Thursday, December 29, 2011

ROW80 2012, Change Write Now, and NaBloPoMo


Oh yes, I'm in for another year of ROW80.  This is sign-up for round one, but I plan on being in on all the rounds and I'm hoping to impress my fellow ROW80 participants with my writing prowess in 2012.  LOL  Truly, I have met some wonderful people while participating in this writing challenge.  It has become more than a writing challenge.  It is a community of like minds and I like to say...friends.  Good luck to all my fellow ROW-ers.  One of my goals for 2012 (I like the word goals better than resolutions) is definitely to be better about visiting with you all during the challenge.  As I always say, we are all works in progress!


I'm also signing up for Change Write Now.  This is a challenge to help us be more healthy in the new year.  To develop some good habits and get rid of some bad ones.  Many may not know this, but I started on my healthy quest in May and I lost 40 lbs. between May and September.  I took a break for the two week holiday and then I'm back on track starting Monday.  I still have a long way to go and I've been doing pretty good with my eating, but I need some help in the exercise and drinking water department.  I also have a ton of bad habits I'd like to break.  I feel like this challenge was custom made for me. =O)  I'm late to the game because today is the last day to sign-up, but if you read this in time and want to join in, you can find out all the info at the Change Write Now site.

NaBloPoMo January 2012

And last, but certainly not least, is NaBloPoMo.  Here are the details from the site:

It's that time again; time to commit to posting every day for a full month by joining in with NaBloPoMo. The point? Well, beyond the endurance factor -- of becoming a writing athlete -- there's the benefit from daily writing. I use it as a way to warm up before getting into book writing. And then there's the community aspect: joining NaBloPoMo is like joining a gym. You're writing in a group and feeding off that for motivation rather than writing alone. 

The theme for January is Beginnings...how fitting! They have writing prompts Monday - Friday and weekends are for free writing (HERE).  If you think you might like to join in, check out all the details and sign-up info HERE.

Wish me luck on my endeavors in the new year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 12/14/11--Wrap-Up for Round 4


I'm including my review of this awesome new writing book I recently read because one of it's tenants is going to be very much a part of my future ROW80 goals.  If you don't want to read the review, you will find my goals at the end of the post.So, without further ado....

Writing Your Way by Julie Smith

My thoughts:
I love books on writing.  I have read my share of them too.  I've read ones by Terry Brooks and Stephen King and others.  So you'd think by now that I would have at least one novel under my belt.  But I don't.  Julie clarifies this issue in a nutshell...you have to write your way.  Yes, you should pay attention to the advice and there are certain things the writer should not fudge on, like style and grammar.  She recommends The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and there I couldn't agree with her more.  I happen to have that book in my writing arsenal.  A writer should also keep a good book on grammar handy.  What she said that I really liked and agree with 100% is "write something that matters--if only to you."  Great advice.  Who wants to write something they don't care about?  If the writer doesn't care, the reader certainly isn't going to.  It doesn't have to be a big statement book, but the story should mean something, should touch the writer and, therefore, the reader.  Authenticity and truth come in too.  Don't skimp on the details.  Do the research.  The most important thing though...get it written.  Set deadlines for yourself and this is one I like.  Set a goal of five pages per day, five days a week.  This works for Julie because she's a rule breaker so if she doesn't write on Monday, she can write Saturday to make it up.  Or she can add pages on to other days.  I think I like this approach better than so many words per day or hours even.  Frankly, the word count thing makes me very nervous (I'm talking to you NaNoWriMo)!

Julie's core rules:

Start it--put one word after another.
Put your heart in it.
Part with it--get it written.


Simple and straight forward.  I like it.  In subsequent chapters, she discusses voice, plot, characters, and all the nuts and bolts when it comes to writing a novel, but she does it in a fresh way.  She doesn't bog it all down with pages and pages of explanations.  That's one beef I have with writing books.  They are way too long.  Hence why there are so many on my shelves that remain unread.  Julie's 121 page dynamo is the perfect book on writing.  This is a book that will stay in my eReader and I will be using it as I continue with the novel I started during NaNoWriMo and did not finish.  I will finish it.  Five pages a day, five days a week and I will write it my way.  Thank you, Julie.


