Tuesday, July 31, 2012

21st ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 3 2012

The writing challenge that knows you have a life
Note: the current comments begin below the pic of the harnessed cat and are organised like a blog within a blog both at the top and under each goal.


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 did strip nearly all of the commentary added during the last round leaving only what effects the current goals.  I also added some new goals.




I debated whether to start the check-in count in the post title at 1 for the new round but decided that it was important for me to get a sense over time how the number of total check-ins correlate to progress on all fronts.

Changing a bad habit is  much like harnessing a cat
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.




___7-31-12 - Was still stuck in a rut as of late Tuesday evening so I decided it was time to do that thing I'd been threatening to do: set up a separate desktop for writing only.  No admin, no internet, bare minimum of shortcuts.  I just spent two hours setting it up and was so frustrated by the experience I felt like slamming the netbook lid on my fingers.  It would have been more enjoyable.

The main frustration was that it took forever to send dozens of shortcuts to the recycle because without admin I had to get admin permission for every single one which added two extra clicks and several seconds of time to each.  Then I discovered that all of the writing aps: WhizFolders, OpenOffice, Windows Office, Works wanted to be registered which I couldn't do from that desktop since all my codes are in my email or note aps.  So I settled on using Word Pad but then had to dither for twenty minutes on how to save it so that I could access the file from this desktop.  There wasn't any way other than making it a public document which I didn't want so if I decide to actually use the setup I'll have to save to a thumb to bring my work back over to this desktop.

Then I get back over to my regular desktop only to find that all of those shortcuts that I recycled on the other desktop were gone on this one too. Arrrrrrgh!

That makes no sense at all!!!  Why can't any user have their desktop exactly how they want it without their choices affecting the other users?  It was always so before Windows 7!

If it wasn't for the fact that all of the aps that I use regularly had been pinned to the taskbar here I'd have been even more growled out than I am.

I still think it is probably a good idea to follow through on this as I seem unable to self discipline.  The list of things to do accessible from this desktop is longer than my hair was when I was in highs school which was long enough to sit on.

 I may have to do without the shortcuts on this desktop in order to make it work and having to save to a thumb isn't such a hardship and not having access to the bazzillion messed up fiction files in Whiz might be a good thing.  If I think of the Joywrite desktop as being for focused writing of rough drafts only--like doing an assignment at my cubicle and turning it in to the boss ie my admin desktop where all other file manipulations will be done.

Could work.

I'll give it a try at least once shortly after I get this posted and the link posted at ROW80 for as I type this it is closing in on midnight which is the starting buzzer of August Camp NaNoWriMo

Hmm.  I just had a thought and tested it.  As Admin I can have access to the other desktop's files and info including their documents folders.  So maybe I won't need the thumb drive.  I just can't access all of my files created from this desktop from the other.  Which is probably a good thing.



___7-28-12 - Lapsed on everything except day dreaming the storyworld and reading for craft again.  The fact that temperatures are back in the mid 90s contributed to this but it was no where near as bad as that heatwave the week of July 4rth and I am acclimated better now so I should not still be babying myself so.

Daydreaming the storyworld actually got above and beyond the goal req as I've been crocheting obsessively all week having laser focused on a new project I am designing on the go--a large crafter's tote for my Secret Santa recipient.  You can read about it in both my Wednesday and Thursday posts.

The first of 9 44in strips is shown beside this paragraph at 24inches after four days.  In the last two days though I've added only another four inches.

I wish I would hyperfocus like that on the writing projects.

Maybe I will when the August Camp NaNoWriMo starts mid week.  My Friday post was about the story I settled on for that event: a sequel to my November 2008 NaNo Novel, Mobile Hopes.  I'm keeping the same title as the working title although the new story is set in 2012 four years after the events in the first one.


___7-24-12 - Lapsed on many things this week--moving, free writing, and file work all took major hits.  Only reading for craft and day dreaming the storyworld stayed steady.  Was not feeling well but have traced that as a direct result of the increase of activity last week which means I need to stay active not baby myself.


___7-21-12 - Since the heatwave broke Monday I've gradually increased activity and accumulated accomplishments in the ROW80 goals as well as other goals--like neglected chores.

The increase in activity seems to accompany an increase in creativity.  I've noted the relationship before but seldom so dramatically as during NaNo a few years back when, frustrated by a days' long block, I went out on the porch after dark, in November in the Northwest mind you, to shuffle on the mini-tramp and began 'hearing' the voice of my character Gerta.  Upon returning to the keyboard I wrote this over 1K monologue for her in under an hour.

That is still in my top five favorite pieces and it was intended to only be part of the character sketch notes but I decided I would either incorporate it into the novel or turn it into a related short story.  That also began my practice of writing monologues for my characters but few of them have remained in my good graces more a few days after their spewing onto the screen.

Anyway.  Most of the progress I made this week has been related to incorporating physical activity into my routines and especially into my writing routines.  I hunted out the stretchy bands still packed from the December move and the ankle weights still packed from the recent trip to Mom's and made it easy to switch out my office chair for the big exercise ball and created an alternate work station that raises a surface up to a height I can either type or write with pencil and paper while standing with room to pace.

The point of all that is to make activity easy to begin on impulse.

I don't believe I've brought this up in a ROW80 post before but one of the issues I have that makes impulsive activity a challenge is a visual impairment called retinitis pigmentosa aka RP aka Tunnel Vision which has taken all of my peripheral vision and has encroached drastically into the center vision of my left eye.


___7-16-12 - The heatwave broke Monday!!!  My body seems to be insisting on extra sleep before anything else except maybe activity tho.

___July 13 - Doing a tad better.  Might be acclimating to the heat.  But things that take focus and mental energy are still getting less than.


___July 7 -  July 10 - Very little progress on any front and barely held my ground on most this week as I was sick from Wednesday night of the 4th through Friday evening of the 6th and about the time I started feeling better we got hit with a heat wave here in Southern Oregon that didn't break until Monday the 16th.  High 90s no AC.  Keeping my hands on my netbook's hot keyboard is not one of the easiest things I've ever done.

