ROW to a Goal

I spent the good part of a week on this post.  Fear of commitment…fear of failure really.  If I don’t make promises, I can’t not deliver.  Life has too often shown me the folly of making promises.   Why?  Because Life Happens, and I’m full of Life(tm).

And that is why I have decided to take on yet another writing challenge.  I am full of life, I have a life to live, and I want to make it work for me.  So, as part of the challenge, I have goals to achieve in 80 days–goals that revolve around writing.

On paper, I wrote over four pages of things I want to change in my life.  Four pages!  So many that I would NEVER do them with any success if I tried to enact them all at once for this round.  And since ROW80 is really about writing, well, it means I should really be dealing with writing issues, not whether or not I need to go to the gym more often or add more water to my diet as opposed to tea.  Yet saying that there should be dancing of some kind in my life every day just seems RIGHT (or is that “right”?  Never sure anymore).

This makes the ‘goal of writing my goals’ the creation of something I can break down into little pieces that will give me a sense of success at every check-in (ROW80 does bi-weekly check-ins on Wednesday and Sunday for people who may wish to try the challenge themselves).  So saying I need to get my shit together and finish the pieces I’ve been trying to write doesn’t really mean much.  What do I want to achieve by doing that?  Do I want to make the stories play out and come to some conclusion?  Do I want to abandon them into a big hole in my dresser and try from scratch?

Well, really the latter is just too silly to consider.  I would go mad if I tried to actually abandon those stories.  Sometimes it seems like I’m going mad either way, but at least I’m happy and mad when I have added something in those scrappy works of speculation, chaos and erotica.  If those stories didn’t exist, the world would seem so much smaller and closed in.

But what if I didn’t try to write anything new, just edited the piss out what I have and stop?  That’s actually getting easier and easier to grasp.  I mean, the idea of writing is fulfilling in so many ways, yet it always seems to be fighting against my life of distraction.  And yes, I allow myself to be distracted, but that isn’t the point.  I allow myself to be distracted because I’m…

…scared.  Yes, I’m scared of another rejection letter.  Even more I’m scared of  the people who’ve said they wanted to read the book and then all that follows is silence.  I’m talking to the air.  That isn’t the problem, of course.  I can talk to the air with the best of them–hell, did it for years.  Talking to the air is bad only when one believes that others are listening and care what they say and when that person expects an answer.  (I won’t get into a discussion about prayer here.   Prayer is hard enough when one has a belief that there always IS an answer.  To imagine prayer without even knowing if there is a god out there or not?  It is pretty damned terrifying.)

And so, denial.  “I don’t care about writing”; “I don’t have time to write”; “I am only writing “fun stuff” for my personal pleasure”…  Oh, I have a lot of them piled up.  And I pull out these excuses on a daily basis it seems lately.

But I never actually stop doing SOME writing.  Whether it’s 750 words a day or trying to imagine stories in my head, I’m always trying to do something related to writing.

So, goals

Throughout Round 5 of ROW80

  • Goal #1 – I will review what I have and haven’t accomplished at the end of each week and adjust my focus accordingly
  • Goal #2 – I will devote some time to learning how to better use the creativity tools at my disposal (examples being: keyboard shortcuts in Scrivener, mind-mapping software, even Photoshop and Picassa)
  • Goal #3 – I will make a concerted effort to involve myself in the ROW80 community at least twice a week, including visiting other ROWers blogs and posting comments as appropriate.
  • Goal #4 – Minimum of three visits to the gym a week, even if it DOES mean extra driving.  I’m better for it.
  • Goal #5 – Resume reading fiction for pleasure.
  • Goal #6Dance…  every day, even if only for the length of a song

WAIT!  None of these involve actually writing, Eden.  What do you think you are doing?  Haven’t you said already that ROW80 is a writing challenge?

Well, yeah…. yes it is.  I was saving the writing goals for this section on what I want to achieve this first week of Round 5:

  • Week 1 Goal 1 — Create a timeline of my stories, the characters lives and the worlds they inhabit; figure out what stories work in context of each other
  • Week1 Goal 2 — Type in a minimum of 15 pages of first draft work in for editing
  • Week 1 Goal 3 — 500 words a day on WsIP, in some format, scene creation, character sketches, plot works….
  • Week 1 Goal 4 — Editing…  There is a lot of it; do at least a page a day.

Well, there it is….  Long post, but I’m glad I wrote it.

27 responses to “ROW to a Goal

  1. Good luck with all your goals.


  2. kerrymeacham

    Hi Eden,

    I’m glad you joined ROW80. It’s a great group of people. The great thing about ROW80 is its flexibility. If life happens, just adjust for a week or two, or for the rest of the round. It doesn’t matter, as long as we’re progressing forward.

