Thursday, October 5, 2017

ROW80 Check-in: Missing?

I'm not missing. This is my last check-in for ROW80 until after October 25.
  1. Writing: Complete revisions and write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone by year-end. Prioritize next writing project. Write at least 30 poems by end of October. Progress: Good progress on all goals. So far, surprisingly, 12 poems written.
  2. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6 each week.  Progress: Because those poems (and the monthly post for Insecure Writer's Support Group) are posted daily, I'm well ahead in posting on the Writing blog, but I'm far behind in posting for ROW80 and/or reading what others have done. 
  3. Reading: Read 10 books a month. Review 2 books each month. Progress: No reviews up this month. For September, read 10/15. October reading so far = 4/10, but one of the books involved lots of page skipping (erotica). Even though I was asked, and the book had terrific plotting, I just can't bring myself to review it. 
  4. Marketing: Work on release of Rivers of Stone before the end of 2017. Work on marketing 3 hours each week. Progress: Steady progress here. Worked on SASP Anthology and set up a November workshop on 'deep revision' (this will be fun). Decided to set up Rivers of Stone for pre-order (a new skill).
  5. Other/Personal: Write 2 articles a month. Continuing: SASP Publicity. Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy blood level/diet. Progress: So far, so good in all categories, though I wonder about that 'healthy diet' goal on a cruise ship. Found a way to exercise in water aerobics without hurting my feet. SASP Publicity done + two articles. 
Getting ready for this trip, even though it's only 17 days, feels a little like falling off the world as I know it. My laptop is ready. The suitcase is mostly packed. We drive to the airport at 4:30 am on Saturday, but I'm leaving behind all that is familiar. As well as those dear grands! 


My hopes for writing while away include digging into a new story (unicorns!) and somehow writing a poem a day. We've not vacationed for so long that we're both looking forward to a different kind of adventure. No internet while we're gone means not connecting with ROW80 until I'm back -- after October 25. 

Meanwhile, all you energetic ROW80 writers, persevere in the writing, and appreciate each day! CLICK HERE to see what everyone's up to or hop over to our group on FaceBook!



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ROW80 Round 4 Goals: Am I SMART Enough?

Thanks to Eden’s recent talk about SMART Goals on our ROW80 website, I’m reviewing exactly what SMART means:
  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Achievable – have the specific skills needed to achieve the goal.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved
I would like to do a better job of crafting my ROW80 goals so that they are more realistic (I tend to have longer lists than I can complete – though I don’t want to leave any area out). And I’d like my goals to have tighter deadlines, as the goals tend to slide into longer and longer lists! So, in Round 4, areas for me to be more aware of are:
  1. Scope of my to-do list.
  2. Identify more clearly what constitutes progress and IF I can realistically achieve the goal.
  3. Set more specific deadlines (not the amorphous ‘by the next check-in’).
Eden points out that Scott Barry Kaufman, in Ungifted, suggests that scientists are looking at what motivates us to succeed. He identifies two types of goals:

Learning goals — these tend to be self-directed, usually involve a personal desire for self-improvement ⇒ lead to mastery.

Performance goals — these tend to be motivated by external rewards such as money, status, approval of others ⇒ can lead to fear of failure.

I’m not so comfortable with an either/or explanation for what drives us to write – or to be successful, though Kaufman’s learning vs. performance may help us move away from writer’s block. But I’m noticing that as summarized, learning goals lead to MASTERY (positive), while performance goals "can" lead to FAILURE (negative). For me, putting food on the table is not a negative goal.

Also, are the scientists suggesting that self-affirmations are more important than affirmations from others? For example, support from significant others (notably my DH) keeps me writing, but I don’t write for him. To be fair to Kaufman, I ‘should’ probably read Ungifted.

Also, notice how the first SMART goal (target a specific area for improvement) puts our SMART goals squarely in Kaufman’s LEARNING GOALS!

And, just maybe I’m motivated by performance goals as well, for I write for that zing when a passage, or a scene, or a chapter sings with truth and connects with my readers. Some days, too, I hope for that monthly deposit from book sales to be more than a token amount. For that seems like a nice form of external validation.

So, SMART goals work for me. What motivates me to succeed is that desire to tell a story, to write with discipline, and to achieve balance in my life. That means keeping my goals focused and simple. 

Here are my Round 4 goals:  

1. Writing: Complete revisions and write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone by year-end. Prioritize writing projects (Prequel + Memoir). Write at least 30 poems by end of October.

2. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6.

3. Reading: Read 10 books a month. Review 1 book each month.

4. Marketing: Work on release of Rivers of Stone before the end of 2017. Work on marketing 3 hours each week.

5. Other: Write 2 articles a month. Continuing: SASP Publicity. Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy balance with family, volunteering, and all else.

