Thursday, May 1, 2014

ROW 80 Round 2 Update #2

I’ve missed about three check-ins now, I think, and now I’m late with this one, but I don’t really have much to report. Our show opened last week - by the end of our Sunday evening performance, we’d been at the theater every day for 14 days straight. But it’s such a beautiful show. It’s been a real privilege to work with this amazingly talented and dedicated group of people. However, I haven’t been getting any writing done. Still, I’m planning to dive into Story A Day month today. Les Mis runs for two more weeks, so we’ll see if I can do a better job than I have been fitting writing into that schedule.

A friend of mine died yesterday morning and I’m still trying to process that. He wasn’t a really close friend, not by any traditional definition - we did a few shows together, and didn’t really hang out outside of that. But I always enjoyed chatting with him when we ran into each other at events, reading his updates on Facebook, and I loved watching him on stage. He was an immensely talented actor and a kind and generous person as well. He was hysterically funny. As evidenced by the tributes filling my Facebook newsfeed, he touched many, many lives. He was one of those people who make a huge impact, even if you only met him once. I feel like there’s a giant hole in the fabric of the universe. I don’t even know how to process it.

Maybe my next update will be more about goals and progress, but I kind of needed to talk about this instead. And I don’t have any writing progress anyway. Wishing you all success in your writing goals and people who enrich your lives, even if they are taken too soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ROW Round 2 - Check-in #1

I'm writing this from Les Mis rehearsal and don't have much to report anyway, so I'll keep this brief.

1) Write 3 days a week
Epic fail.  I wrote on one day - about 16 words.  Hopefully this week will be better.

2) Catch up on DIY-MFA materials
This is going a little better.  I worked through a few more of the worksheets, but I still have several videos and exercises to complete, and the third batch of materials came out today!  Possibly I can get some done during cue to cue rehearsals this weekend.

1) Work out 2 days a week
This I did - Saturday bootcamp and two Oula classes with my friend who's practicing to be certified as an instructor.

2) Try not to eat so much comfort food
Still failing at this.  Will have to try harder this week.

Anyway, I'm off to Thenardier's Inn in a few minutes, so I'll wrap it up.  I hope your goals are going well and you all have a great week!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ROW Round 2 Goals - 2014

As you may or may not have noticed, I sat the last round out.  I've been dealing with a fairly severe bout of depression since December.  I had all these plans after NaNoWriMo - I learned a lot about my writing process and I had a lot of ideas for how to move forward.  But somehow I just couldn't get started.  My ideas weren't solidified into manageable goals yet at the beginning of the round, and I said "that's okay, I can start a little late".  And a week went by while I looked at my notes, and tried to form a coherent blog post, and fought with my computer.  And then two, and then three.  I tried two or three times to write a post, but I just ... couldn't.  So I decided to take the round off, and hope I could pull myself together in time for round 2.

The truth is, I'm still incredibly depressed.  I'm hoping that the spring sunshine will help - seasonal affective disorder is definitely a part of the problem, along with holiday blues in December and January and upheaval in my living situation.  But I want to start getting back to my writing.  Maybe if I can get back into it, that will help too. 

So in keeping with Kait's post on being kind to ourselves (how timely was that!), I'm setting pretty light goals this round.  I'm also really busy right now, because I'm involved with a production of Les Miserables in our local theater, so the theater kind of owns my free time for the next six weeks.  I was thinking about doing Story A Day in May this year, but the show doesn't close until May 11th, so I'm not sure that's doable.  We'll see how April goes.

Here are my goals:

1) Write something at least 3 days a week.  Could be work on a WIP, writing exercises, journaling, whatever, as long as I write something.

2) Catch up on the materials for the DIY MFA 101 course I signed up for, and keep working through that program.  (The DIY MFA 101 course is a six-month workshop with a different focus each month - I haven't even finished the January materials yet.  You can find out more about DIY MFA here:

3) Fitness:
     a) Work out at least 2 days a week.
     b) Try not to eat so much "comfort food"

Anyway, I wish you all a lovely round! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Writing Post Round Up – November

Now that it’s half-way through December, I’m finally getting around to posting the writing links I collected in November.  I’ll try to be more prompt in January.  In any case, I hope you enjoy them and find them useful!

I love this take on “write what you know” by Jodi McIsaac.  

Here are some more good tips on what to look for when you’re editing.

This is a post from mid-NaNoWriMo, but it’s good advice for making it through the middle of your story all year round.

An interesting reflection on writing and being a writer.

Chuck Wendig responds to an e-mail from a young writer looking for some guidance on the path.  There’s some pretty good stuff here.

This post made me cry and nod my head a lot.  Because I love genre fiction.  It doesn’t get as much respect as literary fiction from some people, but I have to respectfully disagree with those people.  Genre fiction has every bit as much power to move people and comment on the human experience.

Another post that really spoke to me.  I love reading writing blogs (obviously), but it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by all the (at times conflicting) information.

