Saturday, June 30, 2012

The June WriMos Wrap Up

Camp NaNoWriMmo 2012
Well I did not do nearly as well as I'd hoped when I signed up.  Life, as I said before, threw curve balls.  Starting with getting home a week later than anticipated.

So it was fairly amazing I got any word count at all.  And technically I'm not sure all of what I'm counting qualifies since most of it isn't scene work.  I counted every note and notation I made on the notepad I used for the story dreaming w/notepad handy ROW80 goal and every notation I made in the fiction files as I fiddled with them.  A lot of that was character sketches and timeline/event notes.
JuNoWriMo 2012

But I've been told that I'm too much of a stickler about what counts as word count and thus by some lights I may be undercounting.

I guess the point is that I did write in my fiction files.  I did dream in my story world with writing implements at hand and I did so habitually.

I'm going to participate in the August Camp NaNoWriMo and hope to make the 50 as I've done regularly in November for half a decade.

ROW80 round 3 for the year and my first full round begins on Monday.  My goals for it are in yesterday's post.  I did not put word count as a stated goal yet but will probably add it around the first of August.

Read more...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: ROW80 Round 3 Intent & Goals

A Round of Words in 80 Days
The writing challenge that knows you have a life
The third round of the year starts Monday when there will be an official 'state your goals' post at the hub. The first check-in will be on Wednesday. This week we are to state our intent to participate by dropping our link at the ROW80 hub in the linky at this post.

You can if you like go ahead and create your goals post and link to it both now and on Monday.

I'm going to make this my goals post but not link to it at the hub until Monday.

My goals will be very similar to what they were in Round 2 which I joined half-way through.  And like last time I will continue to copy/paste the goals list with new commentary for each check-in.  But I am going to strip the goal list from the last round of nearly all of the commentary added during the round leaving only what effects the new goals.  I will also be adding some new goals.

LESSONS LEARNED LAST ROUND:

Miracles seem to happen when attention is paid to something.

Attention =Attend = serving as well as being in service to


Changing habits in just one area has ripple effects across all other habits.  It is powerful and empowering to realize that if you just take small steps in the right direction BIG things start to happen.


THE GOALS:

1. Choose 1 of the finished short stories to be the first ebook to publish on Smashwords or Amazon and prep it for take off by the end of June August:

  • revision
  • line edit
  • format
  • convert  

___[Blow Me a Candy Kiss  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;] -  
05-12-2012 Yes on choosing the title.  This story is set in my Fruits of the Spirit story world and aspires to be literary.  It has elements of romance in it but that is not the primary focus since the couple involved are already married.  The focus is on loss and grief over infertility and the death of a child/sibling.  Aprox 6000 words.

___Still have not started re-reading it.  It's been over a month since I set this goal and prioritized it at the top of the four goals as I began the last round and yet I've still not started re-reading it.  That looks a lot like the RESISTANCE discussed in Pressfield's War of Art.  So I'm tempted to explore that but I sense Pressfield would call that RESISTANCE too--just another way to avoid DOING.  Besides, according to Pressfield, RESISTANCE is always about fear.  What more do I need to know?  At least before I begin.

Decided early in the last round I needed fresh eyes so set new goal:

Find beta readers outside of current circle of close family and friends.
___Not yet accomplished.  I confess I'm not sure how to go about finding/asking for beta readers


My sister Jamie and my Mom both re-read Candy Kiss while I was at my mom's in May and Mom read my entire portfolio of hard copy stories and snippets and poems.  But that isn't what I need at this point.

The binder Mom read which I call my portfolio contains all of my complete short stories and a number of scenes pulled out of WIP that I deemed worth wasting ink and paper on. There is another attitude steeped in my pesky perfectionism that I need to change and I would have put printing hard copy of all my WIP including the NaNo Novels on this goal list except that my printer is not working.



Camp NaNoWriMmo 2012

___ I intend to join the August Camp NaNoWriMo


WriMos Word Count:___


The Time Investment Goals:


2. [New Goal for Round 3] Return to some form of free writing exercise like doodling, morning pages or journaling for 30 minutes daily. A practice I once had that fell away when I began daily blogging which I confess is no substitute and if I cannot keep the very personal free write/journaling up in tandem with daily blogging then the blogging needs to give.  The purpose of this free writing is to develop playfulness analogous to a jazz musicians playfulness with musical tools, vocabulary and grammar.  I've been reading Imagine: How Creativity Works by  Jonah Lehrer which reminded me of the importance of play in creativity.


3. [New Goal for Round 3] MOVE!! 15 minute per day minimum: walk, mini-tramp, pace the house with weights on legs, exercise ball, exercise elastic bands, dance/sway to music.  ANYTHING counts as I've gotten so sedentary which I've re-learned recently has very negative impact on creativity and energy.  It doesn't have to be VIGOROUS yet.  Maybe later after the daily habit is established I'll add that requirement for 3 days per week and up the 15 minutes to 30.


4. Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book or quality web article on Writing or Publishing or work habit/organization from my ever growing TBR of books and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on those subjects.  Will compile list for future updates.  (hmm no list yet)
  



5. Spend 30 minutes or more per day daydreaming in the story world with pencil and pad at hand

This was the habit that really took during the last round and yielded astonishing things.  Late in the round I added a new goal related to this one: to develop the habit of keeping the note taking implements with me at all times because as the habit of dreaming the stories developed it didn't always confine itself to when I was near my netbook or crochet where the means to record them were available.  Developing the means is a bit tricky for some cases but I'm working on it.

6. Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the tasks in the list below:

[as the round progresses check-in updates will accumulate in this spot which will push the list itself down]




  • Input any material from the daydreaming session into it's appropriate file or task list.  ___  this is a developing habit begun during last round
  • Clean up the Fruit of the Spirit storyworld worksheet.  ___  this is where most of the dabbling for last round occurred.   
  • Create a master task list in FOS story world worksheet file and add any actionable task that comes to mind while working with the files: research and fact check, character development, scenes needed etc.  Future goals can be taken from this list.  ___ the master task list was created soon after I started the last round but using it is a developing habit  
  • Create topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet file for every character from every existing story and novel finished or in progress that is set in this story world. Add any of the characters known life events to the master timeline. ___ have added a few and added info to existing ones as well. Much of my file dabbling occurred in these character notes
  • New task --06-11-2012 : collect character info for all the Faye's Strays from out of all the stories and files they are scattered through into it's own section in the FOS worksheet file.   ___ this is where the work mentioned in the line above was happening during last round
  • Re-read the incomplete short story Home Is Where the Horror Is and consider returning to work on it with an eye toward finishing it this summer.  This is one of the Faye's Strays stories so work on it will count toward the WriMos word count.   ___ have not reread nor written new scenes yet but have jotted many ideas for the the missing scenes, did some new character sketch work some of which I may count towards the WriMos which end tomorrow
  • Do a line edit of all of the completed short stories
  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss
  • How Does Your Garden Grow
  • Running In Circles
  • Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities
  • Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes
  • During the line edits consider whether any significant revision is still needed--scenes to add or delete, rearrange or rewrite; timeline issues, facts to confirm or to change--and create an actionable task topic in the file.   ___ am using the master task list in the storyworld file mentioned above and then linking to the appropriate story file.  This is what I love about WhizFolders as my story writing ap.
  • Choose 10 POV level characters from FOS and write a first person rambling monologue for them. 
  • Write fresh scenes whenever a spark is lit by any of the work on this list or the daydreaming or reading.
  • Clean up the 8 NaNo novel files: quarantine the mess, create work space for new writing, and create a system for  storing the material salvaged from the mess in such a way as it can be found when needed. i.e. linking it to appropriate topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet.
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011
  • Read and notate the scene text of the 8 NaNo novel files 
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009 
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006 
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005 
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011 
Some of the work of these last two tasks can be done concurrently so I was tempted to collapse them under one task and have just one list of the WIP but they are very different tasks when you look close with this last one being more about the writing and the other about information organizing and story outlining.  I could conceivably do the work of one task with one novel while doing the work of the other with a different one.  The two tasks require different frames of mind.