After all this glorious planning, I'm going to be MISSING for much of October. 

Notwithstanding earthquakes, flooding, and devastating tropical storms, we are leaving for a 17-day trip October 7 at well before the crack-of-dawn. I will have my mini-laptop with me but will have very limited internet access as we meander down the coast of Mexico, cross the Panama Canal, and land in New Orleans for a few days before flying home. Maybe I'll find that next story along the way.

I just want you to know that I won’t be able to read what you post or put up any weekly check-ins for that time. But I will be writing, AND I wish you every success in this last round of 2017.

NOTE: Just in case you were thinking of donating, here's a link to an article by Global Giving (top rated by Charity Navigator) about their relief fund for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islandshttps://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-maria-caribbean-relief-fund/ 


Sunday, September 17, 2017

OK, so maybe I'm doing that walk of shame as somehow the last two check-ins for ROW80 have slipped right by me. I have two relatively big excuses (besides babysitting).

Revisions on Chapter 71 have taken up many hours in the last two weeks. Maybe, just maybe I'm closer. The next and last revision goes to writer's group this Wednesday. I don't like to argue with anyone at all, but my two main characters need to confront each other.

An opportunity for a radio interview popped up Monday, with recording on Friday. I learned a lot, had fun with an amazing host, and wrote about it HERE on my writing blog.

Meanwhile, here's the official check-in for Week 11 with Round 3 ending on September 21 (this week).

WRITING: Good but grueling progress on that last chapter of Rivers of Stone. Wrote another 1,000 words on the memoir and warmed right up with a poem this morning for OctPoWriMo (a poetry writing challenge that asks participants to write a poem every day throughout the month).

GOALS for the coming week: Write a poem a day. Write at least 400 words for afterword/book blurb. James Scott Bell has very useful 'how to' suggestions in his Marketing for Writers Who Hate Marketing (the shoe fits). Write at least 500 words on the memoir. Keep reviewing poems for poetry chapbook with goal to publish before summer 2018 (currently have 90 pages).

BLOGGING:  Posted 2x this week and read x14 what others posted. GOALS for the coming week: Post Weds for ROW80 and take a break to set goals for ROW80's Round 4. Read everyone who posts for ROW80 on the blog or in  FaceBook. Continue to post those poems daily on my Writing blog. Luckily I like short poems.

MARKETING: Steady but very slow progress in Bell's book. GOALS for the coming week: Firm up one pending workshop. Set up GoodReads giveaway. Keep pricing for Standing Stones and Years of Stone on Amazon at .99c through September.

OTHER: Finished a comfort quilt and already am excited to start the next one. Doing pretty good with exercise and diet (lots of salads), but it's time to see the doctor about those runaway blood sugars. PR for Spokane Authors on track. Still need more work on decluttering that e-mail.

READING: So far 7/15 for the month. I'm having fun reading April White's Marking Time: The Immortal Descendents, Book 1 (438 pp, 4.5 stars on Amazon with 1,200+ reviews). Saira Elian, a young girl whose mother abandons her routinely, is a tagger armed with a can of spray paint. Then she finds out she can time travel. And the plot takes interesting twists from there.

That's this week, folks. Hope all is well with you. If you haven't yet joined A Round of Words in 80 Days, please consider it. We set goals and try to achieve them with steady work and encouragement. Check out ROW80 writers on our website or on our FaceBook page.

Have a great week!





Thursday, September 7, 2017

ROW80: Oops! Missed Wednesday.

There I was at the end of the day, just settling into writing my Wednesday check-in for A Round of Words in 80 Days, when the phone rang. "Help, Mom! I need a babysitter." Oh, this Gramie can move when needed. In under 5 minutes, I was out the door for a little over an hour. Did I say it was 9:45 pm?

So, this morning's (the morning after the night before) check-in shall be modest as we move nearly as fast to the end of Round 3 (only 14 days left!).

Weds Check in Round 3, Week 10:

WRITING: Goals: Write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone. Complete revisions. Prioritize writing projects (Prequel + Memoir). PROGRESS: Drafted back of the book copy. All else set aside for revision of the final chapter (more about that below).

BLOGGING. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6. Post monthly for the Insecure Writer's Study Group. PROGRESS: Posting ROW80 today. So far, read 2. IWSG post due later today!

READING: Read 15 books a month. Review 2 books each month. PROGRESS: A little slow here, but finished 3 books and am rigorously deleting books off my Kindle (187 books is just too many). Have 14 on the 'must read' list.

MARKETING: Work on release of Rivers of Stone. Work on marketing 3 hours each week. PROGRESS: Actually feeling pretty good about this. Reading, reviewing, making lists. So far this week, about 4-5 hours.

