|A Round of Words in 80 Days|
Round 4 2013
The writing challenge that
knows you have a life
These check-in posts will contain any commentary I have about encounters with the goals since the previous check-in and any relevant links.
Below the commentary is my current reading list for the READ CRAFT goal.
In Round 1 this year I finished the edit for Blow Me A Candy Kiss, the short story I'm planning to use as the experiment in self publishing. This was on my original Goals when I first joined ROW80 in April 2012. It is now ready for beta readers. Anyone interested can say so in a comment or email me at the email in the sidebar. A link to an earlier draft can be found in the ROW80 Goals page linked under the spreadsheet below. I've had one beta reader so far but would really appreciate at least one more before I take the plunge with it.
Note: I broke this up into themed sections to make updating easier. For Round 4 I've stripped Current of all previous entries, rewrote Fiction Files to reflect current goals, added AWAI Copywriting, and pruned the kudzu out of Lifequake, Self-Manage and Workstation sections.
Current Check-In --
Fiction Files -- newly adjusted goals for 10-09-13
Other Writing -- working the course involves reading, writing and research as well as videos, web seminars, and teleconference recordings
Read Craft -- several recently finished books
The Lifequake -- Life decided to give me free lessons on the art of flexibility in January of this year.
Self Management -- applying flexibility, persistance, habit rehabilitation as I learn that caring for myself is the foundation for all else.
Evolution of the Workstations -- have made no major changes since early September so I think it's working
|moar Lit Krittrz see share caption vote|
I finally got the the FICTION FILES section below this one edited to reflect my goals for Round 4
So since this post was supposed to go up last night and I had to walk away before it was ready and now it is already after noon on Sunday, I'll leave you with that and the following 3 posts since the last check-in with relevance to ROW80:
- Qualities of a Writer -- a captioned cat and author quote
- Got the Grumps -- re Thursday's tooth extraction the latest aftershock in the ongoing lifequake.
- Friday Forays in Fiction: Time for NaNo Thinking Cap -- self-explanatory no?
That poem and a couple others, plus emails, text messages, book reviews and other daily posts and an assortment of scribbled notes are the extent of my word count so far this month. I'm constantly having to focus exclusively on the next deadline and once finished the clock has already been ticking on the next one. There is no time to get ahead on the things coming up days or more down the line.
I feel like I'm chasing my ponytail around the block but can never catch it as it moves faster than I can. Chew on that Paradox.
Several unplanned for events have caused my already bursting at the seams schedule to shed its corsets and believe me when I say there is no Super Woman costume underneath.
I've already described some of the events I'm referring to in yesterday's It's Monday! What are You Reading? post so I'm going to just quote them here. I had mentioned that I had 11 blog tour reviews scheduled between now and Thanksgiving and a few paragraphs later:
One of the tour reviews is for beta testing a new writer's community web site. That was supposed to go up by Wednesday but I'm going to have to ask for an extension as my schedule in the last two weeks took several unexpected wallops.
Among them Dewey's Read-a-Thon this past Saturday which I discovered only the Saturday before. So sadly I didn't get to volunteer as cheerleader or mini-challenge host which I've done one or the other or both nearly every thon since fall of 2008. My schedule was already over committed with a dentist appointment on Monday, a counselor appointment on Wednesday, a tour review on Thursday and an AWAI copywriting webinar on Friday. Which reminds me--I missed part 2 of the Webinar at noon today as I was sitting in the dentist waiting room waiting for my sister to return from errands to pick me up.
The wallops continue. Last Monday's dentist visit was for an extraction. I went again today for an x-ray on another tooth and will be returning on Thursday for another extraction. Here's hoping that once we eliminate the low grade infection and chronic pain that has been plaguing me since 1995, my energy and mood levels will pick up and my blood pressure will drop. I don't dare get started on the why's and wherefores that happened. Besides I've already covered it in my rant on the current state of dental care, You Know the Drill.
Plus the Dentist appointments have all been before noon which destroys my morning brain work session (reading, writing, research, study, email and posting) as the morning is all about getting ready, getting there, getting it done and getting home to fix Mom's lunch.
