Round 3

Final Round 3 Check-In

Y’all have until tomorrow, but because I’ve conditioned you to check-in on Wednesdays, I’m throwing this on up here.  Take a look a the goals you set for yourself this round.  How did you do?  Too ambitious?  Too reserved?  Did you rock it?  Did you bite off more than you could chew?  However it turned out, you got more done than if you hadn’t taken on the challenge at all!  So give yourself and your fellow ROWers a pat on the back and a good cheer.  And be sure to be back here October 5th for the start of ROUND 4!

If you want to be a sponsor for Round 4, check out the FAQs and dash me an email at kaitnolanwriter (at)

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An Imp Named Whimsy by Alberta Ross

All of us here are motivated to create. We have pens, keyboards and ideas. Primed and ready to go. Like love and hate walk side by side and overlap creativity also appears to have an affinity with destruction. We are hardwired to fear the worst, it is how we stayed alive way back when. It would be a life saver then, nowadays it often just becomes a negativity which serves no great purpose in our well ordered lives, except to cause a chaos and confusion we cannot do anything about, lacking the possibilities of flight or fight. We hear it time and time again,


stress, stressing, stressed.


It saps our energy this stress, dulls our ambitions and turns our lives into a constant battle with LIFE.


It doesn’t need to be so. We have an endless capacity for enjoyment and laughter. We are superb puzzle solvers, how else have we managed to spread through the tropical heat and the arctic freezes. We also have hardwired in our genetic makeup a secret weapon which we can use to aid our creativity. A gene which enabled those living in hostile terrains to see a face of a lion, or an enemy neighbour in the thick foliage of the bush around. Which enables us still to see animals in the clouds, faces in the cracks of un-repaired walls, delighting children and making adults smile and then to chastise themselves for the foolishness, after all. . .


That is imagination born from self survival. This imagining of something that doesn’t really exist led to stories and those who had a lot of imagination became story tellers. Imagination is good, apart from storytelling it will help us through the dark days if we can imagine something better, brighter, more exciting, we can struggle on, keeping our ambitions polished.


Imagination though is not all, not really enough. There is another part of the brain which is often confined and caged. It lives in the very primitive recesses of the grey matter, a creature of unstructured, unordered life. It needs space to operate, space we often forget to give it, so tied up are we in living our well ordered lives. It needs experiences of all variety, we often deny it this nourishment in our endless hours at our jobs/keyboards/shovels/whatever. It needs a certain peace and quiet which it struggles to find in this 24/7 noisy world we have created.


Mine is an ‘imp’, not in the devils spawn meaning of the world, more in the way of a mischievous child.


An imp called whimsy.


We all have an imp. Hidden in the deep recesses. It is untamed and un-tamable. It is a collector of everything, a hoarder , a tinkerer. It delights in deconstruction and reconstruction. Delights in breaking and peering.It is a thief and an unrepentant borrower. A connoisseur of fineness and beauty and a trash-ridden drop out. Crazily out of control and endlessly patient and creative. A spoilt child.


What whimsy delights in is an quiet mind, a relaxed mind, a half sleeping mind. Then it has time to wander through all the pockets of information in our minds. My imp loves, in particular, those half dozed moments between sleep and wakefulness when a radio, some music plays softly, and muted half heard voices, murmur unheard in the background. Whimsy hears, it picks up a phrase or two, an uttering which might take its fancy for no apparent reason, will grab hold and examine, toss from side to side. It plays, maybe shares with other parts of the mind. It mixes in it’s box of random thoughts, imbues it with a magic of it’s own and then one day kicks it back into the enclosure which is our every day mind.


Whimsy works best in the unguarded moments, lazing, dozing, gardening, listening to music, anything which has the analytical ordered part of the mind switched of. It doesn’t work well under stress, doesn’t work well in the darkness of the soul, unless one wishes to create the dark and doleful. It flourishes in relaxation, in the harmony of self and imagination, between everyday reality and creativity.


It will not respond to orders or demands, whimsy is a creature of no fixed abode. Some days it is wandering where our scent file is kept, another time rifling through our word file. It dips into vision files, some days it will watch the landscapes of the world, another spend whole blocks of time watching sunlight through a damselfly wing. Nothing to small or great to grab it’s interests.


Whimsy makes nonsense out of sense and sense out of nonsense.


Whimsy can take dross and meld it into something beautiful.


Whimsy is careless and generous. When it has finished trying something out for size, tweaked it, pulled it inside out and fitted it to another unconnected jewel and thrown it into it’s box of treasures to dash out of hiding and catch another nugget of cement or gold or silver; then imagination is allowed to poke around the treasure trove, articulation is given free access.


Without whimsy, imagination is only the ability to imagine a different set of circumstances, without whimsy, articulation is merely the ability to utter everyday occurrences.


