Category Archives: journeys

Doing… and more doing

So… not only is his post for the ROW80 challenge long due, but it’s totally not the kind of said post I intended to make when I started this round. I had this great vision of a regular table of what goals I reached that I could just click off, updating a single post throughout the round. It was going to be great; the first step in streamlining these blogs and making them into something closer to my original purpose: a place to showcase and share my inspirations and creative work.

The best laid plans….

Some of this failure comes out of dealing badly with emotional stress. A lot comes from a realization that I don’t “do” streamlined well (though I am working on that regularly). Some also comes from what I’ve come to realize is a bit of a (possibly hereditary) compulsion to help others … a compulsion to say “Yes, I can do some of that!” whenever I get involved with a group, attend a function… visit a friend (ask anyone who knows me, I have a fondness for hot soapy water and a dish sponge).

Ready to be squeezed

June might be a very interesting week for me. Not only will there be the annual JuNoWriMo sprints to host, my present management of the ROW80 website, but… I decided I would raise my hand at the meeting the South Jersey Writers last Thursday when a call went out for some new board members. 😅

So, this post, while being a ROW80 check-in, really isn’t much about the goals I set at the beginning of this Rounds of Words; it’s more of how I am going to be challenging (and have recently challenged) myself as a ROWer

I won’t change my plans for June and beyond. I love my writing groups. But I took steps to not sign up for more sprints than I could. I’m setting limits on the things I feel I am capable of taking on for the SJWriters, and I won’t be signing up for a lot of extra activities in June itself (except for possibly helping host a table at the Burlington County Fook Festival on the 4th). I will even be making my (recently more frequent) trips to Upstate NY to be with family); this past winter was one of too many reminders that those connections, even at their most solid, are prone to being severed by chance and bad luck.

Not being prepared, whether making a recipe, or going into a challenge, can be messy

Mostly I’m slowing down, despite my obsessive volunteerism (which, IS a family thing… as my father’s obit shows, and like him, my mom, my uncles and aunts, my grandparents…), giving what I can. My goals from the beginning of the Round? Now over halfway through Round 2, I’ve forgotten what they were. Moreover, I care not to look. I know I have been accomplishing things:

  • Beta read two novels and sent back observations and notes to the authors
  • have written (not a lot, but a few thousand words of new story for Courting, as well as many notes and plans for future scenes
  • I’ve maintained the ROW80 blog
  • I’ve helped Mom declutter, as well as begun a bit of a decluttering process for my own home
  • I’ve developed something of a “green thumb” (pictures will be posted as part of my First Friday Photo June 3rd)
  • I’ve been also making a point to be involved in more in-person interactions; I’m finding (despite my need to back away often and just watch from the sidelines) that just being around creative and energized people returned creativity and energy back to me twofold
  • And… I even made cheese (though it didn’t quite come out as well as my first attempt)

So, no, not too worried about what those goals were. Note: I am not against goal setting; I just won’t punish myself for getting derailed or doing what I needed to get through the past 40 plus days. The ROW80 is the challenge that knows you have a life. after all

So, here’s a bit for the upcoming week:

  • I’m gathering photos for the next First Friday Photo bloghop (feel free to join in); last month I was joined by two ISWG members who shared super-inspiring posts: Rebecca Douglass and Janet Alcorn)
  • I’m preparing for the the next ISWG post on Wednesday the 7th (the monthly question is If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?)
  • Sunday I’m meeting with a fellow SJW board member for a cuppa and some brainstorming
  • Tuesday will be my usual Philadelphia morning Shut Up & Write session at the Bourse Food Hall (this is usually where I get my ROW80 posts done)
  • Thursday will be sprints for JuNoWriMo

Obviously this is just a bit of what will be happening. But it’s a good start, don’tcha think?

Another Hodge Podge

Beware Your Sacred Chaos

After I posted my Goals for Round 2 of the ROW80, I had intended to be a bit more prompt with my posts. Didn’t happen. I also really wanted to get involved this month in the ISWG ( I love the question of the month: When you’re working on a story, what inspires you? since inspiration is one of my beloved playgrounds). I also didn’t really want to miss another First Friday Photo signup post.

So this is a post of many things, a hodge-podge, if you will, though perhaps not in the Discordian sense as pictured on the right. Or… perhaps, it is in that vague sense of being and unbeing, of order and chaos.

