Thursday, December 29, 2016

Thinking of 2017

Just a few days left in 2016, but today, in my small writer's group, we set goals for 2017. Here are mine for the coming year:
  1. Finish writing/editing and publish Rivers of Stone.
  2. Edit Mothers Don't Die to final copy.
  3. Make progress on memoir.
I looked back to last January to find no goals reported online at all, just happy progress with editing, a little poetry writing, and all the rest that makes for a busy life. So perhaps this year, setting goals will sharpen my focus. Two added suggestions from VR Barkowski: Make a plan and build in accountability. 

Hmmm. Sounds just like A Round of Words in 80 Days (now a FaceBook group). So here we go!

Time out! I doublechecked my Daily Work file for January 2016 to find quite a bit of work on goal-setting. A postscript: Each day I write up progress, questions, and track words by the month. So here are my 2016 Goals reported last January. 

What did I learn from looking again at 2016 goals? That Priority 2 goals fell by the wayside. That the audio book for Standing Stones really did get finished (masterfully narrated by Darryl Kurylo) and is available on Amazon. I did add just over 30,000 words this year to Rivers of Stone, and the story finally has a cohesive structure -- with characters that seem very real to me. I want to finish telling their story and have enjoyed 'living' the fur trade history through their exploits.

Are my new goals so very different from those set in 2016? Nope! And I'm making progress. So here is my continuing mantra, summarized from an article by Kristen Schuder on Wikihow, "How to Set Goals and Achieve Them."

Questions to help me achieve my goals for 2017:

CONTROLLING QUESTIONS: Am I setting aside enough time for writing? 
SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 
Are my goals visible? Can I see them? Do I need a ‘vision’ board? 
Have I broken that gigantic goal into smaller steps? 
Prioritize. Consider breaking into first, second, and third priority. 
Are my goals well matched to what I can achieve? 
What rewards? (intrinsic/extrinsic motivation) 
What obstacles? 
Do I talk about my goals? 

GET STARTED ON THOSE BABY STEPS. Review progress daily. 

Keep in mind the journey!

ROW80 folks: May you achieve your own goals.
Make 2017 a good year.

PS: Just found a post about free writing meters to track writing progress, 
including the one that Fallon Brown uses. 
Check it out at Tracy Lucas' blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Writing just one word at a time . . .

Yippee! I'm checking into ROW80 relatively on time, so here's this week's progress report, keeping in mind my goals were very simple.
  1. Write every day and track words completed, despite the fact that I'm deleting as much as I'm writing. PROGRESS: Wrote 5 out of 8 days.
  2. Complete editing 15 chapters by January 15. PROGRESS: Maybe OK. I'm re-sequencing chapters, so I'm somewhere between Chapters 5-9.
My favorite way to track progress each week is by word count. But, alas. I'm at that point in editing when it's more important to take words out, to check words haven't been doubled, and to tighten the logical structure. Micro and macro. Word count doesn't build up very fast just now. Last week, only 838 words were added. Many more were taken out.

What was most fun? Editing to clarify the oarsmen were traveling against the current when they went through the rapids. My writing group (which meets twice a month) is fabulous!
  1. Done: Post an update here on my ROW80 blog once a week and report in to FB.
  2. Check out what 3 others are doing each week. OK, read 2 others. Will do better next week.
Other goals this week?
  1. Exercise? Nada. Snow and ice a good excuse.
  2. Blogging? Yes! Finally! A post about my current research reading on the writing blog. Did not include a snippet. Maybe next time.
  3. Quilting? Finished a comfort quilt top from donated blocks. Played around with design. Had a hard time figuring out a good color for the border. Would love to finish another one before January 10.
  4. Reading? More books in than books read. Still distracted enough by 'real life' to read lots of genre fiction late at night. Currently enjoying Footsteps in the Snow: The Red River Diary of Isobel Scott, Rupert's Land, 1815 by Carol Matas.
As the end of the year winds closer, may your writing go well. See you next week!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Musings and a Snippet

Since the inspirational and quite structured online A Round of Words in 80 Days went over to Facebook, I've been missing. The election results hit me with a mighty thump, and I stopped writing. When I began writing again, that was all I could do.

The purpose of this blog and ROW80 is to connect with other writers and to set weekly and monthly goals for 80 days, with 4 rounds of 80 days throughout the year. I used ROW80 to motivate myself by being accountable for how much I'm able to complete in the last week -- and how much I wish to stretch in the coming week.

I missed the familiarity of reporting in to ROW80 twice a week, each Wednesday and Sunday. I missed hearing what other writers were doing as I struggled with my own unwieldy draft.

But I'm back. I can't promise I'll report in twice a week -- yet. My goals for participating in ROW80 as this last round of 2016 ends December 22 are to:

1. Post an update here on my ROW80 blog once a week and report in to FB.
2. Check out what 3 others are doing each week.

My writing goals are also simple. I'm tracking progress daily in a sort of chart. My clunky 4th draft of Rivers of Stone is at the 'divide and conquer' stage. So I will continue reading and editing Section 03 (37 chapters and 27K words), adding those missing scenes and transitions, hoping to tighten the story and let my characters breathe.

1. Write every day and track words completed, despite the fact that I'm deleting as much as I'm writing.
2. Complete editing 15 chapters by January 15.

Because it's Wednesday, here's a snippet from Rivers of Stone. Cat, still disguised as a boy, makes her way down the Hayes River late in the summer of 1843, hopeful of finding a way west to Fort Vancouver. She's an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, and they're traveling the famous fur trade route.
     The next morning began the same, with the brigade leaving before dawn. The sun was just coming up, a faint glow of white behind lowering white clouds, when Pierre directed the brigade to the banks. “Take a pipe,” he called out. “This is White Falls.”
     The men groaned.
     “Most of you know what’s ahead,” said Pierre as everyone gathered on the bank, boats and canoes pulled ashore. “We have to lighten up. Some of you will carry packs to the camp ahead.” He pointed to the path that edged the steep gorge. “Might as well begin unloading the boats. Helmsmen, follow me.”
     Cat followed Thurston to climb to the top of the rocky hill. They joined the group of voyageurs overlooking the narrow channel their boats would navigate. The fast-moving current pounded the rocks below them.
     Pierre pointed at a sucking whirlpool and raised his voice over the roar of the river. "We have to avoid that. You get pulled down in that whirlpool, your bones won't come up until spring."
     The voyageurs shrugged.
     Pierre scowled. "Each of you has to know this. Making it past White Falls is the last bad run before Norway House. But we'll hit white water maybe a hundred times before we reach Fort Vancouver. And we'll portage when we have to. You'll get wet, you'll shiver, and you'll go hungry, but when I tell you to row, by God, you better row. Let's get through this one."
     Sobered, the men clambered down from the overlook. They were truly in the middle of nowhere, desolate, unending forests, and the river before them roiling with white water, despite it being late summer. "Somebody say a prayer," said one of the men. Pierre hit the man’s arm. "We don't need a prayer. Just stay clear of that whirlpool."
"The weather outside is frightful" [just now, a crusty 2 degrees F), but "inside it's so delightful" (hunched over my computer, happy to be connecting again to ROW80).

Happy holidays, happy end of the year, and happy writing to all.