Inspirational Posts

Round 2 11th Sunday Check-in

End in sight? Not really… It’s a continuing journey (img: Eden Mabee)

As we start steering into the last few days of this Round of Words, it may be time to take stock of how you want to continue your future as a writer (or your future in whatever you choose to do).  It might be that there is a new Round 3 approaching, it might be because I’ve been watching the sagging number of ROWers in the linky (I am one of the biggest offenders here, sorry to say).  But some of it might be the things we’ve told ourselves as we plan our goals and writing careers.

One of the first things we old-timers probably have all come to accept is…  Writing is work, often hard work.  It’s definitely gratifying work.  But the term “labor of love” starts with labor for a reason.

The reason I bring this up is that I’m often seeing in the exact opposite discussed in social media these days.  And of course, there are the challenges like NaNoWriMo that suggest that yes, writing is hard but also suggest that it can be done quickly in a frenzy of energy and caffeine, and probably should…  Not bad if you can pull it off, but then we come down to the next important thing to remember about writing: Editing is even harder work, (and it can’t be avoided).  Even if it’s just a quick skim-through for consistency, the writer is not done just because she/he write “The End” on a page.

The journey of a writer often starts at those words.

So..  in keeping with this being a writing challenge that knows you have a life, remember when you consider your progress and start planning your goals for Round 3, to leave time for everything that makes you a writer.  The easy parts, the hard parts…  even the chocolate (follow ROWer Erin Zarro for her regular chocolate report).

Here’s an article on “Follow Your Passions” that inspired some of this post.

And here is your linky….

Round 2 – 1st Sunday Check-in

The Blank Page

Can you believe we’ve already made it through one 80 day Round of Words and are hot into a second? That’s a lot of words, a lot of writing, and a lot of commitment (and a lot of alliteration!). But perhaps things aren’t going as well for you as you’d like… Maybe it’s that blank page in front of you. You know the one I’m talking about, the one without distractions that you are sure will keep you from your writing if you ‘give in’ to the temptation…

Well, far be it from me to say you should do things my way, but maybe what you need is to step away from the page for a moment and indulge your muse a little.  Let me invite you to spend a moment with me in the ROW80 archives—way, way back to the very first Round of Words our founder Kait Nolan held—and two posts by our original sponsors:

  • a quote from: Problem Solving, Inc.  by Andrew Mocete
  • Staring at that blank page or ugly looking chapter may seem unproductive, but it’s telling your brain what you’re doing is a priority.   It’ll get the message and help you reach your goals.

  • a quote from: Productive Procrastination by Stacy Wallace Benefiel
  • No matter what your writing style is-whether you plot, procrastinate, write 12,000 words a weekend and nothing during the week, we are all taking on the commitment to write something every day for three months.

Remember that this is a journey, not a destination. It’s not how you get there, just that you do. And hopefully you’ll have a little fun while you’re at it.

Tell us about your experience at the linky:

Sunday Check-in Home Stretch

We really are in it now. Wednesday’s check-in will be the last one of Round 1. Can you believe it? That means there’s just ten more days after that before Round 2 starts. 😉

Seriously though, this is a milestone whether you realize it or not. You’ve done nearly 80 days of committing to yourself, setting goals and following them through. Or not… Maybe you started the ROW80 late this year. Maybe you discovered you really hated the goals you were trying to achieve and have only been following them out of stubbornness. Maybe you really were just not keeping up with the goals the way you’d planned.

That’s okay. Round 2 is another chance for you to show your stuff.  Remember it takes at least 66 days for something to become a habit (not 21).

Here’s the linky: let us know your progress, your plans… basically whatever you need

* Linky trivia for the day: When I cleared out the old links for today’s post, I found that we had had 127 click-throughs to our blogs two weeks ago.

Wednesday Check-in Week 9

See this?

Courtesy of Wikipedia

This is you.  This is me too.  It is a rough diamond in the matrix of other stones that diamonds are normally found in.  It is one of the rarest gems out there.  It is beautiful, bright, shiny…  and it is hard, strong—unbreakable.  It has been forged under great pressure over a long (very long!) time.  That’s why, here at the ROW80, we “challenge” ourselves daily 80 days per round, four rounds a year—because it takes more than pressure to make something as amazing as a diamond.  It takes time and the right environment too.

