General

2nd Sunday Check-in Round 2

I don’t know why, but when I saw this lovely hiding out in the media directory, I just had to post it.  Kait had some cool banners that almost never got used.  Does anyone have a favorite?  Would anyone like to design or add new ones to our challenge pages?  Creativity doesn’t just come in words.

And speaking of creative…  how are you all doing with your goals?  Making progress?  discoveries?  a mess?

Let your fellow ROWers know so we can cheer you on, hold your hand…  and just generally be there for you.

And So It Begins…

I didn’t post yesterday (though I probably should have scheduled this for last night) because, as always, our new Round of Words starts on Monday, not on a Sunday.  We are now officially into Round 2, and our first check-ins (official…  I know some people have posted check-ins anyway) will be Wednesday.

If you haven’t set our your goals for this coming round, there is still time to post them at the linky at the bottom of our goals post.

Until Wednesday then…  write well.Oh, and as a quick “Thank you” (and if you’re interested in more challenges) check out Lindsay Lovin’ Life who kindly added the ROW80 into her list of 17 Blog Challenges to Try in 2017.

Wednesday Check-in Week… Hmm!

Well, I miscounted it seems.   I thought today would be the last check-in of Round 1, but it’s not.  We have 8 more days to go.  (At least, the grand “X Days to Go” counter on the sidebar seems to be working right.)

The good news is that gives you an extra week to plan your goals for Round 2!

Until then…  just give us your progress at the froggie:

Sunday Check-in

Welcome to another weekly check-in…  somewhat late yet again.  I’m still trying to figure out all the tweaks our ROW80 creator (the delightful Kait Nolan) made to the site when she was preparing to close down the blog half of the ROund of Words for good.

So many of these tweaks are just little things, like the “Join the Challenge” tag in the bar above us that tosses everyone right into the Facebook Group, even if they aren’t Facebook fans…  It’s not a big thing, so much as a bit of an “I don’t usually think of it” sort of thing.  So…  a smallish request, if you would.

Please let me know in the comments below if you try a link and it works oddly.  Or if you just can’t find the information you’re looking for…

This is your ROW80 too.

And, given that… lets tell us how you all are doing:

Oh! and a bit of a FYI since this (possibly temporary) linky setup seems to have confused a few people, here’s how you do it:

  1. add your blog URL
  2. add your name
  3. add your email (this is not published)
  4. click “Enter your link”
  5. done…  unless you want to use the Tweet/FB feature

And there!  Have an awesome Writer’s Week!

Construction Zone

under-constructionHi!

You may not remember me.  My name is Eden Mabee, and I’ve been a part of the ROW80 for a few years now.  It’s a great place for supporting ourselves and our fellow writers, a place for sharing accountability and friendship.

Some of you remember when A Round of Words in 80 Days ran solely in the blogosphere.  Some of you, like me, remember it as a more malleable creature that mostly lived in blogs, but also had a good showing in our Facebook group.  And some might remember when we packed our bags to move into Facebook “for good”.

But… it wasn’t all “good”.  Whenever there is a big move, things can get left behind, and some of those things are hard to replace.  Some of those “things left behind” were members.  These members, who aren’t comfortable with Facebook and its policies or were people who loved Facebook too much (like myself) and knew they needed to dole out their time there….

The change hasn’t been all bad.  The Facebook page is gaining ground.  We’ve proven we are a community that stays together and finds ways to “Make It Work”.  This effort on my part is to transport of those lost treasures back into our community space.

Hope you ‘ll come along for the ride.  If you do…  here’s the new linky for this week.  😀

Sideways Up The Slope by Shan Jeniah Burton

What do you do when you’re stymied, and it seems like nothing is getting you any closer to achieving your goals?

Sometimes, I find answers in the efficiency of nature.

Take the sidewinder rattlesnake. Here’s a video of her in action. A note for the squeamish – nature doesn’t offer grocery stores. Like all wild predators, Miss Sidewinder has to take other measures if she wants to eat.

