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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!


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!



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.


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!

Ta Da–Row 80 Check-in

I did it! I went back to the book. The time off did wonders. I still see the writing in the same light, but it’s been easier to get through. Part of that is the break I took. My eyes are fresh and my energy renewed. I actually kind of like analyzing. It’s a totally different way to look at some of my favorite stories.

The best stories, in my mind, are always the ones that leave me in awe of the author. I’m all glowing and satisfied, and asking myself “How did they do that?” Analyzing those same stories gives me answers. It forces me to tinker and take the work apart piece by piece which is turning out to be more fun than I actually thought possible.

The other thing that is working for me is the thirty minute sessions. I try to get as much done as I can in that time period then I move on to something else. So far, so good.

I’ve gotten plenty of writing in over the last few days too. Happy with my progress. Hope things are going well for you all as well. Catch ya Sunday!

What’s That Smell? Row 80 check-in

This week seemed to go by really quickly. I am amazed at how fast the new year is closing in. Excited by that. I had mixed results. I’ve gotten words in every day. Some days have absolutely been more productive than others on that front. I haven’t gotten back into novel analyzing yet. I suspect that I won’t get to it until the middle of the month. Or maybe I’m just stalling because I don’t want to go back to Undead and Unwed. *giggles* Okay, so I know that’s the case. I love/hate that I’m getting better at calling bullshit on myself. My excuses just don’t hold up like they used to. 

Yes, I’m busy, but not so busy that I can’t spend a half hour every other day or so on it. I just don’t relish the idea of sitting down to that book again. I know , however, that if I start on another book, I won’t go back to it at all. It’s too easy to just pick up another one. I did that in October just to hit the goal that I set for myself. I’m only doing one book this month. And that’s the one. Sigh. So, I’ll make sure to have something to report in that area on Wednesday. Maybe going back to it with fresh eyes will make all the difference. Here’s hoping. Until next check-in.

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!

Happy Happy Joy Joy–Row 80 check-in

Fresh off my morning walk, I’m feeling really good today. In fact, I’m feeling like this……

Ahh the Zen of Ren & Stimpy. I used to love that show. “You stupid idiot!”

Anyway, here’s my midweek report:

Progress has been made. I’ve written every day. It’s starting to feel as normal to me as brushing my teeth or taking a shower. That excites me because it means the habit is forming. I’m not missing that “I’m not writing” guilt at all.

Happy news on the novel analyzing side as well. I’m half way through the Jim Butcher novel Storm Front. It has been a much better experience than Undead and Unwed. Though I do find myself wondering about the reason for that. Is it that Jim’s writing style is clearer? Did I just hate the writing in Undead and Unwed? Or was it just fatigue from trying analyze three novels in a month? I guess I’ll find out when I go back to it later.

For now, I’m on schedule to finish this novel on Friday. That’ll give me three days to finalize NaNoWriMo prep. Am I the only one who is both anticipating and dreading NaNo? Until Sunday! Hope the rest of your week is filled with happy happy joy joy moments. 🙂