Progress Report August 26

Progress 01

It’s ROW80 check-in time.  I’m changing up how I do things to make it simpler for myself and more interesting and encouraging, at least for me.  Instead of “I did this, didn’t do that, didn’t complete the other thing” I’m going to do reports on what I did during the week.  In Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching we call it a Credit Report.  This one is going to be specific to my writing, but it’s the same idea.

This week I got to the two-thirds point in my Blood of the Mist read-through.  I also had some really good ideas for ways to make parts better and made notes about it (see those sticky notes poking out at the sides of my pages?) so I’ll remember what I wanted to do when I get back to the writing part.

I visited several ROW80 blogs and commented.  I’m glad to be getting back into that. It’s too easy to let things slip away even when it’s something you want to be doing.

I also had a tiny epiphany. I realized that I overestimate how much I can get done in a week.  That’s part of why I’m changing my check-in format.  The goals of “get the read-through done by X date” were more stressful than useful because I wasn’t hitting the goals.  And while some of that is due to my procrastination habit, it’s also because I do actually have other things I have to do every week, and doing my reading and note taking takes longer than I realized it would.  So my goals now are to keep checking in on blogs and to make progress on the read-through every week (although the time-keeper in my does think I’ll be done by this time next week).

That’s this week in my writing world.  What’s going on in your writing world?

Maybe Yes, Maybe No

ROW80Logocopy

It’s time for this week’s ROW80 check-in, and I’m just a little too tired to find a fancy image to go with my post.  ROW80 logo to the rescue!

Luckily my writing week went better than my image finding.  I’m not all the way through my read-through of Blood of the Mist–I’m never very good at figuring out how long something will take me.  I’ve made a lot of progress and have some really good notes about story ideas.

I think the story is good, too!  I think.  I can’t really tell.  I’m enjoying reading it after several years away from it, but to be completely honest I don’t know if I’m enjoying it because it’s good or because I really love this kind of story.  Is it good? Maybe yes, maybe no.  I know I’m liking it and feeling excited to move forward with it, and that’s the important part right now.

For the coming week I’m going to make a push to really finish this read-through and at least get started on scene notes.  I’m also going to do better at checking in on blogs because I completely failed at that this week.

I did one other big writing thing this week.  I signed up for a writing retreat in October!  I have always wanted to go to a writing retreat, and an opportunity opened up last night for a retreat not too far from home that I found out about after it was already full.  A group had to cancel, and suddenly there were open spots, so I snagged one.  I am so excited!  I am practically counting the days.

What’s going on in your writing life?  I hope you’re having a great writing week!  Drop me a note and let me know.

See you next time!

Story Work

Story Work 2

A very quick ROW80 check-in.  I’m still recovering from a fabulous weekend at the Willamette Writers Conference.

My head is so full of story, ways to tell stories, ways to plan stories, ways to make it better.  The spark from being around so many other writers and learning so much craft in such a short time is incredible.  (I did some presenting at the conference, too.  Here’s the blog post I wrote about that.

Two particularly fabulous things for my own WIP came from the weekend.  First, I took a workshop on loglines and reworked mine and feel like I really got it right.  I can see the story so much more clearly now.

The other thing that popped up for my story is that I’m watering things down.  I’m trying to be balanced and do story work and also writing practice, and what’s happening right now is that I’m not really getting any good work done on either front.  So for right now I’m going to turn all my focus to Blood of the Mist.  (Truthfully I’ll probably still do a little writing practice off and on because I always do, I’m just not going to focus on it right now and make a big thing of it.)

I’m going to read through what I already have a couple of times.  Right now I’m reading through and marking all of the character and place names so I can create notes for each one and reconnect with them.  Then I’m going to read through and make scene notes.  After the two read-throughs are done, I’m going to do a loose plot of the whole thing, and then I’m going to finish the first draft.

I don’t expect to get all of this done during this round, but I don’t really know for sure how long it will take.  I only know that I really want to finish this story, so that’s where I’m going to turn my attention.

I think I should be able to get through the first reading and character notes by next week’s check-in.  Hopefully that’s what I’ll be telling you about next time.  See you then!

Coming Back

Blood of the Mist RestartIt wasn’t a bad week in ROW80 land.  I did have to face up to my own limitations.  I actually have to sleep and rest and do self-care these days.  I am no longer in my 30s and able to sleep two hours a night for a whole week and still function.  How did that happen?

Still, good stuff happened this week.  I found my Blood of the Mist pages but none of the original planning notes.  Those may just be gone, and I’ll have to live with it.  It might be a good thing in the long run, because now I’m going to have to rethink scenes and things, and that will probably freshen up the story and help me get back into it.

I’ve been looking up anything I can find about how to get back into an unfinished story you’ve been away from for a long time.  I’m not entirely sure how to reconnect with the story and move forward.  For now, I’m going through my pages with a notebook at hand to write a few words about each scene.

Anyone have any resources for restarting an old story?  I’d love to have a look if you don’t mind sharing.

I did more than find my pages and start revisiting my old story.  I also checked in with 5 fellow ROWers.  I love the connection I feel by doing that, both to other ROWers and to the writing community in general, so I really want to stay on top of that.

