ROW 80 – Round Two

So…hi again. So sorry, I didn’t mean to vanish in Round One, but fell down a proverbial INFJ rabbit hole — which translates to a bottomless pit of research and ovethinking — it took me a good six weeks to climb out and wrap my head around what I learned. Am I tempted to jump back in? Heck, yeah! Research, especially unintentional research, is one of my favorite things. Give me an interesting website, something I can procrastinate over, and a random question (usually about a character or location) and I will check out of reality faster than you can say NaNoWriMo! Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I signed up for camp!

My goals for my first round were a bit ambitious. Or, totally insane and unrealistic, if I’m honest about it. Like you, my life is crazy, chaotic, and doesn’t always follow my precise schedule. Of course, being the idealist I am, I bit off way more than I could chew anyway because best laid plans always work out. Right?

For round two I’m going S I M P L E • B A S I C • E A S Y

Round Two Goals

  • Keep Writing Scared – I will continue to push myself to try new and uncomfortable things.
  • Camp NaNoWriMo – 30,000 by the end of April. That 30k will include all creative writing including blog posts.
  • My Inner Editor – She has to go. I haven’t figured out how she will be kidnapped and hidden away, but her time is up. Highwaymen in the Scottish highlands might be an option….send her to the back of beyond and forget about her for a few months.
  • Kill My Darlings – I will kill them, and I will cry about it. Well, maybe.
  • The INFJ Loop/Rabbit Hole – Now that I understand my personality tendencies I will be mindful of not getting lost in research, procrastination, technique, plotting obsession etc… I will use a timer to focus, especially if I need to look something up. If I can’t find the answers in 15 minutes I will make a detailed note on the manuscript and in ToDoist and come back to it after the draft is finished.

That’s it. That’s my plan. Too simple? Good. But let me end by saying that it’s practically killing me not to elaborate on my plans to revise my plot board, expand on my new organizational ideas, or give a breakdown of everything I learned in my rabbit hole. But sanity must be respected and preserved at all cost. Last year, April was the worst month of our lives and I just don’t know what to expect emotionally from myself and those around me. Unexpected loss has a way of shattering us in ways we can never comprehend, but healing has a way of rebuilding us in ways we can never dream of. We will see what April brings with writing and life, but I pray she will be kind for us all.

Here’s to a brilliant, simple, and creative Round Two!

Do you plan to keep your inner editor locked up during Round Two? If so, how?


Reading, Researching, & Writing, Oh My!

Sitting down to write never seems to be as easy as just that, writing. Over the past week, I have found myself needing to know more about how I am writing, not just why I am writing. The researcher in me clawed its way out and threw me into a week of reading, research, and even a bit of writing.

It started with webcast with Grant Faulkner (NaNoWriMo), Ally Machete (The Writer’s Ally), and some tips from AutoCrit on self-editing. Ally recommended Hooked by Les Edgerton, and then I couldn’t resist a fourth read-through of Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes. Feverish writing ensued with surprising insights and a new perspective on my plot and structure. My fingers have been flying on the keyboard and I have adopted a new whiteboard to organize my thoughts, plots, and problems (surface problems and story-worthy problems).

Alexa notified me that I have two more books arriving this week and I have resorted to stalking the mailman. My newest writerly books include Scene & Structure by Jack M Bickham and Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody. I can’t get enough. In retrospect, my word count could have been higher, but I feel that my time reading and researching is invaluable. I won’t say everything about my current manuscript is falling into place, but it is significantly closer to where it needs to be and I have a better sense of the overall direction and motivations I want to capture. All in all, it’s been a successful week.

Beginning February 1st I will be trying to adhere to a specific daily minimum word count goal. This book won’t write itself and I have a deadline in my head that I can’t seem to shake.

What are your go to writing books? Do you have a favorite writing reference you think all writers should have on their shelves?


Planner, Plotter, and…Hostage?

The last update I shared I had been busily planning, plotting and preparing my crazy life for two intense days of writing. For all intents and purposes, my schedule was cleared, my intentions made known to my family, and I was prepared to be typing away with a big, stupid smile on my face. My life cooperated. My characters did not.

I sat down with everything ready to go and proceeded to stare at my computer screen. All the “brilliant” ideas my characters had been feeding me dried up and died 10,000 deaths. I tried to make sense of the cacophony of voices in my head, each one louder than the last, each vying for my attention. Unable (or unwilling) to do anything, I was afraid to “upset” a character by choosing one direction over another. That’s when it happened, I became a literary hostage. Each character more insistent that their story direction was best and if I chose wrong the story would be over before it started. That’s a lie of course, but on Tuesday I believed it.

For the better part of the day, I was bound by fear of choosing the wrong path and listening to the wrong character. So I sat there wasting those precious planned hours of writing and then went on a cleaning spree (God help my family). In retrospect, it was the best thing and the very worst thing I could have done. It was for the best because I was forced to dig deep and make some hard choices…”scared” choices. It was the worst thing simply because now I’m mourning those hours when words should have been leaping onto the page.

Eventually, I did get a good amount of writing done, but this literary hostage situation was a new one for me. Now to see what I can do so this doesn’t happen again…

Have you ever been in a similar situation? What did you do to get through it and prevent it from happening again?

Update 1/10/19: As of today, the words are flowing and the characters are cooperating to the best of their scandalous abilities.


The Journey Begins

Hi there! Congratulations on stumbling onto the dreaded first blog post! Yeah, it’s about as awkward as it sounds. 

To make things a little less awkward, here is a photo of summer…

Summer Distraction

Celebratory summer watermelon drinks make everything better!

I have no idea what you’ll eventually find among these pages… tips, lifestyle posts, parenting topics, literary pursuits, travel, daily life, and who knows what,  but I do hope you’ll find inspiration, honesty, and maybe a laugh or two.

Thanks for joining me!