I've taken to sleeping through the hottest hours--laying down between noon and 3 and waking between 8 and 9pm.  Once as late as midnight!  Regardless it is midnight before the lights come on in my brain.

I owe return visits to other ROW80 peeps because of this so add that to the goals for this next week.

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.

___July 24 - Still have not started re-reading it.  It's been nearly two months since I set this goal and prioritized it at the top of the (then) 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
___July 31 I have received several suggestions on how to go about this but have yet to follow up


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:___


This post and this one were contemplations on which story to focus on for August Nano.


___7-31-12 - Beginning in minutes as I type this.

___7-31-12  re what follows: for the first time since I started ROW80 I have registered a big fat N on every time investment goal since the last check-in.

No excuses.  Just choices.  I allowed myself to be consumed by three things: crocheting and streaming Stargate SG1 which I'm was usually doing simultaneously and manipulating the metadata in my ebook libraries whenever I couldn't stream because the Internet connection was down or my husband was playing his game.

Oh yeah and playing Free Cell and Spider.  Or Words with Friends on fb.


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.

___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N But I did clear off my desk and set out several kinds of paper, pencils and pens to entice me to doodle and I opened a free topic in my WhizFolders note ap only to just sit and stare at the blank screen.  Sometimes I wonder if if is mere coincidence that the word 'free' is contained in the word 'freeze'
___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N 
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N
___7-6-12 - N
___7-7-12 - N 
___7-8-12 - N
___7-9-12 - N
___7-10-12 - N 
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - N
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - N
___7-20-12 - N
___7-21-12 - N
___7-22-12 - N
___7-23-12 - N
___7-24-12 - N
___7-25-12 - N
___7-26-12 - N
___7-27-12 - N
___7-28-12 - N
___7-29-12 - N
___7-30-12 - N
___7-31-12 - N




___7-31-12 -  *hanging head*


___7-24-28-12 - I lapsed shamefully on this one this week.  Free writing tends to trigger resistance in me.  It makes me anxious.  Which makes it even more important that I do it anyway.


And I've let my desk get covered in craft clutter over the top of the writing materials.



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.



___7-2-12 - N But I did get the box of stuff still needing to be sorted and put away after my recent trip out from under the tramp which made it impossible to be impulsive about stepping onto it.
___7-3-12 - Y Paced the floor in the house for about twenty minutes but didn't put the weights on.  Oh and at a separate occasion I played with the cat quite vigorously with dangly toys and balls.  Anyone with a cat knows that they don't generally fetch back the tossed toys.  They chase them while they are moving but then stop and stare at them waiting for them to start moving again.  So I did a lot of moving in order to retrieve and toss, retrieve and toss.... Who was playing with who I wonder.
___7-4-12 - Y Paced the floor a few minutes and a few hours later paced the porch.
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - Y Paced the floor and the porch in two separate sessions.
___7-8-12 - N
___7-9-12 - Y stood on mini-tramp for several minutes.  this is how I must begin after long hiatus until I get balance and strength in calf muscles back.  just standing on it gives whole sets of muscles and ligaments from ankle to abdomen workouts.  might not seem like much but it was a major overcoming of intimidation for me.
___7-10-12 - Y tossed balls and other toys for Merlin for several minutes (see @ 7-3 above) 
___7-11-12 - Y paced floor several minutes while still cool before noon.  
___7-12-12 - Y did some chores involving lots of moving about.  
___7-13-12 - Y stood on mini-tramp for several minutes
___7-14-12 - Y did 'push-ups' against door frame several times.  about 5 to 8 ea time; played with Merlin
___7-15-12 - Y the heat broke!!! did two hour kitchen clean-up--unload dishwasher & reload, complete counter and stove-top scrub, organize fridge
___7-16-12 - Y 2 hours of sorting, organizing and putting away from December move & recent trip. involved much walking from one end of house to other
___7-17-12 - Y played with Merlin; stood and swayed on mini-tramp several minutes.  balance still too poor to lift feet
___7-18-12 - Y played with stretchy bands.  one of them made from surgical tubing broke on me having rotten where a knot had been tied in it.  so glad I was not standing on the mini-tramp when that happened
___7-19-12 - Y housework and more sorting and unpacking from the December move.  I do believe I can count the folding and hanging up of clothes as exercise.  my arms agree
___7-20-12 - Y played with Merlin; stood on mini-tramp several minutes.  not feeling so much like I'm going to fall when I let go of the wall
___7-21-12 - Y Played with Merlin; housework
___7-22-12 - N
___7-23-12 - Y Played with Merlin; stood on mini-tramp
___7-24-12 - N
___7-25-12 - N
___7-26-12 - N
___7-27-12 - N
___7-28-12 - N
___7-29-12 - N
___7-30-12 - N
___7-31-12 - N



___7-31-12 - *hanging head*


___7-28-12 - Tsk Tsk.  Not doing well on these first two at all.  If I was the boss of me I'd have to fire myself.


For the last three days the mini-tramp has been covered in beads and buttons and other crafty stuffs that I was sorting.


___7-24-12 - lost some of the omph I had last week over the weekend was feeling weak and dizzy and achy.  Was frustrated and mystified by it.  Then I remembered that this is typical whenever I start moving again after going sedentary for weeks or months.  Especially when getting back on the mini-tramp after a long hiatus.  I suspect it is the stirring up of the lymphatic system which is finally able to start moving toxins toward elimination as I always start feeling like I'm coming down with a virus just as I start getting into the rhythm of the activities..  Which makes it most important to keep it up.


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)


Instead of a list of TBR titles I will start including the titles of books and articles and websites that I spend the time with between check-ins.  This week it was the same three books I've been working my way through since the beginning of my ROW80 participation.


