Saturday, January 19, 2013

62nd ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 4 2012

The writing challenge that knows you have a life
My goals are all time investment and are detailed on the  ROW80 page   I keep track of the time invested with a Google Doc spreadsheet linked on the goals page and also in each check-in along with a screenshot of the most recent days.

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 Wednesday's check-in I discussed my tendency to treat fiction reading as a treat that I deny myself until my *real* work is done and how that makes less sense in light of fiction writing and book blogging being the focus of my main goals which should qualify fiction reading as real work.  I also contemplated putting FICTION READING in the ROW80 GOALS and spreadsheet as the most likely way for it to get the same respect.  But as I said then, I'm quite leery of doing that because I do know myself and stories.  I have little self-discipline in putting it back down so the same trick I use with the time-investment goals would work against me if I used it with READ FICTION.

I know that I will often stick with a task once begun until I feel a sense of completion which is why telling myself I'm required to do 15  or 30 minutes a day on this or that task is a way of setting myself up for the potential of double or triple that amount of time invested and a completed task or significant progress on a project at the end of an hour or two.

But when it comes to reading fiction I don't need to be tricked into getting started.  I need to protect all those other columns from having their time poached by fiction reading.

So for now I'm not going to make it an official time investment goal.  I am going to treat it as an issue that is on my radar in the way each of the goals that have been added began and in the way I learned from reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg last year.  I found invaluable his advice on how to observe your current behavior and analyse it in light of the behavior you wish to establish in its place so that you can use the natural power of our ability to put repetitive tasks on autopilot to create healthy habits and increase productivity.

For the next week or so then I will be watching to see certain things like: how many hours am I awake before the ROW80 GOALS have their Ys?  Are there more ways to cut back on the amount of time it takes to write and prep blog posts?  This is important because posting is often the task using the largest block of time and usually the last major task I complete before I start winding down to sleep thus fiction reading tends to get relegated to that hinterland and I tend to fall asleep over the book or netbook screen in less than half an hour.

This isn't the first time blogging has risen it's head as an issue since beginning ROW80 last April.  All of the current ROW80 time investment goals had to contend with it.  I once considered letting go of my insistence on daily posts.  I've implemented things like templates, memes and themes assigned to days that are supposed to lessen the amount of time spent prepping or even just deciding what the day's topic will be.  My hope was to bring them in under an hour but I'm still finding it averaging well over twice that.

Time spent blogging still averages more than FICTION FILES get (which includes scene writing as well as notes, outlines, editing, character sketches, story boarding, mind mapping, time lines etc) and I think that represents a problem.  If fiction writing is supposedly my passion why am I allotting it less time than blogging?

Succinctly put, to give both fiction writing and fiction reading the primacy they require in a fiction writer's life:



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 I left this book at home so I can't continue until I return in mid February but I don't want to remove it so I'll just use strikethru for now.

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 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.

5 tell me a story:

DarkWyvern 1/20/2013 3:20 AM  

I definitely hear you on being unable to ration fiction reading time. Once I get started on a good book, almost nothing can stop me reading it until I've finished it. As for reducing time for blog posts, do you do an outline before you start? Having an idea of what you're going to write sometimes helps you write it faster; that's what I've found, anyway.

Laura 1/20/2013 8:01 AM  

I find it hard to leave a book if I'm really into it too.
I hope you have a good week. x

Jamie 1/20/2013 9:59 AM  

Finding balance in everything is a challenge, even for me. Keep reading, keep writing, and keep on figuring out a schedule that will work for you.

Shan Jeniah Burton 1/21/2013 1:02 AM  

I love seeing that block of Y' s!

I, too, struggle sometimes with finding a balance that really fits. I seem to do well with floating, shifting approaches that can shift with my moods...

Keep those Y' s coming! :)

Anonymous,  1/24/2013 3:51 PM  

Hi Joy, it looks like Kait has hit some trouble and we have no mid-week check-in. So no one is left out, please come over to our Facebook group and leave a link to your check-in post and we will be over to visit. The page address is Alternatively, email me at and I'll pass your post on. I know Facebook isn't everyone's cup of tea!

Should we have no Linky on Sunday, we'll just keep working this way until things sort themselves out.

Cate (Round 1 Sponsor)

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