OTHER: Write 2 articles a month. Continuing: Support Spokane Authors & Self-Publishers with publicity. Also continuing: Declutter! Everywhere! Personal: Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy blood level/diet. PROGRESS: Other than decluttering e-mail and sewing doll clothes for the grands, and being reasonably focused re diet and exercise, this goal is a back-grounder.

NOW TO THE REAL STORY about what I've been working on this week, or what some might call the rest of the story. I've talked about this a little here. That last chapter. My group had some comments, but not until I gave a copy to my live-in brilliant editor DH did I begin to "see" how to "re-vision" the last chapter.

His advice? To think about the chapter from THE POINT OF VIEW CHARACTER, what she wants and how she's feeling. My main character is strong, the actor rather than being acted upon. Even the revisions I'm working on can show you what this means.

OLD VERSION: "You must be Mrs. McDonnell," said Mr. Clark. "And a fine morning it is. Welcome to Oregon City. I'll get your husband for you. Just wait here." The tall, portly man gave her a lingering glance that made Cat wonder what Dougal had said about her.

Once again, Cat found herself pacing nervously in the Mercantile, her skirts rustling as she walked around the smalls tore. Had she come too early? Maybe she should have waited until later in the day. Or changed her mind entirely. What would she say to him She raised her chin. I'm here to say goodbye.

REVISED SO FAR WITH MORE TO COME: Cat dashed across the street in front of a team of horses. She shook her skirts out before entering Clark’s Mercantile and pursed her lips. Dougal has some explaining to do, she thought. And this time, he’s going to tell me everything.

Inside, she spotted Mr. Clark bent over a large accounting ledger. “Mr. Clark, I’d like to see Mr. McDonnell.”

“Good morning, Mrs. McDonnell,” said Mr. Clark. “And a fine morning it is. Welcome to Oregon City. I’ll get your husband for you. Just wait here.” The tall, portly man nodded and scooted out the back door of the shop.

Cat paced back and forth. She didn’t like waiting, and she didn’t like being in the closed-in store. How could he stand it after being on the trail? She raised her chin. That doesn’t matter. I’m here for answers. And if he can’t satisfy me, I will say goodbye. She turned back to the counter just as Dougal entered.

May you have a good week, productive and grateful for all that life brings you. If you're here from WIPpet Wednesday, hope you enjoy the snippet in progress. Find out what other ROW80 writers are up to on our WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK! Why not join in?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

ROW80 Sunday check-in: Forward we go!

Ever since Thursday afternoon, I've been a bit at loose ends. Finished revising the last chapter of Rivers of Stone. Still celebrating a little. But now I'm organizing the how-to publish (which platform to use), and writing the wrap-around materials (forward, afterword, more words for promo). So, the progress feels a little convoluted this week.

Rachel shared a motivational quote: "Don't burden your future self. Do it now!" That's been my motivation this busy week as I look to the end of Round 3 coming up September 21. For my list of goals for Round 3 was long and, rather like a cactus, somewhat full of bristles.

Simply put, my goals for September, the rest of Round 3, and the coming week:

  1. WRITING: Write wrap-around materials for Rivers of Stone. Complete revisions. Prioritize writing projects (Prequel + Memoir).
  2. BLOGGING. Blogging: Post in Writing blog x1 and ROW80 blog x2/each week. Read other writers x6. Post monthly for the Insecure Writer's Study Group.
  3. READING: Read 15 books a month. Review 2 books each month. 
  4. MARKETING: Work on release of Rivers of Stone. Work on marketing 3 hours each week. 
  5. OTHER: Write 2 articles a month. Continuing: Support Spokane Authors & Self-Publishers with publicity. Also continuing: Declutter! Everywhere! Personal: Quilt, exercise, maintain healthy blood level/diet. 

On the marketing front, I am somewhat in the middle of Denise Wakeman's 5-day challenge to create videos. Her Day 2 challenge was to create a video (or image) about who my readers are. Here's the result!


 

And last, but not least, here are three not-so-professional pictures of the wonderful quilt I made that honors the 50th Anniversary for two dear friends.

The Front

Detail of the front

The Back

Have a lovely holiday weekend. Find out what other ROW80 writers are up to on our WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK! Why not join in?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ROW80 Weds Check-in: Beginnings!

Grump and groan. You've heard it all before. I sit in comfort, relatively cool from the outside nearly-September temp at 93F today (with 97F by Saturday).

Harvey's filled the news in a steady stream of flood disaster. After nearly a week of headlines about Houston, the front page of our local paper this morning featured nuclear disaster. Why not worry about that too? After all, aren't we all on the west coast possibly a prime target?

But the story in Houston keeps getting grimmer as the body count rises. Dramatic tales of rescue. Crowded shelters. And this is just the beginning, as it may well be months before people can return to their homes. I still remember the smell of mold in the basement of a New Orleans library several months after Katrina. At least we have generous first responders, all those volunteers, and the military coming together to help, and money/supplies are pouring in from everywhere.

