Hello ROWers and Readers! It’s December 5th and this round of ROW80 is wrapping up (pun intended) this holiday season! And I am sooo impressed with the hard work you all have done!
I think there are several of you deserving of a round of applause, so let me introduce this week’s…
Kat Morrisey had me giggling with delight at her very upbeat post about completing NaNoWriMo – I Didn’t Win the Lottery, But I Did Something Better! That girl is a dancing fiend now that she’s finished her novel draft! And she’s inspired me to create some new goals for myself this ROW round. Thanks, Kat!
Nicole Nally is another NaNo winner! She completed her novel draft and is anticipating the edit process. I’m excited for her and the thrill of completing such a powerful word goal! Go rock those edits and keep us posted, girl!
I hope all of you have come to know Ryan King because he has been a fabulous ROW Sponsor! Seriously! This guy has been leaving many comments of support and I know how much a kind comment means to me on my posts, and Ryan leaves aplenty! Kudos to you, Sir, on your successes with writing projects and weight maintenance during the holiday season. I am envious.
Ruth Nestvold’s post about her plights and processes as an indie author is post you CANNOT miss! She’s got some interesting info out there about our industry, what she’s tried, what’s she trying, and shares the successes she’s achieved along the journey. I found this post particularly interesting and really appreciated her sharing. Thank you, Ruth!
My ROW Goals this week:
Inspired by many of you, but knowing I’m COMPLETELY strapped for time, I’m making my end goals very manageable. I hope.
- Clean my desk. Find the wood underneath it.
- Clean my room. Find the carpet underneath it. 🙂
- Finish reading The Language of Flowers, On Writing, Football Sweetheart, and Geek Love this month.
- Journal at least twice a week.
A Couple Announcements:
Long overdue is the announcement of the comment/twitter winner of a free copy of Come Sunrise, reggae album by TUGG. Thanks to all who left comments and tweeted for my musical guests !
The winner is Jenny Hansen!!!
And it’s another edition of the Holiday Yum blog fest today featuring Natalie Hartford’s French Lace Cookies! What are you waiting for?!
It’s another phenomenal week of ROW80 ROWmodels! These ladies are making me ROW with envy! What a talented and genuine group of ROWers we have!
Suzan Butler is a writer All Star! Have you been keeping tabs on this lady? Wow! She’s really got some writer stats I’m envious of. She’s got a holiday book coming out, is participating in NaNoWriMo, working on a cover for a client, blogging consistently, and budgeting just right. She even got her first publishing check! Woohoo!!! I highly commend Suzan for her commitments and follow through on her goals. If any of you are looking for ideas to kick start your ROW goals, I think Suzan’s set up is a phenomenal example of how to do so!
Carrie-Anne Brownian shared a topic I’m sure many of you feel strongly about in her ROW80 update. She faltered on whether or not to set a story aside when she was struggling with where to go with it. I had this similar concern some time ago when I was trying to make a story work, and I thought the time away was helpful to get new perspective and energy around it. But what are your suggestions? What have you tried and what’s worked well?
Other writing struggles relayed to us from New To Writing Girl in NaNoWriMo 2012 – The First Few Days. Writing Girl got to thinking about her book’s opening line. She had always been a no editing while writing writer, and now NaNo’s got her tongue! What writing struggles are you dealing with? What are your tips for opening up your novel? Do you find that after you start writing, you end up moving the start somewhere different than you first thought?
Deniz Bevan links us to a really interesting challenge for this time of year called the 100 Things Challenge. Have you heard of this? Really interesting idea for any ROWers and readers who are looking for ways to cut back or re-organize their lives. I will definitely be implementing this somehow. My room needs an overhaul! Plus she shares her latest book picks of the new and old Sherlock Holmes stories!
I’ve got book and word count envy of Em at Loves to Read, Wants to Write for her AH-Mazing results in both categories! She’s on book 73 of her 100 book challenge this year, which I think is incredible and I DEMAND that she share with us her favorite titles for a recommendation! 😀 And her NaNo word counts are totaling up to 6, 670 as of Sunday. Go, Em, Go!
Congrats to all our ROWers! You’re some successful, talented peeps! Thanks for letting me toot your horn!
And now a little update on my ROW80 goals:
- Books for November: Olive Kitteridge (must be read by next Tuesday for bookclub) and Football Sweetheart.
- Set up two future interviews for the blog! One that I’ll be doing and one I’m hosting! Done! Stay tuned!
- Participated in the WANA International class Good Fences, so I’ll be practicing my new buzzword “Boundaries” Sing it with me! Too many get togethers recently, this hasn’t happened. Keeping it on the list for next week.
- Use my days off to blog ahead and/or (as time permits) plot and work on the WIP. That’s the plan for today!
- Clean my room. I organized more of my clothing piles and did laundry again. Still no sign of the missing pants, but I took 2 pairs in to get hemmed, so I guess I’m good now.
What are you most proud of this past week? Who else do you think should make an appearance as a ROWmodel? What’s the best goal you’ve set for yourself this season of ROW?
