Monthly Archives: December 2014

Yuletide Ate My Brain (Final Round 4 Check-In)

I have a terrific family. Not just my immediate family, but my entire extended family. And some pretty great friends, too. I’m so blessed. So, I like to make a big deal out of the holidays. I learned it from my Mom, whose favorite time of the year is Christmas.  I love to make things really special for everyone: decorate the house, make favorite foods, shop for and make special gifts, make and send cards, and of course have fun enjoying the company of those I love.

So, this time of year my usual priorities tend to go by the wayside a bit. Getting ready for Winter Solstice, when we have a big party, and Christmas, when we share family time together, is a full-time job in December. Therefore, I didn’t get much actual writing done this month.

That said, when I look at the round as a whole, I think I did quite well.

Now I’m getting ready to gear up for a time of writing, reflection, creativity, and cocooning. That winter hibernation time that I’ve been daydreaming about has finally arrived. That is, after these last couple of parties…

Here’s a blow-by-blow accounting of how it went this round.

2014 Row 80 Round 4 Goals

De-clutter and organize my work spaces. Clean my upstairs desk, bookshelves, and filing cabinets. Create beautiful, inviting, and user-friendly working spaces. Fix or replace my laptop. I’ve gotten a really good start on my upstairs office space (which is a cozy corner of my bedroom). I’ve been using it regularly. Also, though it wasn’t in my official goals, I’ve been de-cluttering and beautifying the house as a whole, and it looks great! My laptop, which I’m typing on right now, is working wonderfully. I had it repaired with money I earned editing a friend’s book, too.

Focus on blogging. Post to my Starcat’s Corner blog at least 3 times per week, Feline Dreamers at least 1 time per week, and on this blog at least 2 times per week. Write, edit, and submit guest blog posts for SoulFire Om, Kind Over Matter, Facing North, and Moon Books. Start and keep a running list of blog post ideas, drafts, and picture ideas. Overall my blogging focus has gone really well, except for these last few weeks when Yuletide ate my brain. In 2015, I have a monthly column on Kind Over Matter, one of my favorite websites! I enjoy blogging, and plan to keep it in the mix in the next round’s goals.

Continue my craft learning. Watch all videos and complete all assignments for the Conquer Summit online course. Read more about ethical marketing and promotion. Keep notes on ideas to use, and begin implementing them. I’m not quite finished with the Conquer Summit. I’ve watched all of the videos, but I need to work on the homework. Or maybe I’ll change my mind and start with a new course. I have a couple of great books in my Kindle queue, too. BlackLion and I also created our first draft of our “road map” for Feline Dreamers for 2015, and have lots of good marketing ideas in the mix.

Plan for and complete NaNoWriMo 2014. In October, use Rock Your Plot to complete an outline and character sketches. In November, write 2,000 words per day (on average) and complete NaNoWriMo. DONE! Now to actually finish the novel (I’m 62K in to a 100K-ish draft). That will be a big focus in the weeks to come.

Make inspiring art. Practice zentangling. Make at least 3 new pages in my art journal. Create winter holiday cards. Take nature photographs to use on my websites and blog posts. DONE. I did a lot of art this round. It’s super fun and inspiring. I have a ton of photos I can use for blogging. I got craft store gift cards for Christmas, too, so I can restock and upgrade my supplies. Awesome.

Expand my spiritual awareness and the integration of all aspects of my life. Get caught up on all the assigned exercises in Evolutionary Witchcraft (a book I’m working through with my Full Moon circle). Pay more attention to my dreams and intuitions. This has been a really busy autumn. I’ve done quite a bit of spiritual work, actually, but I crave more. Deep winter is when I go into my creative cave and recharge. I’m so ready for that.

Enjoy my life and go with the flow. Do things I love: write in my journal, do yoga, drum, dance, and express my gratitude. Eat well and exercise. Get outdoors on a regular basis. I did quite well until very recently, you know, when the holidays took over. Now I’m feeling tired and kind of drained. I want to regain my balance and focus on my favorite practices. Oh, and reading books. Did I mention that I love to read? Heh heh.

Have a great break and I’ll see you at the start of the new round, fellow creatives!

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A Very Quick Update

Hello lovely writers. This is just a quick update, in the midst of holiday preparations galore. I wrote 1465 words yesterday on my Patterns in the Void WIP, bringing my current total to 62,476 words toward a target of 100K. My progress here at the holiday-heavy end of the round is very slow, but at least it is happening. I have some good ideas for upcoming scenes, too, and I like the way some of the characters are stepping up.

I have gotten to a little bit of blogging this week. Other than that, I’ve mostly been working on de-cluttering, cleaning, and decorating our home. It’s looking good!

