Monthly Archives: March 2015

Happiness Is a Complete First Draft

Well, my first draft of Patterns in the Void is not quite done, but so close that I’m counting it as a win. Woo hoo! This round has been kind of a whirlwind, or the last part of it has, anyway. I lost momentum on the WIP during January, but since I got back to it in February, it’s gone really well. I’ve been writing a lot, enjoying myself in the process, and setting up good writing habits that I plan to continue into the rest of the year. I’m so thankful! That’s what this whole ROW 80 thing is all about, right? Establishing good writing habits and getting work done.

Overall I’m in a really good space, and I think 2015 is going to be a really big year for me. I’m already well into the process of crafting goals for the next round, and I have a writing plan in place for the rest of the year. This enthusiasm and confidence are new, but the timing feels right. I feel like I’m really in the groove now, with the way my writing career fits into my life as a whole.

And now a more detailed look at my goals and how I did:

2015 Row 80 Round 1 Goals

Complete current WIP. Finish the first draft of Patterns in the Void. Target is 100K words or so. Starting the round, I’m at 61K. As I write this update, I’ve written 104,391 words, and I only have 5 scenes left to write. I will update you when I actually finish, but I’m confident I’ll be done within the next few days. I’m so thrilled!

De-clutter and organize my life, creating beautiful work spaces. Clean and organize my upstairs desk and filing cabinets. Continue to de-clutter and beautify our shared living spaces. Set up my new planner with intentions and goals for the year. IN PROCESS. With the onset of really cold weather, my upstairs organizing project stalled. I’ve been working downstairs at the dining room table because it’s warmer. I have been doing a great job at keeping our shared living spaces beautiful. It feels good. I have a working 2015 planning system up and running, and I’m pleased with it so far.

Ramp up Feline Dreamers. Work on our cookbook. Research and create an Etsy shop. Submit two articles to magazines. We did some work on our business, much of it planning focused, but these particular priorities have shifted and changed. I did research Etsy, and it’s not a direction we’re going to pursue just now. I’ll have some updated business goals for the new round.

Focus on blogging. Post to my Starcat’s Corner blog at least twice per week, Feline Dreamers every other week, and on this blog twice 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. Results by the numbers: over the roughly 12 weeks of the round, I posted 17 times on Starcat’s Corner, 4 times on Feline Dreamers (so, every three weeks), and 18 times on this blog. I didn’t exactly reach my goals, but I do feel like my posts in general were more high-quality and focused than before. I spent more time on them and got quite a bit of good feedback (usually via Facebook). This round I contributed once to SoulFire Om and once to Facing North (which is a book review site).  I’m doing a monthly column for Kind Over Matter this year, and I feel like my posts for them have been on-target. I feel good about this goal, and will continue it. I’d also like to utilize the scheduling function more, and write my posts ahead of time. I do have a running list of ideas, which has been helpful.

Continue my craft learning. Read at least 3 books about writing and ethical marketing & promotion. In the queue: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, Fiction Unboxed by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant, and Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran. Keep notes on ideas to use, and begin implementing them. DONE. I read all of these books, plus one more (How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn). I was a bit disappointed in Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. It had good information, but I’d read a lot of it elsewhere, and it was a bit dull. In contrast, I loved and was completely captivated by Fiction Unboxed. I very highly recommend it to anyone who writes fiction. Both Let’s Get Digital and How to Market a Book were very good, and gave me some good ideas. I was surprised by how much I adored reading these books. I think I’m just so psyched up about writing that I’m absorbing them like a happy little sponge.

Make inspiring art. Practice zentangling. Create my 2015 Word of the Year vision board. Create new scrapbook pages and art journal pages. Take nature photographs to use on my websites and blog posts. DONE. I’ve been doing nearly all of these things, perhaps not to the extent I thought I would, but certainly enough to consider it a win.

