Saturday, November 10, 2012

47th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 4 2012

The writing challenge that knows you have a life
I'm doing things quite differently this round.  Since I joined mid Round 2 this year I have been using a blog-within-a-blog format for these check-in posts with updates stacked atop previous updates and commentary added under each goals section including a string of Ns and Ys for the five time investment goals.  This got quite unwieldy by mid round.

So now I've created a Google Doc Spreadsheet to keep track of the Ns and Ys and have set up a ROW80 page to feature the goals sans commentary.  These check-in posts will now contain only the commentary relating to the previous half week, a screenshot of the relevant lines on the spreadsheet and link to the spreadsheet and goals page.  And as of October 23 the READ CRAFT reading lists.


Currently Reading

What to Do When There's Too Much to Do by Laura Stack (Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list)
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published)  
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff

Recently Read:

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 week and wrote an overview of it for that next 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.

View the spreadsheet Google Doc directly
View the goals list

In a recent Check-In I implemented a NEW GOAL:  before heading to bed, close all aps but the one I've chosen for free writing and when the time slated for that is up segue directly to working with the fiction files.

I have followed through for 13 days now. See the nice new strings of Ys in the two relevant columns?

It has been a struggle against temptation.  Especially with the election and the Sandy news coverage calling to me. The urge to check for an email from my husband also tempting.  But I resisted and I got my fifteen minutes of free write and thirty minutes of fiction file fiddling 13 days running.  And yesterday the freewrite went 30 minutes as I lost track of time.

It feels weird.  Uncomfortable.  Annoying. Like an ill-made jacket worn backwards.  I feel a blade of defiance nudging at the edges of my determination.  It would not take much at this point to push me back into my comfort zone but I hang on to the vision of a new comfort zone.

It does seem to be easier now than it was just half a week ago tho.

As described in my overview of Duhigg's Power of Habit and in last Wednesday's check-in, I think I identified the keystone habit that once created or changed will ripple its effects across the habit tapestry of my days.  That was the tendency for my choice of activity on my netbook each day to be determined by what I started doing the first time I lifted the lid and that was determined by what tabs, windows and applications I'd left open when I closed the lid to go to bed.

I took advantage of the fact that I've just been jerked out of my normal environment by this out of town trip and four week visit at my Mom's which should make it easier to force a new practice onto my days since everything is topsy turvey and all of the familiar cues are missing.

If the above paragraphs look familiar to return visitor's it is because I've only changed the time references in them from the last two check-ins.  It is all still the most relevant thing going on with my goals situation and the necessary background for relating what happened this weekend.

Actually that story was told in last night's post so I'm only giving a bare bones version of it here:  I wrote fiction in public for the first time last night.  I garnered over 500 words for my NaNo novel while at an Internet cafe, The Electric Bean in Longview, WA, with my sister listening to a rock band.  I had my netbook with me for the fun of being able to announce my presence there in my fb status.  Then when some observations struck me as relevant to my NaNo novel I thot to take some notes and WhizFolders, my note taking and rough draft ap, was still open from the earlier work with it that day and I went to it to jot down a line or two.

To reduce fear of being read over my shoulder I reduced font size until it looked like insect footprints to me.  I jotted my initial observation which led to another and another.  I used double spaces instead of enter.  I kept my fingers ON the keyboard and my eyes OFF the screen while I looked around the room opening my senses.

I'll let you read yesterday's Friday's Forays in Fiction if you want the finer details of the experience--and a link to the band's website to hear snippets of their music.

I've rarely been anywhere near a live band and never that near so my stories featuring musicians were always running into snags over lack of vocabulary and lack of knowledge.

I do believe it was the nine days of freewrite that made that instance of impromptu writing in a public place possible.  If all else had remained the same I might have made that initial observation and possibly a handful more but I very much doubt it wold have gone any further if I'd not already been practicing and I owe this to ROW80 and The Power of Habit which I'd probably not been reading if not for ROW80.

1 tell me a story:

Shan Jeniah Burton 11/13/2012 4:33 PM  

It sounds like you've really found what works for you, and how to stretch yourself into new challenges!

I've never really tried spreadsheets, but you are inspiring me to give it a whirl...

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