It’s a good thing that the ROW80 is The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life, because lately, Life has definitely been doing it best to interfere with writing.
So let me apologize to you all for being late with our Sunday check-in. Oddly enough, I missed it because I WAS writing… as in JuNoWriMo started yesterday (I’m being a rebel this year since 50K just doesn’t seem like an option), and I was happily filling notebook pages when I wasn’t sanding the deck or hosting writing sprints.
Forgive me? 🙂 Thanks.
And while we’re at it, let’s check-in in the comment section below and tell each other how we’ve been doing. Or if you prefer, there’s always our Facebook group maintained by Shan Jeniah.
I thought it was only me. Well, good thing we’re in this thing together. That’s what the ROW80 is about. We check-in and support each other when the words are flowing and when they aren’t. That’s the way we ROW. So leave us a comment and let us know how you’re doing. Here or on our FB page, whichever works best for you.
Many apologies for the brief posts lately, but… life has been a bit extra cray-cray lately. That said… the ROW80 is the Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life. Good thing too, since I’m sure I’m not the only one in this group that’s been busy-busy.
Hope you’re all doing well despite that.
Let us know. As always, you can leave a note in the comments or on our FB page. Best words to you.
Ever find yourself being “Happied Out”? Like you’ve had so much fun doing things you love that you just need to settle down and work on stuff you don’t, because the fun isn’t fun anymore? That feeling you get when you’ve had a slightly too long vacation?
It can happen in writing too. That Zone we all hear about, the place where the words just flow and the characters seem to just flow through the air and onto your page without any real effort on your part… it does exist. Not that many of us get there regularly. We’re the Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life, and we know life comes with distractions. Distractions and the Zone just don’t seem to inhabit the same physical or spiritual plane of existence.
Thing is, we tend to be so very happy when we’re in the Zone. Things make sense. They work. We feel the progress, the creative energy… we feel powerful. And we feel like it’s effortless.
Thing is… when everything is easy, it’s nice for a while, but after a bit… things lose their wonder; the stories don’t seem as good. It’s because our brains thrive and develop when we’ve challenging ourselves somewhat. The stuff we do all the time… we let go, we give up some of the control and let it all go on automatic… and we can’t be sure what we’re getting is what we really wanted.
That’s the time our brain is saying “give me something new to do; I need a challenge”.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of ways to challenge yourself as a writer. You could try a new style or genre. You could switch point of view. You could try writing articles or copy, poems or screen plays. Maybe you could try writing a video game (design, not the code…. though you could try that too).
And what if you’ve never found yourself in the Zone…
Well, here are some posts with ideas to try. Feel free to pick and choose, The Zone is a fleeting, personal thing. Sometimes the path to it changes even… Don’t be afraid to try and try again.
Well, technically, yesterday was the halfway point for this Round of Words. That means we’re already heading to the homestretch. Time to start think, even in just a bit here and there, about what you might want to change or try out in Round 2.
Today though I want to ask you all about time. How much time are you all spending on your writing? Do you think it’s enough, not enough…. too much and it’s begun to take over your life?
I can hope you’ve found a sweet spot (I haven’t yet), and well… if you’re struggling with characters who demand all of your time and attention 24/7, I can only suggest diversions of chocolate and bubble baths. Sorry.
I CAN offer some consolation for those who feel they aren’t spending enough time on their writing. Little bits add up… You don’t need to block out a huge expanse of your day for writing to make serious progress. I’ve mentioned the 10 Minute Novelists group before. There used to be a great little site called The One Minute Writer that proved to me how much one could accomplish in just 60 seconds (the link goes to the Internet Archive version of the site). Add a moment or two of planning while exercising or washing the dishes… YES, you can be ‘writing’ while cleaning your desk, sharpening your pencils or getting your groove on with some of your favorite music! When you work in smaller blocks of time, sometimes you actually do more than if you try to cram all your writing time into a large block.
But what happens with all these little disjointed bits and pieces you might wonder? Well, sometimes they are disjointed, but often your mind will be working on the story while you’re not putting words on the paper too. Your mind is still writing, still adding ideas and subtext to the story, and it will help put those together for you the next time you put the words down.
It’s a bit like ‘sleeping on an idea’ but you’re able to get other things done too. Win win.
As the song says, “If two become one, what is the one the two become?” What can you create in small bursts? What will the combination of your mind and your busy schedule come up with?
We talk a lot about goals here at the ROW80. The whole concept of A Round of Words in 80 Days is based on them and ways to achieve them. And, of course, since this being a writing challenge, the general assumption is that you joined the ROW80 because you want to be a writer… that you might even want to become a published author.
But… what if this isn’t the case?
What if this had once been a dream of yours and your dreams have changed? Are you finding the steps along your path don’t match your vision of where you should be in this journey?
Did you maybe wonder if this wasn’t a good thing? The world beyond our desks and stories (and hopefully in our stories too) changes constantly. Why shouldn’t we change and move with it, adjusting our stances and positions to remain stable as we follow the trail before us toward that dream we’ve held? When there’s a fork in the road ahead, do we just stop, do we turn around, or do we look at our options and choose what seems to be the best course and follow it?
Have you ever questioned your determination to be a writer or author? Has the desire to create worlds and share your stories overruled your doubts or do you still struggle with this? Has becoming a writer taken a greater or lesser place in your life plan?
Let us know in the comment thread below or on our FB page. And have a great week! 🙂
I confess… I added this picture because it reminds me more of my cat, Fluffle than any other reason, but…I do have to wonder at how fast we seem to have passed through this past November. Even this Round of Words… heck, even this year has flown by with wild abandon.
I feel like I’ve only just started!
How about you? Is the nearing end of year feel unnatural to you? Are you ready to start anew in 2019?
Or are you more like me, seeing this upcoming “end” as really more of a soft bend with angles? Like a spiral… I won’t presume what direction your spiral takes, but it’s always moving, always circulating with so many similar points to be hit on its way around. And yet… you are never in exactly the same place as you were the last time you passed by this point.
It’s kind of magical actually.
But with only a few more weeks in this Round of Words, and with the upcoming new year, it’s time to start evaluating our progress and start plotting our goals for next year. And for those of us who just finished NaNoWriMo, it’s time to start editing (or maybe simply finishing) our recent WIPs.
Thankfully some of the best blogs for writers out there have some great advice for us. Here’s just a small sampling of what I came across today: