Thursday, December 24, 2015

ROW80 check-in. 'Twas the night before . . .

I'm a little exhausted (Can one be a little exhausted?) after a day at the doctor with DH. Perhaps its just that he's in pain and recovery seems rather nebulous. But each day we still can laugh and cherish the moments we have together.

I thought to prepare for tonight's last post for 2015 that I would read through the ROW80 posts for this last year. Well tonight I did reread January -- but want to read more so I can analyze what really has been accomplished and identify those common continuing challenges that thread their way through my posts. 

Where are all the members of ROW80? Did you know that last January some 35-40 people routinely posted their updates? And that these last few weeks, we ROW80 folks have numbered between 10-20?

I'm wondering why -- for that process of setting goals and measuring accountability seems nearly automatic. 

Maybe I need to confront my writing challenges more deeply, for my major goal for the year, to finish Rivers of Stone, currently about 90K words, still seems at least six months away. No beta readers lined up. No cover. I'm still in that 'final' revision stage, working on Section 04, with at least one full revision awaiting.

Another benefit of this ROW80 community is that sense of connectedness to other writers, regardless of genre, as they model their successes and challenges, inspiring me many times to take leaps where I might have just peeked.

I still love writing more than marketing, though my daily word count varies wildly. I still resist social media most of the time. I make commitments that I cannot keep, but persevere. Even if my desire to support other writers with reviews and feedback outstrips my energy, I do love being a part of this unwieldy, unpredictable, exciting, ever changing online community of writers.

May 2016 bring you new readers and every success, happiness, health, and inspiration for new stories (and finishing older ones).

And why not visit other ROW80 writers? Or join in!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

ROW80 Sunday night under the wire

We're heading into the last week of the last round for ROW80 this year, and some are already thinking about goals for 2016. Not me. Not yet. 

Today's check-in begins with a surprise: I discovered Nancy Marguerite Anderson, a fur trade historian who keeps a wonderfully rich blog. Anderson has also written The Pathfinder, a five-star detailed history of her great-grandfather in the Great Nor'West, roughly from 1831-1884, a perfect fit for my own research for Rivers of Stone

What is the surprise? That although I'm writing fiction and she writes non-fiction, Ms. Anderson answers questions and generously shares her ideas and research. What a fascinating community we build online.

Progress since Wednesday on ROW80 Goals can be reported very succinctly: 
--I've written 3 out of 4 days, finished another major block of scenes and am now working on a canoe capsizing, unfortunately more common back in the 1840s than I realized.
--I'm not close to finishing Shakespeare's Lovers but still hope to post that review by December 26. 
--Posted WIPpet Wednesday on my writing blog, kept up with other ROW80 writers, ISWG and WIPpet writers by reading posts x6.  Also keeping e-mail in-box under 100 (big achievement).
--Adding borders to the bird quilt (very near final assembly), started hand quilting a small sashiko project, and actually met with a trainer at my local gym (he has much more ambitious goals for me than I do), but I shall persevere.

Are you looking forward to the end of the round, that time of fine tuning and re-visioning what may be accomplished in the coming year? 

This week, Kait Nolan, the inspiration behind A Round of Words in 80 Days, has posted a thoughtful article, "On Mastery and the Power of Yet." She offers us a little history behind ROW80 and insight into how we writers work at our craft.

Check out how other ROW80 writers are doing HERE. Join the party. Celebrate your achievements and map out what's next!

And just for fun . . . 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Weds ROW80 Check-in: Riding the rapids

This morning, we saw the first real snow this year (2-3 inches), and the water heater went out. But that's not an omen, just an inconvenience.

Quick report in on this week's progress:

--Pushing the river with more progress on revising Rivers of Stone. I most likely will not finish section 4 before the end of this round, but I'm feeling very encouraged as the scenes tighten word by word. Word count is going down, so I can't say so many words have been added. But the writing is tighter. Right now the draft is organized by location into 5 subsections. Goal by Sunday: Write every day and finish one subsection (Boat Encampment)
--Drafted a planning template for a novella called Return to Foulksay (20-40K words), maybe as a giveaway for folks who sign up for the newsletter. Will Moira and Dylan finally be reunited?

--Started reading Peter Jensen's Shakespeare's Lovers for review (and fun). Goal by Sunday: Finish review.
--Also reading Jack Nisbet's David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work. 
--Hope to receive those last 10 tapes for Standing Stones' audio book . . . and finish before year end!

Completed/Some progress:
--Found the missing border fabric after an exhaustive search at two local quilt shops. I sew between writing sessions to keep moving!
--Will post on writing blog for WIPpet Weds a little later today.
--Keeping that e-mail inbox down to 100. So far.
--Hope to keep that appointment with the trainer today to map out an exercise program. I can walk now up to 20+ minutes, but the hamstring still squawks at me.
--Keeping up with reading other ROW80 writers, x6 so far this week. I feel a little guilty not volunteering to be a sponsor for Round 1, 2016 (which begins January 4), since I've benefited so much from being a part of A Round of Words in 80 Days. So maybe.

And that's all, folks. Back to work! But before you go, why not hop over to the linky for ROW80 to see what's up. You never know when you'll find an inspiring idea to keep you writing, editing, marketing, dreaming. And if you're not already in ROW80, why not join?

"Keyboard Cat"
by Cassandra Leigh Gotto (Flickr)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Row80 Sunday check-in one day late . ..

Just maybe feeling optimistic this morning, one day late for ROW80 check-in. That dratted cold lingers on, sapping energy, but I can report good progress this week:

WritingStill hacking, deleting, drafting, editing, and reorganizing Section 04. Enough to hope that I may be able to finish Sec04 by Dec 26, the end of this round. 

--Listened to the last 20 chapters (out of 50) for that audio-book project. Now waiting for the final 10 from the voice artist (and he is).
--Goal: Review 2 books by indie authors by end of Round 4. Currently reading Fallon Brown's Duty to Protect. Up next: Peter Jensen's Shakespeare's Lovers.

Completed/Some progress:
--Setting up Weds as day to write on writing blog (include WIPpet and/or poetry and/or progress report). Doing the ROW80 report in on Sunday (nearly) means just once a week, fits my schedule a little better.
--Decluttered e-mail down to 100 in the old inbox. Wow! That feels wonderful. 
--Sorted and reorganized my fabric so I can tell at a glance where the batiks are and what my next projects will be. Much better. Usually I work on one 'comfort' quilt to give away and an applique project, so it feels pretty good to have the next several projects identified as I finish the batik bird quilt (missing an inner border for just that right contrast). 

My mantra for this week? One small step leads to the next. And the next. Be kind to yourself and check out what other ROW80 writers are up to as we ease to the end of the year HERE.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pushing the River, Nearly There

Yesterday was my birthday. Wonderful greetings from Facebook friends, an early morning breakfast with DH, and evening with family. No cake. No cards. Just the simplest of days that resonated with pleasure. 

And, no writing yesterday, though the rest of this week has gone well. So I'm checking in one day late for ROW80 and wondering . . . at the cycle of seasons, the rhythm of our own personal lives, beginnings and endings, and the commitments we make to others and ourselves. 

Writing: I'm at that phase of editing when word count doesn't count. Some days I add new words and shape a section; other days, I slash away. Wrote 3 days out of 4. Was it Voltaire who said, "The enemy of the good is the quest for perfection"? I circle around levels of expression and meaning because I want the story to be true to this character and her quest. My goal before the end of the round -- to finish Section 04.
Reviewing: Ha! Made pretty good progress here. 12 chapters reviewed since Wednesday for the audio version of Standing Stones. Darryl sent me 20 more recordings. By Weds: review 10 more chapters.

Completed/Some Progress:
--Found a lovely poetry writing challenge called Three Line Thursday with a knock-me-dead photo. Posted to my writing blog, subscribed to the challenge. Next to the e-mail confirming my subscription was a note that the facilitator is taking a break. I wish Grace Black well and will hope to continue writing a poem a week through December.
--Still decluttering e-mail. Down to 351 this morning. Goal: 250 by Sunday.
--Thinking about the difference between family history and memoir. Goal: 750 words by Sunday.

No progress? I'm not going to repeat those goals that lie there, like dead fish. They may simply vanish by December 26. Except for exercise. And maybe some marketing. And, and. 

May your week go well. And stop by to encourage other ROW80 writers on this blog hop inspired and facilitated by the indefatigable Kait Nolan HERE. Set goals. Write. Measure progress. Rather like looking in the mirror. Write on! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

ROW80 Since last Weds . . .

Promises, promises. Were we grateful at Thanksgiving? Yes. Very. Family gathered. The appropriate foods were cooked and eaten. We had power, light, and heat. All is well, nearly. Except we all have those nasty colds that begin with razors at the throat, lots of sneezing, and a desire to hide in bed.

I revamped my goals through the end of Round 4 and am making steady progress on the writing portion once again. Progress report for the last week on Round 4 goals:

Writing by December 26: 
--Finish Sec04 on Rivers of Stone. Wrote 3,000 words this week, chopping and drafting 4 out of 7 days. Focus remains to identify what is missing, work on transitions and deep POV. Getting distracted by some great research. 
--Review audio tapes for Years of Stone ACX audio tapes. Darryl has sent me 30 chapters; I’ve completed 20. He has a wonderful voice.

Completed/Some progress:
--Evaluated Scrivener and while I still love the overall concept and somewhat mastered the layers from corkboard to outlining, I missed being able to plug my photos right in my draft. Verdict: Stick with Word.
--Blog on writing blog once each week. Today, Weds is the monthly check-in for IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group). Before midnight I will post!
--Goal to declutter e-mail down to 250. OK currently at 400 but that's down from 600.
--Completed a few more quilt blocks and found the sashing material for the Bird Quilt.

Pending/Nothing at all done on these:  
--Complete read through/revision notes for Mothers Don’t Die
--Review 2 books written by indie authors (Jensen, Danner, Manion, Drake, Eller, Caudel)
--Complete updates for Reaching and enter in Writer’s Digest self-pub contest. Did get Reaching on consignment at 2nd Look Books in Spokane.
--Reconnect with exercising 3x week. Sigh.

Outside, the first real snow that presented a few driving challenges at 7:30 this morning has turned to slush. Life may have returned somewhat to normal. May you have a very good week and in the words of Mac McDonnell, "Bend, don't break."

Why not visit some of the other ROW80 writers HERE

"Winter at Multnomah Falls"
by Oregon Dept of Transportation
on Flickr