16 March 2014

ROW80 2014, Round 1, Week 10

In my writing life this week I have not been as disciplined as I'd like (par for the course, really). Come scheduled writing time, I've found myself seeking distraction: taking my turn in Letterpress games; studying German on Duolingo (similar to Rosetta Stone but entirely free); researching short hairstyles for my upcoming haircut; researching self-guided walking tours in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland for next year's trip with Mom; reading ebooks; getting caught up in the social media loop; blogging instead of doing my creative writing; etc., etc. Anything, really, to avoid the writing I told myself I'd do.

And yet, a couple of nights ago, after an entire day of distracting myself, as soon as I put down my e-reader, I had a revelation for the novel I've been working on. Like, a really good revelation. An important one not only about characters but also about the key to resolving the main external conflict.

Then last night, as soon as I shut off the light and lay down, a new story idea came to me. A short story (or potentially a novelette) for the pseudonym, which almost never happens. Having just recently written about the negative consequences of assuming I'll remember later, I turned the light back on and wrote the idea down immediately. So glad I did, too.

So what is the moral here? 

Well, firstly that my brain continues to work on these things even when I'm not paying conscious attention to them (although I do not consider that to be a valid excuse for not showing up for writing time). And secondly that when I give my Muse a chance - when I'm not shutting her out with games and foreign languages and trip planning - she is there waiting for me. 

The whole reason I seek distraction in the first place is because I'm afraid that I'll sit there for my entire writing time and nothing will come, but this week's events provide more proof that this is not so. These books want to be written, and my Muse is ready to take me there...if only I'll just shut up a second and listen.

Summary: Meh week on discipline but okay week on writing results. Lesson learned: Shut up & listen to the Muse.

Writing - Work on WIPs, 3 blog posts/week, submit - MOSTLY MET.
a) Added another thousand words or so to the pseudonym's WIP I'm focusing on.
b) Published three blog posts, including the third in the series about writer's block. 
c) Nothing submitted, but I did spend some time looking at my weekly Duotrope newsletter, which is more than I've been doing, and started thinking about where I might submit a chapbook of poetry later this year.

Reading - Read something inspiring - NOT MET. Unless we're counting hairstyle and travel sites, which I'm not.

  • Participate in #writeclub on Twitter every Friday - NOT MET. But I did do a couple writing sprints using the #writeclub hashtag on a different night, so maybe that counts as half?
  • Continue to attend readings - NOT MET. Have decided this is just not a realistic goal for me this year to track on a weekly basis considering I'm doing so much traveling, so am getting rid of it.
  • Read and comment on at least 3 other ROW80 participants' check-ins each week - EXCEEDED. Commented on 4 ROW80 posts. Yay!


  • 15 minutes/day of freewriting, recording dreams and/or journaling (good for my mental health) - MOSTLY MET. Three dreams, three freewrites. Actually, that's better than I'd remembered. Go, me!
  • Exercise for at least an hour a day - MET. Woot! In addition to the usual walking and Tai Chi this week I played a little tennis with my mom yesterday. Unfortunately, I am prone to pulling groin muscles, which I did again yesterday because I'm a moron and didn't stretch after warming up. However, my body has decided to be merciful, and it is almost back to new already today. Thank you, body! You're the best.
  • NEW GOAL: abstain for two weeks from refined sugar, bread, cheese and alcohol. (Started March 6.) 99% MET this week. There was a moment when I was eating salad last night at a restaurant and I realized I was eating croutons, which are made out of bread, so I ate around them for the rest of the salad. Other than that and two bites of banana bread on Day 1, I've kept to my resolution. Is amazing to me how much bread and cheese I eat on a regular basis without even being aware of it: pita chips, croutons, bleu cheese dressing, etc., etc. And then there's all the bread & cheese I eat on purpose. Not to mention all the sugar (in coffee, squares of post-dinner chocolate, yogurt, granola bars, etc.) Hmph. This has been an excellent awareness-raising exercise for me. And I've lost 5 lbs so far. Five more days to go!
This is a blog hop! Click here to read other ROW80 participants' check-ins.


  1. I like to keep a notebook next to my bed for those moments of inspiration. I think in the late evenings we tend to allow our minds to wander and that opens us up to the muse's whisperings. That's great news about your story and your ah-ha moment!

    I'm not sure I could give up bread and cheese. I could probably give up refined sugar for a couple weeks, but I'd have to watch myself because it's in so many things you wouldn't expect. Good luck with it!

    I've never heard of Duolingo, but maybe I'll check it out. I took four semester of German in college, but it's been a while and I need a refresher course. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on it. Are there any downsides? I've heard good things about Rosetta Stone, but it's so pricey.

    Have a great week! Good luck planning your vacation. It sounds wonderful!

    1. I've never taken German before, so the one complaint I have about Duolingo is that it doesn't really explain the grammar rules; it just tosses you into the exercises and expects you to figure it out. That said, I've been really impressed with the program because it works on all four major skills - reading, writing, listening & SPEAKING - and because it's FREE. I do feel like I'm learning some German, but the real test will be my intensive German language course in Vienna this summer.