About the book:
WRITING YOUR WAY is a no-nonsense, jam-packed book on writing fiction that came directly out of the author’s belief that most writing teachers need to cut their students a little slack. Edgar-winner Julie Smith’s approach is to help you find your own writing method, not bombard you with “unbreakable” rules. But make no mistake, she’s going to give you plenty of how-tos—on plot, character, setting, voice, point-of-view, dialogue, pacing and marketing. As well as plenty of practice exercises. And lots of motherly advice.
She also thinks most writing books are so absurdly padded they’re a waste of students’ time. Or they’re all about getting in touch with your inner writer so you can finally get started. WRITING YOUR WAY is for the pre-published novelist who is way past that. It gets right to the point. Offering nuts, bolts, and marketing methods, it’s a thick, dense concentrate of wisdom learned from years of actually… writing. Smith’s the author of dozens of novels and short stories and the founder of Writers’ Track, a method of teaching writing by conference call. She has also taught fiction both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

*******

I am going on hiatus from ROW80 until after the first of the year.  I know we only have two more check-ins, but I want to get this out there now so I don't have to worry about the last two check-ins, as I'm so busy this time of year.  So, this will serve as my Round 4 wrap-up and a sneak peek at my goals for the new year.

I didn't get much accomplished this round.  I attempted NaNoWriMo and only wrote 600+ words (well, I started anyway).  I slacked off on my journaling...something I was very proud of. =O(  Looking forward, I'm taking a page from Julie's book (above, literally).  My new writing goal in the new year will be to work on my WIP (I can actually call it that....I have words on paper...woot!) by writing 5 pages per day, 5 days per week.  I also plan to return to the daily journaling, as I really think doing that made me be more inspired in my writing.  I wrote two short, short stories and entered them in the Writer's Digest contest.  Won't get word on that until February.  Fingers crossed.

I hope all of my fellow ROW80 participants have wonderful holidays, whichever one you happen to celebrate.  I look forward to 'seeing' you in the new year and on that note...Happy New Year!

Friday, November 25, 2011

ROW80 (late) Check-In 11/27/11--It is what it is....

I am not going to finish NaNoWriMo. There, I said it! And I am quite at peace with the realization. I thought that I just might try to bust my ass and finish, but I am just so ridiculously behind. On a positive note, I do have a great start to what I think might be a pretty good novel. So, I will continue to plug away during ROW80 (thank you, ROW80, for being here) and just finish at a slower pace. I think that will work better for me anyway. I tend to balk at strict deadlines and then kill myself trying to finish at the last minute. I just don't think it's possible at this point, but no regrets! Am I saying that I will never again jump into the madness that is NaNoWriMo? No. But I may just have to remember next time that I'm just not disciplined enough (at this point) to write almost 2000 words a day, every day. But I'm okay with that...and realizing that the holidays are a very busy time of year for me, my ROW80 goals are as follows:
  • write 500-1000 words per week on WIP
  • I'm doing a Christmas journaling project this month with some fellow bloggers/Christmas fanatics--daily Christmas journaling starting December 1st.
How are you doing on your journey?  What's your NaNoWriMo story?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 11/16/11...Diminished self-doubt



So, last week I was in a bad place due to being so behind on my NaNoWriMo WIP.  Well, I'm still behind (extremely), but thanks to some very awesome people who stopped by with such encouraging words (thank you again), I'm not beating myself up about it.  I do have words down on the page and I have what I think is a great start to my novel so I'm happy about that! Even if I don't end up "winning" this month, I will have a great start to a WIP that I can continue to work on during the ROW80 challenge.

On another note, I submitted two of my stories to the Writers' Digest Short, Short Story competition.  The deadline was Tuesday and I got them in just in time.  Wish me luck!

Goals:
--try to get caught up on NaNo WIP
--get back to daily journaling

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 11/9/11...Anguish



Yes, that's right...anguish.  Why?  Because I am about 14,000 words behind on NaNoWriMo.  I am so upset, I just want to sit and cry.  I had planned on getting partially caught up today, but my sons were sick on Monday and Tuesday and my older son came home with a boat load of homework today.  Plus, he's having a lot of trouble in school and I'm having to deal constantly with those issues.  What I want to know?  Is there any hope of ever getting caught up?  I have my doubts, but then I think, "there's always hope, isn't there?"



Has anyone else ever been this behind during NaNoWriMo?

Goal....get caught up...that's about 18,000 words by the end of Friday...



Monday, October 31, 2011

ROW80...Late Check-In for 10/30/11



The realization has hit me.  I know I've been talking about this for weeks, but on the eve (of destruction?) of the day, it has reached out and grabbed me by the throat.  What am I talking about?  Why, NaNoWriMo, of course! Am I ready, I don't know...my preparations last week didn't go quite as planned.  I'm trying to work it through today, but it's looking like I will be prepping and writing for the first few days, at least.  But, I am absolutely determined to see this through.  I am not going to let fear get in my way this time.  I'm counting on my NaNo buddies for support.  On that note, if you are doing NaNo and would like to buddy with me, my NaNo name is thetruebookaddict.

