Round 4 of ROW80: It’s All About the Learning Lessons

This week begins Round 4 of ROW80, but it’s only the second round for me.  I came into ROW80 as a sponsor, which was awesome because being a cheerleader for so many of you I met some amazing new faces and you guys are a talented and determined bunch!

Jess’ Quick ROW80 Promotion:  Here’s my invitation to those of you who haven’t participated in ROW80 yet but are looking for a nice little kick in the pants to get hoppin’ on your goals with a phenomenal crew of people!

You can learn more about ROW80 at its blog by founder, Kait Nolan.  ROW80 is the writing process that knows you have a life.  Hallelujah!

Finding the Right Fit for You:

Round 3 for me started out successfully.  I was fresh back from the DFW Conference and participated in a 2 week process called Fast Draft where I, hold on to your hats, actually PLOTTED a book.  Not PANTSED, but PLOTTED.  Once I knew how, it was liberating!  I had somewhere to go when I hit writing walls.

But then life happened.  I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately.  I’m disappointed that all I’ve been able to accomplish is the upkeep of the blog.  I haven’t worked on my book for a month.  I’m going on two years of blogging this fall and am not feeling any closer to finishing my book.

Two weeks ago I was inspired by one of my ROW80 mates to carve out time each day and get writing done.  It didn’t work out.  My full time job is retail management at a leading department store, and we’re preparing for the holidays now, plus a regional visit with all the big wigs.  I’m putting in extra hours and still feel like I’m drowning at work.  It’s leaving me totally fried when I get home.  When you add in the other “hiccups” of family troubles or scraps with your partner now and again, it starts to add up.

But hey, I don’t claim the title Perseverance Expert for nothing.  I still want to work on my book.  I’m still excited by its story and have an idea for a second book, which is a good thing – we’re supposed to have another book planned, right?  So, I’ll keep writing.  But a plan that writes a little each day doesn’t work for me.  Even if it’s only a small amount of time.  On days that I work 12-15 hours, I’m just too dang tired.  And friends and family get crabby if I write instead of hang out with them.  I do want to set some limits, which is why I’m keeping my days off.  My few and very precious days off are my time to get a couple of hours of writing done for the week.  It’s a slower process than I’d like, but for now, it’s the one that works and I have to focus on the positive.

What works for me, may not work for you.  I think everyone needs to find the right plan for their process.  It’s all about the learning lessons in ROW80.  I’m very grateful to be a part of it and know I’ve got people on my side.  I’m sure rooting for all of you!  Hope this holiday season allows time for carving pumpkins and also a little writing time for each of you!

Good Moments Matter!

Wanted to share a happy thank you to my friend Vicky, a YA author who just landed herself an agent!  Congrats, Vicky, and thank you for the Joules Journal giveaway.  I got mine in the mail this week, all the way from the UK!, and it was a much needed smile after a long day!  New pages always inspire the written word, so here goes!

And…  you can have your very own fabulous writer’s prize this week by entering my book giveaway of Michael Perry’s newest release, Visiting Tom, by commenting here!  Comments must be in by end of day Saturday!  Good luck!

Have a fantastic week everyone!  

10 responses

  1. Real life ALWAYS intercedes! You’re doing an admirable job of fitting in the writing “between” with tenacity and verve! I’d love to hear more about that plotting immersion that got you to map out an entire book. Would it help to work on character sketches in a journal or computer file, rather than the story itself? I’m also new to ROW80, starting my second round on October 1, and wish you the best.

    1. Hey Beth *waves* Welcome!

      Fast Draft isn’t necessarily a plotting class, but to be successful at it, you HAVE to plot. But the class instructor, Candace Havens gave me an easier way of plotting than what I’d seen before. Other classes I’d taken had whole charts, grids, etc to plot. But Candace just uses tick marks on a half circle to plot out her major turning points and how the action rises. It was simple, and for this visual learner, a great reference tool throughout the process.

      Good luck on your writing!

  2. Retail is a tough enough gig. Add in the holidays, and it’s brutal! All you want to do when you get home is crawl into bed and zonk out…I remember those days well. Don’t beat yourself up over your lack of writing; it’ll happen eventually!

    1. Yaaaarg! I’m always wishing it was sooner.

  3. I know there is a lot of pressure from other writers to write every single day. Some published authors make a huge deal about it, almost saying, “If you can’t write every single day, no excuses, then you don’t really don’t want to be a writer.” I disagree. There are two days every week I almost never write (and I stay at home, for heaven’s sake!). Do what you can, write when you’re able, keep going, and see the progress pile up. So what if you feel like the tortoise; you’ll cross the finish line! Go! Go! Go!

    I love ROW80 for that reason. You set your own goals, and measure yourself against yourself–not anyone else. See you in Round 4, Jess! Woo-hoo for all that plotting!

    1. *hug* Thank you Julie! I do always feel like the worst student ever when that note comes up at conferences. But in truth, I write a lot more than I think I do – it’s just in the form of blogging, journaling, or letters sometimes and not always on the book. And all those things do inspire the WIP’s progress!

      See you in Round 4, Julie!

  4. I’m with you, Jess. It’s so important to learn what works for each of us individually. Congrats on learning that ‘write a bit daily’ doesn’t for you. I prefer long, compulsive spurts myself. 😉

    1. Thank you August! It really means a lot to have you share that. I know there’s others working on my schedule, but when we get too down in our guilt trips or tantrums, it’s hard to remember that. Here’s rooting for us compulsive writers!

  5. Jessie: Don’t be two hard on youself. Third and fourth quarters are really tough. Remember when the book gets done you can have a different full time job!!!!!

    1. Thank you Pat! After a 13 hour day today, that is a lovely statement to hear. Lovely!

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