Category Archives: Analysis

Interrupting the ROW and Re-immersion

Another late ROW80 check-in.  I’m okay with that.  Life has been–well,  I’m tired…. tired of teeth that break near weekly; tired of the accompanying needles, the lost time, and appointment after appointment with my dentist.

I like my dentist.  He’s a nice guy, and seeing him three or four times a year would not bother me in the least.  But it’s over an hour drive to his office from home*, and the commute can get a bit overwhelming when it’s so frequent.

So I’m all out of whack.  My check-in is late.  A bunch of bills are late too**. It’s not a money issue, but rather one concerning that other more rare and precious currency…  time.

I need a Personal Assistant. :-/

The minutiae of this check in involve word counts, projects and personal discoveries.  What have I done since my Facebook Mini-check-in on Sunday….

Words Words Words (36/365)

Words Words Words

ROW80 in depth

Words Words Words

I’m squeaking by on my daily word count.  Squeaking by because I had increased it last week when I signed up for the February Challenge at  My actual wordcounts look weird when I see my progress charts because I’ve typed little notes hither and thither and copying and pasting them into 750words when I finally get a chance.  It keeps me moving at least.  And napkin notes now have a better place than shredding at the bottom of my purse.

I’ve managed about 800 words a day on average since the first of the month.  It’s real progress, but now the writing needs focus.


Release has taken back seat lately.  It’s hard to concentrate on the story with so many other things demanding to be done.  I need some help too–I need a reader, as in someone to read the story out loud to me.  I tried putting some of the text into the demonstration version of  Natural Readers, but the Microsoft voices mess with my head.  The British accent works “okay” and matches the voice in my head, but I don’t feel comfortable spending that much money on the software.

Another editing project I’m involved in is copy-editing a fellow fantasy writer’s manuscript before she submits it to an editor for final review.  I’m not moving on it a fast as I would like, but I’d rather take a bit longer than miss something.

Personal Discovery–Spelling and Immersion

To me, the spelling is huge–I’m starting to spell words right that I used to spell wrong all the time.

The squiggly red line that appears as I type has been good to me.  I see the mistake, and I retype it, and more and more I am getting that retyped word right without any other help.   As someone who has never been a naturally good speller, it’s wonderful to have found a way to “see” the correct word in a way I never could see “spelling words” in school.

Perhaps the passion just wasn’t there then.  Spelling matters to me now.  I have things to say, and I want people to pay attention to what I write.  It’s pretty rude to ask this of  people without giving something in return.  I shouldn’t make it a challenge for people to read what I’ve written–not right away.  I will draw them in slowly with great characters and the harrowing situations they are caught in…

…then I can spring weird place names and story-world languages on them!

What?  “No” you say?  NO?  Oh, ye of little faith…  It’ll be fun!  I promise.

It can be fun–can’t it?  Doesn’t everyone love the way Tolkien created several languages for his stories, how the appendices in the Return of the King took almost half the book?



Deep under

Deep under

The geek in me loved those.  All of those little pieces and parts of the world that he didn’t place in the Silmarillion (which, imho, was just a bigger appendix for the Lord of the Rings, as was The Adventures of Tom Bombadil)…  well, I felt immersed.

And immersion as a personal necessity is something I’ve long suspected.  I love to be immersed.

Not just immersion in the mental sense, although that is sublime.  I love things that squeeze me, hold me in, surround me, swallow me…  Swimming deep under water with its weightless pressure…  Being held close or curled up with blankets mummy-wrapped about me…  Mmm!

I could probably give a psychiatrist a field day analyzing the reasons behind this, but I have done this from Day One.

Funny story as long as you aren’t my mother…

I was born nearly a month late (due on Thanksgiving, was born on Christmas), and Mom says she became a master at swaddling.  As a toddler, I loved being hugged so much that I would walk away with any adult that gave me one…  It didn’t matter who, or how many gray hairs it gave my mom.

Being a mother now myself, I can certainly see her concern.

I’m not writing this to say I’m special.  I’m just me, and this is part of who I am.  I’m starting to see and understand that person more.  And as part of last week’s post on revealing myself, I’m sharing this self-discovery with you.  Maybe it will help someone, maybe it’ll amuse if nothing more…  But it’s here, it’s me, and I think it’s pretty neat.

So, new week, similar directions…  and deeper discoveries.

Please visit some fellow ROWers and share some love…  Valentine’s Day is coming!

*he’s the dentist I had since high school, and though I’ve tried a few other dentists, I’ve had questionable experiences with most others

**though fortunately only by a few days

Photo credits:

  •  Words Words Words (36/365) (Photo credit: Photosynthesised)
  • Deep under (Photo credit: krystian_o)

Slush in Laptop-land

Process is a strange thing.  How we get things done…


Sunlight (Photo credit: zenera)

Do you wake up in the morning and pour your coffee before you can even think of opening your eyes?  Or are you one who needs to see the sun shine in your window at noon to know that it’s time to get moving on your day?

I’ve been slave to caffeine and the solar-powered alarm at various times in my life.  I’ve even had runs of being able to wake up in the dark of wintry pre-dawn and be able to just get about my day without any prodding from beyond.

I’ve never been one for consistency in my day-to-day schedule or habits, unless one wishes to call my inconsistency my habit.

For writing, however,  I am as close to being trapped in the process as any addict ever there was.  After years of playing tag, of cajoling the words on the page, throwing away more than 90% of what I did manage to get down, I discovered that one thing made it easier.  My process…

For me, everything starts with a notebook.  It must be spiral bound; I’ve never found myself able to compose in a so-called “Composition Notebook“.