Read more...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Web Wrangled and Browser Bullied

ai doan alwaz mess wif teh webz
but wen ai do all teh spidybots deh runz an hydz 



This has been another one of those days!

I woke this afternoon to the news that we had no internet.

The connection we've been using since March has been our landlord's next door via wifi but the wifi he was using wasn't his but a guest's who moved out this week.

Ed was going to give him the wifi box we bought in 2009 for my six month stay at my mom's after her stroke which we didn't need after all so the brand new wifi had sat in its box on a shelf since then.  But we couldn't find it.  We spend hours and hours between us on Tuesday and Wednesday looking for it but it is playing hide-and-go-seek with us like several other things since our move in December.

Like my library card for example.

So Ed bought a new one.  But apparently it wasn't the right one.  So our landlord exchanged it for the right one.  But he didn't get the thing working until after 11pm.  Ed had to go to bed at 7 as he'd been awake since 4am.  So the landlord brought the password over to me at about 11:05 and two minutes later I was logged in to Blogger and setting up a draft.

But I had a bunch of other things I wanted to do before I started writing the post--checking email, fb and chatting with my sis.  Well we played Word with Friends rather than chat.

Anyway by the time I got back to the post the browser was apparently done being cooperative and would not let me do anything and kept giving me the option of 'kill page' or 'wait' and because I had the draft open and was not sure if I'd saved it after setting the time stamp I did not want to 'kill page' so I waited....and waited.....and waited.............and waited.

I tried to load Blogger in a separate tab to check on the draft in the 'all posts' menu where I could see it's timestamp but that page would not load either. Neither would the dashboard.  So I decided to Google if Blogger was down but altho the Google home loaded it would not perform a search.  Which indicated to me the problem was with the browser.

I finally gave up and shut the browser down entirely and waited five minutes before bringing it back.  At that point Blogger loaded fine and my draft was there with time stamp intact.  If only I'd done that an hour ago as now Ed is going to be up any minute and taking over the bandwidth for his game until he has to leave for work.

And I'll of course be tempted to wait until he leaves so I can get back on to do something fun like stream a video which will mean I'll still be awake after the sun lights up the bedroom which will make sleeping at all problematic.

Yep.  Ed's up.  It is after 4am--Friday.

So for the next two hours I can't do anything more bandwidth intensive than email.  But I do have some of that to tend to since I didn't get to Thursday afternoon.  And there are ebooks to read, news pods (already downloaded) to watch, my fiction files to fiddle with, book reviews to write....

And I could go to bed.  I should go to bed.

But I probably won't.

Read more...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora Ephron 1941-2012 [Quotes]

Nora Ephron 2010


One of my writer heroines died today.  Nora Ephron was 71.  We'll miss you Nora.

I got this news on the same day I learned that Script Frenzy, the April event sponsored by the same organization that created NaNoWriMo, is being eliminated due to lack of funding.  It was my efforts to learn the craft of screenwriting while participating in Script Frenzy the last four Aprils that brought Nora Ephron to my attention so it was quite unnerving to learn of the demise of both Nora and Script Frenzy withing the same hour.

Some Nora Ephron quotes on reading and writing:

"I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are."

"To state the obvious, romantic comedies have to be funny and they have to be romantic. But one of the most important things, for me anyway, is that they be about two strong people finding their way to love."

"My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next."

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."— '96 Wellesley commencement address

Read more...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

The End of Everything
by Megan Abbott

As I said in yesterday's It's Monday! What are You Reading post:


Then yesterday I started reading The End of Everything by Megan Abbott and it took over my life.  Let me suggest that starting a book that features a missing child is not a recommended bedtime activity.
To call this a story about a missing child tho is quite misleading.  It is much more.  With its 13 year old narrator it has all the earmarks of a coming of age story but I'm not quite sure it is that or at least not only that.  It is like reading a dream.


Well the intensity did not let up.  The use of language, image and metaphor is as lyrical and enfolded as the best poetry so I'm sure this will reveal more of itself the more often it is read.

I am more inclined to classify it wholeheartedly as a coming of age story now but I would apply the YA to it with reservations for any child under 15.  But then maybe that is because I am thinking of the 13 year old I was in the 1970s.  This story is about the loss of innocence and I can see how it might help a traumatized or too world-wise 12 or 13 year old process but at 13, even 15 this story would have taken my innocence.

It seems to be a meditation on the Freudian Electra complex--the tendency of the young female psyche to be fixated on the father figure(s) in her life and sometime confuse what she feels for them with the feelings she is developing for the young men she is free to have 'romantic' feelings for.

[umm.  hmm. This might explain my intense infatuation with Captain Kirk between 11 and 14.  I guess that was safer than if my focus had turned to someone in my life.  But that's another post entirely.]

Lizzie is the 13 year old narrator and it is her best friend, Evie, who goes missing too coincidentally with the disappearance of a local businessman who lives a few blocks away in the suburb in which Lizzie and Evie grew up across the street from each other nearly as tight as twins--even dressing identically at times.

Lizzie's parents have split and her contact with her own father is mostly by awkward long distance phone calls.  Evie's Dad has taken on some of the father-figure role with her by default.  Evie has a sister, Dusty, three years older whom the girls both worship and fear and, especially Evie, hold fierce rivalry issues with.  Dusty has a very close daddy's girl relationship with her father that Evie seems to resent.

But after Evie disappears both Dusty and their mother withdraw to their rooms in their grief leaving the distraught father alone with his terror and grief.  Lizzie seeing him alone in his yard will cross the street to join him and they spend hours and hours together on the patio, the curb or the downstairs rec room as her feelings for him get more and more confused and intense.  He seems oblivious to this....

If I say any more along those lines it will be in spoiler territory.

Meanwhile there are echoes of the same Electra complex in the relationship of Evie with the businessman who might have snatched her.  Mr Shaw was their family insurance agent who was often at their home and in hindsight Lizzie had seen evidence that he couldn't keep his eyes off Evie and that maybe Evie was even flirting with him. And once Evie had shown her a bunch of cigarette stubs under a pear tree in their back yard from where anyone standing could see into her upstairs bedroom. She not only did not seem upset by the idea but conspiratorially  pleased.

It wasn't until after Evie was gone that Lizzie connected those two things along with the sighting the two girls had had of a car like Mr Shaw's driving past them twice outside the school just before Lizzie's Mom picked her up to go 8th grade graduation dress shopping the day Evie and Mr Shaw both went missing.

Again, heading into spoiler territory.  So I think I'll just bow out now.

Read more...

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Share what you (are, have been, are about to, hope to be) reading or reviewing this week. Sign Mr Linky at Book Journey and visit other Monday reading roundups.

Last week I signed up for Bookjourney's Read-a-Long for Daphne du Mauier's Rebecca and began reading it in ebook.  And I have continued reading the book I was reading aloud to my Mom while staying there: At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon.  

I arrived home a week ago yesterday and of all the catching up I needed to do at that time--housework, sleeping, writing, unpacking, loved ones, etc--reading was highest on my list over everything but writing and loved ones but sleeping took the upper hand for most of the week.

Yet I did read quite a bit.

Besides those two novels which I will continue to read over the next week or three I also returned to the several non-fiction books I've had going for some time: 


The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
Get Your Loved One Sober by Robert Meyers
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher

But my main focus was to finish reading and post a review for Joshua Henkin's The World Without You for the week it is scheduled to be released.  I was really looking forward to this one as I loved his Matrimony. It met my expectations and then some.

Then yesterday I started reading The End of Everything by Megan Abbott and it took over my life.  Let me suggest that starting a book that features a missing child is not a recommended bedtime activity.

To call this a story about a missing child tho is quite misleading.  It is much more.  With its 13 year old narrator it has all the earmarks of a coming of age story but I'm not quite sure it is that or at least not only that.  It is like reading a dream.

And this wasn't even one of the ten or so review copy books I still owe reviews for.  It was in my ebook library and I didn't recognize the title so I opened it.  At 5am.  Already two hours past my ideal bedtime.  Next thing I knew it was nearly noon.  That was yesterday.

When I woke up Ed was fixing dinner.  After dinner I opened a draft in Blogger for my Sunday Serenity post and intended to put together 'It's Monday!' immediately after so I could start blog hopping for that and the Literary Giveaway but started reading again and completely forgot to finish the post until I had closed the browser at 5am on my way to bed and got to thinking 'What was my SS post about now?'  


Then I smacked my forehead and reopened the browser. So at 7am I head to bed but I take my netbook with me and keep reading until after 9am.  And once again I'm waking to the sound of Ed's dinner prep in the kitchen.  Again I opened Blogger after dinner and opened a draft for 'It's Monday!' but here it is just after midnight and I'm reluctantly making myself put together this post.

Read more...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Serenity #291



Play--It's not just a child's prerogative 

The first several of the quotes on play below are from the guy in the video above


Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.
Stuart Brown, MD - Psychologist

Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.
Stuart Brown, MD - Psychologist

Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.
Stuart Brown, MD - Psychologist

Play allows us to develop alternatives to violence and despair; it helps us learn perseverance and gain optimism.
Stuart Brown MD - Psychologist

Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.
Abraham Maslow

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.
Carl Jung - Psychologist

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.
Henri Matisse - Artist

The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.
Brian Sutton-Smith - Folkorist

Ritual grew up in sacred play; poetry was born in play and nourished on play; music and dancing were pure play.... We have to conclude, therefore, that civilization is, in its earliest phases, played. It does not come from play...it arises in and as play, and never leaves it.
Johan Huizing - Historian

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw - Playwrite

A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him.
Pablo Neruda - Poet


Read more...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book Review: The World Without You by Joshua Henkin

The World Without You

by Joshua Henkin
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Publisher: Pantheon

[I read an ARC provided by the author]


This is the second Henkin novel I've read  Having read and reviewed Matrimony for him a couple years ago and enjoyed it immensely I was eager to read this one.  My expectations were high but they were met...and then some.

If this story was fiber art it would be a large tapestry depicting hundreds of scenes from an extended family's life in petite point with a pallet of several dozen colors and it would wrap around a moderate sized room giving one the cozy sense of being in the midst of the drama--almost a participant.  There were many moments when I felt sure that if I spoke Marilyn or one of her daughters would turn to listen and respond.

The focus of the story is a family reunion over a July 4th weekend in the family's Berkshire, New York vacation home. The three adult daughter's of Marilyn and David are all in their thirties and coming with significant other's and children (five total, all boys) from Washington DC, Israel and New York.  Also arriving from Berkeley, California is the wife and son of their son, a journalist, who had died on July 4th the year before while on assignment in Iraq and the centerpiece of this gathering is to be his memorial service.

On their first evening together Marilyn announces that she is leaving David which throws the already simmering tensions among the siblings and their significant others into a boil.  Every couple was already having serious issues of their own and two of the sisters can barely be civil to one another.  Now what they had depended on as the bedrock of their lives had become shifting sand in a matter of seconds.

Let the fireworks begin...

Publisher Blurb:


It’s July 4, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. But this is no ordinary holiday. The family has gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings, an intrepid journalist and adventurer who was killed on that day in 2004, while on assignment in Iraq.
The parents, Marilyn and David, are adrift in grief. Their forty-year marriage is falling apart. Clarissa, the eldest sibling and a former cello prodigy, has settled into an ambivalent domesticity and is struggling at age thirty-nine to become pregnant. Lily, a fiery-tempered lawyer and the family contrarian, is angry at everyone. And Noelle, whose teenage years were shadowed by promiscuity and school expulsions, has moved to Jerusalem and become a born-again Orthodox Jew. The last person to see Leo alive, Noelle has flown back for the memorial with her husband and four children, but she feels entirely out of place. And Thisbe —Leo’s widow and mother of their three-year-old son—has come from California bearing her own secret.
Set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, The World Without You is a novel about sibling rivalries and marital feuds, about volatile women and silent men, and, ultimately, about the true meaning of family.




What They're Saying:

"Rich, deep, funny, and wise, The World Without You is a sumptuous layer cake of a novel whose ordinary yet urgent dramas remind us that family is where it all begins. Henkin is a writer of voluminous heart, humanity, and talent."
--Julia Glass, author of The Widower's Tale
“Henkin imbues The World Without You with wisdom, humor, and a clear sense of history. This book is a triumph and an important novel about America."
--Yiyun Li, author of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl
"A keenly observant, compassionate novel....
--Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
"Could be ... a Chekhov play or a Woody Allen movie.... Masterful.... Explore[s] with subtlety and feeling the meaning of family."
--Marion Winik, Newsday
Henkin tenderly explores family dynamics in this novel about the ties that bind, and even lacerate.
--Publishers Weekly
“When conventionalists claim, 'They don't write novels like that anymore,' this is the sort of novel they mean....”
—Kirkus
"An immeasurably moving masterpiece that tracks the intricate threads connecting children to parents, sisters to brothers, wives to husbands. To say I 'cared' about these characters would be to hugely understate their consuming effect on me."
--Heidi Julavits, author of The Vanishers






Joshua Henkin is the author of the novels MATRIMONY, a New York Times Notable Book, and SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON, a Los Angeles Times Notable Book. His short stories have been published widely, cited for distinction in BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, and broadcast on NPR's "Selected Shorts." He lives in Brooklyn, NY, and directs the MFA program in Fiction Writing at Brooklyn College.

Read more...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop
June 23-27
hosted by Lesswammes
Once again a post slot I had reserved for the review of Joshua Henkin's The World Without You needs another topic.

What could be better than the announcement of a giveaway blog hop going from tomorrow thru next Wednesday.

It is hosted by  Lesswammes'  Blog and over sixty other book bloggers are participating with bookish prizes.  The rest of us get to hop along from blog to blog on the list at Lesswammes' and enter contests for books, gift certificates etc.

I discovered it via Sheila's Book Journey.  Where the list resides as well.

The theme is literary fiction and non-fiction.  And literary is definitely what Henkin's books are.

So this quick post gives me the rest of the evening/night to finish reading The World Without You and tomorrow afternoon/evening to write the review.

My reward will be to join the hop tomorrow night or Sunday.

We had some relief from the heat today.  It actually rained this afternoon.  So I don't have to wait until after midnight for the return of mental acuity.  I've actually made it through the entire day without restubbing that toe!  Things are looking up.

Read more...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

At a Loss

ai doan offn git lost but wen ai du iam gud und lost 



 Loss seems to be the theme of the day.

I'm at a loss for what to post because I'd reserved today's post for the review of Josh Henkin's The World Without You which is a story that is a meditation on loss as a family gathers for the one year anniversary of their brother/son/husband/father's death in Iraq and each member struggles with personal losses, chief among them marital harmony.

But I didn't finish the book yet.  As I lost too much time to a search for my lost library card which I haven't seen since our move the day after Christmas to the brain fogging effects of the heat, and to tending to a stubbed toe which is likely to loose it's nail which has lost its grip on its bed and keeps loosing its bandaid and starts bleeding again when I keep restubbing it usually on the cat who seems to think he's going to loose me again if he doesn't walk an inch in front of my toes.

