Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ROW80 Weds check-in: Halloween???

Sometimes this twice weekly check-in comes along waaay too fast! But a busy weekend looms, starting tomorrow, so I'll check in now:

Writing since Sunday: Only 900 new words, but I'm grateful for each one with steady progress on writing, organizing, and research. And a new poem for OctPoWriMo on my blog. My inspirational article for ROW80, "From Writer's Block to Writing Productivity" is now up on the blog, a subject I keep chipping away at.  

Community/Marketing. Two giveaways in-the-works at GoodReads. Details will follow, once approved. I am determined to write one more review before next Thursday. A writing friend is considering NaNoWriMo, and I'm wavering. If I'm already behind in writing and commitments, how can I realistically participate? Anyone else on the fence?

Other: Tried a class in yoga, but that strained hamstring wasn't ready. Almost finished 5 blocks for a comfort quilt due tomorrow (just a little more buttonhole stitching on two blocks). Maybe tonight with my new favorite evening soap opera, Quantico.

Well, I'm hoping you enjoy Halloween as we ease to winter. 

If you are looking for a little inspiration . . . something new to feed those hordes, why not try Graveyard Taco Dip, from (her post in 2013) 

Or look at an array of spooky Halloween Treats posted by todayserveseverymom in 2014. Her bloody cake with a knife is chilling! 

May you have a great week. Write and celebrate your writing. Check out what others are doing at ROW80 and OctPoWriMo.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Check-in: Turn, Turn, Turn

Sunday evening, dark so early, and the week ends nearly before it begins. I can report good progress this week, though.

Writing: Last week, I wrote 1.9K. This week 4.7K, nicely spread out between plotting, writing scenes, and a few poems. For once, story structure is laid out, though a few unresolved plot holes remain. 

For example, exactly how do I move the younger brother out of the story early so the story can focus on the relationship between Cat and Dougal? Which plot path intrigues you most?

1. Colin gets lost in the wilderness near York Factory and dies.Simple, accurate, reinforces the level of risk of life at this isolated post.
2. Colin winds up on a whaler shipwrecked off the coast of Japan c. 1844, is imprisoned, teaches English to samurai.
3. Colin goes with John Rae to explore the Northwest Passage.

All three are based on events or people who actually lived during the mid-19th Century.

For the coming week, this emphasis on plotting and rereading Section 04 for editing notes will continue. I've pulled out Larry Brooks, Story Structure, for suggestions on how to dig more deeply into this next round of writing/revision. I'm no longer writing a poem a day for OctPoWriMo because right now, the writing is more important. But occasionally, like today, a poem surfaced about fall.

Sunday Afternoon at Manito Park

Marketing. Got a simple website up for Allen's book, Reaching. Any suggestions for improvement deeply appreciated. Here's the LINK. For the coming week, continue to contact folks re blog hop for Reaching. Followup on pending ACX audio book for Standing Stones. Work out giveaway on GoodReads.

May your week and your writing go well! Thanks to A Round of Words in 80 Days for continuing inspiration. Check out what others have been up to this week.

This week's essay, "Writing is Hard" by Abdeah Davis hones in on that moment when we make a commitment to our writing. Yes, a useful read.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ROW80: Weds check-in -- At Last!

Cut to the chase. Accomplishments since my last check-in?

--Survived the Quilt Show (500 quilts. It was fabulous).
--Survived dear hubby's second surgery for basal cell sarcoma; so far, so good.
--Worked on author interview questions for Spokane Authors.
--Finished and sent in an article for ROW80.
--Tried to set up GoodReads giveaway (not successful . .  yet).
--Began a new quilt for a friend with cancer.
--Wrote every day, some poetry, some research.

But the real breakthrough came this morning when I read Joe Bunting's article for The Write Practice on writer's block.

And I am finally, finally writing again.

Kait Nolan's spread sheet helps me see what I am writing every day. Joe Bunting's article gives me permission to accept that what I write will not be perfect, not even after extensive editing. So I can write the story I love, or as he puts it:

“Instead of trying to be perfect, strive for the opposite of perfection: vulnerability, the courage to tell your story with your whole heart.” 

For the coming week, I will continue to try to write a poem a day, but my main focus will be to write first! 

Instead of tackling this draft from the beginning (and getting sidetracked into editing rather than filling plot holes and writing new scenes), I will work on Section 04, that romantic and impossibly challenging journey across Canada in the 1840s --  by canoe, York boat, horseback, and by foot. 

In Section 04, Cat, my heroine, still disguised as a boy, travels west with the fur brigade and artist Paul Kane. For WIPpet Wednesday, here is a snippet of 11 lines (21 days - 10 for the month of October = 11 lines) from today's writing for Rivers of Stone.
You know," said Pierre. "If I didn't know different, I'd think you was a girl."

Cat stilled, bent over the pot simmering on last night’s fire, the stirring spoon in her hand. She faced Pierre and held the spoon as if it were a knife. "And if I was, would you treat me any different? I carry my own weight."