My inbox is flooding and the things I need to see and deal with pronto are getting pushed off the front page before I see them. I've spent hours and hours over the last several weeks refining the organizing of it--creating or editing filters and labels, using skip inbox for news, newsletters, blog subscriptions and similar recurring things that are primarily read only, designating category tags so that the Google tab system is taylored for my needs, and attaching emails to Google tasks or Google calendar.
But now my Google Task list is overflowing and unorganized so I'm going to have to start creating topical lists for it. And the Google Calendar email alerts are just as likely to get lost as anything else so I put a label named 2DO on it and try to remember to check that label several times a day. But I have to remember to input appointments in the calendar. Came close to missing two appointments in the last week because I'd put the appointment cards under my mouse pad the day I brought them home.
I'm so overwhelmed. It seems there is always a tine sensitive task needing attention right NOW and I have to focus on it until it is done and there is another one waiting in line with the clock ticking.
And I'm dropping the balls more and more often:
- Several of the blog tour reviews in the last two months I had to put up before finishing the book.
- I missed Saturday's ROW80 check-in due to the Read-a-Thon Saturday
- Several times lately--this post for example--I've not been able to get my daily post up before going to bed and had to timestamp a draft and work on it the next morning. So this post was supposed to go up last night but it is already after noon and it still isn't up. Google Docs had not saved my work on the spreadsheet last week and I had to use the screenshot I took for last Wednesday ROW80 and recreate a half dozen rows of data.
- I've overslept several times in the last two weeks and missed my morning vid chat with Ed.
- I've played fast and loose with my med and sleep schedule for a month or more now. See Life Management section for context.
- I missed 2nd and 3rd of the three part AWAI webinar this week.
- Forgetting to put appointments in the calendar
- Forgetting to call in a Rx
- Forgetting to activate the debit card issued for my SSI payments so that had to send a check
- I've disappointed Mom several times by not having time to read our story aloud after dinner.
- and on and on and on
- And right now I'm pushing the envelope on when I'm supposed to be in the kitchen preparing lunch for me and Mom.
A Word Wrangler's Lasso
Crossed Eyes and Knotty Thoughts
You Know the Drill
Of Grumps, and Dumps and Triumphs.
Fall 2013 Challenges
I Have a 2Dos Pileup
My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs
- work at cleaning up the Wrimo messes
- get Blow Me a Candy Kiss prepped for self pub
- target a second finished short story for the self publish route
- work on the FOS storyworld -- add events to timeline, add characters sketches, do mind maps, clarify specific research needs, edit existing scenes and add new, target one of the POV character's stories to focus on [this will be set aside until after NaNo except for noting stray thoughts about it]
- NaNoWriMo -- I've began prep in mid September for the 2013 NaNoWriMo novel using my new review copy of The Marshall Plan software and book.
tentativelyselected a YA sci/fant story called The Wailing Womb meant to be first in a trilogy called The Ward's Prevailing that I started while in my 20s that continues to haunt me. I'd lost all the world-building notes and all the rough draft work except for about five pages of semi-polished scenes in our 2001 move and lost heart.
I imagine I'll be working some in books 2 and 3 since I'll need to pin down the main story arc of the series and some of the unwritten scenes still vivid in my mind after decades are in those. The titles: 2) The Travailing Woeful and 3) The Availing Word
OTHER WRITING TASKS
- AWAI Copywriting course work: working the course involves reading, writing and research as well as videos, web seminars, and teleconference recordings and networking.
- keep on top of the upcoming blog tour reviews
- tackle the backlog of book reviews for ARCs and the upcoming blog tours
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller Net Galley a NF that purports to answer many puzzles in the Austen novels. Since this discusses writing and techniques of fiction
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff In late February I lifted the strikethru I put on this the week I left home in January as I brought it back with me on the 22nd.
Jung and the Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols Since I'm reading this for an understanding of character type and the language of symbol understood by our unconscious as well as research for a character who is a Tarot reader
13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley This was one of the 24 items I checked out of the Longview library on my sister's card last January and has been the one I've spent the most time with ever since. Friday's post was a quote post for this one.