And during the search for the library card I lost the LED light I was using to search the shelves under my desk and the boxes in the closet and lost an hour in looking for it without its help, finding it finally in a box on the back edge of the shelf under my desk.  (the 'desk' being a board across two bookshelves turned to face each other)

And while tending to my toenail I lost more time in a search the anti-bacterial salve that was nowhere to be found and I could not remember having seen it since the move either.

And to add insult to injury I've lost hours--the entire night actually--while working on this post to a bratty browser that kept freezing me out, to a mysterious download and to several brief losses of internet connection.  And now it is nearly

Of all the losses tho the one that has me the most anxious is the library card as between the move and Xmas prep in December and the several months stay at my Mom's between then and now I've not been able to send for any of the dozens of books I've got bookmarks in for six months.  I'm going to loose my memory of what's what and have to start most of them over.dawn.

Now Ed is up and brewing his coffee.  The birds are singing and I've got to decide whether I'd get more use out of these cool hours by reading, writing, crocheting or sorting boxes and bags from the move and the trip hoping to find the library card, the anti=bacterial salve and the numerous other things I've lost track of during the move or the trips to Mom's

Or would I do better by catching up on all the lost sleep before the bedroom looses its cool and sense of identity and begins practicing its imitation of an oven.

Read more...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dreaming of a Rainbow Whirlpool

Rainbow Whirlpool  Refresh Yourself


Today was hard.  The letdown after the trip plus the sleep deprivation plus the return of the heat today added up to a big blah.

My feet are swollen. My eyes burn. My brain is mush. I'm drowsy but I can't sleep.  My pinky toe still throbs from smashing it on a chair leg my first night home. That raised a blood blister and popped it in one fell swoop.

That's not why I can't sleep tho.  I just can't stop thinking of all the things I need and want to do now that I'm home.  But every task I start gets about five minutes of attention before something reminds me of another task that maybe should take priority or I'm interrupted by someone or something outside of my own mind.

Also contributing to not sleeping is the noise inside my ears.  One ear sounds like it contains the North Wind and the Arctic Ocean surf while the other sounds like a chorus of car alarms that won't quit or the horn section of an orchestra tuning up for the symphony.  This has been going on for weeks.

It's supposed to be hotter tomorrow.  99F.  *shudder*   No AC!!!

I did not intend to have myself a pity party post.

It is after midnight now and finally starting to cool off enough I'm starting to feel a bit more ambitious.  I think I'll get back to reading The World Without You by Joshua Henkin.  My review is past due.  :(

Read more...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

12th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
The writing challenge that knows you have a life
If this looks like the same one you saw last check-in--it's not, quite. I have copy/pasted the goal list each time from the most recent check-in going back to the original  post of intent.  Tweaking each time as well as crossing off finished goals and adding new ones. If you want to see the way it has morphed since the beginning you can use the ROW80 label.

___06-19-2012 --  Life stepped all over it with muddy paws since Saturday night when I was prepping the last checking.  Between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning I was prepping for the trip home from the five weeks at my Mom's and Sunday was the 7 hour trip, unloading the car and saying goodbye to my sister and hello to my husband and getting some of the stuff into its proper room.  All of that on 2.5 hours of sleep and being thrust into a muggy 88 degree afternoon with no AC from the AC in the car and the AC at Mom's that kept the house at 70.

At least Monday and Tuesday the temps here in Southern Oregon went back down to the low 80s/high 70s with breezes which made unpacking and catching up on sleep slightly better than bearable.  I finally got my office put back in usable shape this afternoon--crafts, notebooks, books and electronics all put away and set up and plugged in except for the fine tuning.

All fine and good.  BUT...

That pretty pattern I'd developed over the last several check-ins?  All those perky Ys on the goal list?  Nowhere to be seen this time.  It'll be all nasty, nervy Ns all the way.   So there is no need to scroll down to see the goal list if you saw it Sunday as there is nothing new to see.  Except those insufferable Ns.  No I did not spend 30 minutes a day reading on craft and work habits. No I did not spend thirty minutes a day with notebook at hand while daydreaming my storyworld.  No I did not spend 30 minutes per day tending to the fiction file task list.  No I did not do any line editing, any scene writing, any note jotting.

I can say I continued to daydream the story world but since the notebook was not at hand and wasn't even unpacked until this afternoon I can't claim a Y for that as I've always been able to daydream in the story world.  It was having the notebook at hand while doing so that was the crucial element in that goal.

I think maybe a solution to that problem would be some way of keeping the notebook on my person--in a pocket, around my neck, strapped to my arm--having it in my purse on the floor of the car between my feet meant it was out of reach once the seatbelt was fastened.  Note:  I did not have that problem with the crochet projects as I'd planned ahead packing them into little bags to hang off my wrist or a small box that set on the console between the passenger and driver's seats.

So.  New Goal:  Devise a similar solution for the storyworld note jotting as I have been perfecting for the crochet over the last three years.  Something that can be on my person as I move from room to room to porch to car to store to restaurant to...

Well.  I guess I can say I learned a valuable lesson that could mean progress going forward if I follow up on implementing a solution.

And so my first ROW80 ends.  And only half a one at that.  But even though there won't be ROW80 check-ins for a couple weeks I'm going to continue as if there were.  I don't want to let these new habits atrophy.  Besides I still have JuNoWriMo and June Camp NaNoWriMo which i signed up for when I thought I'd be home by the 10th.  And I have my 'room of my own' again..

___06-12-2012 --  There are still many things in my goal list that haven't been tended to yet and thus will be taken with me into the next round.  My tendency would be to dwell on that and shame myself for it but one of the things I've been trying to do is take to heart the ROW80 motto: the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

I'm thinking that one of the things most responsible for my having so many unfinished stories is my waiting for those large time blocks that can be devoted to writing and they seem to be getting more and more rare as time goes by.

So maybe one of the most beneficial things I could do for my writing would be to integrate it into the life I have and not wait for life to make room for it first.  NaNo is fun and all but I can't do NaNo every month and the messes I always make of my fiction files during NaNo contributes to the resistance that always follows so that it is several weeks to several months before I can face them again.

For the next round I am going to add that as a goal: Integrating writing tasks into the life I have

If that had been a goal for this round I believe I could report major progress on that front.  Even tho so many of the specific tasks I listed have not been tended to yet, one result of participating in ROW80 has been the creation of new habits of ATTENDING to my stories and writing.  The Ys marked beside the three main goals -- time devoted to dreaming the stories with notebook handy, reading craft and work-habits books and articles and organizing the messy fiction files -- have become more common than the Ns.  I do believe that is cause for celebration for it is not an insignificant development.

Even with the days since Wednesday's check-in having been devoted to those last minute tasks before my departure from Mom's and prep for the trip this weekend -- I began this post late Saturday night and it is after 1am Sunday and we are to hit the road at 10am -- in spite of that I have maintained the habits of jotting down my story thoughts and keeping the notebook handy for the purpose, reading about craft and work habit development, and dabbling in those messy files.  All of that is stimulating more ideas for both the stories and the work habit/organization aspect.

Also there is a ripple effect over the shape of my days as those tasks begin to establish themselves as habits

So overall I am quite pleased with the results of my first ROW80 which I started only 5.5 weeks ago.  I really anticipate that there will be actual word-count for the next round.  In fact I expect to get some word count this coming week after I'm back in my own home with a room of my own.  I did after all sign up for both JuNoWriMo and the June Camp NaNoWriMo when I thought I was going to be home by the 9th.  I thought I would be able to get some word count even while still here but that has been one thing I'm still have trouble integrating the story writing itself into the life I have on any given day.

