Thursday, November 21, 2013

Never Enough Time - ROW Round 4 Check-In #7

There is just never enough time in life to get everything done that we want or need to do, so we have to make priorities.  This month, I’ve chosen to make writing a priority.  There’s mail unsorted on the coffee table (I did sort out things that actually need to be paid), laundry gets done on an as needed basis as opposed to processing it all each weekend, our DVR is filling up with shows I haven’t had time to watch.  My e-mail is out of control – again.  My husband has been very supportive.  He asks me in the evening, “do you need to write tonight?” and is perfectly happy to play on his computer if I say yes.  I’ve promised I’ll clean the bathroom promptly come December 1st.

And this is fine, for this month.  For the NaNoWriMo rush.  But when it’s over, I still want writing to be a priority, and I have to figure out a way to make it fit more sanely, so that other things get done, too.  It may have to take a back seat to Christmas preparations in December, but come January, I need to have a plan.
I’m not sure why I’m thinking about this today – maybe it’s the overflowing e-mail box, or just the nature of life and its mix of things I can and can’t control, or the result of a relatively sleepless night.  But I think in December I’m going to add a goal to take stock, see what I need to do, and what I can let go of, so that writing can be a bigger part of my life.  I’ve really enjoyed this month of focus on writing, and I’ve learned a lot.  Soon it will be time to take what I’ve learned and apply it to a new writing life.

Anyway, enough random philosophizing – on to goals:

1) NaNoWriMo - 50,000 words

NaNoWriMo is actually going swimmingly.  I’m learning a ton about myself and my writing, and having a lot of fun.  It’s been a long time since writing was actually fun for me – too much worry about whether or not I was good enough, or smart enough, or original enough.  This month I’ve been able to let go of that, and it’s been wonderful.  I am presently at 31,786 words.  That puts me a little behind today, but I have a writing date tomorrow night, and Friday off work, so I’m hoping to actually get ahead over the weekend.  I’ve been loving the writing sprints on Twitter (follow @NaNoWordSprints) – I think I’ve used my Twitter account more this month than I have in all the rest of the time I’ve had it combined.  Another thing I did last weekend was to participate in the DIY-MFA weekend writing sprint, which was a great motivator.  I think I’m gonna make it for the win this year!

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up monthly

I’ve changed this goal to a monthly post, since I’m not collecting as many blog posts while I’m busy NaNoing.  So it will go up December 1st.  (At least that’s the plan!)

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

Argh!  Failed again!  What was that I was saying about never enough time?  I need to find something to cut out so I can move this up the priority ladder, because I DO want to make time to encourage my fellow ROWers.

Fitness Goals:
I’ve been back in the gym again this week, though not as intensively as when I was doing the fit challenge.  I’m also still feeling a little under the weather.  But I’m still trying to get there at least 3 or 4 times a week, and making relatively healthy food choices.  I haven’t lost any more weight, but I haven’t gained back any that I lost during the fit challenge either.  I will be a happy camper if I can maintain that over the holidays!

I hope all of your goals are going well, and that you’re closing in on 50,000 if you’re doing NaNoWriMo.  Happy Writing, all!

ROW80 is the writing challenge that knows you have a life.  Check out what other ROWers are up to here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I’m Having A Day – ROW80 Round 4 Check-In #6

I’m having a day. The kind of day where I feel like I can’t do anything right and I pretty much suck at everything. Some of it’s do to with things at work where I don't feel I'm doing my best. Some of it’s things going on in my personal life. Mostly it’s probably lack of sleep - everything seems so much darker than it really is without sleep. After all, I did get up and go to the gym this morning (even though I was late and only got to workout for 20 minutes) and I’m keeping up with my NaNo Word count (even though most of it is probably worthless drivel that will never see the light of day). Actually, the fact that I can even come here and post about it instead of curling up in a weeping ball of depression somewhere gives me hope that tomorrow will be better. But still, I’m having a day, and I just had to acknowledge it. Maybe that robs it of some of its power. I can hope.

So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with goals.