So, what are my goals?  Well, we know what the expectation is...50,000 words (or +) in 30 days so approximately 1,667 words per day.  Let's just see where this road takes me!


Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  Share your fears or anticipations with me. =O)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 10/19/11...NaNoWriMo Bound!

I am terrible at these twice a week check-ins! In fact, it seems I have trouble checking in at all.  I guess I feel like if I have nothing to report, then who cares....but, I have to learn that checking in is an accountability step so I vow to at least check-in once a week.  Maybe I can handle that!

I haven't been doing much that I planned for my original goals.  I've been reading a lot of review books and that has been taking up my time.  Here was what my original plan:


--2 hours daily for research and planning
--1-2 hours daily for reading on the craft
--1/2 hour daily for journaling (preferably in the morning)

Okay, so I have not done any of what I planned.  However, I'm going to do a temporary goal list until NaNoWriMo starts.  Then we know what that daily goal is...yikes!

--I'm participating in two read-a-thons this weekend, starting Friday so I plan to make reading books on the craft a big part of that.  This will be Friday through Sunday.
--Next week, starting Monday and going through Thursday, I will be going to the library every day while the kids are at school to read and research.  I figure this will give me about 4-5 hours, if I go at 10 every day when the library opens.
--Monday, October 31...not sure if I'll get library time in due to kids' school Halloween parties, but we'll see.  Might be able to squeeze in a couple of hours of last minute planning.


On a side note, I had another inspiration today for a story idea so I will be deciding which one will be more feasible to run with for NaNoWriMo.  I have some books here in my home library that can get me started so I can hopefully decide before I hit the library.

Also, I did do some writing recently.  I wrote a guest post for my friend's blog, Midnyte Reader.  It's a real-life account of a horrific experience I had.  You can read it HERE.

On a final note, for those of you who are doing NaNoWriMo this year, I have created a group on the NaNo forums in NaNo Groups in the Writing Groups and Clubs section.  The ROW80 Writers can be found HERE.  AND Lena Corazon has created a NaNo support group, Fun Not Fear! Thanks, Lena! Check it out HERE.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ROW80: Goals for round 4


This post is serving as my wrap-up, my round 4 sign-up, and my round 4 goals post.  Yes, I'm into streamlining these days. *L*  I looked back and my last round 3 check-in was on August 28 so I really dropped the ball last round.  I had a lot going on in August.  I was on vacation for two weeks and then I launched a new blog.  The launch of said blog ended up taking up a lot of time.  I know that it shouldn't be an excuse for not writing because if I really want to write, I'll just do it, but time just gets away from me.  I've got to figure out a way to structure writing into my schedule and keep it there.  I have also slacked off on my daily journaling, which was really helping me with the creativity so I need to get back into that again.  I had mentioned that I have finally settled on an idea that I'm going to run with and I find myself having less doubts then before.


So, I have a plan for October that is going to set the stage for November and I bet you know what I'm talking about in November.  Yes, NaNoWriMo.  This will be my third time signing up and I think the third time will be the charm! I'm going to spend October preparing:  doing research, reading books on the craft, and working out some kind of basic outline (even if it's just detailed notes).  I'm also going to devote a daily block of time for my daily journaling.

Here's the breakdown:
--2 hours daily for research and planning
--1-2 hours daily for reading on the craft
--1/2 hour daily for journaling (preferably in the morning)

We will see how it goes!

Good luck to all the other participants.  If anyone else is doing NaNoWriMo, let me know.  Maybe we can give mutual moral support. =O)

I leave you with this wonderful quote from Truman Capote:

'Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.'

Sunday, August 28, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 8/28/11 and Journaling...Re-read

First of all, I would like to thank the lovely people who stopped by and commented last week.  It really meant a lot and was so encouraging.  =O)  I actually have some good news.  One of my ideas that I had originally decided to scrap has found new life again! My research has given me a clear direction and I may actually get words on paper this week, or at least work out some kind of plot structure.  A new beginning...yay! Also, I have started keeping up with my journaling again.  I'm going to tweak my goals a bit today.

Goals:

--Continue research and work on story structure for revamped idea.
--daily journaling (see today's entry below)
--reading books on the craft:  one hour daily 
--going to try to work on one, maybe two, short stories for a couple of contests I'm thinking of entering.



Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Re-read--Write about a book you've read that you would like to read again.


I'm a fan of re-reading.  There are actually several books I have read more than once.  I was just talking to someone about Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches trilogy.  Great books, especially the first one.  I am thinking that I need to re-read them.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Journaling...Six Word Saturday

On The One-Minute Writer today it's Six Word Saturday.  Here's what C. Beth says about it:  Six Word Saturdays is a weekly series over at Call Me Cate's funny blog, Show My Face. We do Six Word Saturdays monthly(ish) at The One-Minute Writer, but feel free to participate on your own every week--click the button below for more info! Have fun!



I love reading all day long!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Journaling: Friday Fiction...Pepper

Today is Friday Fiction at The One-Minute Writer.  The prompt is Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt "Pepper."  From C. Beth...Friday Fiction is your opportunity to write a short (short, short, short) story. Many participants use more than one minute for Friday Fiction prompts, and I open up the One-Minute Writing of the Day contest to entries of various lengths.


Pepper ducked into the alley and pressed her back against the brick wall.  Peering around the corner, she saw the dark figure still approaching.  Whoever it was, he had been following her for blocks.  "He's probably one of my previous customers," she thought, but she didn't feel very confident about that.  She began searching the alley for something she could use as a weapon.  Finding a liquor bottle with its end broke off, she picked it up and went back to the wall to await her stalker.  She heard the footsteps begin to slow as he approached the alley.  She was ready.  As the figure cleared the wall, she jumped out and jabbed up at him with all her strength.  The man made a choking sound and fell to the ground.  Pepper gasped in astonishment.  Lying there, the broken bottle sticking out of his throat, was her pimp, Johnny.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Journaling...Forgot


Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Forgot--Write about something you forgot.


I forgot to turn the water off while filling up the tub.  Pretty soon there was water everywhere.  We had to row out in a canoe!


True or False?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 8/24/11 and Journaling....Book/Movie

Quick update:  Nothing accomplished in the past week...no updates, only journaled once, did not work on novel, did not work on a short story.  How's that for honesty?  *Hangs head in shame*  Once again, I'm sticking with the same goals list.  Not a difficult list unless you're a time-wasting procrastinator like me.  Must keep asking myself, "Do you want this, or not?"  Answer:  yes.  Reply:  "Okay, then, get off sit on your ass and write, damn it!"

Goals:

--I'm going to do research, but I'm also going to start writing and research as I go.  I'm starting with a very small word count of 500 words per week.
--daily journaling (see today's entry below)
--I'm also going to work on one, maybe two, short stories for a couple of contests I'm going to enter.



Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Book/Movie--Reflect on a book you've read and a movie that was based on it.


My favorite book , Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice--which I have read four times--was absolutely massacred by its film adaptation.  In my opinion, the best book of Rice's Vampire Chronicles because of its rich telling of the history and origin of her vampires, it did not deserve such a poorly written film.  Honestly, the only redeeming quality of the movie was the soundtrack and, perhaps, Stuart Townsend, who not too shabbily portrayed Lestat--the best vampire character of all time (again, in my opinion).


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Journaling...Surprise


Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Surprise--What types of surprises do you like, or dislike?


I love surprises! I was the child who never snooped to find my Christmas presents because I liked being surprised.  I especially love the surprise gifts someone gives me that I totally didn't expect.  I just love the anticipation I feel.  It makes opening the gift all the more fun!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 8/17/11 and Journaling...Special

I can't believe that it has been almost a whole month since I did a ROW80 update and wrote in my journal! As I stated previously, I hosted a week long read-a-thon and then I went on vacation.  I thought I would have time to at least to journal some while out of town, but sadly, it was not in the cards.  So, I'm back and the kids are back in school.  I'm hoping that I can start getting down to some serious business.  It's time to put the irons in the fire and keep them there.  I am doing a work-at-home gig right now too, but I think I can manage or I hope I can. ;O)

I'm going to keep my goals the same as my last update.  I should have taken a break from the challenge, knowing vacation is not feasible for writing unless it's an actual "writing" vacation.

Goals:

--I'm going to do research, but I'm also going to start writing and research as I go.  I'm starting with a very small word count of 500 words per week.
--daily journaling (see today's entry below)
--I'm also going to work on one, maybe two, short stories for a couple of contests I'm going to enter.



Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Special--Write about a special object you like to use (for instance, a special coffee cup.) 


