Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ROW80 Weds Check-in: Finish Something!

Kelli McGann on The Write Practice gave me much needed advice with this morning's e-mail. Finish something! Or as she put it, "How to Finally Finish Your Writings."

I do want to finish something. One of five pending quilting projects. A little progress on editing and reviewing for writing friends. Maybe a breakthrough on that massive draft I'm working over so slowly but think about every day.

This morning I helped my friend pick up a walker for her husband just home from the hospital. Stage IV Cancer is not a kind diagnosis, so we crack lame jokes as we wrestle this collapsible walker with a chair and brakes into my truck. She says to him, "Honey, do you have a migraine?" He says, "No!" "Good," she says. "We've got the cure." 

Spring birding (Jeff Stemshorn)
Around us summer cracks into full, green leaf. Starlings bomb the car, and sparrows watch closely as cherries ripen from those lush pink blossoms into little green pellets. 

Back home, I dive into my office, surrounded by scraps of unsorted fabric and writing notes mixed in with forms for assisted suicide, legal in our state. Maybe it's time for a cup of tea and to read a romance with a happy ending.

ROW80 progress this week:
--Write 750 words a day on anything: Done.
--Write inspirational article for ROW80: Draft done.
--Analyze character arc for Rivers of Stone: Working on it every day.
--Editing a chapter a week for Mothers Don't Die: On target.
--Prepping that memoir class for mid-June. 4 out of 6 days. Sandy Brown Jensen sent me some great resources. Good progress.

Other projects:
--Start novella on Moira and Dylan's story. Not sure. Did some preliminary reading. Maybe I need Scrivener to plot this one more completely before writing, but that's another learning curve.
--Crit two subs for NOVELS-L (The Internet Writing Workshop). This is such a wonderful group of writers, but I made a command decision to withdraw as every month I screech under the deadline to write my two crits . . . barely.
--Write a review for Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes. The story begins to fade as I read other books. Still need to do. The medieval period was pretty rough on women and the peasant class.
--Decluttering e-mail. What. Are you kidding? I'm swimming over here.
--Follow up/review ACX production of Standing Stones. First audio due June 1. Interestingly, a GoodReads writer/friend sent me some suggested editing for Standing Stones and recommended Melissa Mohr's Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing to pinpont exactly what swearwords were used mid-19th Century. I still do like 'God's bones' . . . but that was an earlier phrase.

And that's my week -- past and to come. Hope that your week for writing and reading goes well. Check in with other ROW80 folks to cheer us all on HERE.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Row80: Weds check-in and a thank you.

Such good company, this community of writers on ROW80. Words of encouragement just when we need them. 

This structure of reporting twice each week keeps me focused on writing -- and on some of those other goals, like marketing, that I tend to overlook.

MARKETING PLUNGE. As a thank you to readers and perhaps a way to reach out to new readers, I'm running a 99c promotion for all three of my books just today (May 20) and tomorrow (May 21). I'll report back next week and let you know how this went.

WRITING UPDATE.  So far, I'm still writing 750 words a day since May 1. I'm feeling a bit scattered, so I'm experimenting with writing on several different projects (and counting those words!). 

In progress: 
---Revisions and drafting for Rivers of Stone.
---Preliminary work on a novella that tells the story of Moira and Dylan (research just beginning).
---Editing a chapter a week for Mothers Don't Die (serial killer thriller).
---Prep for that June workshop on memoir. As someone once said, "I want to live forever. So far, so good."

AND PENDING: All else from Sunday's post. But I will persevere. The outlook for my friend's husband is not good at all. The cancer is a particularly aggressive one with many challenges ahead. I am grateful for the communities of support that sustain us all.

May your week go well. Check out what other ROW80 writers are doing HERE.

Blue Heron, Misty Day (Jeffrey Stemshorn)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Row80: Sunday, Sunday . . . Short?

Maybe the shortest check-in for ROW80 goals for all time? Or not.

