Sunday, October 30, 2016

On the Road Again: Row80 Sunday Check-in

Making the transition from a blog-based check-in for ROW80 to a FaceBook-based check-in has not been easy. Add in the usual distractions, and all I can say is I haven't checked in since September 19. I've missed the community of like-minded writers AND that twice-weekly accountability that keeps me assessing my progress toward very specific goals. 

For the last month or so, I've been distracted more by research and plotting issues than actually writing. We're now on the road for two weeks, and I couldn't bring all my library with (not even research files as I'm testing out a new laptop). Accomplishments so far: Following the old 'divide and conquer' rule, I have divided my story into 4 sections and attacked the weakest section by dividing it into another 3 sections, each with a story outline. Suddenly, I can 'see' those plot holes!

And then I remembered -- an online drafting site that offers a blank page with a word counter. I know this is not so different than a blank page in Word, but by ending each day's writing session with a focus question that relates directly to my story, I found myself really writing for the first time in weeks. As I write the STORY, my characters and their relationships are clearer, and I added 3K this week.

MY GOALS for the coming week are quite simple:
1. Write 750 words a day on Rivers of Stone for a total of 2,500 new words.
2. End each writing session with a focus question to guide the next day's story writing.
3. Market and support Veteran's Day reading November 12.

Well, you'll have to go over to Facebook to read what other ROW80 writers are doing. I'm sending wishes for a good week of writing and whatever other recreation comes your way as we edge closer through the 'October surprise' to Election Day.

Meanwhile, here's one highlight from our trip south, right through Malheur National Wildlife Reserve:

View from Buena Vista, Malheur, Oregon (Oct 2016)

Monday, September 19, 2016

ROW80 Update: Change? Changing?

ROW80 is changing, and I'm not ready. Round 3 ends Sept 22, and I'm really not ready. But Chris started her update with a simple list, and so shall I as the new week begins.


1. Write more on Rivers of Stone.
2. Continue work on marketing in various formats.
3. Support writing and quilting community as best I can.
4. Exercise and quilt and cook.

The results this week?

1. WRITE. Yep. Very, very slow. Discovered my working blurb was not centered around my lead female -- and the entire story is her story. Rewrote that. I've been doing lots of research on the Red River Settlement (today, Winnipeg) in the 19th Century. Still did add maybe 1,000 words this week.

2. MARKETING. Some surprises this week. My article was published in the Spokane paper but not online, so I'm not sure how to share it. I'm still doing a little happy dance. I could scan it and share that way . . . maybe.
--Presentation tomorrow on writing historical fiction at a local senior center. Almost ready.
--Updated this trailer for The Mermaid Quilt book. Slow on writing/designing the next edition which I'd love to do since it involves adding a few quilt patterns.


3. SUPPORT writing & quilting community in various ways. 
--Gave beta feedback at the structural level for a book by an online friend and, in the process, found this wonderful article in THE WRITER (October 2016), "Portrait of a Modern Novelist" by Nicki Porter, featuring an interview of Caroline Leavitt. What I loved about the article is that Leavitt profiles her writing process. Her first step is to identify THE MORAL QUESTION, a simple statement that the book must answer and that shapes the entire story. That helps me rethink the ending to my current wip.
--Working on library readings for Veteran's Day. Good progress. So far have 6 writers lined up. Maybe two locations.
--Making steady progress on Quilt Show program (interior nearly finished; final proof next week).

4. Exercise, quilt and cook? Well, the cold squashed exercise, quilting is handwork and slow (but useful to keep me awake during football games), and I made meatballs.

May your week go well, writing or otherwise. Check out what other ROW80 writers have been up to this last week of the round HERE.

And here's that article that appeared today in the Spokesman-Review (September 19, 2019), page C3, just in case you don't live in Spokane!

Click to see in slightly larger size! 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

ROW80 Slowly, slowly into tomorrow

This weekend was a time of discovery, many distractions, little 'real' work, lots of 'real' life, and some writing. 

I did spend hours working/writing/revising a committee project. Good progress for our team, and we made deadlines. The next real deadline in Sept 19-26, and I'm looking forward to finishing this 40 page program -- and letting go.