The secret to a strong and healthy imp, whatever you care to call it, is to allow relaxation in, to banish stress, to experience life in as many ways as possible. To allow time for the fermentation of all the oddities whimsy collects. To be social, adventurous, open to the new and unexpected. Enjoy the faces in the clouds and woodwork, delight in children’s worlds (so full of whimsy) accept that, sometimes, one’s ambitions need time to mature, accept that everything in ‘Life’ adds to the treasure trove.


And sometimes we should throw away the man made constructs such as time, deadlines, dates and numbers. Learn to relax and allow our minds to wander freely, digress from the normal.


It is a small capricious creature, whimsy, but can deliver amazing treasures for the creative mind.


Alberta Ross

Sunday #ROW80 Check-In

There WAS A BREEZE THIS WEEK.  Like, a legitimate, taste of autumn on the air, not drowning in humidity BREEZE.  GLORIOUS.  I confess, I’m having to fight to stick to my goals in lieu of going to take a nap in my backyard hammock.  But I SHALL PREVAIL (and so shall you) because this is the last push. WRITE WRITE WRITE!

If you want to be a sponsor for Round 4, check out the FAQs and dash me an email at kaitnolanwriter (at)

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Midweek #ROW80 Check-In

Holy crap, how is it already Wednesday?  And yet yesterday I was wondering how it wasn’t Friday already?  Been one of Those Weeks.  Anyway, we’re drawing to a rapid close with Round 3.  You’ve got just over a week to go, so HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE!

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The Benefits of Writing Old School by Eden Mabee

I have a confession to make…

I love WriMos (something about a month dedicated to writing that just delights the muse). For this July CampNaNo, I took things one step further. I decided my WriMo would be a month of actual writing. Pen on paper writing. I was going to commit myself to the pen and the notebook and a few tapes (yes, cassette tapes and occasional LPs). I went full ‘Old School’.


I wanted to see if it really was the distraction of ‘instant access’ to all the world had to offer that was slowing me down and keeping me from meeting my goal of writing every day.

Now a few weeks in, I can say for certain that yes… this is the stuff. Even getting up to cross the room to flip a tape (or fix a skipping record) hasn’t proved as great a distraction as email, Facebook messages and notifications, Candy Crush, comments on my blogs…

I wrote so much more when I didn’t sit in front of this electronic box.

This shift has made me reconsider what it is going to take for me to be a writer, to seriously reconsider more than what makes me a writer, but what makes me productive in general.

But let’s stick to writing–writing and simplicity.

WritingBrainThis experiment won’t work for everyone, but perhaps we could all benefit from at least trying to handwrite again. Not just for a day or two as a whim, but for a week, or two, just to see what happens. Try to just write, wherever you are (in the last two weeks I’ve written in shopping lines, in the truck, at the truck dealership, yadda yadda… basically, in a lot of places). You don’t have to go at it as hard-core as I did. Try handwriting for just a short period of time each day… say 10 minutes. If you have more time or want to try something more involved, you could follow Julia Cameron’s idea of morning pages (The Artist’s Way) and freewrite with pen and paper in hand until you’ve filled up three full notebook pages. You may find you can get more words written faster without the keyboard, or you may not. For me, it takes about 25 minutes to type the equivalent of morning pages (750 words), where it takes me about 20 minutes to put the same number of words in a notebook. (I’m not the fastest typist in the world.)

Why?” I hear you ask. “Why would I make you waste your time doing something that you’ll have to either store, throw away or spend extra time typing into the computer later?”

Because I truly believe it will help you become a better writer.

I don’t believe this solely because the research says that writing things by hand is good for your mind (though it does, just search online for ‘handwriting brain affects’). I also think history speaks for itself.

When we think of all the ‘great’ authors, do we think of them all tap-tap-tapping away at their bluetoothed iPhone keyboards? Or dictating their stories to the microphone Yes, some of them had typewriters. Some of our modern greats use wordprocessors… But classics have been handwritten on napkins (Ernest Hemmingway, JK Rowling, etc), the insides of unfolded envelopes, in the margins of other author’s books…

We don’t need anything to create stories beyond our imaginations. To create stories with permanence we need some way to record the fruits of our minds, and the tools we choose are…just tools. We may have tools we like better than others, and while many tools, especially power tools, may increase our efficiency, but… just as some of the most enduring (and beautiful) buildings weren’t built with nail-guns and circular saws, wonderful writing does not rely on the latest version of Dramatica Pro or the newest MacBook or… anything except you and your creativity.

Since science is starting to show that handwriting can increase creativity over time (even if it slows you down in the short run), isn’t it worth trying?

Sunday #ROW80 Check-In

East coast has temps in the high 90s.  Oregon got snow this week.  Lunacy.  But through it all we must WRITE!  How are you doing on your goals?

Are you interested in sponsoring Round 4?  Drop me an email at  Please do not apply if you cannot provide an inspirational post in a timely manner.

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