The writing?  Not as much as I intended, at least not fiction writing.  I’m still doing a lot for the Willamette Writers Conference, and I may have to acknowledge that I’m not going to get as much done until it’s over (11 days from now).  Especially because I’m really into finding my way back into Blood of the Mist.  I’ll try to get some actual writing in over the next week, but if I only have a short amount of time for my own writing until after the conference, it may be spend working on BoM.

That was my week.  Next week I hope to report more blog check-ins, progress on my BoM note taking, and one writing session (it’s hard to write that, but I need to be realistic, but I feel like I should be able to do all of everything!).

How was your week?  What are you planning to do next?

See you in the comments!

Wednesday Afternoon

Afternoon LightIt’s still high summer, but the light is changing and I can see Autumn in the slant of the afternoon sunbeams.  It’s been a very contemplative week, and this thought and this picture seem perfect for it.

On the ROW80 front, it’s been a fair week.  I got some writing done, including a flash piece that may be something I can edit and submit.  I really like it a lot, so I have hopes for it.  I didn’t get to as many blogs as I intended, so I need to make that happen in the coming week.

I didn’t get as much writing done as I’d hoped, though.  An extremely hot weekend had me down for the count.  We’re also house hunting, and we’ve just signed on with a real estate agent so there’s a lot to do with that.  I’m getting ready to do a presentation at this year’s Willamette Writers Conference, so that’s taking some time.  And today our beloved office dog died very suddenly and unexpectedly, and I am mourning and missing him so much.  I know he wasn’t my pet exactly, but I spent all day every work day with him and we were very attached and so it hurts a lot.

I did do one very fun writing thing.  On Friday I took an online class with Cat Rambo. This is the third (fourth?) class I’ve taken with her, and I always enjoy them.  To me she is a perfect example of a working writer, and I love getting to learn from her.  And her classes are always very small (5-8 people), so I always feel like there’s time to ask my questions and really dive in.

I also wrote a blog post about my favorite writing prompt sites, so if you like prompts check it out: 10 Prompt Sites to Rev Up Your Writing.  And as I mentioned last week I have a new Facebook group for talking about writing lives, maybe doing some writing together, sharing resources and tips.  Here’s a link if you want to join us: Wild Minds Writers

For the coming week:

  • Three writing sessions
  • Check in on five ROW80 blogs
  • Find my notes and handwritten pages for my Mist story because I’m really feeling a pull to get back into that one and finish it

In and amongst house hunting, packing, and other summer activities, I think that’s enough of a list.  See you next week!

 

Aha!

Checking in for ROW80 again.  I’ll be doing weekly check-ins on Wednesdays rather than Wednesdays and Sundays.  It gets to be too much for me doing them twice a week.  But I do have things to report since Sunday.

Aha!

I couldn’t seem to get my footing in the new story, so I sat down and wrote about that. And I realized that I don’t have an antagonist!  I have forces of nature that work against my MC, but that’s not the same as having something actively working against her.  I know there are stories where the antagonist is a force of nature, but I never feel really satisfied with those, so I don’t want to write one.

I’m currently doing a lot of discovery writing to learn more about my MC, more about the world I want, and to try to ferret out an antagonist for her.  This is working out a lot better for me.  I was trying to jump into the story without doing any planning, just to see what happens, and I know now that isn’t for me.

I was remembering back in my early writing days that I used to sit down to write with a general idea and a character and just go for pages.  I don’t know if the difference now is that I don’t have the time I used to for just writing randomly or if my brain works differently now.  Maybe it’s because I used to know a lot more about my character before I started writing, and this time I didn’t have more than that she’s a professor who got tangled up in the opening of the veil between here and Faery.  Whatever the reason, I know I need a lot more info before I’m ready for really writing the story.

I’m going to dedicate the first part of this round to writing about my character, writing scenes that come to me, and working on outlining.  I’m hoping I’ll be ready for actual story writing about mid-August.  Meanwhile, I’m sticking with my goal of three writing sessions a week (I did one this week already).

That’s where I am in my writing just now–sending myself back to the beginning to do the work and get unstuck.  Where are you in your writing?

An invitation: 

I started a Facebook group to talk about writing practice (writing for writing’s sake, not always about story) and building our writing lives the way we want them to be.  It’s a place to share resources and struggles and triumphs.  It’s also a place where I’m going to ask for volunteers to test out classes and programs I create for MuseCraft.  If you are interested in exploring your writing life and where writing fits in outside of creating stories (and within it, too), please join us:

Wild Minds Writers

Mixed Bag

Bags

It’s already time for a ROW80 post!  And I don’t have nearly enough to report.  I did check in on blogs this week, so yay for that.  But I only got to one writing session.  A mixed bag of some progress but not quite what I had hoped and planned for.  Still, it’s better than no writing at all.

