Now

I’m not sure what to check in about these days. I’m not writing except for an occasional blog post, although I keep meaning to write more. I guess that could be a goal, but right now I’m feeling really good about just doing what calls to me in the moment. Setting goals for my blog posts is something that I’ll need to do at some point, but now doesn’t feel like that point.

I guess I do have some goals. I’m doing a different 30 day challenge every month–this month is about brush lettering. So that’s a goal. And I have exercise goals every month. But what does that have to do with ROW80? I’m exploring being something instead of a writer (in additon to? alongside of?). So maybe I need to at least take a break from ROW80? I don’t like the feel of that, though, because this has been a big part of my online life for years now. I like being part of this. But I do feel like if I’m going to be part of this community still, I should have some sort of writing goals.

So, writing practice? I do still feel like writing, especially the freeform thought flow of writing practice, is for everyone. It enriches and expands creativity, acts as a form of meditation, lets you figure out what you’re thinking. I haven’t been really regular in my writing practice for a long time, though. But that might mean that some writing practice goals could be just the thing. I do want to bring it back into my life more regularly, so maybe that’s my direction.

I realized just before I started to write this (it’s what prompted this whole post) that it’s been a long time since I’ve done writing practice the way I used to when I was really regular and prolific. Just a few minutes ago it occurred to me that I need to find my way into a writing practice that meshes with who I am now.

This round of ROW80 is ending in a couple of weeks, so this is a good time for me to figure out how writing practice fits into the life I have now. I’m thinking about things like a space for my notebook and pen more out in the open where I see them all the time. A ritual to get each session started. This is a good starting place, and the more I’m writing about this the more I feel like this is the right direction.

Goals to wrap up this round: set up a space to keep my notebook and pen to put my writing practice closer to the forefront of my thoughts. And one short writing practice session a week to try out a couple of possible locations to do my practice regularly. Small goals, small steps, feeling like enough. That’s a pretty good place to be.

What’s the Plan?

It’s already time to start the first ROW80 round of 2019! And I don’t have goals set. I’ve been sick for three weeks, so that’s really sidetracked me. Last week I was so sick I didn’t even get to go to the family Christmas. I’m back to the base level congestion and headache that started it all, but the cough from last week is lingering, too. Bleah.

That’s not actually what I was planning to talk about, though. I wanted to talk about all the things I want to do. The list is huge. So I’m going to start with a general list and say that I want to work on all of these areas:

  • Writing practice
  • Writing fiction
  • Blogging (for MuseCraft and here)
  • Putting up coaching offerings on MuseCraft
  • Art journaling
  • Embroidery
  • Sewing
  • Decluttering

Getting more specific, I am going to try out setting some quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. The new planner I got for the year is set up to help with that kind of planning, and I think it will be useful for me. I’m also going to set weekly goals for myself in my Sunday check-ins.

This week’s goals:

  • Find all the stray embroidery floss that’s roaming around the house
  • Set up a project pouch for the next embroidery project I want to work on
  • Do writing practice at least twice between now and Sunday
  • Spend 5 minutes a day decluttering studio things (this is to go with my first 30 day challenge of the year, decluttering every day; I’m keeping it small and simple)

My overall goals are a little bit amorphous right now, but I feel like since I at least have categories that will let me set weekly goals. I’m going to take the next few days before school starts again to get clearer on these goals and work on those quarterly and monthly goals to help me keep with the weekly goal setting plan. Hopefully Sunday’s check-in will be all about how I got that all set up–that’s the plan, anyhow.

Time Stretches

I thought I’d do a blog post to check-in since it’s been a while. I thought I’d be taking a break for a week, maybe two, but time has pulled away from me, and even though it’s a month later I find I still need the downtime.

I’m in the midst of trying to find summer work and looking for full-time work for the fall. Writing is haphazard and solely focused on writing practice right now. I am still in Lull mode, resting, trying to do what I need to do. Reminding myself that I will have more writing time after I take care of the employment stuff and get all of that sorted. For now, writing practice and resting will do.

A Writer’s Day, October 22, 2016

words-volume-2-a

This is the first installment of a new thing I’m trying out–rambly, chatty reports on my writing life. I’m hoping sharing what I’m doing will get me doing writing things more regularly.

So this is a little bit of two pieces of my writing life. Notebooks and writing practice.

Last year I decorated the cover of the composition book I was doing hand written exercises in, and I liked it so much I decided I need to do that for all of them. I decided to call them “Words”  and number the volumes. It seems appropriate. I just started volume two a couple of weeks ago on my birthday.

I started Volume 2 at a writing group I participate in sporadically, PDX Writers (I started the last one at their Fall retreat last October–it’s becoming a tradition).   I really love PDX Writers. Even if I only get to a Saturday workshop once a month, it’s a real touchstone in my writing life.  It’s a place where I feel welcome, where people remember my name even when I’ve been away for a while. And most importantly it’s a place to share my words and hear everyone else’s words with no judgement, no pressure, nothing but words of encouragement.  It’s fantastic.

The Saturday workshops are drop-ins–relaxed and rich with prompts and great readings. Today’s was extra special, though.  PDX Writers bases their workshops and retreats on the Amherst Writers and Artists method, and today’s workshop was part of a fundraising event called Write Around the World.  Amherst writing groups all around the world used the same prompts to do their writing today so we got to be part of a worldwide event.

One of the best things about going to a Saturday drop-in is that I always come away feeling excited about my writing.  Tonight I’m writing about here to keep the enthusiasm going.  Tomorrow, I am going to work on some NaNoWriMo planning, and that needs plenty of enthusiasm.  And M&Ms. But mostly enthusiasm.

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