Upgrade my music. Practice drumming with my doumbek at least 20 minutes each day. Rehearse with BlackLion. I didn’t do as much music as I’d thought I would this round. I’m no longer in the performance troupe, and the way things were handled left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth (we never got to do the big final show that was planned, not by my choice, which was a bummer). I know I’ll be doing more music, though, and I’m not worried about it. I drummed recently at a friend’s party, and had such a fun time. I learned so much from being in the troupe’s band, not least of which is how to play with other musicians. I know I’ll be using those skills again, and learning more about music and rhythm. I plan to combine my music and artwork goals for the next round, because both are hobbies that feed into my main creative passion, writing.

Expand my spiritual awareness and the integration of all aspects of my life. Pay attention to my dreams and keep records of them. Set intentions before sleep and upon waking. Do the Abraham meditations 3 times per week. Learn about sacred geometry and deep energy work. IN PROCESS. The various aspects of this goal are going well, and I’ll continue it on into the next round.

GRACEfully invite ease, purpose, and kindness into my daily life. Do things I love: write in my journal, read, do yoga, dance, spend time with loved ones, and express my gratitude. Eat well and exercise. Get outdoors for walks on a regular basis. Go ice-skating and cross-country skiing. I had mixed results here. Several of my daily practices are going super well. I haven’t moved my body as much as I’d like to, though with the arrival of spring, I’m certainly doing more than I was. I’ve been eating too much sugar, and want to get a handle on that again. I only did a little bit of outdoor winter activities; I just don’t like the cold. I’ll continue the goal, modified for the new season.

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Play Feeds the Muse

This weekend I traveled a few hours north to attend a surprise birthday party and visit some friends. It’s been a long winter, and I think I’d forgotten how much going on a little adventure can inspire my creativity. The friend who had a birthday is a musician, so there was a lot of fun jamming at the party. I got to play drums, and to dance. The friends we stayed with are such lovely, fun, and creative folks! We had lots of interesting and inspiring conversation. One of them is an author, too, so it was cool talking to him about our shared craft. He asked about my journal-keeping, so we talked about chronicling and curating as well. Then we attended a storytelling event on Saturday night. I’m full of new ideas and inspiration after all that!

Work on my novel is going great. I have 96,430 words written on the first draft, with ten scenes left to write. I might not make it to the finish line by this Thursday, but I will have it done before the next round starts, certainly. Blogging and other projects are going along fine. Some of my goals have shifted during this round, or been left by the wayside, but I feel very pleased with my overall progress as we approach the final week.

I’ve been making some writing plans for the year, which will get broken down by round as we proceed forward. I have lots of exciting projects in store for myself!


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The Final Stretch

passionforbooksHere we are in the final stretch of ROW 80 Round 1. It’s so exciting! My biggest question is: will I make my goal of finishing the first draft of my urban fantasy novel, Patterns in the Void? I’m just not sure. Here’s how things stand right now: I’m at 93,856 words on what I thought would be a 100K novel. But I’ve only written 47 of 59 scenes, so it looks like I might need to exceed the word count in service to the story. I don’t know if I can finish it in a week, but I’ll certainly try!

I’ve now finished reading four (out of a goal of only three!) craft novels this round. The one I just finished was Fiction Unboxed by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. It was excellent! I love these guys. Not only do they provide techniques you can use, but their writing style is funny and engaging. I’m a total fangirl of theirs now, I admit it. Today I updated my Resources for Writers page on this blog, to include the best of what I’ve discovered lately. I hope you’ll check it out. If you have other cool resources to share, please leave a comment!

With this post, I have all my blogging for the week completed. Yay! I’ll be away for part of this coming weekend, so I scheduled Saturday’s post for Starcat’s Corner ahead of time. That feels good. I finished a book that I was reading for a review site, so I want to write up the book review today and send it off.

I had some shifts at my part time job this week, so I haven’t been out for walks or done yoga, but I’ve been keeping up with meditating, and writing in my journal every day.

Some of my other Round 1 goals have gone by the wayside or have simply shifted and changed, but I feel like I’m making great progress with my main intentions. Life is good. I’m thankful.

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Writing, Reading, and Cats

I have the March blues, or is it blahs? Luckily, the things that are sustaining me are my usual trio of favorites: writing, reading, and cats.