--WRITING: Still writing 750 words a day since May 1. Started novella this morning, Moira and Dylan's story. Good to have some creative writing while analysis of Book 3 continues. For the first time, I'm blocking out the scenes before writing, an interesting process. Completed: Drafted chapter synopsis of Rivers of Stone (90,000 words) to tighten plotting and character arcs. 
--Prep for memoir workshop mid-June. Have a nice stack of books and have started reading and organizing some material.
--READING: Finished Ned Hayes' truly medieval Sinful Folk

--Crit at least ONE sub for Novels-L. 
--Write review of Sinful Folk.
--Write inspirational article for ROW80 sponsor. Read x 8.
--Contact key people re their articles for WSQ program x4. Set timeline. 
--Write about the experience of thinking about memoir on writing blog, 2x this week.
--Edit and share one chapter a week for Mothers Don't Die.
--Declutter my e-mail by at least 500 (currently at 603).
--Follow-up on ACX/audio version of Standing Stones and those pending marketing promotions.
--Quilt my little ole' heart out.

Why did I start a novella? I subscribe to a number of writerly newsletters that recently have talked about writing shorter fiction between longer works. Readers have asked me over and over again, what happens to Moira and Dylan after Standing Stones ends? 

How do I say thank you most sincerely to all those people who have read my work, found a few typos, and loved or hated it? Maybe by writing a novella -- a mere 20,000 to 40,000 words -- which most likely will not see the light of print (virtual or otherwise) for another year or so.

And that's the not-so-short update from Spokane. Check out what other ROW80 writers are doing HERE. Let's make it a good week.

Bayview Vista (Camp 2015)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

ROW80 Weds check-in: A look in the mirror. . .

Selfies aside, sometimes we need to look in the mirror, to assess realistically where we are and what's next.

This week, a dear friend was admitted to the hospital with a serious diagnosis, and the prognosis is not good at all. A reminder that our lives can change in a  moment. A reminder to cherish those we love and each day we have. 

In this, ROW80 pushes us to be ever more specific about what we want to achieve . . . and precisely how we might go about taking those steps that bring us to success.

I'm very appreciative of those who model how to report our progress without spending agonizing amounts of time. So, here's my mid-week check-in.

WRITING GOALS: Draft a chapter synopsis of Rivers of Stone to tighten plotting and character arcs. THIS WEEK: Finished Sections 1-3, mapped out Section 4. Hope to finish Sections 4-5 by the weekend. COMPLETED: Updated Kindle versions of Standing Stones and Years of Stone. MARKETING: Subbed application to Ereader News Today (finally!). So far, writing 750 words a day since May 1.

WHAT'S NEXT BY SUNDAY? Post on writing blog, perhaps on writing memoir. Draft research plan for two month trip to Canada. Draft materials on memoir writing for June workshop. Crit at least ONE sub for Novels-L. Contact key people re their articles for WSQ program x4. Set timeline. Get some quilting done!

Tubbs Hill, Couer d'Alene (May 2015)
As for the rest, all seems in balance. Exercise 3x week minimum and some kind of a walk daily? Yes. Reading research? Yes, just got a great book in: Gerhard J. Ens' Homeland to Hinterland: The Changing Worlds of the Red River Metis in the 19th Century. And I'm enjoying Richard S. Wheeler's The Fields of Eden, set in the 1840s in Oregon, though the print is very small. 

Outside my window is rather rainy and gloomy, but we have 80 degree weather on the way by the weekend. Maybe spring is turning to summer? Catch up on what other ROW80 folks are doing HERE and enjoy YOUR week!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

ROW80: Sunday back on track

I'll start with a Happy Mother's Day to all as I remember my mother from long ago, a Hollywood starlet with her own dreams. 

I'm thinking of my sweet daughter -- and her two baby girls, and of Mother's Days to come.

What amazing changes can be seen in how women now shape their lives. Today we can cherish the role of mother as well as the potential we have to each pursue our own uniqueness. 

