Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo is Coming! : ROW80 Round 4 Check-in #4

I'm going to try to keep this update short, because I want to get back to my NaNoWriMo planning, and the sands measuring my lunch break are quickly running out.  Yes, like many of you, I'm preparing for NaNo - and it's coming in only 2 short days.  Eek!

So, without further ado (do I say that every week?), my check-in:

1) Some kind of Writing Activity at least 5 days per week

I think I actually achieved this this week, though I don't think I got as much done on any of those writing activities as I would like.  As previously mentioned, I'm mostly using this time to prep for NaNoWriMo, but I am so far behind!  I'm planning this year to write short stories instead of a novel (go rebels!), but so far I only have notes for three stories, and I'm not sure I have enough figured out for any of them.  And strictly speaking, I don't think three stories is enough to get 50,000 words, unless I'm really stretching the definition of "short" story.  Oh, I have more ideas in my idea file, but most of them are little more than sparks. On another note, though, the story I'm currently working on planning for looks like it could be stretched to novel length, so maybe I'll turn out to not be a rebel after all.  Who knows?  One thing's for sure - I'm going to be doing a lot of pantsing this year. 

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up weekly
This is posted - two days late - but it's posted.  And it's a special NaNoWriMo edition!

3) Visit and comment on at least 5 other ROWer's blogs per week
Failed this week - I only made it to two.  Sorry y'all.  I have to figure out a better way to get this done.


I'm making it to the gym about 4 days a week right now (assuming I haul myself out of bed and go tomorrow and hit the yoga class I'm looking at on Friday), which is not as much as during the fit challenge, but still better than what I was doing before. 

As far as healthy eating goes, I'm doing okay.  Not adhering to the diet as rigidly as I was during the challenge, but I'm still eating better than I was before.  I have slipped more than I wanted to though - it's so hard when every one around you is completely uninterested in any kind of healthy eating habits.  And this time of year is really difficult, too, because there are just treats everywhere.  But I'm going to keep trying - I don't mind if my progress slows down a bit from what I was doing on the fit challenge, but I do NOT want to go backwards.

That's it folks!  I'm off to do more NaNo prep.  Happy writing!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Writing Post Round Up – NaNoWriMo Edition

November is fast approaching, and with it NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated).  This will be my second year participating, and hopefully my first win.  So I thought I’d dedicate one of my post round-ups to NaNoWriMo advice.  Some of these posts are actually from last year, and some are brand new.  Enjoy!

Here’s one from Chuck Wendig.  He has some great tips, as well as links to other helpful posts.

This post is from fellow ROWer Kim Switzer and she’s been adding to it all month.  Don’t forget to check back to see if she’s left new tips – these are great!

Still on the fence about whether or not you want to participate?  Don’t even know what NaNoWriMo is?  Here’s ten reasons you might want to pick up the pen this November.

And here’s some fabulous tips on how to get the most out of your NaNo experience from Roz Morris.

Although “no plot, no problem” seems to be a favorite theme for NaNoWriMo, plenty of writers do pre-plan their novels.  This post is from last year, but it’s all still good advice.

Roz Morris again (what can I say, she has great stuff) with a checklist on outlining your novel for NaNoWriMo.  Another older-but-still-good post.

How could I resist a post that contains two of my favorite writing things – Scrivener and NaNoWriMo?  A short, to-the-point tip on using the Project Target feature in Scrivener.

This post is a recap of things learned from participating in NaNoWriMo, shared so we can all use her insights in our pre-NaNo prep.

People watching tips for writers – flesh out your NaNo characters!

And lastly, here’s one from an author who does most of her drafting during November.  This interview is by the creators of Aeon Timeline, a cool writing tool that helps keep track of timelines and story arcs (and newly available for Windows PCs, just in time for NaNo!), so there’s a few tips in there for using that as well.

That’s all folks!  If you’re diving into this crazy November writing adventure with me, good luck and have fun!  If NaNo’s not for you, there’s still some good stuff in the posts above for writing in general, too.  Happy writing, whatever method you choose!

Note: this is a list of blog posts and articles on writing that I collect weekly.  Inclusion on this list does not necessarily mean it was published this week, just that I read it this week and thought it was cool, interesting, and/or useful.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Week Already? : Round 4 ROW Check-In #3

Has it really been a week since my last check-in already?  It feels like no time at all has gone by!  Writing still took a bit of a back seat to my fitness challenge this week, but hopefully I can step it up this week.

My goal report:

1) Some kind of Writing Activity at least 5 days per week
Meh.  I got the new version of Scapple installed on my computer - I've been trying it out for my NaNo brainstorming.  Not sure I'm doing it right.  And I did a little brainstorming.  I didn't enter anything into my spreadsheet for Friday, and I cannot for the life of me remember what I did with my lunch hour that day (supposed to be my writing time).  I may have done a little more brainstorming in Scapple.  Nothing over the weekend, despite having a nice quiet Sunday.  Monday I spent my lunch hour at the tech support desk as they had done something to the campus wireless that caused my computer not to connect.