The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published)  



___7-2-12 - Y
___7-3-12 - Y
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - Y 
___7-6-12 - Y
___7-7-12 - Y 
___7-8-12 - Y
___7-9-12 - Y
___7-10-12 - Y
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - Y
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - Y
___7-23-12 - Y
___7-24-12 - Y
___7-25-12 - Y
___7-26-12 - N
___7-27-12 - Y
___7-28-12 - N
___7-29-12 - N
___7-30-12 - N
___7-31-12 - N


___7-31-12 -  *hanging head*

This goal had become a habit by the end of Round 2 and I kept it up during the break.
Was even able to keep it up while sick tho the 30 minutes was an accumulation of smaller chunks of time between the waves of nausea and headache.  The heat was harder to beat tho.

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


___7-2-12 - Y
___7-3-12 - Y
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - N habit bending under pressure? No longer sick enough to explain it.
___7-8-12 - N it's the heat...continue to daydream story but not keeping notes so no Y
___7-9-12 - N ditto
___7-10-12 - N ditto
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - Y
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - Y
___7-23-12 - Y
___7-24-12 - Y
___7-25-12 - Y
___7-26-12 - Y
___7-27-12 - Y
___7-28-12 - Y
___7-29-12 - N
___7-30-12 - N
___7-31-12 - N


___7-31-12 -  *hanging head*

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]

___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - N ? no longer sick enough to esplain the N
___7-8-12 - N its the heat.  zaps energy.  also netbook is like mini heater
___7-9-12 - N ditto
___7-10-12 - N ditto
___7-11-12 - Y can't call it more than dabbling but its something and not nothing
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - N
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - N
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - N  
___7-23-12 - N
___7-24-12 - N
___7-25-12 - N
___7-26-12 - N
___7-27-12 - N
___7-28-12 - N
___7-29-12 - N
___7-30-12 - N
___7-31-12 - N


___7-31-12 -  *hanging head*


___7-24-28-12 - Major lapse here.  Primary cause was the switching of my focus to that big crochet project but it didn't help that I did a restart Sunday and haven't got around to opening up WhizFolders, my writing ap, again since.  Several times in the last three days I've hovered the cursor over the taskbar where I have the ap pinned only to find it not yet open and then deciding to wait because I didn't have the patience to wait for the application to open up all of the windows and files that I left open when I closed WhizFolders for the restart.  Whiz remembers what is open and window position which is very handy but when I close it with lots of windows and tabs open it takes several minutes from the moment I click to open the ap to the moment I'm able to use it.  By lots of windows and tabs I mean over a dozen files represented by tabs in one window and two or three editor windows with multiple tabs representing specific sections of a file being edited.  I use Whiz for many things besides fiction writing.  It is my primary writing and note ap, link bookmarker, reading journal and task and project organizer. 


I solved this problem once.  Ostensibly.  The concept was to create a few files that contained links to everything else I might need--files, applications, urls, etc.  A project file, a master task list, a web map file, and the worksheet file for my WIP.  Actually if I did it right I could get by with only the master task list and the web map.  But for the concept to work I have to be willing to close all of the tabs and windows I opened except those two before closing the program.  Probably I should refrain from keeping so many open in the first place, closing the ones not related to whatever project I'm working on then I wouldn't be faced with needing to close fifteen tabs and windows when I'm in a rush.


That would be a hard habit to break.


This must all sound like a lot of irrelevant blather but it speaks to my efforts since joining ROW80 [which was right around the time I began reading The Power of Habit and returning to Allen's Getting Things Done principles] to engineer my environment and my routines to encourage productivity in those things that matter the most to me. So I've been making a habit of noticing how I do things and how what I do either works or doesn't work towards my goals.


I did not keep this up during the break and that is probably why I am having trouble reintegrating it into my days.
  • 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...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cough It Up Already!

teh intertubz  gotz a hayrball
Cough it up already!


Our connection to the web has been erratic for nearly 24 hours.

 I'm chewing my tongue with frustration. I've no wish to add to it by trying to put together an elaborate post that requires a lot of access to the net for completion whether for the frequent saves required during the writing of it or the research or collecting of info and images. So this will have to do.

I wish I would have though of it hours ago and saved myself all the anxiety of wondering what/if I was going to post.

Read more...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Serenity #296


For most of this entire month of July I have been consuming Stargate SG1 episodes at the rate of five or more per day. Or maybe a case could be made that they have been consuming me.

I started mid season 2 as that is where I'd left off last summer when something distracted me.  Probably my two month visit at Mom's last summer.  I just watched Season 6 Episode 12.  There are over 20 episodes per season.

For the majority of those hours I have been crocheting so it is not as terribly unproductive as it sounds.  I haven't really increased the number of viewing hours that much I've just, in the last two weeks, gone exclusively, obsessively SG1.

The storylines are invading my dreams.  Along with crochet stitches, thread, patterns and clickable browser images and text which tend to also be either SG1 or crochet related.


It's funny as I never paid SG1 much mind while it was actually being broadcast.  I am a Star Trek snob to a great extent and any other Sci-fi world must overcome much to draw me in.  Star Wars and Babylon 5 are two of the few that have before SG1.

One of the things I love about the show is all the subtle and not so subtle references to Star Trek.  Like someone during a moment of extreme danger on another planet saying "We might as well be wearing red shirts."  Or Col. O'Neill giving the name Captain James T. Kirk when being interrogated by American soldiers after they ended up trapped in 1969.  There are many more.  And I believe I caught a few that might be referencing other science fiction stories that I can't quite place.

My favorite character is Danny the archaeologist and language expert geek.  Who has made only one appearance this season after...well in the interest of no spoilers I'll just say he was written out of the script at the end of season 5 but has made one appearance this season and I sense his storyline is not finished.

What I've come to realize is that SG1 contains many of my 'shiver words' which is a term I picked up in a writer's craft book or blog sometime in the last year or so.  I wish I could remember where or had written it down in the notes where I listed my 'shiver words' as an exercise suggested by that source.  If I could remember I would credit them here.

At any rate, 'shiver words' are terms or concepts that have a depth of emotional resonance for you and are unique to individuals.

So some of my 'shiver words' found in the SG1 experience are:

stranger-in-a-strange-land phenomenon
comparative culture
religion
mythology
Ancient Egypt
Atlantis
AI
Space travel
alien cultures
languages spoken and written
geeks getting respect
bullies getting justice
political intrigue
spiritual journeys
friendship
ethical and moral dilemmas

There are more but I'm ready to get back to the story.

And the stitches.




Read more...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

20th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 3 2012

The writing challenge that knows you have a life
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 did strip nearly all of the commentary added during the last round leaving only what effects the current goals.  I also added some new goals.




I debated whether to start the check-in count in the post title at 1 for the new round but decided that it was important for me to get a sense over time how the number of total check-ins correlate to progress on all fronts.

Changing a bad habit is  much like harnessing a cat
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.




___7-28-12 - Lapsed on everything except day dreaming the storyworld and reading for craft again.  The fact that temperatures are back in the mid 90s contributed to this but it was no where near as bad as that heatwave the week of July 4rth and I am acclimated better now so I should not still be babying myself so.

Daydreaming the storyworld actually got above and beyond the goal req as I've been crocheting obsessively all week having laser focused on a new project I am designing on the go--a large crafter's tote for my Secret Santa recipient.  You can read about it in both my Wednesday and Thursday posts.

The first of 9 44in strips is shown beside this paragraph at 24inches after four days.  In the last two days though I've added only another four inches.

I wish I would hyperfocus like that on the writing projects.

Maybe I will when the August Camp NaNoWriMo starts mid week.  My Friday post was about the story I settled on for that event: a sequel to my November 2008 NaNo Novel, Mobile Hopes.  I'm keeping the same title as the working title although the new story is set in 2012 four years after the events in the first one.


___7-24-12 - Lapsed on many things this week--moving, free writing, and file work all took major hits.  Only reading for craft and day dreaming the storyworld stayed steady.  Was not feeling well but have traced that as a direct result of the increase of activity last week which means I need to stay active not baby myself.


___7-21-12 - Since the heatwave broke Monday I've gradually increased activity and accumulated accomplishments in the ROW80 goals as well as other goals--like neglected chores.

The increase in activity seems to accompany an increase in creativity.  I've noted the relationship before but seldom so dramatically as during NaNo a few years back when, frustrated by a days' long block, I went out on the porch after dark, in November in the Northwest mind you, to shuffle on the mini-tramp and began 'hearing' the voice of my character Gerta.  Upon returning to the keyboard I wrote this over 1K monologue for her in under an hour.

That is still in my top five favorite pieces and it was intended to only be part of the character sketch notes but I decided I would either incorporate it into the novel or turn it into a related short story.  That also began my practice of writing monologues for my characters but few of them have remained in my good graces more a few days after their spewing onto the screen.

Anyway.  Most of the progress I made this week has been related to incorporating physical activity into my routines and especially into my writing routines.  I hunted out the stretchy bands still packed from the December move and the ankle weights still packed from the recent trip to Mom's and made it easy to switch out my office chair for the big exercise ball and created an alternate work station that raises a surface up to a height I can either type or write with pencil and paper while standing with room to pace.

The point of all that is to make activity easy to begin on impulse.

I don't believe I've brought this up in a ROW80 post before but one of the issues I have that makes impulsive activity a challenge is a visual impairment called retinitis pigmentosa aka RP aka Tunnel Vision which has taken all of my peripheral vision and has encroached drastically into the center vision of my left eye.


___7-16-12 - The heatwave broke Monday!!!  My body seems to be insisting on extra sleep before anything else except maybe activity tho.

___July 13 - Doing a tad better.  Might be acclimating to the heat.  But things that take focus and mental energy are still getting less than.


___July 7 -  July 10 - Very little progress on any front and barely held my ground on most this week as I was sick from Wednesday night of the 4th through Friday evening of the 6th and about the time I started feeling better we got hit with a heat wave here in Southern Oregon that didn't break until Monday the 16th.  High 90s no AC.  Keeping my hands on my netbook's hot keyboard is not one of the easiest things I've ever done.

I've taken to sleeping through the hottest hours--laying down between noon and 3 and waking between 8 and 9pm.  Once as late as midnight!  Regardless it is midnight before the lights come on in my brain.

I owe return visits to other ROW80 peeps because of this so add that to the goals for this next week.

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.

___July 24 - Still have not started re-reading it.  It's been nearly two months since I set this goal and prioritized it at the top of the (then) 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
___July 28 I have received several suggestions on how to go about this but have yet to follow up


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:___


This post and this one were contemplations on which story to focus on for August Nano.


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.

___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N But I did clear off my desk and set out several kinds of paper, pencils and pens to entice me to doodle and I opened a free topic in my WhizFolders note ap only to just sit and stare at the blank screen.  Sometimes I wonder if if is mere coincidence that the word 'free' is contained in the word 'freeze'
___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N 
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N
___7-6-12 - N
___7-7-12 - N 
___7-8-12 - N
___7-9-12 - N
___7-10-12 - N 
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - N
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - N
___7-20-12 - N
___7-21-12 - N
___7-22-12 - N
___7-23-12 - N
___7-24-12 - N
___7-25-12 - N
___7-26-12 - N
___7-27-12 - N
___7-28-12 - N




___7-24-28-12 - I lapsed shamefully on this one this week.  Free writing tends to trigger resistance in me.  It makes me anxious.  Which makes it even more important that I do it anyway.


And I've let my desk get covered in craft clutter over the top of the writing materials.



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.



