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December Goals–Row 80 Check-in

Tomorrow is December 1st, and I need to get my goals for the month together. I’m going back to my study of plot and structure. I am putting novel analyzing back on the agenda. Being pressed for time, I’m only aiming to analyze one novel this month. I had planned to commit to a blogging schedule this month, but a lot has changed. So, I’m holding off on that. I’ll try to add a couple of non-Row 80 posts this month instead. Vague, I know.  Of course, I’ll continue with the goal to write every day.

As for current goals, I’ve made my daily writing goal. This is the last day on NaNoWriMo. Though I didn’t get a win, I made a lot of progress. I lasted much longer than I did last year. I got more written on my fanfic project than ever thought I would. I participated in word sprints for the first time and I’ve found them very useful. I’ll be incorporating them into my regular writing schedule. Maybe I’ll get a purple bar next year. Who knows?

Congrats to all NaNo participants. I hope you found it worthwhile. And for all you winners… a big hip hip huzzah to you!

I’m glad to be back to the sanity of Row 80 though. Thanks to all you guys for holding down the fort. Catch you Sunday!



Another Row 80 Check-in

November is winding down and I am both happy and sad to see it go. I’m glad because NaNo will be over for the year and I can let go of all drama associated with it. I’m so happy for all you guys who actually did it. And I’m totally wishing I’d gotten my own purple bar this year. It’s just not going to happen.

I’m sad because I feel pressed for time to make some things happen. And I don’t know how they will turn out. I can only focus on what is within my control and trust that the rest will work itself out. Anxious, to say the least.

But on to other things. I just finished reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. It’s a book I had been planning to read for quite some time, but never got around to it. Then the tv show came out and I fell in love. My favorite characters are Tyrion Lannister, a little-loved dwarf with a sharp tongue and intellect, and Arya Stark, a little lady who wants to be anything but.  I read the book afterwards because I wanted to get the experience as the author intended. I have to say that the adaptation was pretty true to the book. I feel another series obsession coming on. I’ve put myself on the reserve list for book two at the library. Can’t wait to get it.

As for my own writing, I am on track. I’ve been writing every day since my Sunday hiccup. It’s been scattered though, not all on the same project. I’m just happy to get words in wherever they may be. Until Wednesday.

I’m grateful–Row 80 check-in

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and while I make it a habit to be grateful, this holiday makes it especially poignant. When things aren’t going quite as you hoped, it is easy to lose sight of what’s going well. Here’s a list of things I’m grateful for today and every day.

The Encouragers- These are the people who support you when things look good and when they don’t. They are the people who help you clean your wounds when you fall on your face. Then they tell you to get your ass back out there. These people focus on your strengths, and handle your weaknesses with firm, but gentle care. They tell you the truth even when it hurts.

The Inspirations- The inspirations are all geniuses in some form or another. They have things that they do so well that you can’t help but take notice. They make you want to do something. They make you want to be better. They make you challenge yourself. I’ve lost a few of my inspirations this year, but I am glad they were here. A moment of silence for my grandfather, David Early,Sr., Steve Jobs, Anne McCaffrey, and Heavy D.

The Laughter- No matter what’s happening, I’ve never gone a day without laughing. It keeps me sane.

The Do-overs, Fresh Starts, and Continuations- Sunday, I forgot to write. I was preoccupied with all the upheaval happening in my life right now and I just forgot. Then, I got mad because my streak was over. There was no check-in either. I was back to writing on Monday, and as you can see, back to checking in today.

My gusto for NaNo has completely died. Not the project itself, just the urge do a writing blitz. I am actually very surprised at how well the actual novel seems to be coming along. It’s just not happening at the pace set by the NaNo gods or the one I set for myself. That’s okay too. Slow pace is better than no pace.

I wonder what’s going to happen next year this time. Right now, I can honestly say I hope to ignore the NaNo glitz and keep to whatever I’m doing. But then, I tend to aim big and fail big. LOL…I’ll probably be set on diving, head first, into the madness again.

The Stretch- There is no real downside to taking risks. Yeah, I know–pain, failure, embarrassment, blah blah blah. All real, but fleeting. Whenever you do something that is beyond your comfort zone, you win regardless of the actual outcome. Even if you fail miserably, you end up in a better position than you were when you started. Yes, it sucks. It may be painful, but you learn. You move forward. You do better next time.

Happy Thanksgiving every one. Until Sunday.

NaNo the Hussy –Row 80 check-in

In Sunday’s check-in, our Row sister, Amy Kennedy, had the brilliant insight to call NaNoWriMo a hussy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more apt description. Here’s why:

1. NaNo is good-looking. It is such a simple concept, 50,000 words in 30 days. Simple has a way of disguising itself as easy. When the end of October hits, it’s like NaNo just walked into a crowded room wearing red booty shorts and a tramp stamp baring top.

2. NaNo is flaky. It only comes around once a year, flirtatious and smelling of eau de novel.

3. NaNo is needy. It demands all of your attention for a while, and then leaves you high and dry.

4. NaNo is  charming. It whispers the same sweet nothings to you and all the other writers and wannabes. “You’re brilliant. You can write 50,000 words in month easily.”Show me how dedicated you are.” “You can do anything for a little while.”

As the days go on, I’m finding myself less and less enchanted with NaNo. I’m enjoying the writing, but not the end goal. Every time I think about the 50,ooo words, I get frantic. Playing catch up is not my idea of fun. When I just focus on the writing, everything is great.  Part of me wants to get my ass in gear. Part of me wants to bow out gracefully.

At the end of the day, I have enough pressure right now. I need to find a job. My lease is ending soon, and I have to find a new place to live. I have personal statements to write and letters of recommendation to solicit. Ha! Looks like I just used this post to work through my decision making process.

I’m writing every day. That’s enough for me. So, to hell with aiming for a NaNo win. I think I’ll still aim for 30,000 words this month. That’s still a big stretch for me.

Hope all is well with you guys.

Purple Toes and Lots of Prose–Row 80 check-in

This week started out with a whimper and ended with a bang. I was in a somewhat of a funk for a few days. I’m sure my malaise was just a reaction to to stress. There are lots of changes happening in my life right now. Some expected, others not so much. By Wednesday, I was over feeling blue. So, I decided to make it my business to perk up. I washed my hair, gave myself a facial and a pedicure. I put  on my favorite lavender nail polish. I’ve included a picture per Kim’s request.

I’d like to say that it was an instant pick-me-upper, but it wasn’t. It did, however, set me on the right path. By Thursday, I was feeling better and my writing was benefiting from the new burst of energy. I had been writing every day all along, but I started hitting my target numbers again. I’m am going strong on my NaNo novel. I’m still a little behind, but I’ve put a plan in place to get some extra writing sessions in. I’m not one to catch up all at once and I’m not willing to overwhelm myself trying it anyway.

I’ve been having fun with NaNo this year which is more than I can say for last year’s effort. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’ve been seeing more progress. Excited to continue the journey. Still working towards my win.

I hope you guys had an excellent week and that this one’s even better. Catch you Wednesday!

Distracted–Row 80 Check-in

This is going to be a short one. I’ve been off for the last few days. I’m feeling a little down, and therefore distracted. So, I decided to make today a day of self-care. I washed my hair this morning. This afternoon it’s a facial and a pedicure. I have a pretty shade of lavender nail polish that always lifts my spirits. Can’t wait to see it on my toes again. Let’s get to the writing.

Even though things haven’t been going quite the way I ‘d like them to go, I haven’t been completely neglecting my goals. I have written every day. I’m still working on my NaNo novel. I have not hit the target words per day in a few days. But I am also not so far behind that the task is insurmountable. Week two has been slower but still progressive thus far. I am happy to still be moving forward, snail’s pace and all. Surprisingly, I am happy with what I’ve written. It’s rough, of course, but still coherent enough that  I can see the growth in my writing from last year to this year. That’s something worth celebrating.

I am hoping to be perkier and more productive by next check-in. Until then, I hope things are going well for you guys. Catch you later.

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!

No More Jitters

Okay, so NaNoWriMo started yesterday. For anyone who doesn’t know, the goal of National Novel Writing Month is to bang out 50,000 words in 30 days. To accomplish that, a writer needs an output of roughly 1,667 words per day. Last year, I didn’t make that word count once. I hovered around four to five hundred words on average, topping out at about eight hundred on my best day. Yesterday, I put 1,805 words on the board. Needless to say, I am feeling pretty awesome about that.

My jitters have officially subsided. I know that was just day one, but I also know that if I can do it on one day then I can do it enough days to reach my goal. I am not writing a masterpiece and I’m okay with that. In fact, it is an extensive piece of fanfiction that will never see that light of day. Last year, Mercedes Lackey wrote one of the NaNo pep talks. In it, she talked about the benefits of writing fanfiction for the sake of developing your writing skills. It’s an idea that stuck with me obviously.

I hadn’t planned to do NaNo at all this year. My pride was still hurt from last year’s dismal showing. So, up until mid October I was still on the “No NaNo” train. Then I remembered what Mercedes wrote. My favorite show is currently on hiatus. So, instead of pining away for it or watching old episodes until it returns, I decided to do my own thing. I took my favorite character from the show and sent her off on an adventure that picks up where the show left off. Fun!

So, that’s where I am. NaNo is my only writing goal for this month. Right now things couldn’t be better. I’m off to get my words in for today. *waves goodbye*

NaNo Jitters–Row 80 Check-in

While the little kiddies dream of All Hallow’s Eve

I’m prepping for NaNo and outlining scenes.

Giddy about candy, they giggle and bounce.

I’m riddled with doubt



About making word counts.

They get to play dress up,

To marvel at costumes.

My stomach whirls

As November 1st looms.


Ha! It’s not all doom and gloom. I’m excited. This is a big stretch goal for me. If I felt totally comfortable about it, then it wouldn’t serve its purpose–growth. Anywho…

I’ve written every day, usually around five hundred words or so. Today, I finally finished analyzing Jim Butcher’s Storm Front. I’d hoped to be done with it by Friday, but I found myself a bit distracted after Wednesday. By the time I reach the halfway point in the novel, I lose steam. Then it takes me longer to finish. It happened with A Kiss of Shadows as well. I’m grateful to have gotten two books checked off the list this month. And I’m glad that I won’t be focusing on that for a little while.

Once November hits, NaNo will be the only writing goal on my mind.I think I’ll be refreshed by the time I get to analyze the next novel. That’ll probably be in December. Right now, I’m just tired of it. I may have to do one a month until I finish the drill. James Scott Bell suggested eight to twelve weeks to do six novels. That pace just feels like too much for me.

I hope that everyone gets a great start this week. Good luck to my fellow NaNoers. Until Wednesday!

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.