Saturday, December 08, 2012

55th 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 month 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.

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 established it after digesting the info in Duhigg's The Power of Habit and have followed through since the Sunday before November 1st now. I had nice new strings of Ys in the two relevant columns until the last week of NaNo and altho FREEWRITE holds steady I've let FICTION FILES slide.  I gave myself permission to take a post NaNo break to catch up on the many things that got neglected during NaNo.  I will get back on track tho maybe not daily until after Christmas since that Secret Santa crochet project is scarily behind.

See my musings in this check-in post about my several encounters recently with the principle that clarity isn't arrived at through thought alone but via action--engagement in the non-abstract realm with the minutia, manipulation of the materials, or in other words 'just doing it' and how I'm attempting to apply it to my stalled out stories.

In the last week that Christmas crochet project has had to take front burner.  I've made huge progress on it having completed some 20 of the 88 4x4 inch squares bringing the total to 63 and leaving 25 to go.  The squares are in strips of 11 that will be joined into two panels that will then be joined to the wide mobius strip making up the bottom, sides and carry strap of the crafter's tote.  I've just completed the 5th of the 8 strips and now have all three of the strips for the panel that forms the front and the side pockets.  The three strips still in progress are the middle three for the panel that forms the back/top/flap.  I will not be able to keep as fast a pace on finishing the remaining squares and strips as I've finished all of the fast, easy or mindless stitches.  There is a lot of counting involved in the three remaining patterns.

But there is enough mindless-easy left in the Mobius strip to make up for it.  I had hoped to keep a balance between the variety of the square strips and the monotony of the Mobius strip spread out over the months but I was down to my last two Twig thread by mid November and was waiting until I was able to stock up again and that hasn't happened.  One of the Twig (dark brown) is attached to the Mobius but I was holding back on the second in case I finished the strips in the front panel and could start the joining step which has just now become possible.

After my husband picks up the 8 balls of Twig I'm estimating I still need on Monday or Tuesday I will be spending six to eight hour days for 10 to 14 days doing the very monotonous mesh stitch--chain, chain, single crochet--around and around this loop until it grows from 2.5 inches to over 10 (optimally 12) wide.

So what has this to do with ROW80?

Well superficially it is one of those life things that has forced some reassessment of the goals, adjustment of expectation and so forth.

But since joining ROW80 in April and creating the goal for DAYDREAM STORY I have gravitated to doing so while crocheting.  It has become so coupled in my mind my psyche itches for the one the second I turn my attention to the other.

This past two weeks tho I've also added writing craft podcasts to the mix and have listened to over fifty hours worth of them while crocheting.  One of those has been The First Million Words podcast for which I've listened to 28.5 of their first 30. All there is to date.  I paused the 29th in the middle to get this post prepped.  This podcast is produced in the garage of one of the pair of aspiring writers who seek out and interview published authors on the writing life and craft.  They also have several minutes of silly (occasionally PG-13) bantering between themselves as they share where their own writing attempts have taken them since the last podcast.

When I finish the last of that one I'll move on to Writing Excuses and then to one of the others I've already downloaded on itunes or go after one of the several promoted on The First Million Words.  In this way I will keep my writing mojo stoked as this hiatus for my own fiction writing continues.  Listening to these has been inspiring enough that several times I almost set aside the crochet hook to open my fiction files.  Instead I just jotted notes in the Daydreaming Story notebook.

Maybe if I wasn't also fighting a bug--mild so far--or maybe if I was further along on the tote bag...  But the point is it feels like the continuation of the DAYDREAM STORY coupled with the writing craft pod listening and the READING CRAFT is keeping me primed and building the pressure of the desire to get back to my own fiction files again after the disgust for them that had built up by the end of NaNo.

So my hope is that by the day after Christmas or at least by January 1st I'll be ready to jump back in.  Which will be a big improvement on previous years when I would shy away from them until spring or summer when it was time to start thinking about prepping for the next NaNo.

1 tell me a story:

alberta ross 12/09/2012 9:52 AM  

thanks for the podcast link -as a crocheter myself that crochet sounds interesting - please post a pic when done - all the best for this week- the festivities and for finding mojo on Jan 1st:)

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