Round 1

Round 1 Week 3 Wednesday

Been reading a lot of posts about how hard it is to get writing this round (yes, yes, I am guilty too).

Well…

If you’re looking for some good “blank pages” 750words.com and Penzu.com are great places to start. I prefer 750 myself, mostly since I like the way it gives you an overview of your writing, but the prompt offering at Penzu is good too.  Both are awesome sites, and I use both as best suits my mood.

For today, my Penzu prompt was this quote by Winston Churchill.  It seemed particularly apt for a group of writers trying to regain their stride:

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”- Winston Churchill

So…  now that you’ve got some new directions to focus your efforts at, here’s your linky! Tell us what you think and how you’re doing: here or at our FB page:

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Round 1 Week 2 Sunday

I have a question for all of you creatives…  What is your opinion of how recent changes in technology have changed your creative process?  Do any of them make you worried?  Excite you?  Confuse?

I ask, because I am a huge library lover (especially for reference books and those huge tomes I would love to fill my house with, but my husband would rather I did not), and one of my favorite online resources is The Internet Archive.  The access to rare and out of print resources the IA offers to someone like me, who lives out in the boonies but is blessed to have solid cable-modem service, a way to look up odd bits and see old texts (such as this example…  my son found volumes 2-4 at a book sale and wanted to read them, but we couldn’t find the 1st volume at the time).  However…  its recent project The Open Library is stirring up some controversy in some circles because of copyright violation.

I am a bit divided on this issue.  I do believe that we need more ways for people to access books, but theft stinks, even unintentional thievery (which is what these seem to be, since the files have an active DRM protection on them).  The problem is that there are people out there who are stripping off this copyright protection and then reposting authors works as their own because of the formats used to make the books available o the Open Library, depriving those who did the real, creative hard-work of credit and pay.

Something’s got to give…  I have my own ideas for possible solutions.  How about you?  Have you had any experience (good or bad) with the Internet Archive/Open library or with pirating?  Do you think technology is making more problems for writers or offering some of the best solutions?


No matter what is happening in the publishing world however, we at the ROW80 have your check-ins covered. You can post here at out little linky froggie, on our Facebook page, in the comments below, or any combination of the three. Just let us know how you’re doing. We lover to hear from you.

Round 1 Week 2 Wednesday Check-in

Yeesh!   Look at that.  I wish I knew a better format for these check-in blog titles.  They’re so very long…  and to be honest, a bit dull.  They do get right to the point though.

Any suggestions from you all?  I’d love a few.

I’d love a few suggestions in other places too.  What sort of things would you like from the ROW80 (things you’d prefer more or less of, things you’ve seen elsewhere, things you’d like us to try or things we should stop doing)?

One of these days I’ll figure out a good shorthand for these post titles…  until then, here’s your newest linky.  Post any progress, setbacks or concern regarding your goals (or writing in general…  we’re not only here to help, but we love talking wordcraft) here (linky or comments), in our Facebook group, or all three:

Week 2 Sunday Check-in

Well, there we are—our first week of 2018 down…  just another 11 (or 51 depending on your destination) to go!

How did it go for you?  Have you been scoring all the points or has the start been a bit shaky for you thus far?  Wherever you find yourself along the way to achieving your goals, you’re on the path.  That counts for a lot.

So leave an update in the comments, at the linky or on our FB page (or all three if you’re feeling adventurous).  We’d love to hear from you:

Round 1 1st Wednesday Check-in

As always, the first check-in of a round can feel a bit… well, pointless might be a good word.  It’s not as if we’ve had time to make serious strides on our goals, nor have we had a chance to see what is working or what isn’t yet… not really.

Thing is, it is important to take stock regularly.  Everyday can be perfect for some people.  Others manage just fine with a once-a-week or monthly schedule.  It’s the consistency that matters.  And…  it also helps to not wait too long before the first review.  The sooner the first chance you take to check in on yourself, the sooner you can see if things are working or not.

The sooner you can figure out if the path you’re on will get you where you are trying to go, or if you’ll have to backtrack a mile or more to find the right exit on the expressway.

Not that missing a turn is always a bad thing either.  Sometimes there are new and fascinating discoveries to be made.

Even then, it helps to know where you were intending to go and how far afield you might be.

So here it is, the first check-in and first linky of a new year.  May you be exactly where you want to be, whether you’re right on target or meandering peacefully for a moment or two.

Oh, and here is a lovely advice/opinion piece a fellow writer from the Facebook iWriteNetwork group posted with an eye to the journey and what it means to be a writer…    Roxanne Gay: Advice to Aspiring Dreamers

Sponsor Post: Are You Ready?

(A gracious thank you to our sponsor Beth Camp for helping us welcome the new year:

Writers: “Ready for 2018?”

By Beth Camp

For writers, each year ends and begins with reflection, and that’s good. For sometimes we feel used up and are uncertain how to reconnect with our writing. Sometimes ideas for stories come so fast, we cannot get them down on paper.

Even if we are immersed in drafting or revision, or floundering a bit between projects, we may question our writing, want to change our writing process, or set new goals to improve our productivity.

Does it matter when we write?
Or how or what?
Do I pack my journal with my lunch,
a physical reminder to write?

