Blog Archives

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.

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!

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!

 

 

Row NaNo Mania- Check-in

I am kind of at a loss for words right now. This week has been a mixed bag of goodies to say the least. It’s been a lot of writing highs and personal lows. So, I am having a real love/hate struggle about writing this post. Before things went wonky, I was thinking about doing one check-in per week for the month of November. I didn’t think I would have enough to say in a whole post twice a week. Today, I’m  glad that I didn’t make that decision. It helps me to remain accountable, even when I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep it all off.

This is normally the type of week that would get me off track. Then, I’d spend the next few weeks trying to get myself back on point. I can honestly say that’s not the case right now, which makes me totally grateful for Row 80 and NaNoWriMo. If I didn’t have these challenges to focus on, I’m sure I’d have seen a steep decline in my writing output already.

With NaNo in full swing, I’ve made my writing every day goal with ease. I’ve regularly written more this week than than at any other period. I’ve churned out thousands of words and I’m totally shocked by it. The only day that I didn’t hit the target average, 1,667 words per day, was on Friday. Yet, I was right back at it on Saturday. Today has been kind of slow and I probably won’t make it. I know tomorrow, I’ll get it done.

I am so impressed by my Row/NaNo writing buddies. You guys have been putting up some major numbers which enrages me and inspires me all at once. 😛 Keep up the good work everyone. Oh, and special shouts out to the cheerleaders. You guys are awesome!

Adjusting–Row 80 check-in

Things haven’t gone as smoothly since Wednesday. The daily writing streak is still intact and I’m totally excited about that. I like the feeling of commitment and accomplishment that I get from it.

Novel analyzing isn’t faring so well. I think there are two reasons for that. The first is that I’ve been totally preoccupied with NaNoWriMo prep. The closer it gets, the more distracting it gets. I had a plan set already, but I’ve been tweaking like crazy. New, and in my mind, better ideas have been popping up all the time. So, I’ve been spending time developing the new twists.

The second reason is the novel that I chose to analyze. I’d completely forgotten how much I hated the beginning of Undead and Unwed. Analyzing it makes me just as crazy. There’s a lot of summary. And this is when the main character is her most annoying to me. I chose the book because it was shorter than most of the others on my list, but it seems to have just as many scenes. They are just condensed. I still have to do a note card for each one which, in this case, makes me feel like I’m wasting time.

It’s highly unlikely that I’ll finish this book and another this month. I’m changing my goal from analyzing three novels this month to two. I’ve put that particular novel to the side for now. This week I’ll work on analyzing a Jim Butcher novel instead. His writing style seems more conducive to productivity for me.

Still moving forward. Hope you guys are too.

Never Thought I’d See the Day–Row 80 check-in

I woke up this morning with soreness in my thighs. I winced, simply because I didn’t know it was there. Then, I smiled. Want to hear a confession? I LOVE the soreness in my thighs. It’s a sweet pain, an earned one. It wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t put in work. It wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t done something good for my body. It wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t exhibiting self-discipline and perseverance. I’m showing myself who I am capable of being. It’s a whole new world and I absolutely love who I’m becoming…who I am.

I can see that same progress with my writing. I’ve kept to my writing every day with no real thought to anything else. It’s just something that has to be done. I didn’t get back to analyzing the second novel until yesterday. I find the scene by scene analysis to be tedious, but well worth the effort. Going from Laurell K. Hamilton to Mary Janice Davidson is quite the dramatic shift. Laurell writes in thick, passionate detail. Mary Janice is thorough, but concise. Barely into the second round, I can see why the plot drill calls for six books. It’s an education that I doubt you could get any other way. Loving the journey.

P.S. Kettle bells rock!

Your Focus Needs More Focus

The lovely Amy Sundberg wrote a great blog on the role desperation can play in undermining your goals. It really stuck with me. There’s no doubt that we want what we want, and we want it NOW. Ahhhh…. the lure of instant gratification, also known as “The Dream Killer.” While it is important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you can’t let that vision blind you to all else.

Desperation is the dark side of ambition. It’s the side that scares small children and little old ladies.  It’s the side that brings out ugly characteristics like crazy and lazy. Crazy and lazy are desperation’s hellhounds, sent to slow or halt progress altogether.

When crazy bites, a toxin seeps into your blood stream. You become a puppet with crazy holding your strings. You’ll do pretty much anything to get what you want despite the consequences. Hello impaired judgement! Crazy will make you call someone at two-minute intervals until the person answers. Crazy will make you eat cabbage soup for a week to lose five pounds before your high school reunion. Crazy will make you pay obscene amounts of money for headshots from a kiosk at the mall. Enough said.

Lazy, on the other hand, is more of a trickster. Lazy will convince you that you are a prodigy just waiting to be discovered. It says, “You don’t need voice lessons. Audition for American Idol. Again.” Lazy implores you to cut corners. “Send out those stories. They don’t need revision.” Lazy makes you feel like there’s not enough time to get it all done. “Haven’t worked out in years?  It doesn’t mater. Take that three-hour kickboxing class every day this week. You’ll see results faster. No pain. No gain.”

So what do you do when crazy and lazy are nipping at your heels?

That’s easy enough. Ignore the sycophants. Take out the big boss. Desperation. If you are feeling overwhelmed by desperation. It can only mean one thing …

“YOUR FOCUS NEEDS MORE FOCUS.”

In the 2010 version of The Karate Kid, the student, Dre, sees  a woman who charms a snake. She stands on a ledge, strikes a fearsome pose, then uses only her inner reserve and the hypnotic rocking of her head back and forth to keep the snake’s attention. The snake mimics her every move.  So does Dre. He’s fascinated by what he sees.

During his next lesson, Dre tells his mentor that he wants to do what the woman did. The mentor, Mr. Han, tells him to focus on the lesson at hand. Dre only wants to learn what he saw and continues to babble about it. It doesn’t matter that he’s just beginning to learn Kung Fu and that move requires mastery. It doesn’t matter that he has a tournament to prepare for or risk daily beatdowns by the neighborhood bullies. Dre is focused—on the wrong thing.

That’s what can happen to us all.  Somewhere along the journey, you become captivated by something bright and shiny. You forget where you were going or how to get there. Maybe you decided to use someone else’s map and you can’t make it out. The point is, you have  to regroup.

In the movie, Mr. Han does something drastic to get Dre’s attention (see pic above). He guides Dre gently back to the present moment and the day’s lesson. Han utters that brilliant line, “Your focus needs more focus.” Then he continues with the drills Dre needs to become proficient at Kung Fu and to meet the challenges ahead of him.

If you don’t have someone to keep you grounded, then YOU have to be your own Mr. Han. Slow down. Give yourself a good shake if need be. Break major goals down to smaller, manageable ones. Bring your focus back to what you can do right now. Don’t think too far ahead. Celebrate the little successes and don’t forget to have fun. It’s hard to feel desperate when you’re having a good time.