultimately though, that’s not what I want or need. I’m going to have to be able to juggle a number of things. The only way I’ll know for sure whether or not I can actually do it is to try.  It might not be pretty, but it doesn’t have to be. So, I’m moving ahead with the original plan to participate next round. I just have to set reasonable goals and adjust when necessary. Duh! Isn’t that the whole point of this challenge?

It’s good to be surrounded by smart, caring people. Thanks again Gene and ROW family.

Until Sunday.

Going to Ground

Today is one of those days that I’d just skip check-in. If I hadn’t set a goal prohibiting such behavior, I’d do just that. This post would be lost to the overwhelming urge I have to do nothing at this moment. This week has been crazy busy with many emotional ups and downs. Lots of changes are on the horizon and I need to take some time to ground myself. It’s that or risk losing my shit in the midst of it all. I’d much rather be prepared than not. So, this post will be a quick one.

I have finished reading the novel Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. In fact, that’s what I’ve spent most of this afternoon doing. It’s a really good read. I definitely plan to move deeper into the series. And now, I’ll get back to my craft book. I’ve written every day except Thursday. No progress on novel analyzing or writing a story. We’ll see how all of that goes.

My focus is shifting. I know I’ll finish out this round, but I may need to sit out next round which is not what I’d planned. I guess I will have to give it some serious thought. I hope all is well with you all.

Until Wednesday.

Rock Star Moves

My focus has not been on my writing goals at all since Sunday. On Monday afternoon, I got a call from the company for which I’ve been interviewing. The representative set me up for an in-person interview on Tuesday morning. I’d already had two phone interviews and an assessment. Tuesday morning, I showed up feeling a little nervous, but mostly just excited. The interview went very well. So well in fact, that I felt like quite the rock star. Theme song for the day…

By four o’clock Tuesday afternoon, I had the job. Yay! I cannot tell you how happy, excited, and relieved I am. If you’ve ever been involuntarily unemployed for a long stint of time, then you know the havoc such a circumstance can wreak on your life. Chances are that you get it even if you haven’t had the experience personally.

Today, I’m running around getting paperwork together and completing my drug test. My start date will mostly likely be the 26th of this month. Once I get all my information turned in, I hope to end this round with a bang. Now that I don’t have to worry about job hunting, I can focus on enjoying my last few weeks of complete freedom minus the underlying tension that’s been there.

With all that said, I didn’t write yesterday. I was too busy smiling hard and dancing a jig or twenty. (No video evidence is available for your perusal. :P) I got some reading in over the last few days, mostly fiction. Seanan McGuire‘s Rosemary and Rue is the type of story that usually keeps me riveted, but I’ve just been too excited to focus on much of anything.

Thanks to you guys for all of the awesome support and encouragement. Catch you Sunday!

P.S. Everybody dance NOW!

Counting Down the Round

Operation de-hibernate has hit a bit of a snag as the temperatures have fallen again. On Friday, it was so warm that I wore flip-flops and short sleeves. I was oh so excited to break out my warm weather attire. By Saturday, I was back to jacket and sneakers. Sigh. Right now, I’m in bed covered from neck to foot by a heavy crocheted blanket. Only my hands are exposed so i can still type. I did get my walk in this morning; I was all bundled up.

This check-in rolled around pretty quickly. The end of the round is also just around the bend. And so, I am in evaluation mode again. One of my goals for round one is to write a short story. While I’ve been writing a lot, even working on a story or two, nothing has come of it yet. The stories that I’ve been reading are in an anthology called Home Improvement: Undead edition. I’ve read most of the stories included. Some, I loved. A few, I hated. Most of them fell somewhere in between. My best friend and I have both been struggling to write a finished piece. We decided to challenge ourselves to come up with stories that could have been included in the anthology. That triggered some ideas. So, that’s what I’m working on now.

As for the reading, one of the stories that I loved introduced me to another author. Seanan McGuire writes about the fae in her October Daye series. I started book one in the wee hours of the morning. So far so good.  I’ve got four more stories to get to in the anthology, but I turned the book over to my roommate for the time being. The other two things I’m working to finish by the end of the round are reading the current craft book and analyzing the novel that I started. All is well and moving forward.

Happy ROWing everyone!

My Ground Hog’s Day

I went to bed around 2:30 this morning. So, I was totally surprised when my eyes popped open bright and early at 6:30. Unable to go back to sleep, I put on my workout gear and hit the streets. I walked a couple of miles. Then I did a little stretching and some work with weights. I’ve been trIying to shake off my winter sluggishness. Cold weather is not my friend. I practically hibernate. Holiday season and cold weather always seem to throw me off track with my health goals. Let’s hope today was the reboot that I’ve needed. It was 61 one degrees out this morning. The promise of Spring makes me giddy. It feels like my personal Ground Hog’s Day.

ground hog

I’m glad that I got a good work out in. It’s helping with my excess energy. I’m playing the waiting game right now. The results of Monday’s interview will come in within the next week. I’m not feeling very patient right now. One minute I’m confident. The next I’m nervous. I hope to hear back sooner rather later.

My goals are on track. I’ve been kicking butt in the writing department. On Monday, I more than tripled my word count goal. Yesterday, I doubled it. Today, I’ll hit and it then some again. Yay! Not reading a new novel yet. I’ve been focusing on a collection of short stories instead. I finally picked up the craft book that I’d started again. Progress has been steady. Can’t ask for more.

Much love ROW family. Catch you guys on Sunday!

Another Sunday Check-in

Since Wednesday, I’ve polished off another novel, Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep. It was fine. I liked her first one better. I’ve read a couple of short stories as well. The thing I’m noticing is that even my leisure reading isn’t so leisurely any more. I still enjoy it immensely, but I can’t read a story of any kind without looking at it from a writer’s standpoint.

The more I learn about structure and specific writing technique, the more I see it in the stories I read. I see what’ s working. I see what’s lacking. I see how I would have made different choices. That excites me, makes me feel like all the studying that I do is paying off. I like that because it teaches me to be patient and to trust my own process. Things are coming together even when I have no idea why I’m doing what I’m doing. The reading bender continues.

I’ve gotten some more work done on the novel analyzing front as well. I am working through Karma Girl and it is going quickly like I hoped. Sort of. The actual process is speedier than with some other books. I just don’t have very much time to devote to doing it. So, I guess it’s more like medium speed. 😛

I am getting my writing in every day. I’m exceeding my word counts still, but I refuse to up the number just yet. I am deep into the interview process. With a new job, my schedule would change dramatically. Free time would dwindle. I’d have to see how that number would hold up then. That’s where I am.

I hope you guys are hitting your marks and having a good time. Happy ROWing guys!