Our Christmas tree, all decorated!

Our Christmas tree, all decorated. There are even some gifts under it already!

I’ve worked on a lot of holiday cards, which count toward my artwork goal. Drum practice has been going well.

On Friday, I was interviewed for a blog that is associated with the local daily newspaper. It went really well, and the writer/photographer who I spoke with was very cool. It feels like it was a good connection to make. I’ll post the link once it’s published.

Just keep swimming, everyone!


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More Kitchen Project Love

I confess, I haven’t worked on my novel in a couple of days. After the death of the refrigerator over the weekend, we took on another kitchen project yesterday. This one was voluntary, though.

As my holiday gift, Quester tiled part of our kitchen (behind the stove, sink and counters along the wall). It looks so great! It still needs to be grouted, but he did everything else in one day. Here, take a look.


Our floor is black-and-white, too, and most of our appliances are black, so it ties in really well.


Some of my rock collection got into the action, too, forming the border under the window. I love it!

I get to paint the whole great room next (we have an open concept kitchen-dining room-living room), but I need to wait for spring until that happens.

So needless to say, yesterday I was helping him move everything, which meant lots of cleaning and dusting, plus refilling the spices on the spice rack, de-cluttering the counters, and so forth. I’m really delighted with how it all looks! I also did some work on the holiday collage cards we make every year, which I guess fulfills part of one of my goals, so that’s good.

But my writing has been on the back burner so far this week. I did post a Starcat’s Corner blog post today, and the other night I got caught up on watching the Conquer Summit videos. I intend to get back to the blank page soon, though. My characters are calling me.

I hope your week is going well!

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Words, Bucket Drums, and a Dead Fridge

This was kind of a crazy week. On Friday evening my performance troupe had a gig at the First Friday Artwalk. An outdoor gig, with three 15-minute sets of drumming and fire spinning. Now, you should understand that we live in Maine, and it’s December. It was 28 degrees that night. Since there was no way we wanted to be hitting our bare hands on drum skins in the freezing cold, we did some “bucket drumming.” Five of us drummed with wooden drum sticks, flipped-over 5 gallon buckets, and milk crates to perch them on. Sounds cool – and you can wear gloves while doing it.

We’d done some rehearsing, as a group and separately, and it came out sounding pretty great! We even got compliments from a couple of musician friends of our troupe leader. We had our normal rehearsal today – indoors, with our usual hand drums – and that went well. My recent solo practice on the doumbek is paying off. I got a couple of compliments from our music director today, which means a lot since he only doles them out when we really deserve it.

Yesterday our refrigerator decided to die. We got it when we built the house, so it’s 14 years old. Luckily, my parents had given us their old one several years ago; we’ve been keeping it in the basement and using it as needed. We’ll probably still need to get a new one, as the backup fridge is quite a bit smaller (and we have two teenagers). But we’re fine for now. It took a while to make the switch, clean everything up, and all that, so it took up a big chunk of my Saturday.

Despite all that, and the ongoing holiday preparations and home de-cluttering, I’ve still been plugging away at my novel, Patterns in the Void. I’m now at 61,008 words toward a goal of 100K or so. Sometimes I feel great about the story, and other times I feel full of doubt, and not sure how good it is. I keep reminding myself that it’s just a first draft.

I hope your week goes well and that it’s full of creativity!


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More Words and Some Networking

This week is going along nicely, after a bit of a slow start. I guess I needed a little break from my novel, but now I’m back at it. I’m at 54,979 words toward a target of about 100K. I also have a few scenes plotted out ahead, which include midpoint plot action for both of the main characters. Woo hoo!

The personal essay I wrote for my women’s group gathering was very well received. In fact, one of the women knows a local writer who might have some leads on publishing it, which is very cool. I’m making some new connections in the local writing and spirituality communities, which is wonderful. Lots of new opportunities along those lines (local and beyond) are showing up, and it’s both exciting and scary at the same time.

On the days when I wasn’t working on the novel, I got some more de-cluttering done around the house. I need to decorate for some upcoming holiday events we’ll be hosting, which is a great motivator for reorganizing, deep cleaning, and getting rid of unneeded things.

There are some areas I’m a bit behind on at the moment, like blogging and craft learning, but I have plans in place to fit them in. Basically, I went through my planner and for every item that wasn’t directly related to holiday preparations, family and household stuff, gigs, or ROW80 goals, I took those things off my plate until after the new year. Even if they do sound good, they can wait. I swear that I can “do it all,” but probably not all at once.

(Just kidding about the do-it-all thing. I’m still practicing the art of saying no. I’m learning.)

Have a great week and I’ll see you at the Sunday check-in.

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