Oh epic fail! I am totally wearing the Pants Of Shame this week, you guys. Here I talked up baby steps and plausible – adjustable goals, and I didn’t complete a one of them that I created.
So, if we’re counting, I did NOT:
- Read one chapter of Stephen King’s On Writing
- Finish reading Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
- Journal anything – uber fail there
- Blog ahead 3 posts
The Regional Visit I’ve been preparing for at work is today, so I think once that’s behind me, I’ll get a lot more of my ROW80 goals done. Many of you have again shared this last check in that life has a way of interfering – or in my case piling up in the form of laundry and living off of take out.
So this coming week’s ROW goals for me need to be tweaked. Here’s planning on! –
- Doing my laundry and finding the two mysteriously missing pairs of jeans I used to wear often
- Grocery shopping and cooking a big ol’ batch of chili mac so I actually have some leftovers to eat
- Finish reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
- Spend the weekend with my boyfriend, celebrating our six year anniversary! Weekend getaway, Tony-Award Winning Production of Avenue Q! Fancy dinner!
- Spend tomorrow’s day off writing!!!
Role Model Alert:
I failed. Short and simple. NaNoWriMo whupped my butt this year.
The fact of the matter is I had too much on my plate, and while I made a go of things the first two weeks, it became a no-go after that.
Here’s What Did Work:
- Writing. Just getting the words out and creating some new ideas.
- Waking up Early. Early starts where I timed my writing and made a word count goal were beneficial. I learned that with focus I can easily manage 500 words in 15 minutes using writeordie.com.
- Write-ins. I was able to attend two local write ins and they provided the caffeine and social support to keep going until word goal was met.
Here’s What Didn’t Work:
- My Pre-planning. I work as a sales manager in retail, and we were planning Black Friday and Christmas Events in October. If I was smart, I’d have also been making a NaNo plan and outline to ensure I knew what and when I would be writing each day.
- My Stubbornness. I read and commented and emailed several bloggers who all limited their posts for this month so they could devote more writing time to NaNo. I respected and well understood all of their decisions. Should have made that same decision, but I had to be the golden child who can do everything: blog, NaNo, WWBC, Author Branding class, Book Club, maintain 60+ hour job, family, friends, personal sanity…oh yah, crash and burn.
- Trying to do two things at once. I was hoping I could get work done for my Warrior Writers Boot Camp Team while doing NaNo, but either I wouldn’t make word count cause I thought too hard and kept editing, or I made word count but felt I let my story run in a direction I wasn’t sure I wanted to maintain. I almost would have been better doing two separate projects here. I’d advise using NaNo to just explore a story idea and keep the WWBC for the feedback and fine tuning purposes.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events. I struggled this month with getting my focus in the right place. I got caught in a web of guilt about not spending enough time with family or friends. Then, I discovered there’s a mouse in our house, and I spent days binge cleaning screaming at my roommates, “We live in filth! How do we live like this?” (And in reality, we’re not so bad. But due to construction that was happening, we’d left some crawl spaces open and I’m sure he got in that way and now that Wisconsin is starting to freeze outside, it’s probably much warmer in the house. We’ve named the mouse Carl. Carl needs to leave. I’ve lost sleep listening to him on the wooden floors.) I also underwent some lab work at the hospital to check into some things that have a history in my family. All tests came back normal, which is wonderful, but I freaked myself out the whole weekend waiting for results.
When Life Hands You Lemons, You Make a Nice Citrus Martini!
Eventually, reality dawned that NaNo was simply not going to happen, and it was the one thing I could do without this fall. I still plan on participating next year! But I’ll have exactly that, a plan!
So, I used my new found freedom, which is kind of what it felt like when I actually shook reality’s hand, and I set up some guest post swaps, I had my parents into town (my mom hasn’t been to my house in years), I made a trip home to see my niece and a good friend, I’ve gotten some additional reading done, and I’ve thoroughly cleaned most of my room now.
For the rest of you completing your NaNoWriMo journey today, I wish you all the best! I hope to one day know how it feels to finish the first draft too. In the mean time, I’m still writing, but it’s at my own pace.
Congratulations to the NaNoWriMo winners of 2011!
The rest of you, martini’s at my place! Cheers!
So my wonderful blogging network of new friends has given me so many words of wisdom and helpful sites for writers to go to. One of which included reading the book “Ignore Everybody and 39 other keys to creativity” by Hugh MacLeod. I won’t re-tell you about the book, you should check out the blog post I read or the author’s site. But one of his chapters is a reminder that everyone is born creative.
“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and repace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.'” -Hugh MacLeod
The book is full of wacky cartoon drawings and keen combinations of hysterical no nonsense advice. It talks inspirational process along with business necessities. Mostly what I appreciate is the author’s honest voice that creativity is work. The ideas that come to you can shoot out like fireworks, but somebody’s got to measure out the gunpowder, safely and securely measure out the display base, and strike the match. He reminds us that good ideas are worth fighting for, and you’ve got to show up for the battle.
