Tia Bach

Music, Chocolate, and ROW80 by Tia Bach

Well we had a couple of snafus this round that led to my somehow missing a couple of sponsor posts.  Tia Bach has been kind enough to step in to pinch hit for some inspiration for y’all this week!  Thank you, Tia!

~*~

Inspiration comes in many different forms. Some writers swear productivity and music go hand in hand, and many create playlists for their books. If I turn on music, I have to sing or dance. These activities distract me from writing, but they sure are fun.

Others swear by the reward system. For example, they will eat a decadent chocolate dessert when they write 5,000 words. Willpower is not my strong suit. Even thinking about the dessert will hold my thoughts hostage, and I can’t write with a chocolate-obsessed brain.

However, I am happy to say one thing has consistently inspired me since mid-2011: A Round of Words in 80 Days. I’m so grateful to Kait Nolan for building this community!

I love ROW80 on so many levels. First, I enjoy reading what inspires people to write. Too often, I get caught up in my own excuses. Often my updates become sad, but well-thought-out, tributes to why I didn’t reach my word goal. With ROW80, I’m never more than two posts away from a great, re-energizing idea. It’s like an adrenaline shot.

Second, I need community. My ROW80 friends are always around. They don’t abandon me if I forget to post for a few days. Someone is always there to get me over the hump, whether it’s through an encouraging pep talk or a swift kick in the butt.

Third, there’s a #ROW80 group who come together on Twitter (2pm EST) to word sprint. Love, love, love this group. They’ve helped me survive two NaNos. Plus, without them, I’m not sure my last two books would exist.

Finally, ROW80 forces me to reevaluate my goals and methods every quarter. Changing it up helps me stay focused. Then, every Sunday and Wednesday, I must face my choices and determine how they are working.

Most importantly, my fear of failure has greatly diminished. Now, thanks to ROW80 support and ideas, I understand how success works: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill) Without the amazing people in this community, I would still be shivering in the dark writer’s closet. For that, I will forever be grateful.

I hope each and every one of you finds your inspiration. Until you do, know we are all here rooting for you!

~*~

Tia Bach

GOALS = Grow, Overcome, Accept, Learn, and Succeed by Tia Bach

A Round of Words in 80 Days has become a very important part of my writing life. I stumbled upon the challenge in the summer of 2011, and I haven’t missed a round since.

 

Writing is a process, and books don’t write themselves. It’s one thing to wake up and say, “I want to write a book.” It’s another to build the foundation to get there. At first, I found defining my goals for the round quite difficult. I loved the accountability of putting them out there, but I worried about the inevitability of life interfering. I didn’t want to fail.

 

Then I realized something. Goals are really about the ability to Grow, Overcome, Accept, Learn, and Succeed.

 

Grow

If it’s not working, change it. We should strive to grow our writing. Before ROW80, I never thought to interview my characters. Then I read a post where a fellow writer did that, and I tried it with great success.

 

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built. Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Overcome

Writer’s block. Time issues. Technique questions.

 

Every writer in this group has faced writing dilemmas, and many of them have shared strategies for overcoming them. If you can’t find a post about your struggles, write a post asking for input.

 

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. Alexander Graham Bell

 

Accept

Life will rear its ugly head. If you have a bad writing day, accept it and move forward. Live to write another day. Or, take a large breath and salvage what’s left of the day.

 

Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable. Denis Waitley

 

Learn

Whether it’s studying your craft or discovering effective social media uses (or a multitude of other issues), there’s a wealth of knowledge in our ROW80 community. Never be afraid to ask.

 

I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. Eartha Kitt

 

Succeed

The path to success is rarely without stumbles. Goals are plans, and we all know what they say about the best laid plans. But as we grow as writers and overcome our stumbling blocks, we will learn to accept what stops us and learn the best path to success.

 

Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. Dale Carnegie

 ~*~

Tia Bach

Plan it, Ink it, Believe it by Tia Bach

When I first started writing, I let Life rule me. On the perfect day at just the right time, I would write. But only then. After ten years of this approach, I published my first novel. I was worried that I was a one-and-done author. Then it hit me—if I wanted to write another book, I needed motivation and accountability.

 

Not too long after, I came across the A Round of Words in 80 Days website.

 

A challenge that knows you have a life… I signed up right away. Next up, I had to set measurable goals.

 

A goal without a plan is just a wish. Larry Elder

 

Consistent writing was a wish for me before ROW80. I needed a plan. At first I was throwing darts at a dartboard to see what would stick. When 500 words a day wasn’t working, I tried 250. Then I tried writing for a set time each day. When that didn’t work, I traveled around the linky post and tried what other writers were doing.

 

By having access to different methods, I found what worked best for me on most days and alternative plans for others.

 

Write it down. Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants; cant’s into cans; dreams into plans; and plans into reality. Don’t just think it – ink it! Author Unknown

 

On any given Sunday (or Wednesday), I’d review and re-evaluate my stated goals. It kept me on task to see my goals in print. Plus, I knew a fellow ROW80 participant would drop by and keep me on track. Or, just as importantly, let me know that falling down was not a reason to stay down.

 

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

 

With each baby step, I built stronger pathways to my goal. These stepping stones didn’t always lead me straight to success, but they gave me the necessary tools to make progress toward my destination… and more words.

We do not develop anything with one giant step. No matter who you are, or what you do, each one of us had had to take a lot of individual steps to accomplish a task, a job, a career, or even a hobby. Catherine Pulsifer, The Little Steps

 

Grateful does not begin to describe how I feel about ROW80. Chasing Memories, my first YA novel and second book, is a direct result of what I have learned from this amazing group of writers: Plan it, Ink it, Believe it.