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. Found this while spelunking the stacks looking for the Smiley book. Who knew. Dick was a mystic. I've only read one of his novels and a few short stories but now I've got to try to find and read everything!
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor This is a reread for me and has had significant impact on the development of my storyworld in the early months of its inception. My Friday post was about my current encounter with it after checking it out of the Longview library again for the first time in over a decade.
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. Also a Longview library book.
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf Review for blog tour Haven't finished it yet tho so it will remain in the list.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent. Found on my shelves while packing books. I won this in a drawing during the Sweating for Sven writing challenge in 2007. It made me blush and I kept it hidden in the recesses of my bookshelves but I think I've gotten over that.
AWAI Copywriting Course materials
A Cheap and Easy Guide to Self-publishing eBooks by Tom Hua read this online
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg Just finished this last fall and wrote an overview of it for that check-in along with my musings on how to apply what I learned.. This is where I've been getting the most help with learning how to recognize a habit, determine if it is desirable and if so maximize it but if not change it.
Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular by Rust Hills onetime fiction editor at Esquire. A tiny little paperback published in the mid 70s. I pulled this off my own shelf a couple months ago as just the right size to prop the netbook keyboard at a better angle but then I pulled it out to read while waiting on my computer to finish updates and a restart as all the ebooks were unavailable and it was the only book I could reach without getting up. Lazy me. But it
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors. many of them self-published)
|Ed and I April 2nd|
5 minutes before leaving
The most important fact affecting ROW80 goals is that my 5 week visit at my Mom's begun in early January has been extended indefinitely. It has been a huge disruption in itself not counting all the disruptions of life, thought and emotion behind the whys and wherefores.
I spent the next two days shuffling boxes and bags and stuff around between van and house and my areas at Mom's. The four days after that I wallowed in the pain of missing Ed, loosing our house and not knowing when the next visit will be now that there are no more loads to go after and no house to call ours.
As Round 4 begins there has still been no visit. He's living with his folks in the same tiny room we shared for ten years but we both agreed that environment would be unhealthy for me and our relationship. So we're waiting for him to find a place before I come back for a visit bringing a van load of household miscellany and Merlin our cat who came back with me in May.
Before I can come home for good my meds need to be stabilized and healthcare assured. I have to be separated from Ed in order to qualify for health care. We had a lot of hope pinned on the implementation of Oregon Care, Oregon's answer to the Affordable Care Act, slated for October 1st. But the government shutdown has put that on hold. So much for those wascally wabbits and their so-called concern for the sanctity of marriage.
Meanwhile we make do with several emails and one or two vid chats each day.
It looks like I'm going to have to pull the winter stuff back out before that happens.
|Reading and crafting corner|
One of her concerns about leaving me there for a whole week was the tenuous nature of my ability to stay on my med schedule, sleep schedule and food and water intake schedule without outside monitoring. That is one of the repercussions of an unmanaged mood-disorder.
As for the mood-disorder, the med nurse has been careful because of my history of atypical reactions to meds. She adds or subtracts one thing at a time. She started with changing my Trazadone from an occasional sleep aid to the primary antidepressant, upping the dose and making it daily. Over the spring and summer she raised it from 50 to 300 mg.
She was for a brief time looking at the possibility of bipolar because of my intractable insomnia that often had me awake for 24 to 72 hours at a stretch. But careful observation and family history led her to suspect that it was my severe anxiety coupled with ADD creating the appearance of bi-polar.
There have been enough improvements in my ability to function that I've been able to commit to making and serving lunch for me and Mom every day since August.
In response to my Lazy Daze post in early June in which I muse on why I am still planted like a turnip on the mini-tramp after four days and unable to put action where my mouth is on any of my stated goals and priorities my husband surmised that I was experiencing a mini-burnout after having pushed too hard on too many fronts for too many days in a row, allowing myself little recreation. He added that I had too many high priorities and several of them were in conflict which I was possibly unconscious of. Then at my request during our next video chat in used his skill-set as a supervisor and experience with time-management on the job to show me how to triage my stated goals.