So this week, my quest was to practice writing prompts every day. Today I went onto www.writeordie.com which is a site many other bloggers, writers, NaNoWriMo’s have all suggested, and I thought what better week to try? The site offers a timed space for writing to measure word count, and if the author fails to complete so many words after a short period of time, subtle hints are given on the screen. First off, I think write or die will be my mental undoing. Always a bit of a competitor in the language field, I went straight to kamikaze mode on a grace period level of “strict.” At first the sudden color change made me jump a little, I wasn’t expecting that. In amusement, I watched as the screen went from a happy-go-lucky pink into a dip-dye evil red. I was hoping there would be another color, but suddenly multiple words were deleted from my story. Scrambling to put them back together I barely had time to think about what my character would see next before the pink background began it’s bloody dripping down my screen again. I lasted only 12 minutes. Write or die is not a place to do the brainstorming for your story. Write or die is a place to take your brainstorming and crank it out on page. Duly noted. I should tell you the next level up is called Electric Shock Mode on a grace period of “evil.”
The one fantastic thing write or die did for me was illustrate just how much I need to brainstorm the next plan of action for my short story. I’ve recently dumped my protagonist, Lydia, into a labyrinthian underworld through which she must walk a series of strange parallel worlds. In order to bring her to life again I have to plan what will happen to her, who she’ll meet, what she’ll find.
And that brings me to next week’s writing resolution. I will create a storyboard. I’m an immensely visual learner, so trying to brainstorm while using write or die only distracted me more watching the color of my screen change, so my brainstorming needs to occur beforehand. Crawl, then walk, Jess! Duh! Using photos and language that inspire me, I’ll make a storyboard of Lydia’s journey. I also plan to read before bed each night. I have a hard time “turning my head off” as I call it, I lay awake thinking about the day, about work, the laundry list of things to do (which reminds me I need to change my laundry), so I plan to read before bed and hope I think about my story as I fall asleep. Better keep a pen and paper handy too, just in case inspiration sparks! Good luck to all of you on your writing endeavors!
So the new year is upon us, which means everyone is putting their lives under a microscope on the 3x lens. It’s time for introspection and resolution making. More than ever I find myself evaluating my writing, or lack of, and have been stressing out trying to find an achievable way to reintroduce that passion back in my life. My intention in starting a blog this fall was to consistently work on my writing. I got that glint you get in your eye when a new idea sparks and you move the first week in hyperdrive, running on pure creative adrenaline. But after awhile, you inevitably lose some of your drive. But, with some more experienced blogger’s advice I’m reassessing my blog content and making a more manageable writing plan. Something long term and for the new year.
I’m glad I did my own moderated version of NaNoWriMo this November. If any of you are aspiring writers, I highly recommend giving NaNoWriMo or your own version of it a try. NaNoWriMo is about writing purely for word count. It doesn’t matter if your novel is written chronologically, if you suddenly introduce a new character or give one of them a tail we never knew about, you can change the genre mid story, as long as you meet the word count quota. The reason I believe this was helpful is that it just forces you to write, get the words out of you and edit it later. I did this for 3 weeks, the first two writing 500 words a day, and the third week writing 300. After that, the task of writing to achieve word count felt daunting. I hadn’t planned enough content for my short story that was only supposed to take me a week to write. So now week four has rolled around and Lydia is still on a paranormal rescue mission and I’m not sure where to take her. Voila! Resolution solution!
Resolutions for 2011: Just WRITE every day. Even if it’s only 10 words. Using word count as your goal can be great when it comes to making a deadline or to push you through writer’s block, or the more likely procrastination by web surfing, but getting yourself into a manageable habit of writing something each day will be more beneficial in the long term.
Read books on writing. Read books. I vow to study the craft this year and learn from other authors. I’ve picked up a few from the library already on writing memoirs, journals, and novels. I hope to keep a steady blog about the practices I learn in the books and use a writer’s group to test out some of the suggestions they give on writing. What are the books you plan to read in 2011? Fiction or otherwise.
Meet with other writers. Professional or amateur. Best-seller or barista. Discussing books and writing gives me joy. Why did I wait so long to realize this and seek other writers out? If possible, I’d like to attend some writing workshops this year too.
What are the resolutions you most want to achieve in 2011? Are you making big or small changes and why do you feel that’s the best way to go? How does blogging fit into your resolution world?
Prepare yourself, writers, NaNoWriMo is not for amateurs. I can’t imagine what all the poor writers committed to writing 50,000 words are feeling right now. I’m having a hard time with my 500 words a day pact. My story is about Lydia, a little girl whose best friends are ghosts. I’ve done alright with the background story and the character quirks, but now I have to actually invent some sort of plot, there needs to be conflict! Introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and denoument. Isn’t that right?
My dinner diet of cheetos followed by breakfast/lunch of cheetos and a luna bar cannot be helping me. What a terrible idea to keep a food journal when you’re stressed out. It reads “hello glutonous, overworked and unimaginative swine. You could make yourself a spinach salad, but there’s a bag of peanut butter chocolates right next to you, and really, won’t they do? P.S. Your writing sucks. Love, indigestion and doubt.”
I’m determined to keep this up. I want to continue this project next week by starting a new story or creative writing piece again. I have to tell myself this uneasy, worrisome, daunting and inopportune task I’ve assigned myself is good for me.