Monthly Archives: June 2014

At the Intersection of Living and Writing

This round was sort of a mixed bag for me. When I look at the goals I wrote up, I feel like I didn’t do enough. Yet at the same time, this round I’ve been very much learning, growing, and evolving – as a writer and as a person. Sometimes I get caught up in the paradigm of modern Western culture, which places a huge emphasis on what we accomplish – especially if the things we do make money.

But my life is much more than production, and all the experiences I have are what make me the writer, the performer, the creative artist that I am.  I am a nurturing Mom raising two delightful teens (and some beloved four-legged kids, too). I am a caring wife, partner, and lover. I am a loving daughter and niece. I am a fun and supportive friend. I volunteer in my communities of choice. I walk the path of Earth-based spirituality. I’m not a good housekeeper, but I try. I am a great cook. I have devoted myself to my yoga practice. I am growing as a drummer and performer. I am a shameless bookworm. I am a student of life, following my passions. I am a dreamer and a dancer. I love to explore the world.

All of these ways of being are reflected in my writing. I bring them to the page with me; I can’t help it. I’ve vowed to enjoy this life that I lead, and that’s a practice I return to again and again.

I write because I love it, because it helps me figure things out, because it brings me joy, because I am a writer. As such, I know that I will continue, and I embrace the experiences that I have when I’m busily adventuring through my days. I’m patient because I know that these experiences will soon become words on the page, sent back out into the cosmos to inspire and entertain others in turn.

So as I look at my goals for the round, and begin to shape goals for round 3, I’m challenging myself to take into account all the things I do, the roles I fulfill that aren’t directly associated with my craft, but nonetheless influence my work greatly. Onward!

And now a review of my goals for ROW 80 Round 2:


Create and implement a loose daily and weekly schedule for my writing work and wellness practices. Look over the plan at the beginning of each week and adjust it based on other commitments on my calendar. I think this would work better if I look at the plans more often. I seem to forget.

Make weekly and/or monthly outlines for all my blog posts, with both content and posting schedule. Write and schedule posts ahead of time when possible. Include ideas for pictures and images. When I’ve done this, it helps a lot. I need to do it more.

De-clutter my desk, bookshelves, and filing cabinets. This includes Quester’s creation of a new bookshelf in the upstairs hallway. Make the space more user-friendly so I’m more likely to use it. I made some progress, but there is a lot more to do. I might put it on hold while the weather is nice, and wait until the cooler evenings in the fall. Also, my laptop died, and I need to get a new one so I can be more flexible where I work.


In collaboration with BlackLion, edit, revise and polish our NaNoWriMo novel,The Door Is the Key. Have it ready for beta readers by the end of the Round. We’re still working on this. We didn’t make the deadline I put down here, but I still feel good about our progress and how the novel is coming along.

Post to my Starcat’s Corner blog at least 3 times per week, and on this blog at least 2 times per week. Sometimes I kept up with blogging, sometimes not. But even when I didn’t, there wasn’t a huge gap, so I’m sure my readers were OK with it.

Write and edit at least three guest blog posts and have them posted. Done, and continuing. I have another Kind Over Matter guest post this summer, and I’ve also been asked to be a book reviewer for a pretty busy website, so that will get my name out there too.

Choose my next book project and outline it. If it’s fiction, read Rock Your Plotand begin plotting. Ideas are flowing, and I’ll be curious to see what emerges. I have plans for another novel and two or three nonfiction works. I’m not sure which one will be first in line, yet.

Learning and Sharing

Continue learning about ethical marketing and promotion. Read at least 3 books on this subject. I didn’t read as many as I’d wanted. I’ll get back to it soon.

Promote and sell more copies of both of my existing books. Use new techniques I’m learning as well as ones I already know about. This includes posting excerpts of my books, trading book reviews with other authors, and asking readers for Amazon reviews. I didn’t focus on this as much this round. I need to refocus on it in round 3.

Explore creating a hard-copy version of Cultivating Self-Love. Look into CreateSpace and other options. This is underway. I looked into CreateSpace a bit, and it looks promising. BlackLion is going to help me, bless him.

Practicing Wellness

Enjoy my life and go with the flow. This works great when I remember it. Maybe I just need to look at these goals more often!

Continue with my five main spiritual and creative practices: journal writing, yoga, drumming, dancing, and gratitude. Journal writing and gratitude are steady and rewarding. Drumming is off and on; I tend to do better when I’m getting ready for a big show or learning something new. I have made progress this spring. Dancing hasn’t been a main focus recently. Yoga – yeah! I’m rockin’ it!

Eat well. This means eating healthy vegan foods, avoiding sugar and junk foods, and drinking plenty of water. In this area I’ve improved a lot, and am still getting better – with occasional lapses.

Get more time outdoors on a regular basis. With the warmer weather, this one is happening. Also, the ROW 80 break happens to coincide with a little mini-vacation this time. I’m off tomorrow to hike, swim, and enjoy nature!


