Wednesday, June 13, 2012

10th ROW80 Check-In

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

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

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

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

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

___06-12-2012 Still have not started re-reading it.  It's been nearly a month since I set this goal and prioritized it at the top of the four goals and yet I've still not started re-reading it.  That looks a lot like the RESISTANCE discussed in Pressfield's War of Art.  So I'm tempted to explore that but I sense Pressfield would call that RESISTANCE too--just another way to avoid DOING.  Besides, according to Pressfield, RESISTANCE is always about fear.  What more do I need to know?  At least before I begin.

I had a blog tour review/giveaway for Spartacus by Ben Kane to put up last Thursday and hadn't finished the book.  I had another blog tour review to post in the wee hours of Tuesday for The Concubine Saga by Lloyd Loftwood and finishing the last book so late gave me a late start on this one so most of my reading time in the last week had to be devoted to these mega page novels (400+ & 600+ respectively.

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

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

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

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

Camp NaNoWriMmo 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Spend 30 minutes or more per day reading a book or quality web article on Writing or Publishing from my ever growing TBR of books on writing and/or blogs or websites with professional level content on writing or publishing.  Will compile list for future updates.
___06-10-2012  - Y
___06-11-2012  - Y   
___06-12-2012  - Y  

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

Finished reading The Secret Garden aloud to Mom on Saturday and starting reading Jan Karon's At Home in Mitford to her Monday evening.  Will be starting The World Without You  by Joshua Henkin in the next twelve hours or so as I must post a review next week as it is released.  As Henkin is a writing professor at a New York university and I've already read and learned from his Matrimony I expect to learn as a writer from reading it.

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

___06-10-2012  - Y
___06-11-2012  - Y   
___06-12-2012  - Y

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

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

And there have been some exciting ones.

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

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

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

It means paying attention.

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

___06-12-2012 -- much, much, MUCH has happened on this front in the last week.  I'm getting excited.

4. Spend 30 minutes or more per day on one or more of the following tasks:

___06-10-2012  - Y
___06-11-2012  - Y   
___06-12-2012  - Y

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

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

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

___ 05-26= 06-12-2012 -- I have started to dabble in the files but haven't done anything that I can cross off yet and it is hard to list anything specific that I've done and yet it feels more than a bit productive since it has, like the daydreaming, stimulated ideas and joggled memory.  Mostly I've just been reading in them but I've added a few jots and moved a few things about.  Again, it is all about ATTENDING.

Miracles seem to happen when attention is paid to something.

This is the list I referred to above.  A week ago Saturday I reorganized it according to priorities as I see them now.  And added a couple of small items and grayed the text of some of the WIP titles to indicate that I'm taking the pressure off for this round.

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

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