23 March 2014

ROW80 2014, Round 1, Week 11

With only a few days left in the round, I'd normally be thinking ahead to my goals for the next round. I generally like thinking about the starts of new things; I haven't screwed anything up yet, and anything is still possible. But right now I can't think about anything beyond a week from today, which is my self-imposed deadline for having a first draft of my novel finished.

This time last week I was panicking. The previous few days had brought low word counts and I didn't see how in the world I was ever going to finish this book on time. But then I visited Denise D. Young's blog, wherein she spoke of Rachel Aaron's book 2K to 10K. The timing was right; I was desperate to figure out how to write faster, which is exactly what Aaron's book is about. I started reading it and figured, "What the heck. I'm not usually a plotter, but it's worth a shot."

I'm not going to give you Aaron's secrets; those are hers to sell. But I will tell you what I like best about her approach: It doesn't hinge on telling herself to quit being lazy and just get over it and just do it already. Nor does it hinge on talking herself out of feeling what she's feeling about her book. Instead she sees her low word counts or reluctance to write as a red flag that there's something that isn't working in what she's trying to write. 

It was scary to take a good, hard look at my brain-child this week and say, "Are there parts of this that I'm not excited about writing?" and give myself the honest answer, "Yes, several parts," and then dig in and figure out what wasn't working for me about them. But I'm so glad I followed Aaron's advice and did that because now I'm so much more excited about the book I'm writing. Hooray! (The brain-child is the novel, in case that wasn't clear.)

The true test, of course, is still coming. Will having done the prep work Aaron suggested lead to higher word counts this coming week? I'll let you know next Sunday. But even if it doesn't, I honestly think following her system was worthwhile just for the pay-off of being excited about my book again.

And now for the ROW update:

Writing - Work on WIPs, 3 blog posts/week, submit - PARTIALLY MET. Worked on the WIP 4 hrs/day and made really satisfying progress. Added about 10K words to the ms and potentially set myself up to write faster this coming week by using Rachel Aaron's 2K to 10K system. Published 2 blog posts. Nothing submitted.

Reading - Read something inspiring - MET. The Rachel Aaron book.


  • Participate in #writeclub on Twitter every Friday - NOT MET. Blerg. I was even writing during writeclub time and I just plum forgot to check in.
  • Read and comment on at least 3 other ROW80 participants' check-ins each week - MET. Yay!


  • 15 minutes/day of freewriting, recording dreams and/or journaling (good for my mental health) - PARTIALLY MET. Two dreams, one freewrite. The vast majority of my time this last week was spent working on the novel.
  • Exercise for at least an hour a day - EXCEEDED. Walks and Tai Chi according to the regular schedule, and yesterday I went hog wild and did Qi Gong then took a walk and then played tennis for over an hour. Woo hoo!
  • Abstain for two weeks from refined sugar, bread, cheese and alcohol. (March 6-20.) GOAL ACHIEVED. I felt so good at the end of my two-week stint that I decided to stay off refined sugar and alcohol until the end of this month and limit myself to 7 instances of bread or cheese per week. Example: I had two pieces of pizza for dinner a few nights ago, so that counted as 4 of my 7 for the week.
This is a blog hop! Click here to read other ROW80 participants' check-ins.


  1. Even with those "partially met" things there, I'm psyched to read this check-in. I'd heard about Rachel Aaron's book before and had ignored it because I didn't think it was my thing, but... you definitely sold me on trying it.)

    Your #writeclub amnesia sounds exactly like my #row80 sprintblank. I'm writing most every day during those sprints, yet I fail to check in. Maybe this is a sign we're "in the Zone"? :-D

    Great approach to the end of the round, Sione. Good for you.

    1. I like your interpretation, Eden. Is not that I'm forgetful, is that I'm "in the zone" & that's why I don't remember to #writeclub. ;*)

      And yes, let me know what you think of Aaron's book! I owe Denise a big thank-you for turning me onto it.

  2. Sione, I'm so glad you found Rachel Aaron's book helpful. Yay!

    Good luck with all of your goals. Sounds like you're doing great. :)

    1. Thank you for turning me onto it, Denise! I didn't write any faster today, unfortunately, but thanks to Aaron's book I did feel more confident about what I needed to write, and when I got stuck I knew what to do. We will see if the rest of the week brings different results. It could be that I'm just getting warmed up or working on the hardest part of the novel.

  3. Good luck, You've so got this! Glad to hear how good you are doing. Off to look at the book because your recommendation is good. :)

    1. Thanks, Crystal! If you end up trying it, let me know how it goes!