1) NaNoWriMo - 50,000 words

NaNo is actually going surprisingly well for me this year. My current word count is 20,127. That’s almost as much as I got last year, and in comparing my stats chart for this year to last year, the profile is much better. I’m actually keeping up with that little rising line. I’ll fall behind a little today because I’m going to a show with some friends tonight, so I won’t have time to write, but tomorrow I get my lunch hour AND have a writing date with a friend in the evening, so hopefully I won’t have to much trouble catching up again. I haven’t written anything I’m particularly proud of so far this month, but I’ve been writing something I think I need to write to get through to a place where I can write things I am proud of. I feel like there are some barriers breaking.

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up weekly

This post did go up this weekend, so yay! However, due to NaNoWriMo, I’m just not spending as much time reading blogs, so I’m not collecting a lot of posts. I’m thinking of turning this into a monthly feature, at least for now.

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

I’m sorry to say that I once again failed horribly at this goal this week. I read a few other ROWer’s blogs, but I don’t think I commented on a single one. Mea culpa.

I have really sucked at keeping these goals this week. I’ve been feeling a little under the weather lately, so I decided to take a couple days off from the gym last week and get some extra sleep. I think the extra sleep really helped a lot, but then my hiatus from the gym extended, which is probably actually contributing to my current lack of sleep and general bad mood. Today’s the first day, not counting Saturday boot camp, that I’ve been to the gym since last Tuesday.

My eating habits haven’t been the best either. I desperately need to do some actual meal planning (and we need to go grocery shopping), because while I don’t think I’ve quite fallen back to my previous levels of unhealthy eating and excessive snacking, this week has not been a good one for mindful eating. But I will do better this week, and not let one week of setback derail me from my healthy journey.

That’s it for me. I hope you all are having a great week!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Writing Post Round Up – October

Since most of the posts I collected in October were for my NaNoWriMo edition, and I wasn’t very good about getting the round-up posted every week, I’m just going to do one post for the rest of the links I collected in October.  There’s not very many, but they’re all good.  I hope you enjoy them!
There is so much good advice out there for writers that it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it.  That’s why I like this post.  It’s nice and succinct, but it covers the bases pretty well.  If you want one list of writerly advice to post by your desk and refer back to, this is a good one.
Okay, one more NaNoWriMo post.  I must have collected this one after I posted the NaNoWriMo edition.  Anyway, this is a prep post, but even though NaNoWriMo has already launched this year, there’s still some good ideas in here – maybe you’ll find one that helps you push through if you’re running out of steam mid-month.  Or maybe you’re not even doing NaNoWriMo this year (or ever), but you’ll find a good tip or to for setting up your space, or embarking on some other kind of writing project.

This is another one of those not-really-a-writing post links, but it resonated with me so much that I just had to share it.  Sometimes (often) I get paralyzed by the fear that I’m not good enough, that I won’t be able to do this wonderful thing I want to do exactly right.  Posts like this help me feel like I’m not alone.  If you struggle with perfectionism, maybe it will help you, too.

This is one of the weekly inspirational / motivational posts from the ROW80 challenge – the writing challenge that knows you have a life.  A beautiful reminder that ALL the parts of our lives are important to our writing – not just the sitting down and putting words on the page part.
An interesting take on the “show, don’t tell” chestnut of writing advice.  I think she makes some good points, although I also think a lot of the bad writing she mentions comes more from a misunderstanding of what “show, don’t tell” means, rather than from following the advice too closely.

I am so Twitter illiterate.  I have an account (I actually used to have two – one from a work related “web 2.0” training, and a second I set up for my personal interests).  I occasionally log in and peruse my feed, and even less occasionally actually post a tweet, but I just haven’t really figured out how to use it to good advantage and what it’s all about.  One of the consistently confusing things for me is hashtags – I understand in general, that you can follow a trending topic, but figuring out how and when to apply one has been kind of a mystery.  If you also struggle with this aspect of Twitter, you may find this post helpful. 