Friday morning, hubby took me to a garage sale, an amazing collection of quilt patterns and books to inspire my quilting projects. We then went on to Corbin House to spend an hour or so admiring quilts with matching floral bouquets, an annual celebration of the end of summer. A walk through Manito Park ended our day together. Saturday and Sunday, we played with grandkids, and I helped my daughter make applesauce. I read a little, thought a little, and quilted a little. We walked some more.

Here's the next block for my bear quilt in progress, not quite perfect, but I love how the 'flying geese' are set in four different directions, acknowledging that Native tradition of four sacred directions, and, for me, a life that seems to go in unexpected directions. 

Writing? I'm back on track . . . starting tomorrow!

Check out what others are doing as we head to the end of Round 3 (September 22!) for A Round of Words in 80 Days.

Another block for my bear-quilt-in-progress (2016)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

ROW80: Progress? Surprises? Yep!

After a flurry of intense meetings for other projects, a few days when the writing was more mental than physical, I'm thrilled to report real progress -- and amazing support from a surprising source -- an old friend from far away.

First this week's update:

  • WRITING: Made the decision to not throw Section 03 of the current wip (Rivers of Stone) out the window. I want to tell the whole story, and not worry about deadlines or length. After all, one of the benefits of self-publishing is flexibility. I see a minimum of 3-6 months of work ahead, and that's OK.
  • BLOGGING: Posted this month's article for the Insecure Writer's Support Group on my writing blog. Did not read anybody else between Sunday and now. Blame Labor Day, family commitments, and my own lack of stamina for which I feel sorry, for these ROW80 colleagues are a wonderful part of my writing life.
  • MARKETING: Finally working on that newsletter which now has an official deadline of September 15. Found a wonderful article by Joanna Penn on marketing audio books and feel like I'm finally making some progress here too. Made a meme to help readers 'see' the audio book as an option.
The summer surprise has been Sandy Brown Jensen's post interviewing me in "What Were the Chances?" just yesterday on her blog, A Book is a Dream. Yes, I see a bump in visibility, but most importantly, I'm appreciating all over again the generosity of other writers. Thank you, Sandy, for the photo shoot, the interview, your friendship, encouragement, and sheer creativity. 

Sandy Brown Jensen talking about a painting
by her sister, Cheryl Renee Long

Hop on over to read what other ROW80 writers are doing this midweek -- and write on!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

ROW80: Sunday Night Simplicity.

End of Summer, 
Dishman Hills Park
(Camp 2016)
After yesterday's hour-long hike at Dishman Hills, our feet hurt. Today we just played with the grands. See the video below as a two-year-old encounters salsa for the first time!

As Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days winds down, I'm feeling pretty good about finishing the outlining, but now comes the structural editing, tightening, re-analyzing the character arcs, and deleting those scenes that don't move the underlying story forward. Will I finish this year? Truly, I just don't know. but here are my GOALS FOR SEPTEMBER. 

1. WRITING: Review editing notes for Rivers of Stone at least one hour a day. Analyze character and story arcs. Decide if Section 03 is a part of ROS. Clean up character doubles. Prepare for beta read by September 30. Always ask: Where’s the conflict? What moves the story ahead?

2. BLOG: Write IWSG post due 9/7. Blog 3x week.

3. MARKETING: Develop marketing plan for September. Identify 3 strategies for marketing audio books to pursue. Set dates and decide on ads-for-pay and identify free outlets that work for historical fiction. Request book reviews from historical fiction bloggers. Draft newsletter (short) and make a commitment to send newsletter monthly (Market audio book in newsletter & one ad). Prep September presentation (Corwin).

4. Social media: WEEKLY: Read ROW80 x5, IWSG x4, Tweet 1x & post on author FB 1x.

5. Articles: Write article for SASP newsletter & Boomer U. Submit one flash.

6. WSQ: Work with new team on 2016 program due October.

7. SASP: Coordinate and evaluate October 8 Indie Author’s Day (Sat) and November 11 Veteran’s Day (Friday). PR to support meetings.

8. Reading/Reviews: At least one indie author & one SASP author.

9. Declutter e-mail: Keep inbox down to <125.

10. OTHER: Exercise 5/7 days week. Make two thank you quilts. Make one comfort quilt. Make Ruthie’s birthday quilt (Nov 4).

Probably too many goals and/or projects, but as summer days shorten to colder fall, I'd rather be working inside. Check out what other ROW80 writers are doing HERE. If you are a writer, consider jumping right in!

