Tuesday, December 18, 2012

58th 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.

Not much has changed since the last two check-ins so the following is mostly last Sunday's check-in with edits, tweaks and additions.  If discussion of fiber art projects bores you scroll past the next few paragraphs for the bullet list in which I try to analyse the variables that may be affecting the usual post NaNo aversion to my fiction files causing it to dissipate weeks or months early.

The fiction files work is still on hiatus intentionally because of the Christmas crochet project that is so far behind I've been working on it six to ten hours a day since NaNo finished and my fears that it won't get done in time are all but realized.

Less than a week to go and the latest glitch is not being able to get enough of the Mushroom thread to proceed with the substitute plan for the bottom of the tote after finding the Twig I'm using in the Mobius strip bottom/side/strap forced me to give up on the Mobius concept and settle for a simple rectangle which made me as incredibly sad as having to edit out a beloved scene or character or plot element from a story that it was crippling.

Now I'm considering the option of finishing the two panels comprised of the eight strips of 11 squares and getting them joined using the two Mushroom we were able to get and go ahead and give it on Christmas day looking like a large diaper bag with no bottom or carry strap .  Then order the Twig I need to complete the Mobius online.  Which would mean it would be mid March soonest before it was completed as it would be mid January before the thread arrived and I'll be helping out at my Mom's again for most of January and into February so there wouldn't be any 8-10 hour days.

That feels a bit tacky but not quite as tacky as withholding it entirely and giving nothing at all on Christmas day when whichever family member that drew my name has probably already got mine wrapped and under the tree or in the mail as the case may be.

Meanwhile I'm listening to podcasts on writing and audio books to get my fiction fix.

I've started itching to get back to my fiction files and it isn't even the end of December and ever since my first full NaNo in 2005 I have experienced an emotional backlash against my fiction files that tended to last for months.  I'm trying to understand the variables that might be affecting this and the roles they may or may not be playing in this really significant change:

  • I joined ROW80 in April so this is the first post NaNo since ROW80 check-ins and goal setting became woven into my life
  • Because of the ROW80 time investment goals working with, thinking about, reading about writing and actually writing (still keeping up the FREEWRITE time investment goal) has become woven into my daily life
  • Because of the ROW80 time investment goal DREAM STORY and how it became entwined with crocheting (an unexpected mental and emotional coupling of two passions that have been cross pollinating in unanticipated ways) this forced focus on crocheting has led to more focus on stories in a non-threatening way that doesn't trigger the usual post-NaNo revulsion
  • By giving myself permission to take the hiatus the not working in the fiction files is free of guilt and shame unlike other years.
  • Because I can't work in the fiction files due to time constraints I might be obstinately wanting to do what I'm told I can't do?
  • Listening to a couple hundred hours of podcasts about writing in the last 18 days is pumping up motivation
  • Watching this huge crochet project take shape under my fingers over the weeks has been an object lesson my mind has translated to novel writing.  Like a novel this project was designed from scratch without a pattern and just a vision and has gone through many stages of planning and backtracking and readjusting of the plan or vision and like a novel it has progressed by the daily incremental increase in its component parts ie stitches vs words.  This is giving me a visceral feeling of what the dedication necessary feels like and what the joy of watching it grow under my fingers feels like.  Thinking along these lines in the last few months has me itching to apply the lesson directly to my fiction files
  • By a combination of overcommitting and procrastinating my time cushion away I've ended up turning December into a marathon crochet month like NaNo was a marathon fiction writing month and now the revulsion has switched its focus from the fiction files to the crochet.  Note to self: can you please please please never put yourself in the position again of having to do the same thing for over ten hours a day seven days a week?  No matter how much you love doing it you can end up turning it from bliss to blah.

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