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!

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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. 🙂

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!

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!

A Case of the Shoulds

I am just bubbling over with excitement. I have a job interview tomorrow with a company that I’ve applied to a number of times. So, I’ve been in prep mode for a few days now. There is more company research to be done. And then there’s practicing the answers to likely questions . Busy, busy, busy in a good way. I’ve thrown a roast in the slow cooker so that I can just put my head down and work.

As for my goals, I am consistently moving forward. I’ve finished another Faith Hunter novel and started the last one available in the series. I came down with a case of the shoulds yesterday. I haven’t read any of the current craft book of choice for probably a week. I’ve been so caught up in good fiction, the kind that’s like candy. I started to feel guilty for enjoying myself too much. I decided that I should read something more substantial and get back to the craft book and blah blah blah.

Truth is, I don’t care about any of that. I put the heavier stuff to side. I went back to what I WANT to read right now. I’m calling this episode a momentary relapse. I suspect there will be more. But every time I manage to refocus on my priorities instead of the shoulds floating around in my head, I breathe a bit easier. I feel a bit stronger. I feel more myself.

I’m finding that the more I write. The quicker it gets. I’m able to hit my mark in shorter and shorter stints of time. I exceed my goal more often than not. That’s a good place to be for now. This is where I’d normally insert some new goal, but I’m not going to do that. I like the feeling of consistency. Gonna ride it out.

I hope that all is well with you guys. Have a great week ROW buddies.

 

Guess Who’s Back!

Excited to be mostly back to normal. All that’s left of my illness is a slight cough that gets slighter as the days go on. I’m sure I’ll be completely fine by the end of  the week. That makes me so happy. I’ve been watching doctors try to figure out what’s wrong with my bestie  for about a month and a half. They still don’t know and she’s miserable. Being sick for several days sucks, but being sick for extended periods of time wreaks havoc on the body and the mind.

I’ve been pretty productive since Sunday.

Reading:

I started and finished Faith Hunter‘s Bloodring. It is a book that I picked up while browsing the stacks at my library. It is a post apocalyptic fantasy that caught my eye. This is my first look at a book with that kind of setting. The cover has a seraph on it and there is a religious component to the story that I was willing to explore with the author. I liked it and wanted to read another. Totally disappointed that the library only has the first book of the series.

I’ve gotten back to my grammar book. I am surprised by how much of it is sticking. June Casagrande has a way of explaining things that works for me. She gives you the technical stuff  and a what-that-means-to-you breakdown in a manner that is succinct and entertaining.

Writing:

No change on that front. I’m still hitting my marks. Yesterday, I stayed off the internet and my computer for the whole day. So, I actually wrote by hand which was weird in a good way. I’ll probably do some more of that this week.

Novel Analyzing:

I’ve chosen my next book, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. Hoping to have more to report here Sunday.

Happy ROWing guys! Catch ya next check-in.

 

A Case of the Ickies–ROW 80 Check-in

Not much progress to report here. I officially came down with a case of the ickies, as Eden calls it, and I have been in recovery mode ever since. The scratchy throat turned into a full blown sore throat by Thursday. It was accompanied by congestion, sneezing, fever, and a horrendous cough. I’ve been pumped full of drugs some over-the-counter, some not. At least, that’s how I feel anyway as I detest taking medication of any kind. I’m sure my roomie would tell you a different story. 😛

This morning, I woke up feeling better than I have in days. I was downright chipper in comparison to previous mornings. So, I hope that means that I’m taking a turn towards normalcy. My days have been filled with extra fluids and and lots of naps. The sooner I can get out of bed, the better. Though I have thoroughly enjoyed my Game of Thrones season one marathon.

As for goals, I’ve kept up with my writing. Call it stubbornness, but I refused to let my streak die. When it ends, it’ll be because I choose for it too. Illness is a good enough reason to have taken a break, but I want to ride this stretch of consistency for as long as I possibly can. Every thing else I’d hoped to get done did not.

I was on pace to finish the grammar book that I started, but I haven’t given it much of  a glimpse since Thursday. I haven’t picked a novel for analyzing still. I did start reading a new novel called Bloodring by Faith Hunter. All in all, it wasn’t a complete lack of progress. I am happy with that.

I hope all is well with you guys. Until Wednesday.

And a Cup of Honeyed Tea–ROW 80 Check-in

I woke up too  early this morning unable to get back to sleep. My throat felt scratchy and my body achy. With all the time I’ve spent sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office in the last month, I wouldn’t be shocked if I’ve picked up something. (One of the nurses suggested that I should be on the payroll. :P) I am just not ready to accept such a fate. So, I’m going to drink some tea with honey and find my happy place.

In the meantime, I’ve finished reading Story Engineering this morning. It was well worth the effort. I found the sections on structure and character to be the most useful to me. I’m sure I’ll reread them both a few times. Brooks comes at the subject of writing with specifics that I’ve been hard-pressed to find in other craft books. This one came highly recommended by Kristen Lamb and so many other folks that I had to pick it up. Glad I did.

Now that I’m done with that, I’m on to the next book. I started June Casagrande’s It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences. I think a little change of pace on the craft front will do me good.

I haven’t chosen my next book to analyze yet. Now that I’m a few books into the plot drill, my initial list looks less appealing. I am deviating from it for sure. I just have to figure out what’s next. I have some free time this afternoon. I’ll likely make my pick and get started then.

The daily writing continues. Onward ho!

Until Sunday my friends!

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!

 

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!