I am fascinated (as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before) by other people’s writing process.  Lately I’ve been reading a number of posts on writing fast, or fast drafting.  I’m a slow writer, but I’d like to at least become more efficient.  After all, there are only so many hours in a day.  Here’s a post from Mindy Klasky about how she writes fast.  As an added bonus, this is a “then and now” post, giving us a look at how her process has changed over time.

Here’s an interesting tool for testing the structure of your novel – both in the initial drafting process and while editing.

A nice bite-sized post with suggestions for boosting your brain power.

 And finally, some suggestions for finding more time to write in our busy lives.
Note: this is a list of blog posts and articles on writing that I collect monthly.  Inclusion on this list does not necessarily mean it was published this month, just that I read it this month and thought it was cool, interesting, and/or useful.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chugging Along - ROW 80 Round 4 Update #10

Well, my grand plans for the last week kind of fizzled. Our concerts went well - one on Saturday night, and one on Sunday afternoon. The Holiday Pops concerts are the most popular of the Symphony’s season, and were sold out a month in advance, so that was cool. It’s also always fun to sing with the orchestra. I spent some much needed time with the keyboard on Friday going over some parts I’d just never been quite sure of, with the result that I felt much more confident in the concerts and they were a lot more fun. Walking to and from my car was less fun - it was seriously cold in Zootown (aka, Missoula) this weekend.

I didn’t get a lot of writing stuff done - as in, I didn’t write at all. We dealt with a frozen pipe (and by ‘we’ I mostly mean our roommate, as my husband was at work and I’m less than handy at that sort of thing).  I also got a few things done for Christmas - bought some fabric for a couple of projects and called my mom for some gift ideas. I watched some TV and I had a little downtime with my busy concert weekend. Which is fine.

I did get a bit of writing in on my lunch hours during the week, and I have a writing date with my friend tonight. This weekend I have to get my Christmas gifts and baking that are being mailed ready to go, so I probably won’t get a lot of writing done this weekend either, but that’s okay. I took the week between Christmas and New Year’s off of work, so I’m hoping for a lot of good writing time then.

Anyway, my update, such as it is. :)

1) Writing - 10,000 words
So far, I have written a grand total of 506 words that were actually on a writing project and not a blog post. I’m trying not to count the blog posts, because the purpose of this goal is really to move my stories forward, not just to put words on the page. Not that blogging isn’t important, too, just not my focus for this goal. Maybe next round I’ll set different goals for different kinds of writing.

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up Monthly
The November round-up is not yet posted. The lack of internet access at my workplace is starting to seriously bug me, since that means I can’t work on this goal during my lunch hour writing sessions. And if I don’t get it done first thing in the morning on the weekends, it just doesn’t get done. So - this Saturday, I’m going to really try to knock it out before I go to my fitness class.

3) Visit and comment on at least 5 other ROWer's blogs per week
I did this! It’s been the bright spot in my week seeing what you all are up to and having a bit of dialog.

4) Revamp Blog
No progress on this. I may have to push this goal back to January, but hopefully I’ll be able to work on this some in my week off between Christmas and New Years.

5) Prioritize
I thought about this some, and I wrote down a few notes related to where I’m at in my creative journey and some things I want to articulate further. I need to make a concentrated effort to work on this in the coming week. Part of this is the post I’m composing about my NaNo experience, because I really want to take those lessons and apply them to my continuing writing progress, as opposed to the generalized floundering about I’ve been doing up to this point. It’s taking a while to collect my thoughts though.

Well, that’s it for me! Hope you all are having a great week!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Making Plans to Progress – ROW 80 Round 4 Update #9

Well, I don’t have much to report today.  I’ve made virtually no progress on my December goals so far – I think I’ve written a grand total of 849 words, and that was my last update post.  It has been / is going to be a busy week, so I’m not sure how much writing I’m going to get done, but I’m going to try to fit it in somewhere.  This weekend, we have our holiday pops concert with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra (my husband and I sing in the Symphony Chorale).  We had our first rehearsal with the conductor last night (the Chorale has its own director, but of course the orchestra director conducts our joint concerts) and I feel much more confident about the music.  We also have rehearsals with the orchestra on Thursday and Friday nights, and then concerts on Saturday and Sunday.  I’m hoping I can get some writing in on Saturday during the day while my husband is at work, but I also need to clean the bathroom, and start at least making lists for Christmas preparations (there’s really only two weekends left to get stuff done that I need to mail – eek!).  And then tonight, my only rehearsal free night of the week, I’m going to a play with a friend.  

Here’s a brief update, mostly to reiterate my goals for myself and come up with some ideas to start meeting them.

1) Writing - 10,000 words
As previously noted, I’ve only written about 849 words since NaNo ended, and they were all for my update post.  I don’t think I’m going to count those towards the 10,000, because the purpose of the goal is really to make progress on my fiction writing – I want to finish the storyline of my NaNo project, and then start working on the stories that were my original NaNo plan before it was hijacked by the new shiny.