Pierre smirked. "Funny you always wind up doing women's work. Guess it's not bad for an apprentice on yer first trip west. We'll see how 'tis when we get to the mountains."

Matisa walked between them, head down, carrying a heavy water pot, her heavy blanket slipping from her shoulders.

Why not jump over to the LINKY to find out what others have written for ROW80 and check out the writers posting today for WIPpet Wednesday. Make it a good week! 

"Voyageurs at Dawn" by Francis Hopkins
1871  (Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ROW80: Willful Wednesday

The week started with a few challenges. Dear hubby now has a crater on his chin, healing with 7 stitches, but no more cancer. My strained hamstring has me hobbling through stretches. About the only thing I can report for ROW80's Weds check-in is that I still am writing a poem a day for Octpowrimo, posted on my writing blog (only missed one day). Everything else is far behind.

But my office is cleaner.

I have let go of three boxes of books, always, always hard to do.

I finished another lap quilt.

And the next hour beckons. Baseball game on in the living room. Moonlight outside. Sweet, dark night, early enough to work on some writing, yes?

Check out the progress for other ROW80 folks HERE.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

ROW80: Sunday afternoon

May I begin with thanks to that goddess of organization, Kait Nolan, who so generously posted her spreadsheet? The last several months I've been working and writing and feeling like I'm making no progress at all. 

But Kait's spreadsheet, with a few new columns for different projects, allows me to see at a glance that I really AM making progress. And that those words add up to a respectable number by the end of a week. I'm not saying I'm hitting my goals . . . yet. But at last, I can see progress.  

Update on ROW80 goals: 

Writing: Again, thanks to Kait, this week I wrote 2,786 words on plotting, drafting, and poetry. Haven't blogged about my research, but I am still writing a poem a day for OctPoWriMo (inspired by ROW80's Morgan Dragonwillow). Writing poetry is rather a discipline, a focusing down to what is essential in this moment. Morgan posts prompts, but we writers can digress. Not done yet: Any memoir drafts or research blogs. Participate in WIPpet Wednesday. Continue work on author interview questions for Spokane Authors.

Marketing/Community: This week set up Allen's GoodRead's page for his Vietnam era novel, Reaching. Hooray! Stay tuned for announcement for a GoodReads giveaway. Despite computer problems, managed to meet commitments as ROW80 sponsor. To work on this week: Facebook author page (for myself), send out newsletter to subscribers, and set up November reading event.

Other: Babysat a prodigious amount this week. Staring down another series of doctor appointments for hubby. Quilt show opens Thursday. Will strive to keep exercise on schedule 3x this week.

Kait Nolan's "Data Driven Decision Making" (including that invaluable spreadsheet) is HERE.

If you feel like reading a poem, hop over to my writing blog!

Check out what other ROW80 writers are up to HERE. And may we all achieve our goals, writing and otherwise! Now for a little inspiration for Halloween. Are you thinking bumblebees?

Monday, October 5, 2015

ROW80: Round 4 Begins

Lately, I keep running into folks who ask me: "When will that next book be out?" or "Why are you here? [Insert your choice of grocery store, garage sale, or doctor's office]. You should be home writing!"

And so I should. As the last round of the year begins, the lessons I've learned are these: Celebrate any accomplishments, set new goals, accept imperfection, and keep writing! Participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days helps me focus on what is essential.

Looking back: Round 3 marked several major accomplishments.

My husband's Vietnam War novel, Reaching,  is now out there -- available on Amazon. All the work on editing, formatting, and proofing is done. The official release is set for Veteran's Day week, and I'm hoping to garner a few pre-release reviews. Interested? Please e-mail me.

Completing this project satisfies something that has felt unfinished for far too long. My husband's wonderful writing inspires me. Maybe the book will find an audience. I don't know. I can only start on the next phase: marketing. Link to Amazon HERE.

We successfully completed a research trip to Canada (3 weeks instead of 6 because of health issues) to support my current book, Rivers of Stone. I have a lovely mountain of research and notes to support finishing this wip, and equally lovely memories of Calgary, Edmonton, and Jasper/Banff.

Looking forward:  I want to keep this as simple and specific as possible.

Writing: Write 250 words a day, 5 days a week on Rivers of Stone. This may take the form of scenes, backstory, research notes, or editing.  Participate in WIPpet Wednesdays. Blog about research x2 week on writing blog. Write a poem a day (OK maybe even doggerel) through October with OctPoWriMo also on the writing blog. Work on memoir once a week.

Community/Marketing: Develop marketing plan for Allen's book. Continue occasional newsletter. Post on Facebook author page 1x week. Schedule visit to small groups to talk about writing/books x2. Participate in Spokane Authors monthly. Serve as sponsor for ROW80.

Other: Strive for that balance between work and play, body and spirit. Keep on quilting. Let go of what I cannot realistically achieve and cherish each day. May this be a good round for us all!

Found on Facebook. Just imagine how the writer feels!