Monday, January 30, 2017

ROW80 Update: Ooops! We're in Philadelphia.

I know change is constant, but still am unprepared. This week's update for ROW80, A Round of Words in 80 Days, that online writing community that recognizes we all have a life and yet persevere as writers . . .  this week's update is a bit of a challenge.

We're not in Arizona. My DH's mother is dying. We're now in Philadelphia for the next few weeks. Thanks to the kindness of dear friends, we have a temporary and quiet apartment. Unfurnished except for bed, card table, and chair. But that's OK. Last night I slept by my MIL, listening to her breathe and hoping she will not suffer.

So to report on the writing when all else is fragmented is difficult. Even though my laptop is balanced on that card table with an early morning lovely park view, I'm not writing just now. With the month soon ending, I can only report that:

  1. Section 03 is now complete for Rivers of Stone. I need to outline it before moving on to Section 04 revisions. Does anyone else outline AFTER writing? I've tried to 'scaffold' and that works, but a more complete outline for me just needs constant change as I revise drastically.
  2. I'm doing a little better in reading what other ROW80 folks write, just not since we left Arizona.
  3. Maybe this month I won't get to blog for IWSG.
My MIL always said, "When are you finishing that next book, Beth. I want to read it." 

At 97, she knows the value of tenacity. Some call it stubbornness, for mixed with her love of family, she was not always easy to live with. After decades, finally, I forgive her and will keep writing.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

ROW80 Sunday update: By the numbers

We're on the road, moving from California into Arizona in the coming week. You can see a few pics on my travel blog.

Keeping a writing routine while on the road presents a few challenges. So far, I've learned I can only drive about 2 hours a day before collapsing at night. Writing before breakfast seems to work. 

Another surprise this week: Some revisions and new scenes crossed several chapters, so I'm working to tighten the structure of this section -- and to develop further Cat's emotional responses to what's happening around her. This was fun. 

Progress on January goals:
  1. Write 5/7 days. Goal: 1,000 words/week. Finish Section 03 Rivers of Stone this month. Week 3 met goals: Wrote 6/7 days, 1,589 words. 4 chapters remain in Section 03. I just might make this goal. Sent Chapter 15 to writing group & got wonderful comments back. Critted their work as well.
  2. Blog at least 2x/week. Week 3 met goals: Blogged 2x Travel blog and 1x ROW80 blog. Would like to blog on Writing blog.
  3. Reading other ROW80 posts. No goal set. Read x4 this week. If I read a minimum of 1/day, that's 7 per week. Want to read IWSG posts as well.
  4. Other writing. None. Decided Rivers of Stone is the primary focus. This means articles and Granny Vampire are set aside.
  5. Marketing. None. Still tiptoeing around sending out that next 'quarterly' newsletter.
Goals for last week of January:
  1. Write 5/7 days. Goal: 1,000 words/week. Finish Section 03 Rivers of Stone this month. 
  2. Blog at least 2x/week.
  3. Read at least 7 other ROW80/IWSG posts.
  4. Participate with my F2F writing group by e-mail!
When the writing is going well, I feel pretty much isolated from all else that's going on, as if I'm in a bubble, back in the 19th Century, struggling with snow storms rather than political storms. As the new administration takes office, I'm hopeful for inclusive policies and willing to wait and see. 

Meanwhile, we write, revise, and work to reach our goals. May your week go well.

Joshua Trees in California (Cholla Chamber of Commerce)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

ROW80: Sunday morning and no snow!

Yesterday we drove through the coastal range to the Oregon coast on an exceptionally sunny day. Yes, there were patches of snow here and there, and it was 28F outside, but by the time we negotiated the last curve and reached the ocean, temps had warmed to the 40's and the snow disappeared.

We've now been one week on the road, enough for a rhythm to set in. I wake early, write/edit, then we scrounge breakfast. By 11, we're back on the road, neither of us feeling very leisurely until perhaps today, with glorious views of the ocean ahead as we continue south.

Today's report for A Round of Words in 80 Days is simple. 

While my goal is very modest, just 1,000 words a week, I'm editing -- which means taking out as many words as I'm putting in. If I count hours, I'm on schedule. Words this week? 699 new words (before today's session), but yesterday I deleted nearly 1,000. 

Perhaps this draft I'm working on is rather like the road we're traveling. Parts ahead are unknown and sometimes bumpy, but behind me, the way is smooth and known. But if I focus on word count alone, I do get discouraged. So I'm adding chapters (4 completed this week).

Writing goal for the coming week: Write/edit/add 1,000 words and/or 4 more chapters for this section (25 chapters) of Rivers of Stone. Post an update to ROW80 on Sunday. Blog at least once on the travel blog.

Staying active in ROW80 keeps me focused, thanks to seeing what others accomplish. So, persevere. I'm sitting in an anonymous hotel room, my computer balanced on a chair, nearly ready to go to work -- and sending wishes for a good week to all!

Coos Bay, Oregon (from

Sunday, January 8, 2017

ROW80: Checking in from on-the-road

What to take? What to leave behind? What is essential and what is really not?

These questions are why I really love going on the road. DH rattles the suitcase, and I say, "Yes!" 

We left yesterday from Spokane for an open-ended three month trip to someplace warmer. After about an hour on the road, the snow began. Just now we're holed up in a Super8 in Kennewick for an extra day. The snow has come down all day, travel advisories and closed roads mean we'll make our way south slowly.

But my computer travels beautifully.

Here's my update for ROW80:

  • Writing = 1,000 words/week. By this afternoon, 959 words, but I'm hoping for another session later today.
  • Other writing = None.
  • Blogging = Posted Insecure Writer's Support Group ("Writing is Like Quilting is like . . .") on time. Posted to Travel blog, "On the Road Again 2017" (this will be an ongoing project), and now ROW80 (still once a week for now). Read posts by other bloggers x5.
  • Marketing = Goals set but no progress.
One of the reasons I like to read what other writers are posting is simply I keep learning new strategies (and have renewed appreciation for what kinds of work writers do to reach their goals).

Shannon Lawrence, on her blog, "The Warrior Muse," not only talks about the question-of-the-month (writing rules) for Insecure Writer's Support Group, but she 'gives back' to her readers by listing possible markets (primarily science fiction) and by listing her own progress in submitting her work for publication. 

View outside our Super8
This is pretty inspirational to someone who is knee deep in revision, because I haven't even been thinking about or subbing flash/short fiction. Why not? 

Writing a little science fiction (Granny Vampire?) sounds like a welcome break from slogging through spring flooding near Winnipeg in the 1840s.

What do you think? Have you written outside your primary genre?

If you are not yet a part of ROW80 or Insecure Writers Support Group, why  not join in? Both are also Facebook-based. May your writing go well in 2017.