I am very picky about ink pens.  I must have blue pens with extra bold tips, which is a 1.6 or 1.7 mm tip.  I can never find them at local stores.  Last time I had an Amazon gift card, I found some BIC Cristal BLUE 1.6 mm tip pens.  The price may have been a little higher, but SO worth it.  They are awesome to write with!


Friday, July 22, 2011

Journaling: Friday Fiction...Ink

Today is Friday Fiction at The One-Minute Writer.  The prompt is Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt "Ink."  From C. Beth...Friday Fiction is your opportunity to write a short (short, short, short) story. Many participants use more than one minute for Friday Fiction prompts, and I open up the One-Minute Writing of the Day contest to entries of various lengths.


The ink well tipped over on the desk and black ink spilled out across the pages, dripping onto the floor.  The cat who had jumped on the desk, thus knocking over the well, sat there licking his fur--unconcerned at the mess he had made.  The writer, who was so hopelessly blocked, sat with her head in her hands, despairing over the loss of her hard work.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Journaling...Hospital


Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Hospital--Write about a time you were in the hospital (as a patient or visitor.)


I was in the hospital last summer for nine days.  I had severe cellulitis in my leg and developed a staph infection.  I was on IV antibiotics which had to be administered through an IV line placed in my arm internally.  The day I came home, I had an allergic reaction to the medicine and spent the 4th of July in the ER.  All told, I was on home health care and IV antibiotics for six more weeks.  I lost a lot of hair, but thank God, I didn't lose my leg.  I very well could have or, at worst, I could have died.  I was one of the lucky ones.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 7/20/11 and Journaling...School

Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper 
until drops of blood form on your forehead.  ~Gene Fowler

Well, I made the decision to not do Camp NaNoWriMo after all.  I just can't commit to writing that many words per day right now.  I have a blog event next week--I'm hosting a read-a thon--and I'm still looking for a job and I leave on vacation on August 3 so I have to get packed and ready for that.  Have to pack for myself and for my two sons.  Fun times ahead...I hate packing for trips. =O(

What I have going on now in terms of works-in-progress:

--My current idea had to be tweaked once again.  I determined it was not going to work the way I had planned so I have to take the research in another direction.
--meanwhile, I came across another idea that I'm in the process of testing its feasibility.  Not sure if I'll work on both or run with just one at first.

My goals:

--I'm going to do research, but I'm also going to start writing and research as I go.  I'm starting with a very small word count of 500 words per week.
--daily journaling (see today's entry below)
--I'm also going to work on one, maybe two, short stories for a couple of contests I'm going to enter.

Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  School--If you could have changed one thing about a school you attended, so that it became a better school, what would you have changed?


While I loved the school district that my elementary, middle, and high school were a part of, I really wish they would have had an orchestra program in addition to traditional band.  I tried the clarinet in fifth grade, but didn't like it.  I know I would have loved to learn and play the violin or cello.  I think the school would have been all the better for having an orchestra.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Journaling: Friday Fiction...Torch

Today is Friday Fiction at The One-Minute Writer.  The prompt is Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt "Torch."  From C. Beth...Friday Fiction is your opportunity to write a short (short, short, short) story. Many participants use more than one minute for Friday Fiction prompts, and I open up the One-Minute Writing of the Day contest to entries of various lengths.


He grabbed a torch from the castle wall and ran down the stone steps.  He had to get to the watchtower to sound the alarm.  Up on the ramparts, he had seen the huge row of riders and armed men marching toward the castle.  He ascended the steps of the watchtower.  As he neared the top, he stopped suddenly.  A look of horror crossed his face.  He turned slowly and began to tumble down the steps.  There was an arrow sticking out of his back.  When he landed at the bottom of the tower, it was driven further home.  As he lay dying, all he could think of was the terrible fate of the castle.  Without the warning of impending invasion, the castle and its people were doomed.




Also, I won another One-Minute Writing of the Day for my Friday Fiction piece using the word "Straw."  Yay! Here is what I wrote, in case you missed it last week:

The straw in the abandoned barn smelled musty and damp. He didn't care though. Any place was good enough for him as long as he could hide safely. He looked down at the iron shackle still hooked on his ankle. The master had kept him chained because he knew he was a runner. Somehow the chain had been weak and he was able to break it with a hatchet easily. He had been on the run for days before finding the barn. He climbed into the loft and settled down behind some bales of hay. He could hear the baying of the dogs in the distance. He could only pray they would not search the barn. As it turned out, a futile prayer.

Thank you to C. Beth for awarding it to me once again.  I'm honored!