First, a quick ROW80 update:

I’ve accomplished nothing in any of my stated goals unless typing in notes made for critiques and beta reads I’ve done for others counts toward my three pages a week in Goal #1 and all those handwritten notes count a new words for Goal #2. I did accomplish finishing a beta read, doing critiques for others in my local writing group (and submitting my own work to the same ), as well as maintaining the ROW80 blog.

It’s progress. Not the progress I’d intended, but real forward momentum at a point where I felt without energy or purpose. So a good thing.

ISWG post:

When working on a story, what inspires me?

Oh, the thinks I could think (to paraphrase Ted Giesel)… It’s rarely a situation of what inspires me but more of a “what doesn’t inspire a subplot or a new character or tangent in a story?” situation. Ideas and possibilities seem limitless (I truly never understood the people who guarded their ideas as if they were rare treasures that could be lost of stolen at any moment); the discipline and focus to put those ideas and inspirations into words that not only make some kind of logistical sense but also appeal to others is the challenge.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. A simple Google Search for “Is it harder to focus these days” brings up a multitude of responses that agree, “Yes, it is harder”.

Harder isn’t impossible, but it is… well, harder. And when too many things get hard, it’s easy to let things slide in favor of dealing with emergencies and basic necessities. I don’t know how many of us would actually count our writing (or other creative endeavors) as things we need to do more than manage to survive no matter how much we tell ourselves that these are priorities in our lives. (Once in my more ignorant youth, I thought I might tell my employers that writing was life and I had to prioritize it over the posted schedule… that word vomit from the original NaNos didn’t pay the rent nor serve up anything for the tummy. When my newborn wanted to be nursed, changed, held… the fact that I really needed to write and create live with the characters talking in my head didn’t matter to him in the least. Yep… The characters were told they needed to wait their turn.)

So again, harder isn’t impossible, but it does mean that inspiration might not be the thing that “inspires” me when working on a story.

If I wish to probe a bit closer, it’s possible to identify certain points where I seek out inspiring elements to get past blocks or to refine my focus (somewhat), I may use songs (I have a certain set that I overplay either to suit a mood or a perception of a character that I want to explore). Sometimes I go for a walk (I love to go to the beach or walk through woods… especially woods where I might find old stone walls and foundations of long abandoned buildings. Taking a moment to see what came before me and wonder what inspired those creators…. that is inspiring.

Which brings me to my last intention for this post….

Signup for the First Friday Photo

For the last few years I’ve played with this bloghop. I really would like it to become something regular (even if I’m a bit inconsistent myself). I call it the First Friday Photo because the posts should go live the first Friday of each month and they should include a photo. Anything else, such as explanations about the image or even other images, are to the poster’s preference. I tend to write detailed posts, but they aren’t required of anyone. I just love talking about my pictures.

So if you’d like to join me in sharing a bit of inspiration and a picture or two, please share your link at the blue froggie below (technically you can post the links to go live on Friday or before):

R2 2023 — Hmmm, Goals?

It’s time for another Round of Words in 80 Days “Goal Post” (and since the round started last week, a bit of a mini check-in). I’m jumping in a bit late into the game, but I needed to give myself a real break for a bit. Some catharsis…. we planted a tree, and I bought some tea (well, some Camilla bushes actually—so pretty!).

Catharsis wasn’t my only holdup. Some of my delay revolved around how to do what our founder Kait Nolan said in our recent ROW80 inspirational post Make Good Choices and aim for a ROWnd where I don’t have to readjust my goals or accept that I “failed (momentarily)” at a number of goals. I even knowing that Life Happens, too many little setbacks have a way of depleting one’s inner strength.

I know I can’t adjust for everything Life might toss at me, but I can think about where my priorities lie and try to plan accordingly. There will be setbacks of some kind. There always are some (although I hope few of you have anything too dire to deal with these next 80 days or for long after that either).

My Round 2 Goals are as follows:

  1. Type in and edit three pages a week of old story
  2. Net total of 5k new words a week
  3. Maintain the ROW80 blog
  4. Help Mom clear out Dad’s old computer collection (yes, it does qualify as a collection… there are Commodore VIC20s in there somewhere)
  5. Get back to posting snippets for Weekend Writing Warriors and doing a monthly First Friday Photo on my name blog

That’s enough. And as a check-in goes…. not much has happened. Mostly achieved progress on #3, but last week we helped with #4 somewhat… like everything, it’s a Work In Progress.