___7-2-12 - N But I did get the box of stuff still needing to be sorted and put away after my recent trip out from under the tramp which made it impossible to be impulsive about stepping onto it.
___7-3-12 - Y Paced the floor in the house for about twenty minutes but didn't put the weights on.  Oh and at a separate occasion I played with the cat quite vigorously with dangly toys and balls.  Anyone with a cat knows that they don't generally fetch back the tossed toys.  They chase them while they are moving but then stop and stare at them waiting for them to start moving again.  So I did a lot of moving in order to retrieve and toss, retrieve and toss.... Who was playing with who I wonder.
___7-4-12 - Y Paced the floor a few minutes and a few hours later paced the porch.
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - Y Paced the floor and the porch in two separate sessions.
___7-8-12 - N
___7-9-12 - Y stood on mini-tramp for several minutes.  this is how I must begin after long hiatus until I get balance and strength in calf muscles back.  just standing on it gives whole sets of muscles and ligaments from ankle to abdomen workouts.  might not seem like much but it was a major overcoming of intimidation for me.
___7-10-12 - Y tossed balls and other toys for Merlin for several minutes (see @ 7-3 above) 
___7-11-12 - Y paced floor several minutes while still cool before noon.  
___7-12-12 - Y did some chores involving lots of moving about.  
___7-13-12 - Y stood on mini-tramp for several minutes
___7-14-12 - Y did 'push-ups' against door frame several times.  about 5 to 8 ea time; played with Merlin
___7-15-12 - Y the heat broke!!! did two hour kitchen clean-up--unload dishwasher & reload, complete counter and stove-top scrub, organize fridge
___7-16-12 - Y 2 hours of sorting, organizing and putting away from December move & recent trip. involved much walking from one end of house to other
___7-17-12 - Y played with Merlin; stood and swayed on mini-tramp several minutes.  balance still too poor to lift feet
___7-18-12 - Y played with stretchy bands.  one of them made from surgical tubing broke on me having rotten where a knot had been tied in it.  so glad I was not standing on the mini-tramp when that happened
___7-19-12 - Y housework and more sorting and unpacking from the December move.  I do believe I can count the folding and hanging up of clothes as exercise.  my arms agree
___7-20-12 - Y played with Merlin; stood on mini-tramp several minutes.  not feeling so much like I'm going to fall when I let go of the wall
___7-21-12 - Y Played with Merlin; housework
___7-22-12 - N
___7-23-12 - Y Played with Merlin; stood on mini-tramp
___7-24-12 - N
___7-25-12 - N
___7-26-12 - N
___7-27-12 - N
___7-28-12 - N

___7-28-12 - Tsk Tsk.  Not doing well on these first two at all.  If I was the boss of me I'd have to fire myself.


For the last three days the mini-tramp has been covered in beads and buttons and other crafty stuffs that I was sorting.


___7-24-12 - lost some of the omph I had last week over the weekend was feeling weak and dizzy and achy.  Was frustrated and mystified by it.  Then I remembered that this is typical whenever I start moving again after going sedentary for weeks or months.  Especially when getting back on the mini-tramp after a long hiatus.  I suspect it is the stirring up of the lymphatic system which is finally able to start moving toxins toward elimination as I always start feeling like I'm coming down with a virus just as I start getting into the rhythm of the activities..  Which makes it most important to keep it up.


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)


Instead of a list of TBR titles I will start including the titles of books and articles and websites that I spend the time with between check-ins.  This week it was the same three books I've been working my way through since the beginning of my ROW80 participation.


The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published)  



___7-2-12 - Y
___7-3-12 - Y
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - Y 
___7-6-12 - Y
___7-7-12 - Y 
___7-8-12 - Y
___7-9-12 - Y
___7-10-12 - Y
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - Y
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - Y
___7-23-12 - Y
___7-24-12 - Y
___7-25-12 - Y
___7-26-12 - N
___7-27-12 - Y
___7-28-12 - N


This goal had become a habit by the end of Round 2 and I kept it up during the break.
Was even able to keep it up while sick tho the 30 minutes was an accumulation of smaller chunks of time between the waves of nausea and headache.  The heat was harder to beat tho.

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


___7-2-12 - Y
___7-3-12 - Y
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - N habit bending under pressure? No longer sick enough to explain it.
___7-8-12 - N it's the heat...continue to daydream story but not keeping notes so no Y
___7-9-12 - N ditto
___7-10-12 - N ditto
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - Y
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - Y
___7-23-12 - Y
___7-24-12 - Y
___7-25-12 - Y
___7-26-12 - Y
___7-27-12 - Y
___7-28-12 - Y


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]

___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - N ? no longer sick enough to esplain the N
___7-8-12 - N its the heat.  zaps energy.  also netbook is like mini heater
___7-9-12 - N ditto
___7-10-12 - N ditto
___7-11-12 - Y can't call it more than dabbling but its something and not nothing
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - N
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - N
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - N  
___7-23-12 - N
___7-24-12 - N
___7-25-12 - N
___7-26-12 - N
___7-27-12 - N
___7-28-12 - N



___7-24-28-12 - Major lapse here.  Primary cause was the switching of my focus to that big crochet project but it didn't help that I did a restart Sunday and haven't got around to opening up WhizFolders, my writing ap, again since.  Several times in the last three days I've hovered the cursor over the taskbar where I have the ap pinned only to find it not yet open and then deciding to wait because I didn't have the patience to wait for the application to open up all of the windows and files that I left open when I closed WhizFolders for the restart.  Whiz remembers what is open and window position which is very handy but when I close it with lots of windows and tabs open it takes several minutes from the moment I click to open the ap to the moment I'm able to use it.  By lots of windows and tabs I mean over a dozen files represented by tabs in one window and two or three editor windows with multiple tabs representing specific sections of a file being edited.  I use Whiz for many things besides fiction writing.  It is my primary writing and note ap, link bookmarker, reading journal and task and project organizer. 


I solved this problem once.  Ostensibly.  The concept was to create a few files that contained links to everything else I might need--files, applications, urls, etc.  A project file, a master task list, a web map file, and the worksheet file for my WIP.  Actually if I did it right I could get by with only the master task list and the web map.  But for the concept to work I have to be willing to close all of the tabs and windows I opened except those two before closing the program.  Probably I should refrain from keeping so many open in the first place, closing the ones not related to whatever project I'm working on then I wouldn't be faced with needing to close fifteen tabs and windows when I'm in a rush.


That would be a hard habit to break.