I’m finding it harder to get into the new story than I thought it would be. I am struggling with my usual overwhelm.  I have so many ideas, and I am not doing well at pinning them down.  Why is it so easy to walk someone else through this stuff but so hard to follow my own advice? As usual, I get hung up on wanting to write thousands of words each writing session even though I know realistically my life won’t support that right now.  So I tell myself to do it in small steps, but I want to do big steps, so I end up doing not much of anything at all.  This round, I intend to wrestle this beast to the ground and build a regular practice!  No more of this inner arguing.

I’ll be checking in on Wednesdays rather than Sundays most weeks, so I’ll be back on Wednesday with a short report.  By then I intend to have done at least one more writing session and checked in on a couple of blogs from today’s check-in.

Do any of you struggle with this issue of wanting to write thousands and thousands of words but only have limited time that just won’t let you do it?  What do you do about that?

See you Wednesday!

ROW-ing Again

Start here

Start here

I got busy (again) and fell away from ROW80 (again).  But I’m back (again).

In the Round 3 goals-setting post (linked above), Kait made some great points about habits that help and habits that hinder.  I looked at my own habits and can clearly see where I stumble every time:

  • I procrastinate and do my writing and my blog posts at the last minute
  • I’m inconsistent in how often I write
  • I don’t make plans for when and what I’m going to write to help counteract the previous two bad habits

Things that generally help me get my writing on track:

  • Setting smaller goals that focus on frequency of writing rather than word count (unless it’s NaNoWriMo, then that flies out the door)
  • Scheduling when I’m going to write (loosely, like “Thursday afternoon before leaving work)

With all of that in mind, here are my goals for this round:

  • Write fiction three days a week
  • Post at least one ROW80 check-in weekly
  • Comment on at least five ROW80 blogs each week

That’s it.  I want to write regularly, and I want to get back to being active in the community.  These are simple and straightforward and should get me what I’m after.

How about you?  What are you writing?  Are you doing ROW80?  Let me know what’s going in your writing life so we can encourage each other.

Rollback Point

Taking a little paws

Taking a little paws

A rambly ROW80 check-in.  Possibly only vaguely coherent. Sinus infection and dizziness make for a fuzzy brain, plus I’m really trying to figure out what to do with this story I’ve been trying to work on.

Trying.  That’s the thing.  I took several months–most of a year–off from writing.  I needed to make sure it was still my big thing (it is).  When I realized I was still thinking about writing and stories and story ideas all the time, I decided to get back to writing and really give it time and attention.

I decided that I was going to restart the last thing I had been working on.  It’s a good story, has some nice bones to it already.  Needs quite a bit of fleshing out of the characters, and some work to help me see the details of the setting.  But it’s good, and it’s a ghost story, the kind I really love.  So this should be a great idea, right?

Apparently not.  Monday I was listening to a video from Morgan MacDonald of Paper Raven Editing about re-motivating your writing. She asked why this project is important, and my answer was, “It isn’t.” Argh!

How did I come to be working on an interesting and good story that I don’t care that much about?  It all started with NaNoWriMo.  This was my 2013 NaNo novel.  I wrote it because I needed a new story to write for NaNo, and I do love ghost stories and haunted houses, so I started one.  And when I came back after my writing break, it seemed to make sense to go back to the most recent thing I was working on.  Also, it’s not one of the stalled novels that I really love and am not sure how to restart.  I thought writing the ghost story first would help build my writing muscles and get me ready to go back to the others.

What this all boils down to is that I’m just not that into this story.  I should be–I love haunted houses and ghosts and family curses.  I just can’t seem to get really into this.  I’m not sure what I want or need to be doing about that.

So, while I figure it out,  I’m going to take a little break from the story.  Just a little pause while I sort out what I want to be doing. I’m going to go back to one of my rollback points–short stories.  That’s where I started, and that always seems like a good place to go back to when I need to remember that I actually like writing.

I’m going to write some short fiction, try out some flash fiction even (as soon as I decided this yesterday a story came to me just about fully formed!).  I’m going to let myself play with stories without getting too fully committed to any one story right now until I know which one I really want to be writing.  And, I’m going to do some outlining of what I have written so far on an old story, Ordinary Girl, because that may be the one I go back to.

This needs to be for fun and joy and love.  That’s how and why I started storytelling and writing in the first place when I was a little girl.  So if I’m not having fun, and it’s not just a temporary thing, that means it’s time for a reshuffle.  That’s what I’m going to do now.

That’s a Terrible Idea!

Eye Roll 01

Can you believe I was thinking that?

I didn’t write this week.  I had a couple of things going on that changed my normal schedule, and it threw me off track.  So then I wasn’t going to do a ROW80 post this week because I have nothing to report, and really it’s kind of embarrassing to admit that the first week out of the gate, the first week when I was going to actually be putting words on paper for a story, I did nothing (well, no actual writing of story, but I did change a few things that made my plan for my opening scene much better I think).

But not posting when I’ve had a bad week is a bad idea.  So, here’s my “nothing  to report” report.

Back on the horse. Cutting out the weekly word count goal right now until I re-establish a regular writing routine.  That’s my plan for this week.  Write three times, even if it’s one sentence each time.  Just write something.

Do you have a plan for the week?  Let’s be in this together!