I think I've figured out that it is the anticipation of being interrupted that freezes my mind when I attempt to move from note jotting to scene writing.  I think I read once that Jane Austen wrote all of her novels by hand while gathered with family and friends for afternoon or evening socializing.  I can't imagine writing while in a crowd and even one other person seems as good as a crowd to me.

Here at Mom's I share her room and bed and my workstation for reading, writing, computer and crafts is set up in the corner on my side of the bed.  It is a better arrangement than the one I had for the ten years, four months preceding last December 26 while sharing a tiny room with my husband and cat at his parents where there was no room for a chair so my workstation was the bed itself.

We moved into our own place the day after Xmas and I now have a room of my own for my workstation but I've only got to enjoy it 1.5 months out of the last 6 months and the 4 weeks of April was the largest block of time I had there.  I'm looking forward to having at lest 4 months at home now.  I may be back here by late October thru Thanksgiving.

___06-12-2012 --  am sensing a seismic shift on many levels after five weeks of this.  Contributing to this I believer are these things:

  • attending to my story world and aspects of writing has become integrated into my daily routines
  • updating this list twice a week forces me to remain conscious of what is and isn't being done and I shown me the importance of acknowledging what is being done more than chiding myself for what isn't as the feeling of success leads to more success while the chiding just depresses and de-energizes me leading to a turning away from the writing and related tasks.
  • belief that there are others besides myself who care whether any of this happens or not
THE GOALS:

Per the recommendation of two of my ROW80 commenters I rearranged the bulleted list of tasks under goal four to indicate priority.

1. Choose 1 of the finished short stories to be the first ebook to publish on Smashwords or Amazon and prep it for take off by the end of June (may need to push into July as life got in the way): any revision, line edit, format, convert.  
___[Blow Me a Candy Kiss  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;] -  
05-12-2012 Yes on choosing the title.  This story is set in my Fruits of the Spirit story world and aspires to be literary.  It has elements of romance in it but that is not the primary focus since the couple involved are already married.  The focus is on loss and grief over infertility and the death of a child/sibling.  Aprox 6000 words.

___06-16-2012  -- 06-19-2012 -- Still have not started re-reading it.  It's been over a month since I set this goal and prioritized it at the top of the four goals and yet I've still not started re-reading it.  That looks a lot like the RESISTANCE discussed in Pressfield's War of Art.  So I'm tempted to explore that but I sense Pressfield would call that RESISTANCE too--just another way to avoid DOING.  Besides, according to Pressfield, RESISTANCE is always about fear.  What more do I need to know?  At least before I begin.

Last week I had a blog tour review for The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Loftwood to post last Tuesday and then decided to join the read-a-long for Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier held by Sheila at Bookjourney which, since I don't want to give up book blogging I need to learn to integrate my writing around.  There was another blog tour the previous week as well as another read-a-long so those reading and writing commitments cut into the time for the writing tasks and yet I still managed to find the minimum 30 minute per day for each of the three time investment goals last week.

This week I need to finish and review Josh Henkin's The World Without You as this is the week it is releasing.

Decided after first week I needed fresh eyes so set new goal:

Find beta readers outside of current circle of close family and friends.
___06-19-2012 -- N I confess I'm not sure how to go about finding/asking for beta readers


My sister Jamie re-read Candy Kiss while she was here and my Mom has just finished reading my entire portfolio of hard copy manuscripts.  Some of those are re-reads for her like Candy Kiss.  But family and close friends is not what I had in mind when I set this goal.  I think I need eyes with more objectivity than that.

The binder Mom read which I call my portfolio contains all of my complete short stories and a number of scenes pulled out of WIP that I deemed worth wasting ink and paper on. There is another attitude steeped in my pesky perfectionism that I need to change and I would have put printing hard copy of all my WIP including the NaNo Novels on this round's goal list except that my printer is not working.





Camp NaNoWriMmo 2012

___06-01-2012 - New Goal or maybe just a tweak.  I have joined the June Camp NaNoWriMo


The novel I'm going to work on is more of a collection of shorts interwoven with a tie-in to The Substance of Things Hoped For which is Faye's POV story. The working title of the collection is Faye's Strays referring to all of the people Faye takes in over the course of her story.  Runaways, Teen mothers, homeless families, domestic violence victims, her own sister and sister-in-law etc.

Maybe in the end these stories need to be woven into Faye's novel.  That is an alternative I've considered.  But for now I will treat them as a separate entity.

Some of those stories are already written or begun and I won't include their current word count in the NaNo word count but I'm not even wanting to get concerned about word count anyway.  My main focus will be to shape the structure of the collection, continue writing Crystal's story and Reggie's story and start Hope's story, Brook's story, and Wilma's story or alternatively write their rambling monologues which is something I like to include in character portfolios and for the last several NaNos have included in word count as much of it often gets used in scenes.

JuNoWriMo 2012
___06-06-2012 - 'Nother new Goal  I have joined JuNoWriMo just today.  Working the same 'novel' for both.

This is all a bit vague and probably too much since I can't even hope to get serious until I get home the weekend of the 9th* and will probably be busy getting settled for a couple of days even then.

WriMos Word Count:___06-19-2012 --  No word count to report yet due life throwing curve balls.

*I'm still at my Mom's in Longivew WA as my sister was unable to able to make the round trip to Phoenix OR last weekend.  This is how my one month stay in January got extended to the end of March.  :(  I don't want to add to my sister's already over burdened week but I am so ready to be home.  I love my sister, my Mom and my nephew but I want my 'room of my own' at home in our new trailer which I've only spent 50 days in since we moved day after Xmas and only 37 of those consecutive.

I was counting on being home by the 10th and thus able to put undivided attention toward the WriMos word count to play catch-up.  But if that isn't going to happen I will have to rethink how I'm going to work it if I'm still here another week or more. 


___06-12-2012 --  as discussed above, I did not manage to integrate scene writing into the daily habits yet.


The Time Investment Goals:


2. Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book or quality web article on Writing or Publishing or work habit/organization from my ever growing TBR of books on writing and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on those subjects.  Will compile list for future updates.  (hmm no list yet)
  
___06-17-2012  - N
___06-18-2012  - N   
___06-19-2012  - N  


___06-19-2012  - Lost last week's momentum.  Must get it back.

___06-16-2012  - OK now that's more like it. :)  Read some writing blogs and web articles.  But the most helpful reading in this arena wasn't about writing per se but I'm counting it anyway as it is having a huge impact on how I'm thinking about my work habits and that is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  The gist of what I've gleaned so far is that to change a habit you must identify the habit loop consisting of a cue or trigger followed by a routine behavior followed by a reward/pay off and then replace the unwanted behavior with a new routine keeping the trigger and reward.  The tricky part is identifying the payoff.  An exciting point he makes is that there are keystone habits, habits that once changed have a unexpected spillover effect on other habits so that small changes made in one place create more small changes rippling out over your life and the lives of those around you.

Have been reading At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon to Mom this week.  We only got through chapter six so I ordered both a large print and a CD book for her from the local libraries which my sister will be picking up for her.

I started The World Without You  by Joshua Henkin Wednesday as I must post a review this week as it is releasing.  As Henkin is a writing professor at a New York university and I've already read and learned from his Matrimony I expect to learn as a writer from reading it.

3. Spend 30 minutes or more per day daydreaming in the story world with pencil and pad at hand


___06-17-2012  - N
___06-18-2012  - N   
___06-19-2012  - N  



Always significantly more than 30 minutes.  Considered changing the goal to 60 or even 90 but why take away the feeling of success I'm getting from this and risk having that feeling of failure each time I have to post a N even though I did the 30 minutes.  I decided there was nothing wrong with setting a minimum expectation knowing that there are some things that if I just give it 20 to 30 minutes I'm bound to keep with it as I tend to resist transitions.