This week, I've fallen in love all over again with ROW80's structure of reporting in. This month's goals:

  • Drafting a chapter synopsis of Rivers of Stone to tighten character arcs: Finished Section 1, good running start on Section 2, then 3 more to go.
  • Updating Kindle versions of Standing Stones and Years of Stone. Finished Standing Stones.
  • Still in progress: Writing up research plan for two month trip to Canada this summer. Prepping workshop on memoir writing.
  • Community: Last meeting for F2F writers group done. Spokane Authors hosted a useful panel on characterization (and I finished my part of a draft brochure for SASP). Still behind on critting for Novels-L x2 this month.
  • Marketing: Just a little progress on evaluating my next ad campaign.
  • Blogging: Now that the A-to-Z challenge is over, I'd like to get back to blogging 2x a week on the travel and writing blog.
  • Quilting: Finished that twin "frogs and butterflies" quilt well before the birthday girl's June date. Now starting the binding on my "pueblo" quilt (queen-sized, so that will take a while).
Thank you all for words of encouragement. Some days, that to-do list just gets too long, but I think it was Deniz who suggested posting goals by the month. Easier to prioritize. Taking time off from reporting in also helped. As did cleaning my office -- still not done decluttering, but I will persevere. And I wish you all good writing ahead.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Weds Check-in: Oh, the list . . .

It's late. The printer is out of paper, and I'm nearly out of steam! My progress this week so far: 

--Wrote 750 words a day on research or writing. 6 out of 6 days. 
--Revamping overall story outline to emphasize character arcs and satisfactory resolution. Still dithering over happy vs sad ending.
--Done: Gather info on marketing w/writers' group.
--Finished reading two books, Revolutionary (Alex Myers) and The Tenderness of Wolves (Stef Penney). Currently reading Sinful Folk (Ned Hayes). Strangely enough, all three involve a main female character disguised as a man.
--Still to do: Post in writing and travel blog by Sunday.

--F2F writing group met tonight for the last time before fall.
--Finished one charity quilt, almost completed binding on twin bed quilt (frogs and bright colors). Experimenting with Bonnie Hunter's strip quilting.
--Walked 5 out of 6 days, three strenuous hikes in Dishman Hills Park near Spokane Valley (lots of uphill), and another hike today along the Spokane River.

Along the Dishman Hills' Pine Cliff Trail (Camp 2015)
 May the rest of this week be a good one for all ROW80 writers. Check out our progress HERE.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

ROW80: Jumping Back In . . .

I'm feeling deliciously guilty after having taken the first four weeks of Round 2 simply and totally off . . . Yes, I did write a poem a day for the Blogging A-to-Z Challenge on my writing blog, but I missed staying in touch with everyone and feeling committed and inspired with writing and quilting. For the rest of this round, my goals are rather pared down to three categories. This week's goals are:

--Continue organizing, plotting, writing, and editing Rivers of Stone (1 hour a day or 750 words, whichever comes first).
--Work on getting Standing Stones up on ACX (audio version).
--Post 2x week in writing and travel blogs.

--Read 2 books/writing craft; download Letitia's journal.
--Track other reading x6 (GoodReads).
--Write indie reviews x3 and wip reviews x4 (Novels_L).

--Participate in F2F writers group, SAP.
--Finish binding on 2 quilts, start art quilt, charity quilt, and quillow.
--Walk, hike, swim x5 week. Eat with less sugar (but vanilla ice cream is OK at 12 grams per 1/2 cup). 

From writing to quilting and back?  I'm starting to read/work through the Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston, and find their advice helpful overall -- even (or maybe especially) for writers.  Below, I've adapted their advice for writers, if creativity stalls:

--Break up the routine! Do something amazingly different.
--Go to where you last wrote successfully and take a new jumping off place -- in any direction you wish!
--Do anything that is mindless but physical or mental exercise. Watch for what floats to the surface.
--Write, but try something totally different -- riffing? character skeetch? bit of dialogue? fight scenelet? (A scenelet is smaller than a scene; maybe less intimidating). 
--Reread something you really didn't like. Ask why and then dive back into this piece to repurpose, transform, or simply redline out and let go.

May the week ahead go well for you. Visit other ROW80 writers to check out what they're doing and give a word of encouragement. Yes, it does help!

Draft Batik Block (Camp)