For the triage he laid it out there that anything touching on my health or safety was non-negotiable. This included sleep, med schedule, food schedule, exercise, hygiene, all those appointments, and recreation--which last I had been denying myself until I ended up planted like a turnip on the mini-tramp.
My reassessment after the triage talk with Ed, led me to a radical decision to switch myself from night owl to early bird having identified the larges block of time least likely to be interrupted as those between dawn and lunch. It was a struggle until mid July when I added Melatonin to the evening med mix. As of mid August it became my new normal.
One of the fallouts from the stabilized sleep schedule has been an increase in those intense, creative, colorful and story-like dreams that have often contributed what I call the storyseeds for my fiction. This augers well for the future work with my fiction files--both editing and new writing. And is a sign the depression is lifting.
Ultimately the goal is to use the pre-lunch hours for brain work--reading, writing, blogging, research, netbook maintenance, daydreaming story world and the afternoon for active/social tasks like exercise, sorting/organizing, chores, hygiene, family interaction, vid or text chats with Ed. But so far I've nearly always gravitated back to the brainwork after lunch and once engaged in a task it is hard to break away for another.
Meanwhile I'm trying to learn patience with myself and flexibility. One of the new skills I'm honing is the ability to analyse what is working and what isn't and then apply a likely fix and observe what does and doesn't result. I'm trying to keep a vision of what success looks like in my head so that I'm always aiming for it.
WORKSTATION WOES AND WOOTSThe evolution of the writing and workout room:
|2nd Workstation and |
Indoor Workout Space
The time best suited (I thought until the mid June reassessment) was the hours immediately after Mom heads to bed. The space was trickier. But the best bet was somewhere in the room that had once been Mom's office and had become a storage room. So I rearranged some boxes and created a desk in a cubby behind the stairwell. I was even able to set up the mini-tramp in there. Tho I had to walk across it to get to my desk, I liked having it there until I fell twice inside a week.
Sunday I set my mind to being careful but after the second fall the following Friday I realized careful would not cut it. Not indefinitely. Not for someone visually impaired and with such a history of scattered thought and impulsive movement. After a third incident--a close call--my sister set the tramp on end. But as I feared it seldom got set down for use after that. I kept wanting to find the time and energy to rearrange the stuff again to make room for the tramp and a path to my desk. That became one of the goals as I worked to make room for the stuff coming in from the van the first week of April.
The reference books are now on that cabinet above the tramp. The 1999 World Book set and the Britannica Great Books set I bought from the library in 2005. And writing related misc.
|Cubby desk May 25|
After yet another workstation tweak, solving desk height and other irritations, I had a few productive sessions at it but what seemed minor issues at first became deal breakers and I found myself more and more back on the mini-tramp.
|Looks more like a nest|
But on May 24 I decided it was not working. I'd gravitated to sitting on the mini-tramp that first weekend because there was so much upheaval everywhere else. But that had unwanted repercussions--I stopped working out because the tramp was always piled with cushions and for some reason I can't pin down my productivity dropped both on and off the computer. Maybe that is partly due to not working out. But it might also be because the setup was more conducive to daydreaming, watching videos or surfing than serious work. The clue is in the caption I gave the pic: Looks more like a nest.
|standing desk May 21|
|Bradley Desk Inpector|
Finally room to spread
out books and paper
I've continued to tweak. Of course. Am resigned to that being something of a comfort activity for me. Besides as new commitments move onto the agenda new accommodations must be made. Right? Like when a new, larger computer enters the picture and the older one cannot yet be set aside so the computer desk aka tray table gets pushed to the right until it is blocking the tramp. Oops!
Or when the 'brilliant' front burner project box turns out to be a clutter collector rather than efficient use of space.
Will try to post a current pic of the tweaks that resolved those issues soon.
Once he knocked my netbook off the desk. I had an extreme moment of panic before I got it picked up and checked over.
|Merlin nesting with me|
But for over a week after Merlin got paroled I hung out on the tramp again so he could hang out with me.