Thursday, February 27, 2014

Row80 Weds check-in: The birds are back!

Tuesday, I stepped outside my apartment to be greeted by a chorus of robins. I think they came back too early as we still have a half foot of snow on the ground, but it's heartening to hear them talking to each other, tree to tree. So in addition to the red-winged blackbirds, we now have the robins, sweet harbingers of spring.

I think my writing goals for the week have downsized to something very simple. Write 750 words a day. No matter what. So here's my one-day-late check-in for ROW80:

WRITING. Yes, every day so far, I'm working on micro-scenes and research for Rivers of Stone, but I still haven't touched Years of Stone for that final read-through and taking notes. I sent it off to a generous beta reader (she who shall be nameless but a generous ROW80 writer). Got a good draft for that article on quilting that's due tomorrow. On posting for my writing and travel blogs? Nada! On posting a snippet for Wednesday's WIPpet? Not yet.

READING/COMMUNITY: Best laid plans . . . Finished Freud's mistress and posted a review on GoodReads. I think the Boston Globe got it right by calling this a "bleak historical romance."

The real story in Freud's Mistress for me was not that Freud had a mistress or was vulnerable to a succession of people who admired and accepted his work in those early controversial days, but that the choices Minna Bernays had -- to marry OR work as a governess or paid companion -- were so restricted. This tale of trust and betrayal (forbidden love, guilt, the relationship between the two sisters) is bleak. Also, I was a little shocked to learn that giving laudanum (opium) to children so they could sleep at night was relatively common, as was the recreational use of "coca". But an interesting read.

Couldn't attend this week's writers' group because of doctor appointments, so still need to write comments on one sub from that group. Did complete another crit for NOVELS-L on the Internet Writers Workshop (that was fun). A little more active on Google+ groups. Still planning to attend two writers' groups that meet face-to-face in March.

MARKETING:  Some real progress here. Finally called my favorite indie bookstore. They'll carry Standing Stones on consignment (because it's self-published), and I'm scheduled for an April book signing. They were so nice that I now wonder why making that call was so difficult. Also, I'll be featured on Deborah McKnight's Self-Published Sunday blog on March 16, and I've ordered bookmarks (here's the should: I should have ordered bookmarks LAST month).

I feel encouraged that some people have gone out of their way to tell me they liked reading Standing Stones. Reviews are coming in slowly, but repeat sales are steady. That's heartening!

OTHER STUFF: Did Yoga once (what an amazing difference). Back to regular exercise 3x a week. No reason not to go off to exercise. The snow is simply another challenge. Came up with a great tofu scrambler recipe. Quilting that king-sized wedding quilt? Had a crisis of confidence until my daughter said she loved the colors and design, so I shall persevere. Last night, Allen's computer went down -- all files disappeared (though I found them in a secret folder), so I shut everything down and we watched that delightful romantic comedy Moonstruck instead.

Biggest challenge for the week ahead: I'm always amazed when other ROW80 writers balance more than one project. Maybe I can be schizophrenic and work on two major projects at the same time OR maybe I'll just plough ahead with micro-scenes for Rivers of Stone and set it aside when I tackle the read-through for Years of Stone (leaning to this second option).  It's far too easy to fall back on the comforting routine of editing -- rather than the sheer adrenaline-fueled challenge of drafting. Why is it our minds pull us to the easier task?

Do you work well on two major writing projects?


  1. I'm with you, Beth. I'm in awe of writers who can balance multiple writing projects at the same time. I know that if I had more than one deadline to meet, I could do it, but I prefer to really intensely focus on one project at a time. I feel like I work better that way at this stage in my career.

    It's wonderful that the local indie bookstore is going to carry your book. I'm always so excited to see how the publishing/bookselling business model is changing.

    Enjoy the birdsong! As I type, I can hear the birds singing outside my window. They've started coming back in the last couple weeks, and I must say that I'm glad for it.

    1. Thank you, Denise, for your comment. I guess this gives me permission to set aside Rivers of Stone (Book 3) in March to return to that final read for Book 2 (it's now rested about a month). The beta read comments will come in, and all will be well. I'm reading a lovely new bio of Lady Franklin and learning little smidges of information about her that will be useful in a final shaping of the book. It's still snowing here, but the birds ARE back!

  2. when I was a child gripe water and teething gels had alcohol/opiates in them - made the babies quiet and happy - we have come a long way since then - but yes drugs were used exstensively - the family's remedy for upset stomachs contained opium and could be bought over the counter until the 60s - was quite taken aback the first time I tried to buy it after that to be told it wasn't an over the counter remedy anymore!!

    glad the bookshop came up trumps - all the best:)

  3. I wish I could work on multiple projects at once but I haven't figured the trick yet :)

    It looks like you had a pretty balanced week Beth, may it continue.


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