Monthly Archives: April 2016

A Mind is a Terrible Thing

It does things like…  squirrel!

Squirrels even distract rabbits

Seriously though… I’m in a bit of a flump today. No ambition, no desire to “get things done”.  It could be that it is absolutely gorgeous outside and the very idea of staying in to write a ROW80 check-in irks me.

And it is gorgeous outside.

Unfortunately, it is Sunday, and that means it’s time to review my progress for the past week.  What an awesome week this has been!

I mean, look at this progress:

  • Goal: working through three chapters weekly of James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure (including exercises)
  • Progress: detoured progress here in the form of three hours working on developing my antagonists.  One thing I love about all my characters is that they aren’t good or evil but just people trying to get through their lives as best they know how.  That doesn’t mean they’re all nice people; one of my main protagonists goes through half the book intent on killing another of my protagonists.  Another of my ‘big three’, goes out of her way to see her beloved mentor gets brutally murdered.  I call them my protagonists, but it’s really just a matter of perspective…  right?
  • I’ve also started reading Syd Field’s highly recommended book Screenplay, mostly because it’s a library book, and I have a time limit for that where I don’t with Bell’s book.
  • Great Link to follow: How to build a Villain by Jim Butcher
  • Goal: catching up in my local critique group (including submitting something this week)
  • Progress: group is on hold for the month of April; however, I have opened up one of the pending files in my inbox to start critiquing it
  • Goal: typing two pages a day of old notebooks in
  • Progress: on track, despite having been slightly behind Wednesday
  • Goal: (VIG) Write new words daily! (the Five Sentences thingie)
  • Progress: Most days, the words have flowed fast and furious. Averaging my daily new story words, it seems I’m getting 1,134 words of new rough (very rough) draft story.  In addition, I’ve been filling up One Note and my Notes feature on my iPhone with all sorts of cool possibilities.  New ideas are definitely not one of my writing problems.

ROW80LogocopySo, it seems like I’m finding my rhythm again, and I’m having lots of fun with my characters.  Each extra moment I’ve spent with them has presented so many precious insights.  Sometimes silly, sometimes sweet things: like knowing that ‘Listii refuses to kill doe rabbits if he knows they’re nursing young, or that Vissellii has been a wallflower (not of her choice) at every festival or society dance she’s ever been to.

Final tally…  a pretty close to perfect week.  I’m feeling it now, however.  No energy.  Absolutely none…  So before I push myself to the next step, which is to add back in one of my beloved blog hops such as WeWriWa (Weekend Writing Warriors) or the Wednesday WIPpet, I’m going to maintain this pace without added commitments.  If I’m inspired by posting time for one of the challenges and I’ve gotten all my critiques for my local group finished and posted, then sure…  I may go for it.  But these goals are my first writing priority.

And at this point, my mind is saying “Don’t even think it.”  😦

Now that you’re done here, how about you give some love to our other great ROWers.

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Checking In

It’s another Wednesday.  It’s time for another ROW80 check-in (below for those who are in a hurry)

Wednesdays always seem to be the hardest days of the week for me.  I know people who love them and look forward to them with eagerness reserved for chocolate and steamy sex-scenes.

Maybe it’s because I don’t work the stereotypical 9-5 workday, but from my forays into that world, I don’t remember looking forward to weekends with any undue zeal then.  When I did, it was more because my then-boyfriend and I finally had time together.  When we started sharing an apartment, even that fascination shifted.

There were, of course, the uniquely weekend related activities such as hikes and festivals, and I do still look forward to those when we partake.  Lately, life has been unkind to our family free-time.  It seems like the only time life seems to make sense, the only time when I feel productive and able to think, these days is during the “business week”.

Awkward transitions

Awkward transitions

Weekends are full of changes, full of unpredictability.  I crave the pattern of weekdays…  even when I dread it and dream of something more exciting.

I love adventure.  I really do.  But it’s the shift in focus that trips me up.  Give me weeks without structure and I will find balance between productivity and fun.  Likewise, confine me in a rigid format of expectations, I will do the same.

Two days off just doesn’t work for me.

