Blog Archives

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.

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!

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.

 

Finding a Groove

At the start of this round, I was unsure about whether or not I wanted to participate. I was deep in the midst of a holiday hangover. It felt like round one was just starting too soon. I went back and forth about it. I didn’t want to start late or skip the whole round, but I had no clue what I really wanted to work on during this time. Ultimately, I joined. I pieced together some goals that seemed appropriate and I kept it moving.

As the weeks go on, I find that some goals have just died. Some have been tweaked. Some have popped up out nowhere and remain kind of unofficial. I have found myself a little groove. Once I decided that I wasn’t adding new craft books to my to-be-read list, I hit my own bookshelves. There are plenty of books already in my personal library that are untouched.

I’m content with my daily writing and getting lots of reading done. Since Wednesday, I’ve finished June Casagrande’s It was the best of sentences, It was the worst of sentences. I liked her approach to grammar enough to look into her other books. Ha, but since I don’t already own them, they’ll stay on the back burner for a while. I’ve started John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story.  On the fiction side of things, I picked a couple of Jennifer Estep’s novels from the library, Hot Mama and Karma Girl.

So, that’s where I am. Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Eat, sleep, and the usual stuff.

Hope all is well with you guys. Happy ROWing. Until Wednesday.

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!