Short version - NaNoWriMo is coming and I have not got nearly enough preparation done!  I am proud of myself for spending Thursday evening working on NaNo prep even though my writing buddy was ill and cancelled our writing date.  Too often when that happens, I watch TV instead.

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up weekly
Not posted.  Should have gotten this done on Sunday, but I didn't, and due to the aforementioned wireless issue, I wasn't able to get it posted on Monday either.

3) Visit and comment on at least 5 other ROWer's blogs per week
This, at least, I accomplished.  Now I just need to be better about responding to comments people leave on my blog.


My fit challenge is over.  I actually won a 6 month membership for being the biggest loser.  I lost 15 pounds over the 6 weeks.  More importantly, I started forming new habits of eating healthy and being active.  I feel way stronger and have more energy than I did 6 weeks ago - hopefully I can channel some of that new energy into writing!  So now I just have to keep up with those habits and not slack off just because I don't have a trainer prodding me along anymore.

So, my goals:

1) Go to the gym at least 3 times a week in addition to Saturday bootcamp
So far I've been to the gym once since the challenge ended - but that was yesterday, and the official end to the challenge was Monday night, so it's all good.  I will miss my bootcamp this Saturday, as I have a dress rehearsal for our choir concert at that time, but there's another class earlier in the day I think I'll go to instead.

2) Continue eating healthy most of the time (follow 80/20 rule)
That has been a challenge this week.  I don't think I'm doing too horribly, but I did get into the chips last night, and had cookies today at our office birthday party.  And I totally plan to have a piece of the Apple Cider Upside Down cake I made tonight.  But my breakfasts and lunches have been on track, and dinner has been mostly pretty healthy.

Anyway, that's the end of my lunch hour, and all my goals covered.  This week I really need to sit down and figure out where to schedule writing time so I can successfully complete NaNoWriMo.  Happy writing all!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ROW80 Round 4 Check-In #2

I just couldn't think of a clever title today.  I blame the cold.  I'm not really ready for the wintery weather yet.

Anyway, goals.  I still don't feel totally focused and in the game.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I haven't quite finished my fit challenge yet - I'm kind of a one project kind of gal, it seems.  But this is the last week for the fit challenge, and then hopefully I'll be more focused on writing.

I sort of split my goals into months this time, with a couple goals that span the entire round.  So here's where I'm at for October:

1) Some kind of Writing Activity at least 5 days per week
The purpose of this goal is basically just to get writing again after my hiatus, and also to prepare for NaNoWriMo.  I think I hit about 4 days this week, but I'm not sure.  I made a spread sheet and everything, but then I forgot to fill it in.  And a couple of those days didn't have any activity other than things that relate to my other two goals, so I'm not sure they really count.  I didn't do any actual writing this week, but I did get some NaNo brainstorming done.  Not enough, considering how fast November is barreling towards us, but there's always the option of pantsing it, I suppose.

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up weekly
Posted.  I posted it on Monday, not Sunday, but at least it's up.  Still working out the logistics of when and where to grab writing time on the weekend with a four-year-old in the house.  Also, I desperately need to spend less time on Facebook.

3) Visit and comment on at least 5 other ROWer's blogs per week
I made it to 4 other people's blogs this week!  It sounds small, I know, but it's an improvement over last round.

My fitness goals are really to help me stay on track after the Fit Challenge ends, so those were definitely met this week since I'm still working on the challenge.  This is the last week though - on Sunday I get weighed and measured and go through the same fitness test we did at the beginning of the challenge to see how much progress I made.  Then comes the hard part of continuing to make progress without that network of encouragement.

So that's it.  This week I'm going to try to really hit the NaNo prep hard.  October's a wasting!  Happy writing y'all!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Writing Post Round Up – End of August & September

These are actually all the posts I’ve collected since the last time I posted a round up.  I guess I’ve been in kind of a slump.  Maybe I still am, but I’m trying to pull myself out of it.  Which actually brings us to our first link:

Lynn Viehl offers ten suggestions for changing it up to get yourself out of a writing slump.  They may not all work for everyone (I can’t do a whole lot about my writing space right now, for example), but hopefully everyone can find at least one suggestion that will help them out.  There’s a few good ideas in the comments as well.

Is it weird for a post round-up to link to another post round up?  Maybe not if it’s really good stuff. Writer Unboxed has launched a new feature – a monthly round-up of all the great posts they’ve shared on Twitter for the month.  I haven’t even managed to visit all these links yet, but it looks like some great stuff.