It involves black ink pens.  My current favorites are Zebra brand 301(A and F) ball points.  I’ve had horrid luck with gel pens, and almost always end up tossing them out barely used.  A pity, because I love the colors.

The next part of the process moves my desktop computer where I will type in and expound on pretty much everything I wrote by hand.  It’s a matter of keyboard-love here.  The click of the keys, the shape and curve of them…  even the non-ergonomic height at which it sits upon my old-fashioned desk all work together to make things feel right for creating that perfect Draft1.5.

Board game Solitaire  | Solitär

Next thing I have to do is give our laser printer a workout.  I can edit some on screen, but for the serious hacking and slashing involved in getting my WiPs in any sense of order, I need to hold papers in my hand and not be lured into any viable distractions such as solitaire or Facebook…  or pictures from one of the Safe For Work Porn reddits.

Then, after much defacing of pages and many scrawled epitaphs later, I head off with my laptop to type in the changes (the exception here is if I have a lot of typing to do, as in new scenes or chapters, in which case I write those in another spiral notebook and type them in on my Desktop PC).  I love my laptop, but I hate most any touch pad “mouse”, and the keyboard layout is, well, cramped.  But its flaws actually allow me more time to focus on the changes I am making…

My laptop isn’t the end of the process–usually it’s just the beginning.  The average cycle usually follows this pattern: Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 4, 3, 1, 2, 1, 3, 4, 3, 4, and so on.

It works, for the most part.

Which, leads me to where I am in my ROW80 progress:

Things are actually going quite well.  I’ve swum in my slush for a bit lately, trying to recover a sense of direction.  And in doing so, I’ve found myself able to focus more and more of my attention on Release.

I’ve finished reading another book for my Goodreads Challenge.  I’m glad I read the book, although I’m not delighted that dreams about the characters helped keep me up last night as my brain tried to “fan fiction” a happier ending fr the characters.  I guess I’m a sucker for the “Happily Ever After”.

Strange that, since one of the things I’ve been working on carefully is “killing my darlings” in my editing periods.  I know I probably have a long way to go, but I am working it.  Tightening up my writing would be a good thing.

Anyway, I think I’ve made excellent progress since my last check-in.  I could have written more new writing, but then I always could have.  Life intervened, and I still got plenty done.

It was a good week.


Check out other ROW80 people here: at the linky

Reallife interventions…

Grape vines and snowIt recently occurred to me that I have a real life.

Well, okay…  the discover didn’t have recently; I just didn’t really pay much attention when Life’s Clue-By-Fours would give me a womp on the side of the skull (usually virtually) in hopes that I would start to pay better attention.  And, as always happens in disciplinary situations, I would scramble to deal with any paperwork, affairs, events, etc. that awaited me so that I might quickly escape back to my books, art and stories.

It’s only recently that I’ve discovered how to merge my lives (online, offline and story-based) into something cohesive.   Some of it has come from not having to make so many of these changes in mode on the schedules of others as much as I used to.  It’s incredibly difficult for people on the Autism Spectrum (even those with milder versions of Asperger’s) to move from one frame of thought to another, something I understood intuitively for years but never understood why.

Over the years I used something akin to multitasking where I would only half focus on any one thing at a time so that I could “deal” with those things that jumped in at inconvenient time.  The problem with this technique is of course that everything jumps in at an inconvenient time and that I never got the chance to truly become engrossed in anything that appealed to me.  Oh…  and almost nothing ever got finished.

In comes being a mom and trying to finish up some of the hundreds of half-finished projects that I’ve started over the years*…  I learned early on that I could not be half-focused on my son.  I also could not, for my sanity, be completely separated from my writing.  Everyone needs an outlet for their creative passions, and I tried to force all of my passion into writing at carefully allotted times such as when the Boodle would be napping or later when he was in school.  And that was…

Alley cat printsNow, thanks to my amazing husband, who works from home most of the time, and homeschooling (no more 2 hours of commute each day or administration-based “extras” to deal with), changing mental modes has become easier, not just for me, but for all of us.   We allow ourselves time to flow from task to task more than before.  We permit ourselves the occasional absences, even when in the same room.  And we have spaces to work on things where we’re able to shift gear more smoothly…  memo board, post-it notes, email reminders.

What does this have to do with a ROW80 check-in or anything else?  Not much really–I just realized this after I’d come into a bit of a goal slump that this week also had been one filled with a lot of external changes of focus.  Yes, many of these changes are things I need to deal with or are things I initiated (such as acquiring beta readers for Release), but they are changes nonetheless, and I haven’t fully internalized the processes I need to deal with them.

So I’m behind for this check-in.  There , I said it.  I am behind.  I did not get more than a few hundred words done on my 1,500 a week goal.  I did not visit as many blogs as I wanted (though I did at least reach my minimum).  Exercise and reading were both minimal but there.

I did spend a fair amount of time comparing versions of files from one computer to another and editing photos.

No complaints here–the week was what it was, and it held a nice mix of ups and downs.  It just wasn’t a good week for me to get things done.  I’m okay with that.  I’m also beginning to understand why things happen this way.

So now, let’s go visit some other ROWers, many of whom I’m sure have great news, some of whom are in the same fix as me and others who need some boosting up after real set-backs.

*These projects I do not wish to let slide, because I enjoy them.  I just never seem to have the time to delve into them the way my brain demands.  Some I’ve discussed here such as my drawing and my various stories.  I also have a blanket I’m crocheting, I used to do beadwork and make jewelry, and I’d love to learn painting, sewing and how to cook better.