This must all sound like a lot of irrelevant blather but it speaks to my efforts since joining ROW80 [which was right around the time I began reading The Power of Habit and returning to Allen's Getting Things Done principles] to engineer my environment and my routines to encourage productivity in those things that matter the most to me. So I've been making a habit of noticing how I do things and how what I do either works or doesn't work towards my goals.


I did not keep this up during the break and that is probably why I am having trouble reintegrating it into my days.
  • 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...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Foray's in Fiction: August Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMmo 2012
So.  The August CampNaNoWriMo begins next Wednesday.  Which for me means Tuesday night at midnight PDT.  Just like the original November NaNoWriMo the goal is a 50K word novel in 30 days.

I've settled on a sequel to my 20008 NaNo novel, Mobile Hopes.  I've given it the same name as a working title tho its action takes place four years later.  The synopsis I left at CampNaNo just now:

A number of families living in a mobile home park facing family and personal crisis while reaching for their dreams or lost in despair as they struggle to make ends meet during the recession. Whether on the way up or down the economic ladder most believe their stay is temporary in spite of the fact so many have lived there for decades, creating a sense of isolation that destroys community which is their best hope for better lives.
There is nothing in that to set this one apart from the first one.  But there will be new characters as well as some of the old ones with new crisis.  The children from before will be the most effected with toddlers now in school and middle schoolers graduating and heading to college or full time jobs.  What I ended up with at the end of November 2008 was a collection of vignettes focusing on individual characters and that's probably what I'll aim for next month as well.  This lends well to being able to move on when stuck.  Just bring another character on stage and let him or her ramble and amble.

One of the problems with my plan is that the end of the first novel was supposed to resolve that lack of community thing with everybody singing kum ba ya at the end.  Metaphorically of course.  To resolve that I'm going to have to give the community a solid kick in the gut that will destabilize it so they are forced to work to regain it or choose not to as the case may be.

Mobile Hopes I took place with the 2008 presidential election as backdrop so this one will have the 2012 election.  Both have as their theme the economic impact on families and individuals of the ongoing global economic crisis.

Read more...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crocheted Crafter's Tote--Beginnings


Here's the picture I should have provided for last night's post which included a fairly detailed description of the large crafter's tote I'm crocheting.  I won't repeat everything here but I must describe a few of the changes I have made to the design.  I warned yesterday that I was making it up on the go.

The 20x12s10 inch tote consists of two panels mimicking the look of a quilt and a Moibus strip in mesh that serves as bottom, side and shoulder strap.  Each panel will be built of strips like this one of 11 4x4 inch 'block's' with 11 pastel shades. The last color of each strip will start the next strip so the colored blocks will stair step.  Each strip will be done in a different crochet stitch making this a sort of sampler.  There will be 8 strips so 8 stitches.  3 laying horizontal on the front/side panel and 5 laying vertical on the back/flap panel.

The major change I made to the design since last night was to increase the size of the font panel from five vertical strips of 3 to 3 horizontal strips of 11.  But there will still be only 5 blocks across the front as each side will have 3 wrapping around in front of of the mesh Moibus strip to create pockets.

I still haven't settled on all of the 8 stitches.  I've decided tho that this chain mesh strip will be the bottom of the front panel and the middle one will be straight single crochet and the top one filet which is essentially a double crochet mesh.  All 5 of the back/flap panel strips will have textured stitches--bobbles, beads, shells, waves,loops, cross, post, track and such.  I'm still dithering on which ones partly because I need to make a couple of practice swatches of some of the stitches I'm considering that I've never tried before.

As you can see having reached past the middle of the sixth 'block' in this strip I've passed it's halfway point.  The next color is coral and my only coral is still attached to the diaper bag project although the crocheting is essentially finished on it.  I have just been reluctant to cut it loose until I'm sure I don't want to add another round to the ruffle.  I should have finished that project up before starting this one.  *sigh*  I still need to tuck tails and make the strap handles which are going to be made from a stiff ribbon with buttons sewn on for attaching to the bag making them removable.  Feeling a bit guilty about neglecting that project which is already past due (the baby is over 6 mo now) I made myself work on it for a bit today.  Sort of.  I sorted buttons trying to settle on which ones I would use.

It got hot again the last couple of days.  But only low to mid 90s not the high 90s and triple digits of the heatwave the week after the 45h.  It has been on the edge of tolerable in the late afternoon and early evening.  Heat zaps my energy.  But it is getting better so I must be acclimating some.  I've learned some good coping tactics.  Freezing wet strips of cloth to pull out and wrap around my neck.  Cuddling a frozen gel pack.  Cuddling a frozen water bottle and drinking from it as it melts.  Spraying water on my face, hair and shirt and sitting in font of the fan.  Sleeping through the hottest hours.  Wearing a wet shirt.  Am thinking about freezing a wet T shirt :)

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Squared Off


I've got squares on the brain this week so this image going around on fb caught my eye. The game is to say how many squares you see. I found 40. At least that is the answer I get most often. Occasionally I count 41 or 43 but I think I was counting something twice those times. Don't know the official correct answer.

At any rate the reason squares are on my radar this week is because of the latest crochet project I've begun.  A very big project for my Secret Santa recipient.  I'm making her a crafter's tote bag though she could use it for travel or anything else totes are used for.  But to make it useful as a crafter's tote it will have many pockets.  And since quilting is her thing it will be big enough to hold a standard bed sized quilt.  Dimensions: 20x12x10 inches.  12 being the height.

Where do the squares come in?  Well to honor the quilting theme I'm making the front and back panels resemble a quilt of 4x4 inch blocks.  The back panel and cover flap is all one piece of 20x44 inches comprised of 5 strips of 11 4in squares in 11 pastel shades.  Each strip will be a different stitch with these five being my current selection: 2 chain mesh, single crochet, filet, double crochet cross stitch, seed [sc & ch alternating].  I would like to use beads in the seed pattern, attaching them at the chain stitches.  Or I might switch out cross stitch for track stitch consisting of alternating 3 rows SC with one row triple crochet.