American Alligator (Wikipedia)
Today's FaceBook funny/not-so-funny: Overworked firemen dropped the f-bomb when they spotted an alligator that turned out to be a life-sized lawn ornament! Turns out a local alligator farm owner is worried that his 350 alligators may ESCAPE during the flooding. As my mother would say, "Oofta!"

Midweek check-in for ROW80, Round 3, Week 9. 

WRITING: Finished 5 Chapters for Rivers of Stone since Sunday. Which means: TA-DA! The final revisions for ROS are complete, and I'm ready to format!!!!  Which also means I'm right on schedule for putting this puppy out before fall turns to winter.

BLOGGING: Interviewed Chris Loehmer Kincaid's about her lovely Where the Sky Meets the Sand on my Writing blog. Read x3 other ROW80 posts so far.

MARKETING: I was playing around with video storytelling as part of Diane Wakeman's 5-day Biz Challenge. The idea is to make videos (very short) and put them up on Instagram (a new venue that's foreign to me), so I'm using PowerPoint and Youtube. Not sure this is a good idea for me, but here's the first day's video:


My month-long promo of offering Standing Stones and Years of Stone (Books 1 and 2 of the McDonnell clan) for 99c (usually $3.99) kicked off officially today through MyBookCave. I'd also like to try BookBot Bill later this week.

OTHER: So what am I doing for fun? We had our first getaway in months. Went for an overnight trip to a waterpark in Idaho. Splashed in the water like kids. Ate out. Left just in time to avoid a tragic fire destroying a historic hotel. A friend donated lots of fabric for comfort quilts; I think I have enough for sewing through the winter. I'm doing just fine on diet and exercise. Tomorrow, that mystery quilt goes to its new home.

I still don't have a clue what to write about next now the BIG project moves into formatting, but maybe one of our ROW80 writers will have something inspiring going on. I'd love to write something light, happy, and romantic. I think we all need more light in our lives.

Have a great week. Check out what's happening on the ROW80 WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK!



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sun ROW80: Forward ho!

Hooray for the internet. Kidney #1 left town with 20 pounds of peaches ready to can. I checked my small-print cookbook to find some 30 pages of advice. Then jumped on Google to find a handy-dandy how-to in under 10 pages. With pictures! The result - 5 nice quarts of peaches, canned and ready for winter!

So it's been a pretty amazing week as we ROW80 writers head to the end of August with 21 more days left for Round 3. Here's my weekly update (far from political or tropical storms, though we're tracking the devastation along the Texas coast closely):

Round 3, Week 8: ROW80 Goals, Progress, and What's Next:

WRITING Goals: Revise 5 chapters Sec03. Actually revised 13 chapters this week -- and started on the last section. Only 5 chapters to go for the coming week to actually finish the revisions for Rivers of Stone. Wow! I'm excited. Writer's group meets Thursday, and after 3 years of work, I just may be ready to start formatting and sending out review copies.

BLOGGING Goals:  Post x2. Report in for ROW80 Weds & Sunday. Read other ROW80 posts x6. Set up topics for coming week on Writing blog. Posted ROW80 x2, read other ROW80 writers x7, and have topics x2 for my Writing blog. Also posted a short take on our visit to the Vietnam War Traveling Memorial. Next week? Looking forward to a writer's interview (Chris Kincaid) for the Writing blog, timed just before her September 1 release. Also, the Insecure Writer's Support Group post deadline is Weds, September 6. My goal for the rest of the month is 1x each week for the writing blog.

READ and REVIEW: Reviewed Chris Kincaid's moving Where the Sky Meets the Sand, a novel about a young woman who is transformed by a trip to Africa. Have two library books to read: The Nazi Officer's Wife by Edith Hahn Beer, and The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan (about the Dust Bowl). Allen thinks my next book will come out of the Dust Bowl. I'm less certain, though my grandmother left Oklahoma as a teen roughly at the time of the Dust Bowl. Overall, I wanted to read 20 books this month, but so far have finished only 11.

MARKETING:
 Later this week, my promo on MyBookCave will go live, so I'm trying to learn what wrap-around activities are best.

OTHER: Still doing pretty good on changing how I think about food (and how I eat). Found a lovely exercise class that feels like boot camp, and I love it! Goal to exercise x4 times this week. Actually x5. Spent this morning visiting with a friend to sort out donated material for comfort quilts. Now I have about 5 projects going.

Thank YOU, ROW80 facilitators: Shanjeniah and Eden. Hope the coming week is a good one for you. If you are reading this, why not check out what other ROW80 writers are writing and talking about on the WEBSITE or on FACEBOOK.
 
My next quilting project (Aug 2017)