Filed under ROW 80

Things I’ve Learned This Round

So, time is passing quickly and the ROW 80 round is nearly over! I’ve just been looking over my goals to see how it’s going. It seems like time continues to get away from me. I mean, I’m a pretty busy person. I’m on the go a lot. And yet there are lots of goals that I still haven’t accomplished. Happily, I’m not letting it get me down. Instead I’m choosing to learn more about myself and how my life-as-a-whole comes together.

Rather than a traditional update, I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve been learning this round (which roughly corresponds to the second quarter of 2014).

Revisions Don’t Suck. No, BlackLion and I are not going to make our goal of having the novel ready for beta readers by the Summer Solstice. However, the process is going along very well. At this point, I’m having a lot of fun with doing the revisions. I know, that’s weird, right? But the way we’re doing it is very creative, so it satisfies my right-brained writer self as well as my Virgo organizer self. I’d never written and edited a novel before (I usually write non-fiction), so I had no idea what it would be like. It’s fun. You should try it.

Summer Is Busy. Okay, so I knew that already. But every year, I forget. When the weather (finally!) gets warm, things start happening. You know, gardening,  outdoor parties, hiking, all those lovely seasonal things. I need to remember to scale back my expectations in the warm-weather months. Or get a new laptop so I can work outdoors, unplugged. Now there’s a good idea!

It’s OK to Say No.  The thing is, when those awesome warm-weather parties come along, I don’t have to go to all of them. In the past I’ve tended to fill my calendar entirely too full with social gatherings, and then get frustrated when I didn’t have time to write. I’m refining the balance, and only committing to events that really shout “YES!” in my mind. There are oodles of  fun things going on, but I can’t do them all, and that’s okay.

Yoga Sustains Me. My yoga practice is probably my best accomplishment this round. It’s solid. I’ve been doing yoga at least 5 times each week for more than 2 months now. Woo hoo! And it helps. Not just physically, but in terms of emotional balance, mental clarity, and spiritual connection. Yoga is one of my favorite wellness practices ever. Yes, it’s right up there with journal writing. And that’s saying a lot, if you know how addicted to journalling I am!

Marketing Is a Moving Target. One of my goals is to learn about ethical marketing, and apply what I learn. The thing is, especially in regard to social media, it keeps changing. For example, our Feline Dreamers page was getting a lot of views via Facebook, and then they did their mysterious algorithm thingie and now, not as much. With the same content and frequency of posts. Huh? I know, I know, they want us to pay. Well, we’d have to have our name out there enough to sell enough books to make enough money to be able to afford to pay for advertising. Um, yeah. Catch-22. I’m still plugging away at it, and learning as I go, as things continue to change. And working on my mindset, because that’s important too. End of rant.

My Family Is Awesome. Well, I did know this one already, too, to be fair. My Aunt’s surgery went well, and I’ve been helping her out a lot this past week. I’m happy to do so. My extended family is full of love and support. I know a lot of folks don’t have that, so I’m extra grateful. They know I’m an eccentric creative hippie, and they accept me. They don’t always understand what the heck I’m doing with my life, but they love me and encourage me, and that’s priceless.

All I Can Do Is My Best. I’ve learned that there’s really no point to setting up self-created goals, failing to achieve them by the deadline, and then beating myself up over it. Instead, I’m learning to see my goals as guidelines. They encourage me to dedicate time and energy to my creative life each day, no matter what else is going on around me. That’s really what creates success, as I understand it: following a consistent, steady path toward your dreams. I’m on the path, and I’m enjoying the hike. You should see the view up here. It’s gorgeous!

Best wishes to you as you hike along your own creative trail!



Filed under ROW 80

In Which Revisions Aren’t As Bad As I Thought

Well, I’ve had a pretty darn good writing week, if I do say so myself! BlackLion and I worked on our novel revisions 4 days, for a significant chunk of time each day (I didn’t keep track, but at least a couple hours and sometimes more). While we each really had to slog across the swamp of our initial read-through and commenting, this part is much more fun. I’ve been enjoying doing the scene-charting, and tossing around ideas for making the story stronger. We’re making excellent progress. At one point BlackLion said, “there’s really quite a lot of re-writing we need to do.” My reply, with a big grin, was “I know! That’s the fun part!” So I guess I’m still enthused about the story, huh? Heh heh.

I also kept up with blogging, which hadn’t been the case for a couple weeks previous. I spent a lot of time on one post in particular. Based on some requests by friends, I wrote up a fairly long article on yoga philosophy and practice from my layperson’s perspective. I posted it today. I’d love to get some feedback on it. Are you interested in yoga? Or do you have friends and readers who are? I’d be so grateful if you checked it out and shared the link around to help spread the word. It can be found at this link on my Starcat’s Corner website. Thanks in advance!

In other news, healthy eating and daily practices (including yoga) are going well. I haven’t lost any additional weight as of yet, which is a bit disappointing, but I’m probably building muscle, so I’ll try to be patient.

I guess that’s all for now. A member of my family is having surgery this week, and I’ll be helping her out afterwards, so I’m not sure how much writing I’ll get to. I’m just going to go with the flow and see what unfolds. Family comes first.

Have a lovely and productive week!


Filed under ROW 80