I mean, just look at this sweet fellow, Merlin!


And his lovely brother, Sir Percival (known affectionately as Percy).


In terms of writing, I’ve still been in the groove with work on my novel, Patterns in the Void. The first draft is now at 91,818 words on the way to 100K-ish. Though I think I may exceed the word count, as I’ve only written 45 scenes of 59 total. That’s okay, it gives me more room to edit it down eventually. I wrote a blog post this week about these very same March blues, with some help from my Facebook tribe. I’m also writing in my journal pretty much every day, which is great writing practice and free therapy. Heh heh.

I’m 59 percent of the way through my fourth craft book (out of the three that was my goal for this round, woo hoo!). It’s excellent. Fiction Unboxed by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. I’m also 82 percent of the way through a nonfiction book I’m reading to review, and for fiction I’m reading the latest Bobby Dollar novel by Tad Williams.

That’s my Sunday update. How’s your week been?

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Signs of Spring

We’ve been having some nicer weather this week, which feels really good in a soul-deep way. I’ve gone on walks the past three days in a row, and my creativity has been flowing freely. I’m really happy with the progress I’m making. I can see how many amazing things I’m going to accomplish this year, and how much fun it’s going to be (and is already).

Work on my novel-in-progress is going very well. I’m now at 87,488 words on the way to 100K-ish. I’ve completed 43 of 59 scenes, and today I plotted out all the remaining scenes, filling in the blanks around the major plot points. Also, this week I decided that this will be book 1 of a series, so I included some openings for the coming stories, as I did my plotting of the final scenes.

I haven’t blogged since I last wrote here on Sunday, but I have some posts in the works, and I’ve been collecting ideas for future ones.

My craft reading and study is going wonderfully. I’ve completed my goal of reading 3 books this round, and I’ve started on a fourth. So many inspiring ideas! My goals next round will include a quite a few of them, as I implement new ways to reach readers and build my own mini-empire. So very exciting!

One of my goals that I hadn’t devoted much time to yet this round is to “pay attention to my dreams and keep records of them.” I went to look up some dreams from last year, and discovered I’d recorded a lot more of them than I thought. So I started working on my Dream Chronicles again, typing the dreams into a document from the journals where I’d written them. This has spurred my dream recall, and I wrote down a new dream just this morning. Many of my dreams are like stories, and as I review them, I’m uncovering the seeds of future writing ideas. It’s inspiring and fun.

My daily practices have been going well. This week has included time for reading, yoga, meditation, journal writing, gratitude lists, spending time with family, and going for walks. I feel like I’m doing well with balancing the various aspects of my life. I hope this winning streak continues!


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Making Good Progress

I love being able to come here and talk about writing. I was just reading a quote on Facebook about how it’s sad when someone is all lit up, excited to talk about their passions, and then they shut down and say “Oh, sorry, I must be boring  you.” It means that someone else shut them down, somewhere in the past. And it’s true, it’s not always easy to find folks who are truly interested in the details of my craft. I’m thankful to have fellow ROW 80 writers to share with about word counts, writing schedules, and the like. Thanks for listening!

This week has brought some more good progress on the novel. I’m currently at 83,782 words on the way to 100K-ish. I’m only on scene 42 out of an estimated 59, though, so I might exceed my word count. Which is fine, as it will give me room to trim when I’m editing. The tale is definitely going to need some attention. I’m finding it a bit tricky to weave things together. Before I started, I outlined the major plot points, but left the other scenes to evolve and fill in as I wrote. So it can be a challenge to make sure everything makes sense and the characters get where they need to be. It’s an experiment in progress.

Other goals? What other goals? Oh yeah. Well, today I cleaned the house rather than working on the novel. It really needed to be vacuumed, and was getting on my nerves, so I just did it.

Blogging has been going great this week. I feel like I’ve gotten back on track with it after a bit of a lull.