I.N.S.P.I.R.E.D. by Tia Bach

Inspiration is key to writing success. I can have willpower and all the tools I need, but still feel lost when the muse refuses to cooperate. Yes, it’s important to sit your butt in the chair and focus on writing, but that alone doesn’t guarantee story.

Before ROW80, I was an isolated writer. I didn’t even share my writing with friends, afraid of what they would think or say. Even more terrifying was the idea of joining a writing critique group. I just wasn’t ready.

I knew I needed a community of writers by my side, people who would understand the ups and downs of the writing life and commiserate. But just as importantly, I needed a well of inspiration when the muse refused to grace my presence.

I searched for writer blogs. I rarely participated or commented, preferring the anonymity of watching. Then I found ROW80.

Why am I so inspired now? I’ll explain.

Imagination – A writer must access their imagination constantly. Sometimes mine shuts down, the muse playing with it in a far off land. I’m left staring at a blank screen. Now when that happens, I simply visit some of the writers in ROW80. Their posts often put me right back on track.

Network – I went from solitude to magnitude. Never underestimate the value of surrounding yourself with fellow writers. I know there is a group of people wanting me to succeed, who not only give but value what I have to offer as well.

Support – Whenever I’m struggling or doubting my muse, I write a check in post and magic happens… comments start pouring in with support and suggestions. I don’t have to wait for my next critique group meeting or push writing aside until the fog clears. At most, I wait a few days for a Wednesday or Sunday to come by. If I can’t wait that long, I have a few ROW80 friends I know I can go to. And I’ve only been in this writing community since Round 3 last year!

Passion – Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is a fact well observed that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write under other circumstances.” The passion for writing within this community is awe inspiring. If mine ever falters, I know where to find more.

Ideas – There’s always a writer brainstorming and offering writing prompts. Even the questions writers pose about their own dilemmas can spark an entire post or new story idea from me.

Reading – Every good writer reads, and reads a lot. Now, I’m exposed to more books than ever before. My imagination mine is overflowing with gems.

Entertainment –Few things inspire me as much as an entertaining post from another writer. I’m always amazed how a writer can spin a tale in a 200 word post. Even taking a break to enjoy another writer’s work can be just what I need to reboot.

Dedication – If ROW80 has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me the value of dedication. Writing isn’t always easy. The trick is to stay with it, write when you don’t feel like writing. Even one good sentence can give you the confidence you need to write another. But, when you don’t write, there’s not even a chance for inspiration to hit.

I struck gold when I found the ROW80 writing community. I’m surrounded by writers, and my word count totals have soared. My first novel took me ten years to write. In the last six months, I’ve written almost half of my next one.

I now have resources, support, and community. Don’t feel like you have to be alone. Reach out to other writers. You never know where it may lead you or your story.

~*~

Tia Bach

Castles in the Air: Finding Your Foundation by Tia Bach

If you have built castles in the air,

your work need not be lost;

that is where they should be.

Now put foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau

 

I don’t remember a time I didn’t love to write. As a teenager, I would fill notebooks with stories. Never one to fall asleep easily, I drifted off while creating characters and stories instead of counting sheep.

I headed to college with dreams of journalism dancing in my head. Raised by an engineer and a poet, I was equal parts practical and passionate. I decided on a business degree, but took as many English electives as possible. One day I mustered up the courage to walk into my college newspaper. The journalism students were all too happy to pass off most budget and other finance-related articles to their lone business writer.

After college, financial institutions and banks benefitted from a lady who didn’t mind combining numbers and words. I wrote and edited bank newsletters, corporate communications, manuals and marketing materials. Still, there were characters from my notebook days still pulling at my skirt and looking at me with puppy dog eyes. I had creative stories to tell.

When my first daughter was born, I approached my mom with a grand plan: write a coming-of-age novel with both the mother and daughter’s perspectives. She was game. We built our castles, but they were precariously hanging above me without a tether. I was proud of the words, but didn’t know where to share them or who to talk to about it. My husband and I moved every two years, so I didn’t have a writing community or support. Granted, I was blessed with a very encouraging family. But, let’s be honest, family isn’t always the best source for a good, honest critique.

Flying high on creative inspiration, Mom and I jumped into the publishing world. I didn’t have a Twitter account, had just started a blog, and had no clue about LinkedIn. If only I knew then what I know now. Writers need community and support. My novel was complete, but I didn’t know which way to turn and who to ask. Ideas and characters were swirling above me, but I needed inspiration.

The online writing community has been such a blessing for me, and a big part of that was Round 3 of ROW 80. The concept is beautiful, set measurable goals but leave room for that tricky pest called Life. Writing goals completed, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Then the supportive comments started flowing. I have never before been so inspired to create and share. People cared, they wanted you to succeed.

Best of all, I have yet to walk away from a ROW 80 post without learning something, whether it was an interesting take on character development or figuring out what to do when a muse goes missing. I found my own update posts were equal parts check-in and question time. I knew my fellow writers would not let me down when I was struggling.

Writing, although incredibly fulfilling, can be a very isolating existence for most people. Don’t let it be. Find a challenge like ROW 80, join writing forums, reach out on social media, anything to surround yourself with your peers. Let your characters and imagination whisk you away, build your castles, and create the foundation to sustain them along the way.

~*~

Tia Bach