This has been easy since daydreaming my stories is as natural as breathing for me.  Especially when I'm crocheting which I'm doing a lot of this month.  What makes the difference is making sure the notebook and pencil are at hand for the quick jots of thoughts.

And there have been some exciting ones.

The fact that this is so easy made me wonder for a moment if I wasn't expecting enough out of myself but then I remembered that this is how Robert Owen Butler begins the work on every novel as related in From Where You Dream.

The importance of this is that it is getting my head back into it with the expectation that something more than daydreaming will come of it.  This is not a minor development.  Because of the time spent daydreaming and contemplating the story begins to live in me again.  I may not have new words yet but I feel the pressure building that will push them out if I just keep attending to the story world.

ATTENDING.  Think on that word awhile and all it implies.

It means paying attention.

But it also means serving as well as being in service to.

___06-12-2012 -- 06-16-2012 -  much, much, MUCH has happened on this front in the last weeks.  I'm getting excited.  (___06-19-2012 - this much continues to hold true )

4. Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the following tasks (see list below recent comments and updates):


___06-17-2012  - N
___06-18-2012  - N   
___06-19-2012  - N  


___06-19-2012  - :( lost the pretty Ys. Have yet to open the files on my netbook since I closed them in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

___06-12-2012 -- 06-16-2012 -  Finally a pattern of all yesses!

Still just dabbling and not making the systematic changes I'd envisioned as I made this goal list but I'm seeing many positive effects from just engaging with the files and after reading Duggin's explanation of habits I can see why that is more important than being able to cross specific items off the following list.

Just by establishing the habit of engaging with the stories and files I am increasing the chance that I will be crossing these items off sooner rather than later and having identified them as things needing to be done they give me focus even tho I'm not quite ready to tackle them.

___ 05-26  -- I have started to dabble in the files but haven't done anything that I can cross off yet and it is hard to list anything specific that I've done and yet it feels more than a bit productive since it has, like the daydreaming, stimulated ideas and joggled memory.  Mostly I've just been reading in them but I've added a few jots and moved a few things about.  Again, it is all about ATTENDING.

Miracles seem to happen when attention is paid to something.

This is the list I referred to above.  Two weeks ago  I reorganized it according to priorities as I see them now.  And added a couple of small items and grayed the text of some of the WIP titles to indicate that I'm taking the pressure off for this round.  This list will carry over into the next round with additions, subtractions and other tweaks.

  • Input any material from the daydreaming session into it's appropriate file or task list.
  • Clean up the Fruit of the Spirit storyworld worksheet.  ___05-26= 06-16-2012   --  this is where most of the dabbling has occurred.   
  • Create a master task list in FOS story world worksheet file and add any actionable task that comes to mind while working with the files: research and fact check, character development, scenes needed etc.  Future goals can be taken from this list.  ___ 05-26= 06-16-2012 --  ditto  
  • Create topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet file for every character from every existing story and novel finished or in progress that is set in this story world. Add any of the characters known life events to the master timeline.  06-16-2012 - have added a few and added info to existing ones as well
  • New task --06-11-2012 : collect character info for all the Faye's Strays from out of all the stories and files they are scattered through into it's own section in the FOS worksheet file.   06-16-2012 -- this is where the work mention in the line above is happening
  • Re-read the incomplete short story Home Is Where the Horror Is and consider returning to work on it with an eye toward finishing it this summer.  This is one of the Faye's Strays stories so work on it will count toward the WriMos work count.   ___06-12-2012 --  06-16-2012 -- have not reread nor written new scenes yet but have jotted many ideas for the the missing scenes
  • Do a line edit of all of the completed short stories
  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss
  • How Does Your Garden Grow
  • Running In Circles
  • Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities
  • Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes
  • During the line edits consider whether any significant revision is still needed--scenes to add or delete, rearrange or rewrite; timeline issues, facts to confirm or to change--and create an actionable task topic in the file.
  • Choose 10 POV level characters from FOS and write a first person rambling monologue for them. 
  • Write fresh scenes whenever a spark is lit by any of the work on this list or the daydreaming or reading.
  • Clean up the 8 NaNo novel files: quarantine the mess, create work space for new writing, and create a system for  storing the material salvaged from the mess in such a way as it can be found when needed. i.e. linking it to appropriate topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet.
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011
  • Read and notate the scene text of the 8 NaNo novel files 
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009 
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006 
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005 
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011 
Some of the work of these last two tasks can be done concurrently so I was tempted to collapse them under one task and have just one list of the WIP but they are very different tasks when you look close with this last one being more about the writing and the other about information organizing and story outlining.  I could conceivably do the work of one task with one novel while doing the work of the other with a different one.  The two tasks require different frames of mind.

Read more...

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Share what you (are, have been, are about to, hope to be) reading or reviewing this week. Sign Mr Linky at Book Journey and visit other Monday reading roundups.

Last week I signed up for Bookjourney's Read-a-Long for Daphne du Mauier's Rebecca and began reading it in ebook.  And most evenings I was   reading aloud to my Mom At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon.    I ordered Mom the Mitford book in both large print and recording from the library there so she could continue with it after I left.

I arrived home yesterday and between the trip prep, the travel, the catching up with Ed and Merlin, the unpacking and the catching up on sleep, there hasn't been time to read since Friday but I hope to do some catching up on that this week.

Besides those two novels which I will continue to read over the next week or three I will also return to the several non-fiction books I've had going for some time: 


The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
Get Your Loved One Sober by Robert Meyers
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher

But my main focus for the next few days is to finish reading and post a review for Joshua Henkin's The World Without You as this is the week it is scheduled to be released.  I was really looking forward to this one as I loved his Matrimony. It has been meeting my expectations and was really hard to set aside for the trip prep etc.

Publisher blurb:


It’s July 4, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. But this is no ordinary holiday. The family has gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings, an intrepid journalist and adventurer who was killed on that day in 2004, while on assignment in Iraq.
The parents, Marilyn and David, are adrift in grief. Their forty-year marriage is falling apart. Clarissa, the eldest sibling and a former cello prodigy, has settled into an ambivalent domesticity and is struggling at age thirty-nine to become pregnant. Lily, a fiery-tempered lawyer and the family contrarian, is angry at everyone. And Noelle, whose teenage years were shadowed by promiscuity and school expulsions, has moved to Jerusalem and become a born-again Orthodox Jew. The last person to see Leo alive, Noelle has flown back for the memorial with her husband and four children, but she feels entirely out of place. And Thisbe —Leo’s widow and mother of their three-year-old son—has come from California bearing her own secret.
Set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, The World Without You is a novel about sibling rivalries and marital feuds, about volatile women and silent men, and, ultimately, about the true meaning of family.

My giveaway for Ben Kane's Spartacus the Gladiator is still going for a couple more days.



My blog tour review for The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Lofthouse went up last Tuesday.

Read more...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Serenity #290

No that's not a cushion on the seat of the chair.  That's Merlin.
When I'm sitting in the chair he is often up on the pillow behind my back.
A room of my own--a thing of beauty and a joy that's all Joy's.

It doesn't look like this right now as I've not begun to unpack and am in no hurry about it.  But I will resemble this again by the end of the week.

Alone.  By myself.

If only I wasn't too exhausted to enjoy it.

Sleep now and tomorrow night watch out!!





I'm home!!

Am too hot and tired to have much to say.

And in pain.

I tripped over a box at 5am at Mom's while carrying a bowl of cereal with milk on it in my left hand and a hanger with my outfit for travel today in the other.  Miraculously I did not spill a drop of milk.  But by catching myself by the right hand against a doorjamb I took a major jarring up my arm and a whiplash to the neck.