And…  neither, it seems, does it work for my son.  Which is why this Wednesday is extra hard.  We’re having a lot of school issues these days.  He wants to be in school, craves the contact with other kids…  but he’s not able to function in their limits.  And with him no longer with us daily as he was when I was homeschooling him or when I was teaching or volunteering at his school, time together on weekends takes on that precious “can’t wait for it to arrive” flavor…

Even though none of us here seem to handle the shift well.

And in the tradition of a crappy transition…  here is my:

ROW80LogocopyROW80 Check-in

Since Sunday, things have stayed pretty much the same. Probably don’t need to reiterate my goals in every post. Here’s a breakdown:

  • I found time the last two days to do some work on story structure (though not from Bell’s book).
  • No submissions or critique done yet; penciled in for tomorrow
  • I’m a half-page short of my 2 page goal a day goal
  • But so, so many new words… Those 5 sentences a day have totaled another 5K since Sunday just in story (and mini-scenes)
  • I also finished my sponsor post and sent it out this morning.

I can’t complain (who’d believe me if I did?  This is great progress!)

I’ve also finished another book in my book pile, now replaced by The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi and Screenplay by Syd Field.  And still plugging away at my Duolingo.  Stubbornness if nothing else keeps me doing that.  Still it’s something.

So…  that’s pretty much it for me.  If you want to checkout other ROWers, you can find them here.

All’s Well That…

Well, I can’t say “all ends well”.   Well is a wishy-washy word anyway.

Cafe Office

Cafe Office

So it good, the phrase “I’ve made real progress” (that real gives it extra wishy-washy power, I tell you), and a few other words and phrases that I don’t feel like typing in now (*shrugs* I may need to use them later 😉  )

So, how about I just play with some specifics for this ROW80 check-in?

My goals this round are:

  1. working through three chapters weekly of James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure (including exercises)
  2. catching up in my local critique group (including submitting something this week)
  3. typing two pages a day of old notebooks in
  4. (VIG) Write new words daily! (the Five Sentences)

MAIN GOAL: Assess progress weekly and add more projects as needed.

So what does this mean in real numbers?

  1. I did one chapter; I should have taken into account that the exercises were likely to get more involved as I went along, and that as a new project, I might need to finish a few other projects first.
  2. I did nothing there; the group is in something of a hiatus for the April CampNaNoWriMo.
  3.  Overachiever here…  Since last Monday, I’ve typed in 43 pages of old story, two pages of gathered notes from recent book research, and two more pages of notes for my (now late) ROW80 sponsor post; obviously, with that kind of typing count (I’m a mediocre typist who manages at best between 38-55wpm according to 750words.com), I have time to redirect to my other goals
  4. Got this one in the bag too!  Even though I only added this goal on Wednesday, I found myself rapidly making up for lost time the rest of this week.  My weekly new word count is a bit over 4K (okay, 4031!)  Unfortunately this includes more than story words, as I’ve fought with four possible drafts ideas for my sponsor post.  Still…  new writing is new writing.

ROW80LogocopyIn the grand assessment, I see where I can afford to redirect energy.  I don’t need to spend so much time typing in old stories and notes.  If I dedicate half to Plot & Structure every other day and then use the off days for writing group, I’ll be able to let projects simmer just about the right about to meet those goals no problem.

And now for a few “extras”:

Though it wasn’t in my goals list, I’ve also managed to get a fair amount of reading done this week.  I hesitate to set this as a goal,  not that I expect my reading list to dwindle in any way.  But so far I have:

Already I am grabbing the rare ten minute to luck half-hour sprints here and there where I can.  I have a lot of reading I want to get done.  So no cuts there, but I’d like to add a touch more fiction to my list.  Yesterday at the meeting of the local chapter of the RWA, I got a few suggestions to add to my reading list.  Will be checking those out soon.

And another goal/not-goal…  I’ve achieved 98 days of French and German on Duolingo.  I’ve missed a week of Russian and Spanish.   Doing all four languages daily was getting to be too much, so….  balance.  I have to find a balance here yet too.

Until then…  one of the few things I can write in Russian: Досвидания!

You can find more ROWers here!