You’ve been warned.


The sidewinder makes forward progress…by going sideways.

How does that relate to my trickiest writing issue – revision?

For many years, I had no real idea how to revise. I poked aand tweaked, but I was missing major pieces of the puzzle. They didn’t fall into place until I channeled my inner sidewinder.

Yup – I “went sideways” up the steep sandy slope.

Miss Sidewinder has venom, but she also has a problem: she lives in a climate where she stands out.

When I first tried to revise a novel, anyone who looked could see the tracks I made. Where revision should look seamless, mine was as obvious as a snake sidewinding her way up a sand dune.

Miss Sidewinder has to conceal herself to catch her dinner. She digs herself into the loose sand, where her coloring helps her blend in. The horned scales over her eyes keep sand and glare out.

I needed to learn how to immerse myself in word-sands, and wait for my prey. I hadn to observe carefully, so when the right prey came along, I’d be ready to strike. Instead of horned scales, I have an adaptable human brain. I can learn things that help me capture my quarry – revision that goes somewhere without being obvious about it.

Miss Sidewinder uses her lateral movement to scoop out the sand. Once she’s wiggled a hollow out, she curls into it, letting the sand slide back in to cover her. Then she waits for her moment.

I went sideways, too. I read a book called Rock Your Plot, and learned about key elements like story structure and the need to understand my character’s goals, motivations, and conflicts. That led me to Rock Your Revisions, and I wiggled out a hollow in my mind and settled in.

Eventually, seeing what needed to happen in revisions got a lot clearer – and the drafts I’m creating with my new plotting know-how are faster and cleaner right from the start. My prey is easier than ever to catch.

Miss Sidewinder also has an inborn imperative to perpetuate her scaly species. Once she gives birth, Mama Sidewinder stays at the little burrow, guarding her young.

Mama’s Little Sidewinders are cold-blooded babies. The desert outside the burrow is too hot for them to survive at first. Their underground home is too cold. Mama can’t share her body heat, the way warm-blooded critters can.

Caught between deadly extremes, the baby snakes do something amazing.

They work together, forming a net at the entrance to the burrow with their tiny, writhing bodies, and regulate their collective body heat to a very constant temperature . Each baby takes turns, always moving, and, together, they do what’s needed to survive.

There’s something to be said for banding together, networking to reach the collective good, with every member making contributions and reaping rewards as others do the same.

After NaNoWriMo 2015, three other local writers and I formed a critique group. Our goal is to each submit one piece weekly, and critique the works of the other members. I also do beta readings and reviews for other members of the writing community.

This might seem like a sideways approach. I have several WIPs of my own awaiting revision. Surely I could get through them faster if I weren’t spending hours each week offering input to other writers, right?

Maybe not.

I want a sustainable writing business that brings in a modest income. I need to learn how to revise as efficiently as Mama’s Little Sidewinders maintain their body temperature.

If I only revise my own writing, I’ll always know what I meant to write. I might see that rather than what’s actually there. I would always know the backstories, and the process of creation, and I’d cut myself slack whether I meant to or not.

Joining a group where I give three critiques for each piece I submit quadruples my workload. ButI want to become proficient at the principles that will help with all revisions. The distance and objectivity of critiquing and beta reading for others gives me lots of practice where I don’t know the “inner core” of the story – the vision only its creator can have.

In return, I get critiques from my three partners. Each has a unique way of reading and specific skills that mean that I get three distinct opinions on each piece I submit. I’m learning a lot from the comments and questions I’m getting, and from reading and critiquing their work.

We are all sidewinders in ROW80! By setting our own goals, being accountable, and by visiting one another to offer kudos, encouragement, or commiseration, we’re banding together like Mama’s Little Sidewinders, in a network aimed at collective success, but which relies upon each individual doing their part.

Let’s slither sideways up the slopes of our writing challenges, and band together for the common good as we move into the final weeks of Round Three, and beyond.