And unrelated to the rest of this I'm being driven crazy by noise in my ears and it's been going on for weeks.  Sometimes it is louder than others and today it is really loud.  It's like loud surf or wind in the right ear and a car alarm or musicians tuning fork in the other.  It invades my dreams.  When it lets me sleep in the first place.



Read more...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

11th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
The writing challenge that knows you have a life
If this looks like the same one you saw last check-in--it's not, quite. I have copy/pasted the goal list each time from the most recent check-in going back to the original  post of intent.  Tweaking each time as well as crossing off finished goals and adding new ones. If you want to see the way it has morphed since the beginning you can use the ROW80 label.

___06-12-2012 --  There are still many things in my goal list that haven't been tended to yet and thus will be taken with me into the next round.  My tendency would be to dwell on that and shame myself for it but one of the things I've been trying to do is take to heart the ROW80 motto: the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

I'm thinking that one of the things most responsible for my having so many unfinished stories is my waiting for those large time blocks that can be devoted to writing and they seem to be getting more and more rare as time goes by.

So maybe one of the most beneficial things I could do for my writing would be to integrate it into the life I have and not wait for life to make room for it first.  NaNo is fun and all but I can't do NaNo every month and the messes I always make of my fiction files during NaNo contributes to the resistance that always follows so that it is several weeks to several months before I can face them again.

For the next round I am going to add that as a goal: Integrating writing tasks into the life I have

If that had been a goal for this round I believe I could report major progress on that front.  Even tho so many of the specific tasks I listed have not been tended to yet, one result of participating in ROW80 has been the creation of new habits of ATTENDING to my stories and writing.  The Ys marked beside the three main goals -- time devoted to dreaming the stories with notebook handy, reading craft and work-habits books and articles and organizing the messy fiction files -- have become more common than the Ns.  I do believe that is cause for celebration for it is not an insignificant development.

Even with the days since Wednesday's check-in having been devoted to those last minute tasks before my departure from Mom's and prep for the trip this weekend -- I began this post late Saturday night and it is after 1am Sunday and we are to hit the road at 10am -- in spite of that I have maintained the habits of jotting down my story thoughts and keeping the notebook handy for the purpose, reading about craft and work habit development, and dabbling in those messy files.  All of that is stimulating more ideas for both the stories and the work habit/organization aspect.

Also there is a ripple effect over the shape of my days as those tasks begin to establish themselves as habits

So overall I am quite pleased with the results of my first ROW80 which I started only 5.5 weeks ago.  I really anticipate that there will be actual word-count for the next round.  In fact I expect to get some word count this coming week after I'm back in my own home with a room of my own.  I did after all sign up for both JuNoWriMo and the June Camp NaNoWriMo when I thought I was going to be home by the 9th.  I thought I would be able to get some word count even while still here but that has been one thing I'm still have trouble integrating the story writing itself into the life I have on any given day.

I think I've figured out that it is the anticipation of being interrupted that freezes my mind when I attempt to move from note jotting to scene writing.  I think I read once that Jane Austen wrote all of her novels by hand while gathered with family and friends for afternoon or evening socializing.  I can't imagine writing while in a crowd and even one other person seems as good as a crowd to me.

Here at Mom's I share her room and bed and my workstation for reading, writing, computer and crafts is set up in the corner on my side of the bed.  It is a better arrangement than the one I had for the ten years, four months preceding last December 26 while sharing a tiny room with my husband and cat at his parents where there was no room for a chair so my workstation was the bed itself.

We moved into our own place the day after Xmas and I now have a room of my own for my workstation but I've only got to enjoy it 1.5 months out of the last 6 months and the 4 weeks of April was the largest block of time I had there.  I'm looking forward to having at lest 4 months at home now.  I may be back here by late October thru Thanksgiving.

___06-12-2012 --  am sensing a seismic shift on many levels after five weeks of this.  Contributing to this I believer are these things:

  • attending to my story world and aspects of writing has become integrated into my daily routines
  • updating this list twice a week forces me to remain conscious of what is and isn't being done and I shown me the importance of acknowledging what is being done more than chiding myself for what isn't as the feeling of success leads to more success while the chiding just depresses and de-energizes me leading to a turning away from the writing and related tasks.
  • belief that there are others besides myself who care whether any of this happens or not
THE GOALS:

Per the recommendation of two of my ROW80 commenters I rearranged the bulleted list of tasks under goal four to indicate priority.

1. Choose 1 of the finished short stories to be the first ebook to publish on Smashwords or Amazon and prep it for take off by the end of June (may need to push into July as life got in the way): any revision, line edit, format, convert.  
___[Blow Me a Candy Kiss  part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4; part 5;] -  
05-12-2012 Yes on choosing the title.  This story is set in my Fruits of the Spirit story world and aspires to be literary.  It has elements of romance in it but that is not the primary focus since the couple involved are already married.  The focus is on loss and grief over infertility and the death of a child/sibling.  Aprox 6000 words.

___06-16-2012 Still have not started re-reading it.  It's been over a month since I set this goal and prioritized it at the top of the four goals and yet I've still not started re-reading it.  That looks a lot like the RESISTANCE discussed in Pressfield's War of Art.  So I'm tempted to explore that but I sense Pressfield would call that RESISTANCE too--just another way to avoid DOING.  Besides, according to Pressfield, RESISTANCE is always about fear.  What more do I need to know?  At least before I begin.

I had a blog tour review for The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Loftwood to post last Tuesday and then decided to join the read-a-long for Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier held by Sheila at Bookjourney which, since I don't want to give up book blogging I need to learn to integrate my writing around.  There was another blog tour the previous week as well as another read-a-long so those reading and writing commitments cut into the time for the writing tasks and yet I still managed to find the minimum 30 minute per day for each of the three time investment goals.

Decided after first week I needed fresh eyes so set new goal:

Find beta readers outside of current circle of close family and friends.
___06-12-2012 - N I confess I'm not sure how to go about finding/asking for beta readers


My sister Jamie re-read Candy Kiss while she was here and my Mom has just finished reading my entire portfolio of hard copy manuscripts.  Some of those are re-reads for her like Candy Kiss.  But family and close friends is not what I had in mind when I set this goal.  I think I need eyes with more objectivity than that.

The binder Mom read which I call my portfolio contains all of my complete short stories and a number of scenes pulled out of WIP that I deemed worth wasting ink and paper on. There is another attitude steeped in my pesky perfectionism that I need to change and I would have put printing hard copy of all my WIP including the NaNo Novels on this round's goal list except that my printer is not working.





Camp NaNoWriMmo 2012

___06-01-2012 - New Goal or maybe just a tweak.  I have joined the June Camp NaNoWriMo


The novel I'm going to work on is more of a collection of shorts interwoven with a tie-in to The Substance of Things Hoped For which is Faye's POV story. The working title of the collection is Faye's Strays referring to all of the people Faye takes in over the course of her story.  Runaways, Teen mothers, homeless families, domestic violence victims, her own sister and sister-in-law etc.

Maybe in the end these stories need to be woven into Faye's novel.  That is an alternative I've considered.  But for now I will treat them as a separate entity.

Some of those stories are already written or begun and I won't include their current word count in the NaNo word count but I'm not even wanting to get concerned about word count anyway.  My main focus will be to shape the structure of the collection, continue writing Crystal's story and Reggie's story and start Hope's story, Brook's story, and Wilma's story or alternatively write their rambling monologues which is something I like to include in character portfolios and for the last several NaNos have included in word count as much of it often gets used in scenes.

JuNoWriMo 2012
___06-06-2012 - 'Nother new Goal  I have joined JuNoWriMo just today.  Working the same 'novel' for both.