I'm still working on the design of the front panel of squares but it will be approximately 12 inches tall and 20 inches wide using the same 11 colors and five stitches.  Or possibly since I'm have trouble choosing between stitches I could use different stitches in the front panel.


The bottom, sides and handle will be all one piece in dark brown done in 2 chains plus SC mesh in a  60 inch diameter Moibus strip so the natural stretch serves the front to back width.  The Moibus twist will be kept at top of handle and the front and back panels sewn across the bottom and sides at least twelve inches up.

Instead of making individual squares I am making 4 inch wide strips and using each color for four inches. Once the strips are completed I'll sew them together and do a decorative embroidery stitch in brown around each square to echo the quilt theme.  I may do simple cross stitch designs on the single crochet blocks or alternately sew buttons to the center of them.  I also hope to make inside pockets using the same mesh stitch as the Moibus strip though not sure what color(s).  

As usual I'm making it up as I go along.  Some of my ambitions may have to be curtailed as Christmas nears.

I began the first of the strips for the back/flap panel on Monday and am working on the fifth square already bettering my hoped for pace of one square per day by 50%.

I should have made the effort to get a picture of it for this post but my motivator was broken by the residual heat from the dinner time oven and the 95 degree day. 

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

19th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 3 2012

The writing challenge that knows you have a life
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 did strip nearly all of the commentary added during the last round leaving only what effects the current goals.  I also added some new goals.




I debated whether to start the check-in count in the post title at 1 for the new round but decided that it was important for me to get a sense over time how the number of total check-ins correlate to progress on all fronts.

Changing a bad habit is  much like harnessing a cat
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.






___7-24-12 - Lapsed on many things this week--moving, free writing, and file work all took major hits.  Only reading for craft and day dreaming the storyworld stayed steady.  Was not feeling well but have traced that as a direct result of the increase of activity last week which means I need to stay active not baby myself.


___7-21-12 - Since the heatwave broke Monday I've gradually increased activity and accumulated accomplishments in the ROW80 goals as well as other goals--like neglected chores.

The increase in activity seems to accompany an increase in creativity.  I've noted the relationship before but seldom so dramatically as during NaNo a few years back when, frustrated by a days' long block, I went out on the porch after dark, in November in the Northwest mind you, to shuffle on the mini-tramp and began 'hearing' the voice of my character Gerta.  Upon returning to the keyboard I wrote this over 1K monologue for her in under an hour.

That is still in my top five favorite pieces and it was intended to only be part of the character sketch notes but I decided I would either incorporate it into the novel or turn it into a related short story.  That also began my practice of writing monologues for my characters but few of them have remained in my good graces more a few days after their spewing onto the screen.

Anyway.  Most of the progress I made this week has been related to incorporating physical activity into my routines and especially into my writing routines.  I hunted out the stretchy bands still packed from the December move and the ankle weights still packed from the recent trip to Mom's and made it easy to switch out my office chair for the big exercise ball and created an alternate work station that raises a surface up to a height I can either type or write with pencil and paper while standing with room to pace.

The point of all that is to make activity easy to begin on impulse.

I don't believe I've brought this up in a ROW80 post before but one of the issues I have that makes impulsive activity a challenge is a visual impairment called retinitis pigmentosa aka RP aka Tunnel Vision which has taken all of my peripheral vision and has encroached drastically into the center vision of my left eye.


___7-16-12 - The heatwave broke Monday!!!  My body seems to be insisting on extra sleep before anything else except maybe activity tho.

___July 13 - Doing a tad better.  Might be acclimating to the heat.  But things that take focus and mental energy are still getting less than.


___July 7 -  July 10 - Very little progress on any front and barely held my ground on most this week as I was sick from Wednesday night of the 4th through Friday evening of the 6th and about the time I started feeling better we got hit with a heat wave here in Southern Oregon that didn't break until Monday the 16th.  High 90s no AC.  Keeping my hands on my netbook's hot keyboard is not one of the easiest things I've ever done.

I've taken to sleeping through the hottest hours--laying down between noon and 3 and waking between 8 and 9pm.  Once as late as midnight!  Regardless it is midnight before the lights come on in my brain.

I owe return visits to other ROW80 peeps because of this so add that to the goals for this next week.

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.

___July 24 - Still have not started re-reading it.  It's been nearly two months since I set this goal and prioritized it at the top of the (then) 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
___July 24 I have received several suggestions on how to go about this but have yet to follow up


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:___


This post was a contemplation on which story to focus on for August Nano.


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.

___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N But I did clear off my desk and set out several kinds of paper, pencils and pens to entice me to doodle and I opened a free topic in my WhizFolders note ap only to just sit and stare at the blank screen.  Sometimes I wonder if if is mere coincidence that the word 'free' is contained in the word 'freeze'
___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N 
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N
___7-6-12 - N
___7-7-12 - N 
___7-8-12 - N
___7-9-12 - N
___7-10-12 - N 
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - N
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - N
___7-20-12 - N
___7-21-12 - N
___7-22-12 - N
___7-23-12 - N
___7-24-12 - N




___7-24-12 - I lapsed shamefully on this one this week.  Free writing tends to trigger resistance in me.  It makes me anxious.  Which makes it even more important that I do it anyway.



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.



