Round 1

Round 1 Week 6 Sunday

Not a lot to say today… time for words, words, and more words.

But before I do, let me offer a bit of a shout out to another awesome online group dedicated to the Writing Life: the IWSG, better known as the Insecure Writers Support Group.  Like the ROW80, the IWSG is an online community dedicated to helping people stay the course as they navigate the rocky shores and turbulent waters of being a writer.  They don’t work on a goal-based system, and they don’t do check-ins, but once a month, they get together and share personal stories and experiences.  Several ROWers work have been or are members.  Each community offers different things, and they both (as well as many other online groups) complement each other well.

For more information, look here: IWSG

For today’s check-in linky, go to the froggie, add a comment, or tag our FB group.

Round 1 Week 6 Wednesday

cred: Angeleses on Pixabay

Here we are… the halfway point.

My, how time flies!

If you’re anything like me, you’re already taking stock of your progress this round and thinking…  “Eep! I have to get moving on my goals.”

Hopefully you’re not thinking that, but are instead saying…  “Cool, I’ve been doing pretty good this round.  Maybe I could add a bit more to my progress…”

Whatever you may be thinking at this point, let us know at the linky below.  Or if you like, you can leave a comment or add your progress to our Facebook group.

Last but not least… we have some flash fiction for you to enjoy courtesy of Christ Westwater bravely took up our challenge on the 23rd. Please stop over and visit his sci-fi take on our prompt (photo and phrase).  And join us next week for a new challenge.

What Keeps Me Coming…

What keeps me coming back to RoW80

by Elizabeth Mitchell

To my surprise, I realized a few days ago that I have been in RoW80 for six and a half years, having joined for Round Three in 2011. In that time, I have only officially sat out one Round, although, if I am honest, I have been spotty about my accountability in several other Rounds. However, I found that I did not come close to meeting my goals in the Round I sat out, while in the ones where I hung in despite missing check-ins, I got more accomplished than I did on my own.

Therefore, accountability is among the reasons, and perhaps the most immediate one, that I have participated in RoW80 all these years. Having to admit in writing that I spent far too much time bingeing on Netflix or playing video games means that I often will do some writing to avoid the self-inflicted shame.

Flexibility in that accountability is the second reason that I keep returning to RoW80, “the challenge that knows you have a life.” Since July 2011, I have changed day jobs, moved 1,146 miles, rented one house, bought another one, gotten tenure, written four esoteric academic articles, and suffered various slings and arrows of life. The ability to adjust goals when life happens is unusual in many challenges (NaNo, for all its positive values, does not care what life hands one in November), and invaluable to me.

However, the third reason I have remained in RoW80 all these years is the community. When I joined in 2011, I was living in interior northwest Florida, 40 miles away from the nearest RoWer, and more than 100 miles from any local groups of writers. I am lucky now to live in a place with a vibrant and supportive chapter of RWA, a wonderful NaNo group that meets throughout the year, not just in November, and a couple of RoWers who live close enough to meet often. Even so, the online community of Row80 is special to me. I would not have joined NaNo or RWA without my involvement in RoW80. I have made several friends through RoW80, and I am often surprised to realize that I’ve never met them in person. The group is supportive and generous with its time and expertise.  Having a tough time with a plot point or how a piece reads? We have a lot of experts in the group. Send out a hail on the Facebook page or post a link to your blog and you will receive help. In the way that some communities have, RoW80 has its own spirit, its own ethos, that has not changed despite changes in admins and added formats.

Have a day job meltdown or family crisis? No one will chastise you for not meeting your goals, but will cheer you on to start back on them as soon as you are able. Since I have been knocked down by life in the past five years, I can say with experience, don’t undermine yourself by feeling apologetic for not getting enough done, or being laid low by life. Just keep working on it,  knowing you have support, not judgment or negative criticism. Many years ago, I was struck by a statement in a RoWer’s goal post. C. M. Cypriani wrote, “Where before I wrote in solitude, I now write with friends. I enjoy sharing my writing now instead of hiding it, embarrassed, worried no one would like it. The support I’ve gathered has been phenomenal.” I agree wholeheartedly.


Round 1 Week 5 Sunday

Creeping up on that halfway mark, and I don’t know about you, but I need to get writing or I might just have to think that a writing challenge isn’t quite the thing for me.

Since I haven’t seen sign that people posted flash fiction pieces for our prompt a week and a half ago (which is fine…  I didn’t post one either; flash fiction isn’t my usual “thing”), I’m changing plans about posting links to make it easier to see these posts on Wednesday.  No links, no need… (if you want me to mention your post, you can let me know via the comments or email mousefir (at) Gmail (dot) com)

Tomorrow will be our February sponsor post by Elizabeth Mitchell.  Please come back and visit her (and check in with your fellow ROWers).

For now, here’s today’s check-in linky.  As usual you can post your progress here (just click on the froggie), in the comments or at our FB page.

Have a great couple of days!

Round 1 Week 5 Wednesday

So…  last week we tried our first Flash Fiction prompt.  This week… no prompt, but you’re still welcome to try writing something for it (prompt and “rules”) if you’d like.  Next week we’ll have a new one for you, and a list of links to all the people who participated (so get your written if you are interested).

Also, Monday will have our next sponsor post, this time from Elizabeth Mitchell.

Stuff is happening at the ROW80.

Here’s today’s linky:

Leave us an update there, here in the comments, or on our FB page at the pinned post.

Round 1 Week 4 Sunday

Another Sunday…  news to share, stories to tell (did anyone write a piece of flash fiction to go with the prompt Wednesdayy?), and time to assess our progress as we ROW merrily along in our writing and creative lives.

As always, leave us a link or message with your progress at the blue froggie or comments below, or even on our FB page:

Round 1 Week 4 Wednesday

credit: Zajcsik at Pixabay

A while back I talked with our sponsors (you may have seen them visiting your blog, but if not, check them out here) about some things we could do to make the ROW80 experience a bit more fun for you all.  Flash fiction, stream of consciousness, raffles…  We discussed a few options, and as two of our sponsors (Mike and Beth) enjoy writing flash fiction, we’ve tried to best figure out how to start doing this.

Well, I figure we’ll make a few mistakes before we get this sort of thing off the ground, but we won’t get anything done if we don’t start, so…  here you go, a prompt (photo above) and the words: a burnt metal box

The rules?  I’m kind of winging it here, but it seems unfair to make this another “job” for you all.  This is the “Challenge that Knows You Have a Life”.  So let’s try this:

  • Flash and postcard fiction (drabbles work too), no more than 700 words
  • Story needs to include both photo and word prompt
  • Post stories on your own blog/website (post links in the comments or at the linky)
  • We’ll try doing this once a month or more if it ends up being popular

As always this also a Wednesday check-in.  Post progress (and links to stories) in the comments, at the linky (the froggie below) or in our FB group:

Round 1 Week 3 Sunday


are you reading?

One of the things that helps inspire writing is reading other people’s creative efforts.  Some of us post our reading lists in our check-ins, some maintain hefty Goodreads stacks…  some are on a first-name basis with several librarians (some of those who have your email and/or phone number memorized ⌈looks askance⌉).

Why not share some of your favorite reads (yeah, books on craft would definitely be welcome too) in your check-in today?  We’d love to hear from you  here in the comments, at our FB page, or at the linky below (or all three if you’d like):

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).


If you’re looking for some good “blank pages” and 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: