Wednesday, February 24, 2016

ROW80 Weds Check-in: Arcs and More

ROW80 Goals for the week with update. 
Blue = Done. Purple = Pending. Red = not started . . . yet.

1. Edit Rivers of Stone. Steadily working on Section 04, 3 out of 3 days so far.  Key challenge remains getting scenes in proper sequence, editing out inaccuracies, writing in deep pov. Some 32K words and 60 scenes in this section.  I'm about 50% through with revisions. Today researched how to repair canoes with pitch from spruce trees. I wish I could tell how long these revisions would take. Best guess is maybe this section will be 'finished' by March 15.

2. Other Writing: Wrote 500 words on character arcs for ROS. Lots of ideas for memoir flitting by. Otherwise, no other blog posts, no real progress.

3. Reading: Almost finished reading two books: Gabriel Stone's Chorus of Swans, science fiction, and 30 Pieces of Silver, a retelling of the role of Judas in the style of Dan Brown, by Carolyn McCray. Goal: Write a review for both. Read interesting materials from K, M. Weiland on How to Write Character Arcs which is helpful in developing deeper pov for my characters. Now also working up synopsis linked to character arc to ensure each section meshes with the next.

4. Marketing:  Before Sunday: Complete two marketing steps. Sorry. No progress here and no plan.

5. Poetry: Read Poetry Foundation page daily and write in the style of or inspired by prompt from Poets on the Page. I'd love to work on this before Sunday -- in honor of Black History Month.

6. Online community: Read what other writers are doing online and jump in. Goal x10 for coming week. So far, so good: 4/10 before tonight.

7. Declutter. E-mails still under 50.

Today we took a leisurely drive up the Gulf coast to spot a few willets skittering in the mudflats, searching for food. We found outrageous coffee and chicken tacos on home-made tortillas at a roadside cafe, Irie's Island Food in Port Aransas. Stopped at A Mano to drool over Mexican crafts. No room in the suitcase; too many books from the used book store. Allen finished reading Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed. He couldn't put it down. Tiny print, but it's added to my TBR pile. Only four days left in this condo by the sea.

Question of the week: How do we improve our writing productivity? I feel caught between what I'd like to achieve and how much work remains. Any tips? 

Make it a good week and visit those ROW80 writers over HERE.

Willet on the Gulf Coast
(February 2016)


  1. Love the willet!
    Ooh, that character arc book sounds good. I need to read a few more craft books and do some exercises...

    1. Thank you, Deniz, for visiitng. That A to Z blogging challenge will soon be here. Maybe that's an excuse to dig into more crafty books?

  2. I am constantly working on the productivity conundrum, as you may have noticed. :) Really good for me has been figuring out that my first drafts are half outline and idea and scenes I won't need after all. So, learning to accept the fact that I have to puzzle my way to the end. Second drafts are cleanup and putting in the scenes I really need.

    But just knowing that makes the writing of both first and second draft got much faster. Very individual solution, though, and not necessarily something that will work for anyone else.

    Congrats on your progress!

    1. I've learned much from reading your posts, Ruth, and appreciate this look at how you jump into first drafts. Half outline + ideas + scenes. This approach appeals to my intuitive side that struggles with keeping the whole, complex story in mind as I revise and edit and revise again. So, thank you!

  3. Your question is what I've been struggling with the last two weeks! I make all these goals and feel like, if I don't get them all done, I've failed. I think I have to change how I'm thinking about it though and see progress as progress. (I try this, and sometimes I'm good at it, but then I go back to bad old habits and beat myself up for not being MORE productive).

    So to tackle this, I'm taking a page from my planner. It had a quote in it for yesterday that said "little daily actions lead to big progress." It struck me as important and useful in the sense that, if I make my "goals" into smaller bites, maybe I'll feel more productive. (What I'm getting it as that I think my being productive and what my mind thinks as productive don't mesh--so, with little/smaller chunks of goals maybe I can trick my head into realizing I AM being productive.)

    Looking at this I don't know if I've made a lick of sense. So I'm going to shut up now! LOL Have a great rest of the week and good luck on your goals!

    1. Thank you, Kat, for commenting. I agree with you. Maybe this is what ROW80 is partly all about, clarifying those goals and making them achievable. If my goal is specific enough, I know when I'm making progress. Any smaller step takes me closer to the big goal -- and steady work will lead to those breakthrough moments. When I think about these issues, as muddled as they may seem to an outsider, I'm still persevering, trying new strategies, and, perhaps most important, learning and making progress. May you have a great week!


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