___7-2-12 - N But I did get the box of stuff still needing to be sorted and put away after my recent trip out from under the tramp which made it impossible to be impulsive about stepping onto it.
___7-3-12 - Y Paced the floor in the house for about twenty minutes but didn't put the weights on.  Oh and at a separate occasion I played with the cat quite vigorously with dangly toys and balls.  Anyone with a cat knows that they don't generally fetch back the tossed toys.  They chase them while they are moving but then stop and stare at them waiting for them to start moving again.  So I did a lot of moving in order to retrieve and toss, retrieve and toss.... Who was playing with who I wonder.
___7-4-12 - Y Paced the floor a few minutes and a few hours later paced the porch.
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - Y Paced the floor and the porch in two separate sessions.
___7-8-12 - N
___7-9-12 - Y stood on mini-tramp for several minutes.  this is how I must begin after long hiatus until I get balance and strength in calf muscles back.  just standing on it gives whole sets of muscles and ligaments from ankle to abdomen workouts.  might not seem like much but it was a major overcoming of intimidation for me.
___7-10-12 - Y tossed balls and other toys for Merlin for several minutes (see @ 7-3 above) 
___7-11-12 - Y paced floor several minutes while still cool before noon.  
___7-12-12 - Y did some chores involving lots of moving about.  
___7-13-12 - Y stood on mini-tramp for several minutes
___7-14-12 - Y did 'push-ups' against door frame several times.  about 5 to 8 ea time; played with Merlin
___7-15-12 - Y the heat broke!!! did two hour kitchen clean-up--unload dishwasher & reload, complete counter and stove-top scrub, organize fridge
___7-16-12 - Y 2 hours of sorting, organizing and putting away from December move & recent trip. involved much walking from one end of house to other
___7-17-12 - Y played with Merlin; stood and swayed on mini-tramp several minutes.  balance still too poor to lift feet
___7-18-12 - Y played with stretchy bands.  one of them made from surgical tubing broke on me having rotten where a knot had been tied in it.  so glad I was not standing on the mini-tramp when that happened
___7-19-12 - Y housework and more sorting and unpacking from the December move.  I do believe I can count the folding and hanging up of clothes as exercise.  my arms agree
___7-20-12 - Y played with Merlin; stood on mini-tramp several minutes.  not feeling so much like I'm going to fall when I let go of the wall
___7-21-12 - Y Played with Merlin; housework
___7-22-12 - N

___7-23-12 - Y Played with Merlin; stood on mini-tramp
___7-24-12 - N



___7-24-12 - lost some of the omph I had last week over the weekend was feeling weak and dizzy and achy.  Was frustrated and mystified by it.  Then I remembered that this is typical whenever I start moving again after going sedentary for weeks or months.  Especially when getting back on the mini-tramp after a long hiatus.  I suspect it is the stirring up of the lymphatic system which is finally able to start moving toxins toward elimination as I always start feeling like I'm coming down with a virus just as I start getting into the rhythm of the activities..  Which makes it most important to keep it up.


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)


Instead of a list of TBR titles I will start including the titles of books and articles and websites that I spend the time with between check-ins.  This week it was the same three books I've been working my way through since the beginning of my ROW80 participation.


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



___7-2-12 - Y
___7-3-12 - Y
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - Y 
___7-6-12 - Y
___7-7-12 - Y 
___7-8-12 - Y
___7-9-12 - Y
___7-10-12 - Y
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - Y
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - Y
___7-23-12 - Y
___7-24-12 - Y


This goal had become a habit by the end of Round 2 and I kept it up during the break.
Was even able to keep it up while sick tho the 30 minutes was an accumulation of smaller chunks of time between the waves of nausea and headache.  The heat was harder to beat tho.

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


___7-2-12 - Y
___7-3-12 - Y
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - N habit bending under pressure? No longer sick enough to explain it.
___7-8-12 - N it's the heat...continue to daydream story but not keeping notes so no Y
___7-9-12 - N ditto
___7-10-12 - N ditto
___7-11-12 - Y
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - Y
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - Y
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - Y
___7-23-12 - Y
___7-24-12 - Y


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]

___7-2-12 - N
___7-3-12 - N
___7-4-12 - Y
___7-5-12 - N sick
___7-6-12 - N sick
___7-7-12 - N ? no longer sick enough to esplain the N
___7-8-12 - N its the heat.  zaps energy.  also netbook is like mini heater
___7-9-12 - N ditto
___7-10-12 - N ditto
___7-11-12 - Y can't call it more than dabbling but its something and not nothing
___7-12-12 - Y
___7-13-12 - N
___7-14-12 - N
___7-15-12 - Y
___7-16-12 - N
___7-17-12 - Y
___7-18-12 - Y
___7-19-12 - N
___7-20-12 - Y
___7-21-12 - Y
___7-22-12 - N  
___7-23-12 - N
___7-24-12 - N



___7-24-12 - Major lapse here.  Primary cause was the switching of my focus to that big crochet project but it didn't help that I did a restart Sunday and haven't got around to opening up WhizFolders, my writing ap, again since.  Several times in the last three days I've hovered the cursor over the taskbar where I have the ap pinned only to find it not yet open and then deciding to wait because I didn't have the patience to wait for the application to open up all of the windows and files that I left open when I closed WhizFolders for the restart.  Whiz remembers what is open and window position which is very handy but when I close it with lots of windows and tabs open it takes several minutes from the moment I click to open the ap to the moment I'm able to use it.  By lots of windows and tabs I mean over a dozen files represented by tabs in one window and two or three editor windows with multiple tabs representing specific sections of a file being edited.  I use Whiz for many things besides fiction writing.  It is my primary writing and note ap, link bookmarker, reading journal and task and project organizer. 


I solved this problem once.  Ostensibly.  The concept was to create a few files that contained links to everything else I might need--files, applications, urls, etc.  A project file, a master task list, a web map file, and the worksheet file for my WIP.  Actually if I did it right I could get by with only the master task list and the web map.  But for the concept to work I have to be willing to close all of the tabs and windows I opened except those two before closing the program.  Probably I should refrain from keeping so many open in the first place, closing the ones not related to whatever project I'm working on then I wouldn't be faced with needing to close fifteen tabs and windows when I'm in a rush.


That would be a hard habit to break.


This must all sound like a lot of irrelevant blather but it speaks to my efforts since joining ROW80 [which was right around the time I began reading The Power of Habit and returning to Allen's Getting Things Done principles] to engineer my environment and my routines to encourage productivity in those things that matter the most to me. So I've been making a habit of noticing how I do things and how what I do either works or doesn't work towards my goals.


I did not keep this up during the break and that is probably why I am having trouble reintegrating it into my days.
  • 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.

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