Part of what makes the ROW80 such a wonderful environment is our supportive community.  It’s not just about checking in, but also about visiting other ROWers and supporting them.  We even have #row80 sprints on Twitter to connect and socialize.

And of course, we have goals….  how are you doing on yours?

Let us know at the little blue froggie:

Sunday Check-in Week 7

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Sometimes you need more than just a desire to achieve…  which is exactly why Kait Nolan created the ROW80 a few years ago.   The steps work, but #4 requires one extra bit…  the sharing of progress.  Because how can we support each other if we don’t know where we’re at in our various journeys?

So, here it is again, another check-in, a chance to give and get support from your fellow ROW80 members.  Even if you’ve been behind for a while, a lax member whose been afraid to check-in because saying “no real progress” over and over again feels self-defeating…  stop in, check in, and begin again.  Today is a brand new day to build your dreams.

The linky:

Do It Different Day’: Another Way to Build Your Writing Productivity and Just Maybe, Save Your Sanity! by Beth Camp

So you’re deep in revision, the phone is turned off, the to-do list is covered up, and you want to make progress with your story, but you keep thinking about what needs to be done next in the ‘real’ world.

Maybe you write early in the morning or late at night. You write in the middle, between, or before all those other commitments come screaming at you. The job. The kids. Volunteer work. Dare I say it? OTHER writing projects? As in that beta read that’s due this week, chapters waiting for the red pen for your critique group, and that flash fiction you want to submit. Whether you are self-published or not, we add marketing to the list. And social media. By the way, is your e-mail inbox full?

I can always tell when ‘real life’ becomes overwhelming. My office looks like Attila the Hun just paid a visit and took prisoners. And I stop writing.

My challenge this month was balancing writing with commitments to others. My e-mail ballooned to over 600 messages, many gems from writing gurus, and I couldn’t find time to write for 4 days. All too quickly, that fear that I would never write, not be able to finish this beautiful story I’m working on, began to grow. Adding to my doubt, several readers popped into my life to ask: “When are you going to finish the next book?” My daughter reassured me that I’m not a coke machine, producing consumables, but a three-year turnaround is a long time for readers to wait.

I read somewhere that decluttering is a way of life, not just an annual purge.

We start the day and end it with routine. Our stories have structure, and whether we recognize the warp and woof of each day, so too do we weave our own designs for living – the when, the how, and the what – with each small decision we make.

Remember that old ‘fight or flight’ syndrome from psychology class? We all run away at times to those people, activities, or treats that soothe us. Do you run away from conflict and challenge? Consider asking: What have I needed to do for so long and keep putting off? This follows the theory that what we dread falls to the bottom of the list and somehow remains invisible as it grows in our subconscious like a dark, dark alien, sucking energy as it drains away our focus and attention from ‘what matters most’.

Consider facing into your challenges. And if you make lists, now’s the time! Try a ‘Do it Different Day.’

  1. Set your writing aside.
  2. Look at your work space and grab that endless to-do list.
  3. Consider your commitments.
  4. Assess those tasks that interrupt your writing. What gets in the way? Why?
  5. Analyze what needs to be done, break larger jobs into smaller steps.
  6. Tackle the hardest task on your list.
  7. Spend some time organizing/cleaning up your work area.

Why not set that timer for 30 minutes? OK, 15 minutes. Try baby steps and – most important — notice your reaction AFTER those 30 minutes of focused organizing/cleaning are complete.

Know yourself. Know that the crazy disorder will reoccur, unplanned disasters will create havoc (and leave emotional ripples), deadlines will shift, and distractions will multiply. But you can make a ‘Do It Different Day’ a part of your life, kind of a scheduled way to bring order and creativity in balance with the rest of your ‘real’ life and your writing life.

Reality check: I’m back on track with my revision and meeting my minimum of one hour a day on revision. E-mails are comfortably under 100. No, I haven’t confronted that to-be-read pile, and I haven’t watered my long-suffering African violets, but I’m writing. My office welcomes me with materials organized by project. I won’t lose my place. I’m not sure when exactly my next “Do It Different Day” will occur, but this strategy works for me. I hope it helps YOU!

~*~