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I love everything Robin LaFevers writes, and how her posts are always like a long drink of clear water to my thirsty writer’s soul.  Like maybe I’m not a hack or a fraud after all, just someone struggling and in need of a little help.   This is another post with ideas for getting out of a slump.

This list of writing books is targeted at people who want to write online, but most of them look like they’d be useful for any type of writing.

I’ve saved a lot of links to posts on how to deal with critiques, but they’ve mostly been about critiques from writing groups and beta readers.  This one gives advice for dealing with the detailed critique that comes from an editor during the publishing process.  That’s a long way out for me, but I still love the suggestions.

I like this post because, while everyone talks about how writers need to read and learn from masters in the field, this is one of the few posts I’ve seen on the subject that breaks that advice down into concrete suggestions.

I am an introvert and also kind of shy.  Parties – especially where I don’t know many people – are not my favorite thing.  I’d much rather have lunch or coffee with 2 or 3 people I do know.  But, in this writing life, sometimes we need to attend these events so we can meet cool and interesting new people.  So here is a post with some great tips for those of us who are less comfortable with such occasions.

Fashion forward I’m not – but maybe some of my characters are.  Here’s a post with some suggestions for thinking about what your character wears, and what it says about him or her.

A fresh take on developing that elusive quality known as “voice”.   I’ve spent a large portion of my life involved in musical pursuits to various degrees, so the idea of using music to hone in on voice seems particularly apt to me.

This is a lovely post on the truths one writer has discovered on her writing journey.  We will all find our own truths, of course, but perhaps some of these will ring true for you as well.

So there you have it – some writing links, after about a month and a half hiatus.  See you (hopefully) next week!

Note: this is a list of blog posts and articles on writing that I collect weekly.  Inclusion on this list does not necessarily mean it was published this week, just that I read it this week and thought it was cool, interesting, and/or useful.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

ROW Round 4 Check In #1

Since I just posted my goals yesterday, I don’t really have anything to report. But I wanted to start the round off right and get in the habit of posting. :)

Presently, I’m only planning to post updates once a week, on Wednesdays, but that could change. We’ll see.

And since I don’t have anything to report, here is a picture of some fuzzy bunnies:

I hope you are all having a great round so far!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Beginnings : ROW Round 4 Goals

Already late and we're only one day into the new round.  Ugh.  Oh well - I'll just have to make sure it goes up from here.

Last round kind of fell apart for me.  Life hit me with change and chaos, and I wasn't able to keep up with my goals.  Our friend and his little boy have moved in with us for a while, which necessitated clearing out a bunch of stuff to make room for them and then getting used to having extra people and a small dog in the house.  It's been quite the adventure to have a four-year-old running around!  I also started a six week fit challenge in September, which has kept me busy with meal planning and working out.  But, we're settling into a new routine now, and I'm looking forward to a fresh new round of ROW and fitting writing back into my schedule.

Without further ado, my goals for the round:

1) Some kind of Writing Activity at least 5 days per week (October)

I've been doing a lot of exercises with paper and pen lately as I try to get back on track with my writing, which makes getting a word count a little more difficult.  I'm also planning to do NaNoWriMo again this year, so October is my prep month.  Therefore, instead of a word-count related goal, I'm planning to try and do something writing related - either exercises, NaNo prep, or maybe even actual writing (gasp!) on at least 5 days out of the week.

2) NaNoWriMo - 50,000 words (November)

It was so exciting to see a fresh new NaNoWriMo website at the beginning of the month.  I have more than enough unfinished novels lying around my computer, though, so this year I'm planning to be a rebel and write short stories.  Still shooting for 50,000 words though.  I've started brainstorming and making notes for some of the ideas I have and I'm pretty psyched for November!

3) Post Writing-Post Round Up weekly

I'm going to try to get this blog feature back off the ground again.  I think I'm still going to shoot for Sundays, but I have to figure out a new place and/or time to write, since I don't have the quiet Sunday morning before my husband gets up anymore.

4) Visit and comment on at least 5 other ROWer's blogs per week

I really fell down on the job on this goal last round, but I'm going to do better this time.  I really do want to keep up with what you all are up to!

5) Revamp Blog (December)

I've been meaning to clean-up my blog design for a while (it's currently just sporting a theme I grabbed off the internet - nice, but I can't seem to make any changes or add widgets or anything), and coming down off of NaNoWriMo in December seems like it might be a good time to tackle that.  I also want to get my bio updated and do some thinking about what I want to use this blog for, besides ROW updates.

I've also got some fitness goals on my mind after participating in the Fit Challenge, and since I've noticed that a lot of folks include those with their ROW goals, I'll post mine here as well.


1) Go to the gym at least 3 times a week in addition to Saturday bootcamp
2) Continue eating healthy most of the time (follow 80/20 rule)

That's all folks!  I hope you all are getting a great start on Round 4!