This is all a bit vague and probably too much since I can't even hope to get serious until I get home the weekend of the 9th* and will probably be busy getting settled for a couple of days even then.

WriMos Word Count:
___
06-12-2012 - No word count to report yet due life throwing curve balls.

*I'm still at my Mom's in Longivew WA as my sister was unable to able to make the round trip to Phoenix OR last weekend.  This is how my one month stay in January got extended to the end of March.  :(  I don't want to add to my sister's already over burdened week but I am so ready to be home.  I love my sister, my Mom and my nephew but I want my 'room of my own' at home in our new trailer which I've only spent 50 days in since we moved day after Xmas and only 37 of those consecutive.

I was counting on being home by the 10th and thus able to put undivided attention toward the WriMos word count to play catch-up.  But if that isn't going to happen I will have to rethink how I'm going to work it if I'm still here another week or more. 


___06-12-2012 --  as discussed above, I did not manage to integrate scene writing into the daily habits yet.


The Time Investment Goals:


2. Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book or quality web article on Writing or Publishing or work habit/organization from my ever growing TBR of books on writing and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on those subjects.  Will compile list for future updates.  (hmm no list yet)
  
___06-13-2012  - Y
___06-14-2012  - Y   
___06-15-2012  - Y  
___06-16-2012 -  Y

OK now that's more like it. :)  Read some writing blogs and web articles.  But the most helpful reading in this arena wasn't about writing per se but I'm counting it anyway as it is having a huge impact on how I'm thinking about my work habits and that is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  The gist of what I've gleaned so far is that to change a habit you must identify the habit loop consisting of a cue or trigger followed by a routine behavior followed by a reward/pay off and then replace the unwanted behavior with a new routine keeping the trigger and reward.  The tricky part is identifying the payoff.  An exciting point he makes is that there are keystone habits, habits that once changed have a unexpected spillover effect on other habits so that small changes made in one place create more small changes rippling out over your life and the lives of those around you.

Have been reading At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon to Mom this week.  We only got through chapter six so I ordered both a large print and a CD book for her from the local libraries which my sister will be picking up for her.  I started The World Without You  by Joshua Henkin Wednesday as I must post a review this week as it is releasing.  As Henkin is a writing professor at a New York university and I've already read and learned from his Matrimony I expect to learn as a writer from reading it.

3. Spend 30 minutes or more per day daydreaming in the story world with pencil and pad at hand


___06-13-2012  - Y
___06-14-2012  - Y   
___06-15-2012  - Y  
___06-16-2012 -  Y



Always significantly more than 30 minutes.  Considered changing the goal to 60 or even 90 but why take away the feeling of success I'm getting from this and risk having that feeling of failure each time I have to post a N even though I did the 30 minutes.  I decided there was nothing wrong with setting a minimum expectation knowing that there are some things that if I just give it 20 to 30 minutes I'm bound to keep with it as I tend to resist transitions.

This has been easy since daydreaming my stories is as natural as breathing for me.  Especially when I'm crocheting which I'm doing a lot of this month.  What makes the difference is making sure the notebook and pencil are at hand for the quick jots of thoughts.

And there have been some exciting ones.

The fact that this is so easy made me wonder for a moment if I wasn't expecting enough out of myself but then I remembered that this is how Robert Owen Butler begins the work on every novel as related in From Where You Dream.

The importance of this is that it is getting my head back into it with the expectation that something more than daydreaming will come of it.  This is not a minor development.  Because of the time spent daydreaming and contemplating the story begins to live in me again.  I may not have new words yet but I feel the pressure building that will push them out if I just keep attending to the story world.

ATTENDING.  Think on that word awhile and all it implies.

It means paying attention.

But it also means serving as well as being in service to.

___06-12-2012 -- 06-16-2012 -  much, much, MUCH has happened on this front in the last couple of weeks.  I'm getting excited.

4. Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the following tasks (see list below recent comments and updates):



___06-13-2012  - Y
___06-14-2012  - Y   
___06-15-2012  - Y  
___06-16-2012 -  Y



___06-12-2012 -- 06-16-2012 -  Finally a pattern of all yesses!

Still just dabbling and not making the systematic changes I'd envisioned as I made this goal list but I'm seeing many positive effects from just engaging with the files and after reading Duggin's explanation of habits I can see why that is more important than being able to cross specific items off the following list.

Just by establishing the habit of engaging with the stories and files I am increasing the chance that I will be crossing these items off sooner rather than later and having identified them as things needing to be done they give me focus even tho I'm not quite ready to tackle them.

___ 05-26  -- I have started to dabble in the files but haven't done anything that I can cross off yet and it is hard to list anything specific that I've done and yet it feels more than a bit productive since it has, like the daydreaming, stimulated ideas and joggled memory.  Mostly I've just been reading in them but I've added a few jots and moved a few things about.  Again, it is all about ATTENDING.

Miracles seem to happen when attention is paid to something.

This is the list I referred to above.  Two weeks ago  I reorganized it according to priorities as I see them now.  And added a couple of small items and grayed the text of some of the WIP titles to indicate that I'm taking the pressure off for this round.  This list will carry over into the next round with additions, subtractions and other tweaks.

  • Input any material from the daydreaming session into it's appropriate file or task list.
  • Clean up the Fruit of the Spirit storyworld worksheet.  ___05-26= 06-16-2012   --  this is where most of the dabbling has occurred.   
  • Create a master task list in FOS story world worksheet file and add any actionable task that comes to mind while working with the files: research and fact check, character development, scenes needed etc.  Future goals can be taken from this list.  ___ 05-26= 06-16-2012 --  ditto  
  • Create topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet file for every character from every existing story and novel finished or in progress that is set in this story world. Add any of the characters known life events to the master timeline.  06-16-2012 - have added a few and added info to existing ones as well
  • New task --06-11-2012 : collect character info for all the Faye's Strays from out of all the stories and files they are scattered through into it's own section in the FOS worksheet file.   06-16-2012 -- this is where the work mention in the line above is happening
  • Re-read the incomplete short story Home Is Where the Horror Is and consider returning to work on it with an eye toward finishing it this summer.  This is one of the Faye's Strays stories so work on it will count toward the WriMos work count.   ___06-12-2012 --  06-16-2012 -- have not reread nor written new scenes yet but have jotted many ideas for the the missing scenes
  • Do a line edit of all of the completed short stories
  • Blow Me a Candy Kiss
  • How Does Your Garden Grow
  • Running In Circles
  • Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities
  • Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes
  • During the line edits consider whether any significant revision is still needed--scenes to add or delete, rearrange or rewrite; timeline issues, facts to confirm or to change--and create an actionable task topic in the file.
  • Choose 10 POV level characters from FOS and write a first person rambling monologue for them. 
  • Write fresh scenes whenever a spark is lit by any of the work on this list or the daydreaming or reading.
  • Clean up the 8 NaNo novel files: quarantine the mess, create work space for new writing, and create a system for  storing the material salvaged from the mess in such a way as it can be found when needed. i.e. linking it to appropriate topic pages in the FOS story world worksheet.
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011
  • Read and notate the scene text of the 8 NaNo novel files 
  • ____ The Substance of Things Hoped For 2009 
  • ____ Mobile Hopes 2008
  • ____ Storyteller's Spouse 2006 
  • ____ Spring Fever 2007
  • ____ Brooding Instinct 2005 
  • ____ Majoring in Marine Biology 2004
  • ____ Everything That Rises Must Submerge 2010
  • ____ A Trick of Light 2011 
Some of the work of these last two tasks can be done concurrently so I was tempted to collapse them under one task and have just one list of the WIP but they are very different tasks when you look close with this last one being more about the writing and the other about information organizing and story outlining.  I could conceivably do the work of one task with one novel while doing the work of the other with a different one.  The two tasks require different frames of mind.

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