We’re told over and over as writers that we need to have a platform, an online presence to connect with readers, publishers, agents and other writers.  A good website can be a huge component of that.  Here are some great tips for putting one together.
That’s all I’ve got for now!  Due to NaNoWriMo, and some other things going on in my life, I’ve not had time to read as many blogs, and I’ve been struggling with actually getting this post up on a weekly basis.  For that reason, I’m thinking of making this a monthly feature, rather than a weekly one, at least for a while.   That idea literally just occurred to me this morning though, so I’m still mulling it over.  Stay tuned!  And happy writing!
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, November 6, 2013

Go Left, Young Writer: ROW Round 4 Check-In #5

It’s a new month! It almost feels like a new, shiny round, since I broke my main goals out by month this time, mostly due to NaNoWriMo. I woke up to about 3 inches of snow on my car this morning, and the unexpected feeling of gratitude that I’d had a flat tire on Sunday. I wasn’t particularly happy about the tire on Sunday, but if it hadn’t been flat, I wouldn’t have had to change it out for the donut spare. And if I hadn’t had to put on that donut, I wouldn’t have made the time to go out to my father-in-law’s house to have my snow tires put on. It took me, my husband AND our roommate to get the tire changed - apparently, the summer tires were not original to the car, and the tool provided to loosen the lug nuts didn’t fit. After going through three of our socket sets to find one that would work, we finally had to ask our roommate, and thankfully, he had the right size in his toolkit. So yeah, not really the way I wanted to spend my Sunday afternoon, but I’m so grateful I had my snow tires on this morning.

Anyway, writing. Here’s how my goals shook out this week:

1) NaNoWriMo - 50,000 words
The good news is, I’ve written over 10,000 words already this month - I got off to a great start by taking the 1st of November off work and banging out 3200 or so, and then another 2000 on Saturday. The bad news is, over 5000 of the words I’ve written this month are on a project completely unrelated to my NaNo project. I guess I’d call it a fan fic of sorts, since it involves a character I created for a Star Wars roleplaying game I played in a couple of years ago, and at least a couple characters from the Expanded Universe (that’s the mass of books, comics, etc that have been created outside the official Star Wars movies, for those of you who are not Star Wars nuts). On the one hand, I’m somewhat irritated that I’ve spent this much time on a project the will never see the light of day instead of my original work that I may actually have a chance of publishing someday. On the other hand, I haven’t felt this compelled to write something for a long time. I wasn’t actually sure I could feel that anymore.

The more I think about it, I think the thing to do is just keep writing the thing, since it’s insisting upon being written, dump it into my NaNo project, and count those words. After all, I’ve already declared myself a rebel - writing short stories without even a theme to tie them together instead of a novel - and plenty of people write fan fiction for NaNoWriMo. I think ignoring this impulse to write would be a mistake. And maybe being so passionate about this piece will spill over into my other stories once it’s finished.

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up weekly
Fail. I’ve been feeling like I’m about to come down with something for a couple of weeks now, and after my super productive Friday and Saturday, I decided it was completely okay to have a lazy Sunday morning. I fully expected I’d still have time to put the Round-Up together and get a couple thousand more NaNo words in on Sunday afternoon (loving the NaNo word sprints on Twitter, by the way!). Enter the flat tire. C’est la vie. That will teach me to do important things first and be lazy second I guess.

3) Visit and comment on at least 5 other ROWer's blogs per week.
Failed you again fellow ROWers - that was another thing I should have done Sunday morning. I think I did manage to actually respond to most of the comments on my own blog though, so that’s something.

Fitness Goals:

Still going to the gym about 4 times a week - either to a class, or to workout on my own (I’m using the workouts I got during the Fit Challenge, with some modifications like adding weight or reps as needed). On Friday, since I had the day off from work, I broke up my frantic NaNoing to take in a yoga class, which was amazing. I haven’t been to a yoga class for a long time, and it’s just really good for my body and soul. Thanks to the fit challenge and consistently getting stronger, I was actually able to do a back bend. The last time I tried that, I couldn’t even lift myself off the ground, so I was really pleased.

Healthy eating - well, I’m trying. I think I’m doing okay. I try to follow the 80/20 rule, where 80% of what you eat is for health, and the other 20% can be things you just enjoy. Sometimes I think it turns out more like 60/40, but I’m still doing a lot better than I was.

Anyway, that’s my week! I hope all of you are doing fabulously with your own goals, and having a great week!

If you want to see what other ROWer's are up to, you can find them here.