    This is my third round, and everyone is very encouraging. Enjoy, and if you have questions just ask. Good luck and have a great 2012.



    • Thanks Kerry! I know some of what you mean–two steps forward, one step back is still progress. And I made sure read through the whole ROW80 blog before signing up. You guys all are wonderful, and I remember you “Stuck In The Middle With You” sponsor post because middles are often my worst parts to work on. That’s where I am right now.


  3. I love that you broke down the writing goals into what would make sense each week of the round–I think that will lend itself to success!

    I know the fear of failure and/or success–that keeps me from writing on my bad days.

    Here’s to 80 days of good days of writing, whether they start out that way, or not!

    Good luck!!


    • Thanks, Heather. I’m hoping it will too. Mostly though, I chose that format so that I would be able to practice a little self-policing. I’ll let you know how it goes. =)


  4. Congrats on the commitment. Now you have to see it through. Don’t worry about fear. Don’t worry about rejection. Don’t worry about silence. That’s part of the path we’ve all chosen. We simply must do our part and let the rest happen. So, what’s your overarching writing goal for the round (besides just week 1)? Welcome to the ROW 🙂 Good luck on meeting your goals.


    • You know, Ryan, you are right. And I probably should have posted the “tentative” goals for week 2, and onward. I was figuring at the Sunday check-In, I would put my assessment of the first week goals plus new (or maybe even the same) ones up to help keep a flow. This way I’m always guiding myself toward the Big Six. And good luck to you too.


  5. I love goal number six!!! Good luck with all your goals! I just got back from the gym… and I am better for it!


  6. Good luck with all those goals – I too must get a firmer grip on my software – scrivner is still only being used as a basic typewriter and I know theres so much more !!! Liked the rainbow idea well not the actual rainbow but I get what you’re saying – it is now perculating in the stew I call brain

    all the best with this week


    • “The stew I call brain” — love it. So fitting… And I know the actual ideas will be your own, just figured I would toss a few out there. Good luck.


  7. “Life Happens, and I’m full of Life(tm).”

    Just so you know I have a copy-write on that phrase already. My lawyer will be contacting you.


    • Fair Use. Sorry… 8-D


      • I’ll have to see. I was trying to get an All Rights Reserved to Fair Use…


        • And I hereby dub thee “TROLL”. If you were “trying” then please, grow up and stop pestering people. I’m sure we ALL have better things to do with our time.

          Also, if you are so worried about the use of words, try actually writing some on that empty blog of yours. Good-bye, Troll; please go back under your bridge.


      • For the record I was joking with you.

        Lucky it’s newyears… See, this is why you make resolutions 😉 Maybe you resolve to be less scrooge-like and more awesome. You’ve got some awesomeness hiding in there somewhere, don’t you?

        Cheers! I’m gonna go get me a new tree club on my way back to my bridge 😈


        • Okay… I deserved that. Too much stress, not enough sleep, sick kid. The usual. Truth is, I really AM too cranky, so yeah, I deserved that. Here, have a billy goat or two as a peace offering. 😉


      • Don’t get me wrong. In real life I LOVE some goat biryani


        • Ooh, goat biryani…. YUM! I’ve actually been trying to find a local place that I can buy goat to make some. New Goal! Find a local farm that sells goat meat. Thanks, Ronnie. You’ve been an inspiration. 🙂


      • ya ya – in Chicago there’s this place up on Devon (which is an avenue that is mostly middle eastern and Indian stores and cuisine – not touristy, Real, my Indian friends say it reminds them of some of the cities back home) and there’s this place where you get a huge pile of it for like 5 bucks.

        Not sure where you live but, ya. It’s definitely a find if you can.. Good luck!


        • Sounds grand… Nothing similar to that here in Albany, though we do have some nice places over in Troy. Our non-“American Pie” restaurants seem to be more scattered (though we do have Lark Street).

          There are a couple of things I’d wanted to visit Chicago for before this. You just gave me one more.


  8. Welcome to ROW80! I also need to look into Scrivener, or yWriter5 (another writing program recommended by a friend), though I’m kind of too lazy; I just keep plodding along in Word lol Good luck with all your goals, writing and otherwise 🙂


    • If you -have- Scrivener already (or don’t mind downloading the trial), you may want to take the moment for it. The best part about it over Word (or Wordperfect) is how you can have your research there with you while you’re writing. I haven’t tried yWriter, but I imagine it’s good too.

      Thanks for the welcome, and good luck on your ROW too.


  9. Yes, dance and have fun and write, write, write. Like the positive attitude. I have scrivener and will eventually start using it. 🙂 Love your goals. Look forward to watching your progress.


    • Thanks! I’ve fallen “somewhat short” of some (the gym one mostly :-\), but that’s what check-ins are for…to help inspire “better next time”. Will be checking in at the Linky soon. See you there.


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