Claire Farrell

The #ROW80 Community

Veterans and newbies, welcome to Round Two!  ROW80 is a learning experience, those of us who took part in the first round found that out – and if you’re a first-timer then the old sponsor posts are a must read.  Last time I was all about focusing on our own personal goals, after all that’s what ROW80 is about.  Keep sight of what you want to do rather than concentrating on what everyone else is doing.  I’ve learned this one the hard way.  :)

This time, I’m going to encourage you to visit the group of writers taking part – particularly the ones you don’t already know.  Writing can be a lonely activity sometimes, but a challenge like this one gives you a ready-made community to draw strength from.  We’re all at different stages, we all have different dreams and goals and ideas of success – so no comparing – but we’re also full of advice, encouragement and inspiration.  If you hit a low point when you feel a little discouraged (it happens), maybe take a look at how the other participants reach their goals, how they draw inspiration, what keeps them going when they want to give up, and you might get some tips that will help you on your way.

I challenge you to reach out to your fellow ROW80ers.  Support them and they will support you right back.  We might write alone, but we can always take a break together.  We’ll hit walls but have help knocking them down, we’ll get stuck in ruts but know we have plenty of helping hands to drag us back on our feet.  The #ROW80 twitter hashtag is a good place to keep up regularly with the ROW80 tweeting fiends and even commenting on a regular blog post can give someone the warm and fuzzies.  Besides, you never know when you’ll connect with your next critique partner/beta reader/collaborator.

~*~

Claire Farrell

 

How To Stick To It by Claire Farrell

I love how enthusiastic people are in January.  New resolutions, plans to improve ourselves – it’s always fun to list the things we would like to do next.  Most of these plans are forgotten pretty quickly and before you know it, it’s the end of the year and people are planning their new, oh, wait, I mean, last year’s resolutions.

How can we stick to our plans?  Publicly challenging ourselves with ROW80 is a great start.  But all great starts need decent finishes too.  So how do we keep ourselves on track?

First is to pick manageable goals.  Goals that suit you – don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  In theory, lots of things seem easy peasy but when we sit down to do them, we think of anything, literally anything, to avoid getting on with it.  If it’s too overwhelming, break it down a little more and complete one small step at a time.  It’s the first round so we’re still figuring out just what we can do – but even the easiest of challenges can feel ridiculously hard once life starts complicating things.

Be prepared for off days, random destruction of whatever it is you need to complete your challenge, and the rest of the world demanding your attention.  Falling behind?  You can catch up, no problem.  Take each day as a fresh start.  If you’re trying then you’re succeeding.

Suddenly feel like you don’t have time?  Make it.  There’s always something we can cut to bump up our work time.  Trust me, I have five smallies – I’m the Queen of Making Time.  No time is an excuse, I’m good at those too.

That’s why challenges like ROW80 are so useful.  We all know the excuses, so they won’t work this time.  But it’s not a mad rush to the finish line, it’s figuring out what we can produce on a regular basis.  It’s instilling a sensible work ethic and a steady routine that should benefit us in the long run.  It’s public accountability and the camaraderie of us all being in this together.  It’s hard to focus when you’re working alone but seeing your progress during the weekly updates is going to be a real motivator.

It should be fun too.  If you’ve had enough for one day then take a break, have a look at what everyone is doing.  Don’t try to match them – their goals are not your goals, but maybe get to know them, cheer them on and know that they will do the same for you.  Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely existence and when it gets tough, the rest of us will push you towards that finish line.

~*~

Claire Farrell