I’ve been very much enjoying reading about writing, marketing, and (self)publishing. I finished Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran, which was excellent. Now I’m devouring How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn. Really good info. I’m adjusting some of my current practices based on what she says. I’ve also been getting more comments on Facebook for my blog posts lately, and engaging with more folks, so my long-term work on building an author platform is beginning to show fruit. Yay!

My journal writing, gratitude, and meditation practices are going well. I haven’t done much art or music lately, but that’s because I’ve been so wrapped up in writing and studying. I’m like that, tending to ebb and flow into and out of different interests over time.

Oh, and I was going to report back on how my writing schedule is going. But really, there’s not much to report yet. I had a stretch of having to be out of the house for various activities, so I haven’t had a pure “writing day” in the latter part of the week. I’ll get back to you on that. Happy writing, all!

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Surfing the Groove

I was going to call this post “Gettin’ All Virgo On You” but I figured it would scare everyone away. Yes, I’m a Virgo, and I’ve been working on my writing schedule and trying to tweak it so that I have time to do all the writing – and other stuff – that I want.

First I should probably say that I’m not doing this because I’m not writing. On the contrary, work on my novel-in-progress is going along great! I’ve written 4,857 words since Sunday, and I’m now at 82,223 words on the way to the finish line of 100K-ish. I say “ish” because of course it’s most important to finish the story, no matter the word count. But it’s going very well. Feel free to skip right to the next ROW 80 blog if you aren’t into planning and scheduling details.

The thing that tends to happen is that I get so caught up in the novel that I lag behind on blogging and other important tasks relating to my writing path. Not to mention I want to have time for physical exercise. So the Virgo part is that I came up with a loose daily schedule that aimed to avoid the “novel-writing versus yoga” morning time period. As such:

get up/ready for the day
yoga and meditation, journaling
have breakfast/tidy kitchen
novel writing
other household tasks
other writing tasks: correspondence, social media, blogging, marketing
make/eat/tidy up from dinner
family time (hanging out, playing games, watching shows), exercise (dancing or walking)
reading and study time, journaling if it didn’t happen in the morning

Note: this isn’t for every day in the week. I have a part time job that I do sometimes, and other days and/or evenings are devoted to my kids and their activities, to social gatherings and events, or to hobbies like music and art. This is a schedule intended for “writing days.”

The first one was yesterday and went well, except I didn’t get to my blogging. I wasn’t feeling inspired and chose to do other things. This morning I got sidetracked from yoga, though I did do meditation and journaling. We’ll see how the rest of the day goes.

I tend to rebel against strict schedules. I guess my Libra Moon shows her face there. But having some kind of a loose discipline helps keep me on track. Overall, what I’m doing seems to be working, and I want to make it even better.

What is your writing schedule like? Do you have one? How does it work for you? I’d love to hear about it.



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A New Resolve

How did it get to be March already? I’m certainly glad that winter is winding down, but the last part of February has seemed to fly by.

Work on the novel has been progressing, if slowly. I wrote 1545 more words on Friday, so I’m now up to 77,366 toward my goal of 100K-ish. Today I did some more plotting, filling in my plans for the next few scenes and tying them in with my overall outline. It’s going pretty well. I should have plenty of writing time this week, so that’s good. My main goal is to finish the draft by March 26th, the end of the ROW 80 Round 1. I feel confident I can do it.

The workshop on business that I was looking forward to this week was postponed until early April, which was disappointing, but it will be excellent whenever it happens, so I’m not too upset. BlackLion and I met to plan out our Feline Dreamers business goals and tasks for this new month. Good things are in the works. I’ve started the next phase of the Barefoot Being program – an online course a friend is offering that I’m both participating in and helping with behind-the-scenes – and I think it’s going to be really inspiring. The theme is Abundance.

I finished and sent out my monthly guest blog post for Kind Over Matter; it’ll be published this Wednesday. I’m currently at 54 percent on my craft reading (currently on Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran) and it’s very interesting. I’ve been journal writing and housekeeping.

That’s all I have to report today. This week’s intentions are to work on the novel, catch up on blog posts for my personal and biz blogs, and integrate more movement into my days. I hope your week went well and that you’re on track with your projects!


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