I still have one more lunch hour this week (I have a working lunch on Friday), and I also get off work early on Friday and before everyone else in my house, so I’m going to try to get some writing in then.  I can also get up early and get some writing done before going to my exercise class on Saturday, and save the other stuff for later in the day.

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up monthly
I didn’t get my November links posted on Monday, as I previously said I would.  I had intended to do that on my lunch hour on Monday, and then I remembered that my laptop is refusing to access the internet here at the University.  It will go up this weekend – I’m determined.

I’ve also collected a few “after NaNoWriMo” links, so I may do a special edition post round-up later in the month.

3) Visit and comment on at least 5 other ROWer's blogs per week
I have not yet done this.  I think I’ve commented on one other blog, and visited a couple.  I’m thinking this is a good Sunday morning task.

4) Revamp Blog
This is such a broad goal that I probably need to break it out into steps.  I’ll try to find some time on Saturday to look for resources on how to code (or modify code for) a template.  If anybody knows any good sites for how to do Blogger templates (or a site where there’s good prebuilt templates), I’m all ears (or maybe eyes?).

5) Prioritize
This should probably actually be the first goal on my list, since figuring this out would really help me achieve all my other goals.  I think on Friday, I’m going to take some of my “early out” time and start making lists of things I do, and which are actually important.

So, there it is, a plan of sorts.   I hope all of you are having a wonderful week!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

For the Win! : ROW 80 Round 4 Update #8

So I wrote an update on Wednesday - and somehow it never got posted.  My computer has been doing this bizarre selective thing where in some places it will tell me it's connected to a wireless network, but I don't have internet access.  And work, where I write on my lunch hour, is one of those places.  It's kind of driving me nuts.  So I've been writing my update in Word and saving it to a flash drive to upload when I get back to my work computer.  This Wednesday, I got back to work and got busy, and then I had a migraine, so it didn't get uploaded Thursday morning either.

Anyway, the point of telling you all that was, that even though Thanksgiving is over, and all the turkeys have been stuffed and all that, I still wanted to say Thank You.  I'm so grateful to have found the ROW80 writing challenge.  You all have inspired me to go after my writing goals, to keep challenging myself to be better, and you've encouraged me when I'm having a tough time.  Thank you.

And now, goal updates!

1) NaNoWriMo - 50,000 words 
Just in case you couldn't tell from the graphic at the beginning, this goal is complete!  I crossed 50,000 words yesterday around 5:30 pm and validated shortly thereafter.  I'm closing in on the completion of the storyline I was working on.  I learned a ton (I'm working on a blog post for what I learned this year) and it was just a really wonderful experience.  I'm practically giddy with my first NaNo win!

2) Post Writing-Post Round Up monthly
I've got a bunch of great posts collected.  Hopefully I'll get that list up tomorrow.

3) Visit and comment on at least 5 other ROWer's blogs per week
This was done for last week.  Now I just have to go see what you all are up to this week!

New Goals for December
4) Revamp Blog
While I do kind of like the basic look of my blog, I used an older template, and so far I haven't been able to figure out how to tweak it at all.  It won't let me add any widgets to the sidebar, and I can't rearrange blocks at all.  So I'm going to figure out how to do that, even if it means finding a new theme that's new enough to modify, or building one for myself from the ground up.  I also need to update my profile / bio section.

When I originally came up with this goal, I had also planned to evaluate what I want to use my blog for, and come up with some kind of regular posting schedule.  However, with my new-found insights from NaNoWriMo, I think I just want to focus on getting the writing flowing again, so for now, I'm just going to the keep the blog for ROW Updates and monthly Writing Post Round-Ups (and maybe a random post here and there if the spirit moves me).

5) Prioritize
I shoved a lot of things to the side to meet my NaNoWriMo writing goals, and the momentum was great for my writing.  It wasn't so great for a lot of other parts of my life.  And I realized I'm spending time some things (like Facebook games) that may be fun, but which are taking away time from stuff I really want to do.  So I'm going to take some time this month to really think about my priorities, and see if I can figure out how to balance the really important stuff so it all gets done, and what things I can set aside.

6) Writing - 10,000 words
I definitely want to keep writing in December, and keep the momentum going, but I'm shooting for a significantly smaller word count this month.  Holiday preparation (which if I'm going to do NaNo, I should really start in October, because now Christmas has snuck up on me and I'm feeling kind of behind) will probably take up a fair amount of my time this month, as will research on how to fix my blog.  So we'll try for that whole balance thing. :)

My fitness & health goals for December are pretty much the same - go to the gym at least 3 or 4 times a week, continue to eat mostly healthy.  I'm giving myself a bit more leeway with food over the holiday season, and just trying to maintain at the weight I'm at.  In January, I'll try to get rid of the last of the unwanted pounds.  But basically I've been doing pretty well.  I've been going to the gym about 3 times a week for the last few weeks.  For Thanksgiving, I ate enough to be satisfied, but not stuffed.  And although I've been having a few more treats lately, I'm still eating pretty healthily over all.

Okay, this post is really long now, so I'll stop.  Happy December!  And Happy Writing!