Highlight of the day? Watching two-year-old Ruthie discover salsa. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ROW80: Weds check-in: September comes far too quickly!!!

Even away for a short vacation of 10 days, the unpacking seems endless, for I question what goes where, what should be kept, and what needs additional washing or sorting. My daughter always tells me that after any long journey, we need a few days for our souls to catch up with what we have discovered. Sometimes the simplest images remain.

Colorful waters near Lake Chelan (August 2016)
Summertime at Picket Range, North Cascades (August 2016)
I found it difficult to write while on the road, rather slow progress. But September beckons, and I'm surprised as I review the goals for August, how much really did get accomplished this month.

So, here is the update. Sunday, you'll find goals for the coming month (and the end of Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days).

1. WRITING: Edit Rivers of Stone at least one hour a day. Finish Section 02. UPDATE: Finished Sections 01-03 and 05. Have 9 chapters left in Section 04. Made notes throughout. Really wanted to finish Section 04 before September. Sigh.

2. BLOG: 3x week. UPDATE: Sadly behind here. Met ROW80 blogging commitments, but only wrote ONCE on my writing blog. Another sigh.

3. Marketing: Send Newsletter by August 15. Prepare September activities. Market audio book in newsletter & one ad. Prep September presentation (Corwin). Visit bookstore Coeur d’Alene. UPDATE: No real progress except, thanks to Sandy Brown Jensen, that marvelous author interview now posted on my Facebook Author page and soon to be posted on the writing blog.

4. Community/Social media: Read ROW80 x5, IWSG x4 each week. Weekly: Tweet 1x & post on author FB 1x. Serve as late-bloomer sponsor for ROW80. UPDATE MIXED: Yep to all except IWSG.

5. Articles: Write article for SASP newsletter (Artisans’ Market & author photo) & Boomer U.  UPDATE: Done.

6. WSQ: Work with new team on 2016 program due October. IN PROGRESS.

7. SASP: Coordinate and evaluate Artisan’s Market. DONE.

8. Reading: At least one indie author & one SASP author. Declutter e-mail (Goal to keep e-mail inbox down to manageable <100). UPDATE: Yes, to review for indie author. Not yet for SASP author. Decluttering E-MAILS coming along just fine: Staying under 125. But still much information to review.

9. Other: UPDATE MIXED:  Exercise 5/7 days week. Work on comfort quilt (string). No progress at all. DONE: Made WSQ Quilt block. Technology fix netbook (limited memory). Solution here was simply to not download any pictures, use iPhone for e-mail, and use lovely but memory challenged HP Netbook for word processing only.

Who said change is constant? A Round of Words in 80 Days will start using Facebook as its check-in point starting with Round 4. So meanwhile, check in HERE to find out what our fearless ROW80 writers are up to -- and embrace change. After all, I learned how to use the GPS on that new iPhone.

Writers write! Make it a great week as the leaves turn yellow and, finally, temperatures turn to the 70s.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

ROW80 Sunday night surprises

Once I'm on the road, the unexpected happens. These last ten days have been filled with lovely unstructured time with dear friends and surprises -- and limited internet. Tonight, just 100 miles from home, we have access to hotel internet. But after a long day of driving, the hot tub may just be a higher priority than checking in . . . Stay tuned for more coherence on Weds!

Update on writing? Some. Not every day. Not exactly measurable, but with only ten chapters left to outline, I'm feeling closer to getting a grasp of the whole story . . . and to thinking about the ending.

Update on marketing? Some. An article was accepted by my local newspaper -- to appear in the next few weeks. I'll include the link here once it goes live. INDIE AUTHOR DAY is October 8, and I'm hoping Spokane Authors can schedule a few readings . . . but one library has already backed out. So I'll be working on this.

But the most surprising and fabulous? Last week at Lake Chelan, I ran into Sandy Jensen, a wonderfully creative video-storyteller, who just happened to be staying at Lake Chelan. I haven't seen her in over a decade, though we've been virtual friends in many venues. She whipped out her video cam and interviewed me. The result -- an unexpected author interview!

Interview with Novelist Beth Camp from Sandy Brown Jensen on Vimeo.

More later. I'm wishing a good week to all. See what other ROW80 writers are doing HERE.