You might feel, “I can only write in the morning, when my mind is clear.” But what if the only time in your cluttered day is late at night? What if work and family commitments leave no time for writing at all? How do we ‘schedule’ down time – not just at the end of the day when we are exhausted from all we have managed to accomplish.

  • One strategy is to find pleasure each day in small things. I remember laughing out loud when I read somewhere that even washing dishes can be a meditation. I learned this is true when my grandmother’s lovely Desert Rose dishes were gifted to me, the meandering flowers a reminder of my childhood.
  • We can set boundaries. Perhaps we say ‘yes’ too often. We know it takes courage in the moment to act with intention. Focus on priorities. With many possibilities before us, trust yourself to know, truly, what is best for you.
  • Take time to analyze, list, reflect, and choose. Follow up by asking ‘How am I doing?’ as we check in with A Round of Words in 80 Days.
  • Try out a ‘do it different’ day. Can you write at a coffee shop? Write by hand instead of on the computer? Write late at night instead of in the morning? Set aside one day a week for those projects that have languished all week? Read a writing craft magazine (like The Writer or Writer’s Digest) for professional development? Challenge yourself by scheduling something new each quarter — Join a new writer’s group? Support other writers by writing a review? Teach a workshop? Go on a writing retreat – formally with others or on your very own? Attend a writing conference?
  • Celebrate your successes. Every step takes you closer to reaching your ‘big picture’ writing goal. Recognize that sometimes nurturing yourself may mean taking a break from writing, letting those projects lie fallow. Or maybe, just maybe you want a new pair of winter boots.

And the morning begins
anew, each day, each season, another round,
even as we change.

How do we begin? Meditation? Morning thoughts? An intuitive scrawl that brings our stories to life? Sometimes we are inspired by writing prompts that take us in unexpected directions.

Or, we might pursue a programmed approach: Step 1: Draft the story concept. Step 2: Block that story into scenes. Step 3: Flesh out characters.

No matter what writing process we use, from inspiration, to drafting, to revision, at the end, we are surprised at what we’ve written. Whether we write by hand, draft on the computer, or dictate into our phones, we write. The story takes over; its meaning unfolds as we write.

What really do I need?
A notebook, a pen, my laptop.
Some place separate.
Perhaps a room of my own.

Some writers like to think about inspiration that comes from a muse, as if she were someone separate, a guest somewhat whimsical, who may or may not appear, and certainly who chooses not to appear on demand.

Or perhaps we write on schedule, the blank sheet (real or on screen), a dumping of words on paper, almost an invisible chain from the mind that seeks its own journey to a story unfolding.

Whether we write with a plan or without, we still build our story word by word, layer by layer. ending with often unexpected resolutions and insights about the human condition. That is our condition, regardless of setting. The story is what connects us to others, that creates a community of readers and writers.

Somewhere a door closes,
and another opens.
Each decade we live presents new challenges.

Does it matter how old we were when we began to write? Or how old we are now? The reality is that writing is a chimera, a dream world we create with words, a space and time that we build (and that only exists for us), until we share our words with others.

Perhaps just now, we have young children whose energetic needs pull at that time we have for writing until another week has passed, and we feel bereft at what we lose, even at the same moment, we cherish these little souls who begin their own journey. What gift do we give those who are close to us when we show them that we respect our inner lives? That a parent, aunt, or sister paints, or writes, or does just about anything with creativity, passion, and a snitch of abandon?

Some seasons are cold,
but even the moon rimmed with blue hints at change.

The end of a year invites us to consider: What can I celebrate this year? What would I like to write? What ideas draw me to write?

When I begin a story, something intrigues me. I have no idea, really, what length it will be. Flash or novel. It’s not so much that I think about finishing (though, trust me, I really want to tidy up and finish several floating projects), but a new story grows with each writing session, scene upon scene, some days slower than others. I write about relationships, conflict, setting, those pinch-pins of history that hold the story to a certain place and time, each element tightening that essential line of plot-conflict-resolution. Some stories, like some lives, end in tragedy as I attempt to work out why this character in this particular time and place acted in this way and what this means to us today.

Because I write historical fiction, if one part of the story isn’t working, I can switch to another part, fall back on research, or write more character studies. Alas, my writing style is recursive, circular, and there’s always revision. One thing, though, I’ve finally learned. I can squeeze in an occasional article or poem, but, unlike others, I cannot work on more than one major writing project at a time.

Now that I’m a septuagenarian, I can ask: How long did it take for me to say – without flinching – that I’m a writer? Somewhere between writing that second and third novel, I stopped hesitating when people asked me what I do. All those years of working, teaching, parenting, and yearning for my own writing life, of writing short stories and the occasional poem, and of reading and studying – and yes, living – prepared me for what I do now: I write, and I cannot imagine not writing.

Listen to your heart.
Listen to your mind.
Then write those unique words
that are yours alone.


Beth Camp travels with laptop and writes historical fiction and poetry. Her novel, Standing Stones, set in Scotland during the time of the Clearances, won an award at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association literary contest (2010). In Years of Stone, Book 2, Mac McDonnell is transported to Van Diemen’s Land in the 1840s (Australia). Rivers of Stone, Book 3, tells the story of Catriona McDonnell, as she crosses Canada disguised as a boy during the fur trade era. Her poetry and stories have appeared in Camroc Press Review, Fickle Muses, Celebrating Spokane Authors, and on her blog:  http://bethandwriting.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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… 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: