WIPpet Wednesday: Mauve’s Story

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday -K.L. Schwengel’s weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

WIPpet Math:

Today is April 23, 2014.

  • Today’s math…
  • 2+3= 5(adding the digits of the date) 5+ 4=9(adding the digit of the month)=9 sentences, today.

This month, I’m offering up a taste of myBlogging from A to Z April Challenge. So, today, please allow me to introduce another of my Kifo Island Chronicles characters….

Warning: Raw Honesty and Potential Grief Triggers past this point. Please proceed with caution.

Let’s all give a loving WIPeteer welcome to Mauve Carson

Mauve is two months old, and she’s dying. She’s lived her entire life in a coma. Her story is told from the point of view of the NICU nurse assigned to her care.

Doctor Harris held the baby gently, at an arm’s length, her feet against his chest, then firmly manipulated her tiny body. Even though Lara knew that it was impossible, she still rooted for baby Mauve to push into the man’s burly chest, or cry-

Or anything.

Anything at all.

But, of course, she didn’t. Couldn’t.

Her mother sat in the upholstered rocker, her gaze fixed on the man who held her infant daughter, her face faraway and expressionless. She hunched over her own middle, thin arms wrapped around herself as though to shield her. She couldn’t be more than twenty, but the marks on her arms said that she was very determined at escaping- or had been, until reality presented itself in the form of a beautiful baby girl.

This post is a loving tribute to Elijah James Burton, July13-25, 2003. <3

Mauve is very close to my soul. Her story is the most autobiographical I’ve written for this challenge.

On July 13,2003, after a textbook pregnancy, our second child, Elijah James, was born. It was a hard labor, and, eventually, forceps were used, because he was in distress. He wasn’t breathing, and, once, he was resuscitated, he was whisked off to the NICU before I even saw his face.

I was luckier than Mauve’s mother. When Elijah was four hours old, I met him. Our gazes met. I knew that he recognized my voice, and his were the wisest, most accepting, most peaceful eyes I have ever seen.

The next day, Elijah was put into a medically induced coma, in the hopes that his seizures could be abated.

Four days after that, still in a coma, he had a massive, two-minute grand mal seizure. I feel that whatever made him unique and human vanished in that violent electrical storm of the brain.

Five days after that, we were told by the neuroneonatologist – a specialist who made grand rounds in the NICU monthly, that Elijah had “a nearly flat brain wave architecture” – not brain dead, but very near.

The next afternoon, Elijah died peacefully in my husband’s arms. He never woke up, never cried. He simply slipped away.

There’s not much more to say, except that he is with me always, every moment. He makes me a better mother, and a better person, because I know how very precious life is, and how fragile.

Will you do something for me, for us? Will you do something sweet, right now, for someone you love?

Will Mauve’s family find peace and healing? Will they be shattered by her life, and her death? Can there be meaning, when a newborn dies?

Last question: Have you done that something sweet and loving yet? If not, please do. I’ll wait.

Want more Kifo Island Chronicles posts?

These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my talons sheathed…for the most part.

Want more WIPpets?

I’ll leave you with the one song I have sung to all three of my babies…

 

The Creative Deeps: ROW80 Update 4/20/14

 

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 Well, hello there, and happy Easter, if you’re into that sort of thing!

As the title of this post implies; I’ve been swimming in deeply creative waters, this session.

When I decided that I would give my focus to the “Last House” (now Kifo Island Chronicles) stories in April, and to the T’Pol and Trip fanfic exploration (now, tentatively, The IDIC Romance), I really didn’t know what those explorations would look like.

Now, as I move through the first of these challenges, and the process of preparing for the second, I have a better idea.

I’m doing a lot more planning than any of the posted stories will reveal. I’m digging in, and setting up the structure and basic shapes of something bigger, for both.

  • For KIC, that may end up as a series of novellas.

  • And for TIR, I see a novel waiting to be born…and others on the horizon, because there’s obviously (to me, at least!) so very much more going on between these two characters, and I want to know what it is.

So, there’s a lot more than meets the eye, and these challenges are likely to grow into something much larger, at some later point (I have ideas on when, but, for now, I’ll keep those to myself).

How about you? Do you find yourself using challenges, writing or otherwise, as a way to reach toward larger, longer-term goals? Do you choose challenging projects for that reason? What challenges are you dealing with, now?

Note:

  • Goals are reviewed at the end of each month.

  • Additions/ adaptations made throughout the round.

  • Update list only goals engaged with during current session.

My main focuses this month:

Other goals will be addressed on a secondary basis.

Getting comfortable with the deep places. Photo by Eden Mabee.

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

For April:

Continue posting on my regular schedule.Target attained!

Complete April A to Z challenge. On target.

  • Currently developing stories through Week 3.

  • 16/26 stories posted.

Prepare for Story-A-Day May posts. On target.

  • Lots of prepping and plotting; see Writing, below, for details.

Respond to comments, and return visits. On target.

  • I‘m getting to these more frequently, and they keep coming! Cool! =D

Visit three additional A to Z blogs each day, on average. A bit ahead, this session.

  • Wednesday: 4/3

  • Thursday: 4/3

  • Friday: 4/3

  • Saturday: 4/3

Joyful Flow!

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

  • What’s a better feeling than finishing a WIP draft? Why, finding out that you shortchanged yourself by 10K in your final word count, of course! Final count for TBONTB is over 217K, not 207K, as I thought. Since this will become two novels, that’s a pretty good end count.

For April:

MoveThe Stars are Fire closer to completion, as the conclusion of my CampNaNo effort.On target.

  • 4,608new words.

  • 11,975April WIP words.

  • Currently writing scene33/60.Past the halfway point!

  • WIP total: 79,089/~100,000 words.

  • Current NaNo count: 23,235/33,333 words. Yup, just under 10K to go, now!

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Explore Kifo Island Chronicles as my2014 A to Z April Challenge project.

Plot, create, and edit 26 flash fiction pieces for the challenge. On target.

  • 16/26 complete.

  • Development continues in an as-needed/ as-fits-life basis.

Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May).

For April:

Complete plotting for 31 stories by April 30.On target – in a big way!

  • Completed T’Pol and Trip’s character sketches.

  • Set plot and pinch points for both.

  • Completed Goal/Motivation/Conflict/Disaster for each point., for both.

  • Set up plot/pinch points in T’Pol’s character arc, with spaces for connecting scenes yet to be plotted.

Prepare Scrivener files for the writing process. On target.

  • Happening organically as I move through the plotting process.

Reflected Zen depths…?

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.

For April:

Continue claiming my study.

For April:

Move bookcases; buy and place new chair. On target.

  • Continued clearing/organizing the first of the two bookcases.

  • Visited my chair at the store. =)

2014 Lifetending:

Tweet during one show per week, using appropriate hashtag.Target attained!

  • Indirectly. I made one Tweet, via Facebook, with hashtags, duringJeopardy!.

Eat salad and/or drink fruit or vegetable smoothies at least 3 times a week.On target.

  • Two salads. Meals, more like – and there was avocado! =)

  • 1 smoothie.

  • 3/3 attained.

Depth by the handsful! Original photo by Jean Dorsey

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

For April:.

Choose two playful actions for each day; do several times each. Mostly..

  • Wednesday: yes.

  • Thursday: yes.

  • Friday – yes.

  • Saturday – no- I took the kids shopping, so there was walking.

Sponsor Visits (and some extras!):

You can check up on the other ROWers, and their plans for Round 2, right here!

 

What lies ahead…and beneath?

 

Coffee and Conversation: Writing Process Blog Tour

 

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again - time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my familywas driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own…

This week, I’ve got something different, because my WANA friend Gretchen Wing tapped me for the Writing Process Blog Tour. I highly recommend Gretchen’s blog, Wing’s World – it’s full of travel and life observations offered in a slightly quirky, upbeat way.

Thanks, Gretchen! This was fun, and I learned some things about me!

1. What am I currently engaged with?

  • I’ve been writing Star Trek fan fiction since my early teens. It’s evolved with me; now there’s a strong original fantasy element. I ‘m writing a fanfition/fantasy double series, Trueborn. Each stands alone, but there’s a richer story when read together.
  • I also blog regularly, and have poetry and short stories in various stages of development.

 

No, this is not how I write …but she’s definitely inspirational!

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

  • For me, writing is delicious play. I think that makes my writing different – the more I embrace the notion of writing as play, the more individual my writing becomes.

  • I tend to see things differently than many people do, and that perspective appears in my writing. Children in my stories are independent and capable; many, like my own children, do not go to school. They don’t have much need or patience for adults who interfere in their lives. The life I live with my family isn’t a parents-as-bosses-of-children model, and neither are many of the families I write about. Even when the parents think they are in control, the children have their own definite goals, and ideas on how to go about achieving them.
  • Oh, and there are Vulcans(even though sometimes well-hidden). I do love my Vulcans!

3. Why do I write what I do?

  • I write what I write for simple reasons -it’s what I love, what compels me, drives me nuts, makes me laugh, cry, ponder, or seethe.

  • It’s what fires my imagination…

  • I write to touch you, know you, share myself with you, and invite you to share, too!

  • To make statements about things that fall under a code of silence that break and shatter lives.

  • I find strength and healing in honesty.

  • I write the people who populate my mind, the places I imagine between the scenes in shows and movies, the threads my fancy weaves between disparate things, the things I’ve noticed and discovered in myself and others.

  • I write the journey of my life, and how it connects to the wider world. It’s my breadth and my depths, and how I live…
  • I write what I write because it’s who I am – as a writer, and a human.

 

Creative process…writing and editing.

4. How does my writing process work?

  • I like to noodle around for a while before writing. Many ideas come while I’m doing unrelated things, especially taking a hot shower, driving, hometending, being with my family, playing games…you know, living.
  • I often jot notes and random snips of what I’m thinking of before I begin planning.
  • I use Rock Your Plot, to develop ideas. It’s open-ended, so the story can go where it will, and structured enough that I don’t wander around aimlessly, waiting for something -anything! – interesting to happen
  • I like 750 Words for my initial writing – it’s an expanse of plain white screen, with no containment field. It’s a playground for my raw ideas.
  • I move the rough draft to my word processing program, and mark it up with color-coded highlighters – bright, playful and useful. After a rest, I start revising, and continue until I’m pleased with the result.
  • Larger projects – anything that might become book-length – move to Scrivener, where I can develop them in subsequent drafts.
  • I enjoy participating in writing challenges. I like the stretching, and use these to advance projects and ideas I’m toying with. This month, I’m advancing WIPs that have been waiting for CampNaNoWriMo, and giving shape and substance to Kifo Island, a locale that’s been tickling my imagination for a year.
  • Overarching all other challenges is ROW80. I arrange my writing projects around the four 80 day rounds. Twice-weekly updates keep my focused on my goals, so that I have something to report. It is also a wonderful community of writers, at all levels of ability.

LIfeWriting. =D

For next week, I’ve tapped my just-about lifelong best friend, and partner-in-crime for those first fanfics, Eden Mabee. Here’s a bit about her, but, trust me, she’s way more than this!

Eden Mabee is slowly making a life out of finding the creative and the enjoyable in everything. She collects feral cats, odd do-dads, historical trivia and lots of books–all of which she uses to build fictional worlds. Her blog Many Worlds From Many Minds follows her creative journey in prose and photography. You can find her pictures on Imgur and Flickr under her Twitter name @Kymele. She lives somewhere in New York State where her husband and son to inspire her almost daily.

How about you? Whether it’s writing or any other goal, how do you approach it? What makes it special to you? Why do you do what you do? Let me pour you a cuppa, and let’s chat!

 

Word, words, words!

 

 

Creatively Productive: ROW80 Update, 4/13/14

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Well, hello there!

I hope this Sunday is as lovely where you are as it’s projected to be here – temps in the 70s for the first time since October, and sunny! I plan to spend a chunk of the afternoon outside, just taking it in and maybe puttering and playing…but, before dawn comes:

I’ve got some exciting news to share….I’ve finished a major component of one of my annual goals!

WAHOO!

Yes, on the 10th, I completed the rough draft of my Trueborn Warp/Weft WIP, To Be or Not to Be!

It’s the first of the three “hanging” drafts I plan to wrap up this year, and it was the closest to completion – oh, and the last of my totally pantsed drafts.

It’s put a spring in my step, for sure! =D

Today is important to me for another reason, too.  Nineteen years ago, on April 13, 1995, my fiance, Tim Simmons, died.  I was with him, the way he wanted.  My life has moved on – and I will always hold his memory in my treasured places.  A dew years ago, I wrote this letter as a tribute at Letters to the Dead.

Today, I’ll enjoy a bit of the warmth and sunshine for Tim, too.  He loved sunny days. =)

How about you? Have you accomplished something you’ve been moving toward for a while? Getting ready to? Feeling the push of springtime energy? Remembering someone gone, but still somehow a part of you?

Note:

I review my goals each month, and as indicated throughout the round. I update only those goals I advanced during each session.

My main focus, for April, is on the two challenges I’m involved with:

Other goals addressed on a secondary basis.

Taking time to smell the flowers….

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

For April:

Continue my regular posting schedule.Target exceeded!

Complete April A to Z challenge. On target.

  • Developing stories through Week 3.

  • 11/26 stories posted.

Prepare for Story-A-Day May posts.On target.

Respond to comments, and return visits. Target attained!

  • Got caught up on Friday. It may not last long (and I don’t want it to!), but it’s refreshing!

Visit three A to Z blogs each day, on average. Target exceeded!

  • Wednesday: 4/3

  • Thursday:     4/3

  • Friday:           4/3

  • Saturday:     5/3

Soon it will be pansy time again! =D

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

For April:

Complete TBONTB rough draft as a CampNaNo project.. Target attained!

  • CampNaNo count:  11,068 words.

  • Completed draft: 207,096 words.(Will split into two volumes).

  • This WIP is a big ole pantsed hodgepodge. But that’s true of all my WIPs until July 2013, and it’s not as scary as it used to be!

Move The Stars are Fire closer to completion, as the conclusion of my CampNaNo effort.On target.

  • 3,599 new words.

  • Current NaNo count: 14,699/33,333 words.

  • Current scene: 29/60.

  • Current word count: 70,394/~100,000

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Explore Kifo Island Chronicles as my 2014 A to Z April Challenge project.

Plot, create, and edit 26 flash fiction pieces for the challenge.On target.

  • Continuing with development – most stories now have at least a premise.

  • 11/26 Complete.

Lush and fertile splashes of color!

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue claiming my study.

For April:

Move bookcases; buy and place new chair. On target.

  • Began clearing/organizing the first of the two bookcases.

Set up coffee/refreshment station.On target.

  • Fine-tuning. Should be done in a week or less.

2014 Lifetending:

Tweet during one show per week, using appropriate hashtag.Target attained!

  • Indirectly. One Tweet, via Facebook, with hashtags, during Castle.

Eat salad and/or drink fruit/vegetable juice or smoothies at least 3 times a week.Target exceeded!

  • One smoothie – cranberry, cherry, strawberry, and pomegranate.

  • One salad – made by Jim. Many veggies, beans, salmon, and pecans. Protein rich, filled with color, and delicious.

  • Two blended fruit/veggie juice – apples, berries, pomegranate, and purple carrot.

  • 4/3 attained.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

For April:

Choose two playful actions for each day; do several times each.Target exceeded!

  • Wednesday: stair stepping; arm curls with 5 pound weights; side stepping.

  • Thursday: marching in place; calf raises; wall push-ups.

  • Friday: t’ai chi “beach ball” movement; demi-plie (ballet); lunges.

  • Saturday: fly with 5 pound weights: bottom raises; air punches.

Ride my bicycle at least once a week.Getting ready to roll..

  • Jim brought my bike, which I haven’t ridden in years, out of the backyard tool shed on Friday, and filled my tires. Then, just after he left for work, it started to rain…

  • I sat on my bike Saturday: I’ll need to lower the seat.

An invitation to wander….

Sponsor Visits (and some extras!):

Wanna cheer on the other ROWers?

Saturday’s Share: Flowery Girls and Writing, Too!

A slice of happily blended life…

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

I love this photo. I was writing and making pre-revision notes on my bed, where I’ve written since my pre-teen years, when Annalise, who’d been puttering around outside, brought me this basket of flowers from our little cottage garden. She stayed a while, to hang out and visit, and we chatted.

I’m reminded of this picture, this month, as I move through two writing challenges, and prepare for a third, while still being present as a wife, mother, and companion on this journey of life.

I do want to write – as often as I can manage. Writing is more than a passion for me – it’s the way I live and process my living, my best means of sharing my life and experiences with others.

I’m not as happy a person when I’m not engaged with writing. Things that I would write about, and thereby work through, stay within me, where they can fester. That, as you might imagine, isn’t good for me – or anyone around me.

Yet, here I am – the housemate of three other people. More than that – I’m someone’s wife, and two more someones’ mother. There are times I need to drop everything and give someone a hug, a snuggle, a canoodle, a conversation. There are laundry and dishes and places to go. There are things to learn, explore, and do. There is clutter to clear, food to buy, pets and people to feed, and homeschool reports to prepare and file.

It’s less a matter of balancing than it is blending. I’ve found that the more I stop thinking of writing as something that I need to balance with the rest of my life, and instead see my life as a whole, a blending of various ingredients in varying amounts. Sometimes I write while chatting with a girl fresh from her adventures i n the backyard. Often, I plot while washing dishes, doing laundry, or showering. Places we visit can become story fodder (certainly, they’re often blogging fodder!).

During this busily creative season, this way of seeing my life is especially important for me. Rather than choosing between writing or other things, I can blend them, and have elements of both.

How do you handle varying pulls and parts of your life? Are you a balancer or a blender? Do you have a different approach? I’d love to hear about it – after all, Saturdays are for sharing!

Please allow me to share a bit more – one of my all-time favorite songs, in honor of the flower girl in my life! =D

Blogging From A-Z: G is for Gladys (Kifo Island Chronicles)

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“We need to talk, grandson.”

The little girl only winced at the large, vise-like hand clamped into her flesh, and clenched her teeth and her small fists. No tears; no emotion.Gladys wondered, sometimes, if they’d all been wrung from her.

“Later,” Howard growled, and his hand tightened on Iris’s shoulder. The child drew her breath in quickly, and her eyes glazed over into nothingness. Going into herself, she called it, but, to Gladys, it was a little like a death. The death of all that she cherished in this little girl.

“Not later, Howard. Now. Let Iris go with Donovan, and we can talk over lunch. I don’t have much time left to me; it seems foolish to wait, and you would not want to be taken by surprise when my will is read.”

Howard’s stare shifted to her, and Gladys wondered if he knew that he licked his lips. Since he was a very small boy, himself, that had been the way to catch his attention – through his avarice.

“All right, then. We’ll talk over lunch, and she can go with the freak.” He wasn’t happy just letting go of Iris, though; as he pulled his hand away, he used the other to shove her, so that she had to catch herself sharply on the back of the chair with a grunt. She recovered and slipped away, without a look back. For now, she was safe.

And Gladys knew that she had done the right thing, no matter what Howard thought of it.

Want to learn more about the Kifo Island Chronicles?

Golly G! Get More Groovy G Goodness Here!

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Embracing Creation: ROW80 Round 2 Intentions

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Well, hello there!

It’s that time again- the eve before the beginning of ROW80 Round 2. That means it’s time to set my intentions for the round to come.

I’ve found it’s easier to focus my goals, and my writing time, when I center them around a theme. So, for Round 2, my theme is….

Creation!

Spring has finally broken, here in upstate New York. My lawn is greening up; there’s beds on my lilac bushes. The birds and rabbits are busy in the yard, and I’ve finally been able to start opening the windows during the warmer hours of the day.

I’ve been in editing mode for most of the year, thus far. I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m feeling a desire to return to the creating of new stories, and moving existing ones along the path to completion. To create more welcoming spaces, new chapters in relationships, new engagement with my physical and spiritual self.

Creation in progress….

I might even create a garden, bringing new and nourishing life into the world.

For certain, I will create some joy and happiness in my life, and I’ll be spreading that around!

Note:

I will be reviewing these goals at the end of each month, and adding or adapting goals as indicated throughout the round, and definitely at the beginning of each month. I’ll be updating only those goals I engaged with during that session. 

My main focus, for April, will be on the two challenges I’m involved with this month – April CampNaNoWriMo, and Blogging From A-Z. Other goals will be addressed on a secondary basis.

Promises of things to come.

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

For April:

  • Continue posting on my regular schedule.

  • Complete April A to Z challenge.

  • Prepare for Story-A-Day May posts.

  • Respond to comments, and return visits.

  • Visit three additional A to Z blogs each day, on average.

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

For April:

  • Complete TBONTB as a CampNaNo project.

  • Move The Stars are Fire closer to completion, as the conclusion of my CampNaNo effort.

Looking forward to butterflies…

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Explore Kifo Island Chronicles as my2014 A to Z April Challenge project.

  • Plot, create, and edit 26 flash fiction pieces for the challenge.

Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May).

For April:

  • Complete plotting for 31 stories by April 30.

  • Prepare Scrivener files for the writing process.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

For April:

  • Continue revision plan for Chameleon’s Dish, as time and focus permit.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.

For April:

  • Get the computer desk and moved out of the room.

  • Complete pantry cleanup; move; organize.

  • Plan the new coat area.

Continue claiming my study.

For April:

  • Complete the bulletin board reset.

  • Move bookcases; buy and place new chair.

  • Set up coffee/refreshment station.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

For April:

  • Freewrite about what organization and productivity mean to me.

  • Begin considering ways to use this information in my day-to-day life.

Birch trees and ideas in bloom!

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Select and complete projects from my Play Jar.

For April:

  • Resume picking and completing slips as a playful complement to the more intensive blogging, writing, and editing.

Open myself to opportunities to spend time with people I enjoy.

For April:

  • Attend at least one NaNoWriMo Tuesday Write-In.

  • Attend the Regional Food Bank Charity Dinner.

  • Contact one person from my People I’d Like to Meet list.

  • Tweet during one show per week, using appropriate hashtag.

  • Eat salad and/or drink fruit or vegetable smoothies at least 3 times a week.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

For April:

  • Walk at least 1.5 miles each week; at the track, or measured by pedometer outside.

  • Choose two playful actions for each day; do several times each.

  • Play with the kids outside or at the Y pool at least once each week.

  • Ride my bicycle at least once a week.

  • Get a workout at the Y or with a video at least once a week.

What’s on your agenda for the burgeoning spring season, if it’s spring where you are? And, if it’s autumn, what are you planning for that crisply energetic season? I love hearing what others are up to!

You can check up on the other ROWers, and their plans for Round 2, right here!

Catch the sky!

Coffee and Conversation: April CampNaNoWriMo and A Lot to Chew

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again - time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own…

Hey there! Ever feel like you’ve maybe taken on a little too much, and as though you’re constantly juggling, in danger of losing track of something?

Yup, that’s where I am right now.

It wouldn’t maybe have been this way -except…

Isn’t there always an except?

Mine is that I spent more time sick during this long hard winter than I usually spend in an entire year. It slowed me down, muddled things up more often than I had hoped, had me scrambling to get back to the place where I thought I should be…

Kristen Lamb talked about this in her post today, and it struck a chord with me.

I’m scrambling, now.

In a little less than three hours, I’ll embark on two marathon writing challenges, and I’ll do another next month.

When I decided to do it, I thought it would be, if not a snap, at least doable. I could draft the A to Z posts ahead, reread the first of the WIPs I intend to complete this year, for CampNaNo -and I could get the house into a better state, and queue some blog posts so that there’d be no pressure while I explored a new project, and wrapped on one I’ve kept waiting longer than I intended.

Only, now there’s only a few hours before the challenge begins, and I’m typing this on one computer, with a novel draft on the other (my attempts to move the file having been thus far fumbling and non-productive- at one point, I even thought I lost it!). My first of 26 A to Z posts is still in revision and hundreds of words too long.

And blogging-well, I have a list of subjects to write about, but nothing written, nothing queued.

Beyond that -I have a family, and a house, and  dishes, laundry, homeschooling, leaky roofs, car repairs, and all the other large and small details that make up a life…

So – am I going to give up? Or lock myself into my study, and write as though there’s nothing else in the world?

No, to both.

For one thing, my study is in a state of unlovely chaos. I began several projects designed to make it more embracing – and left them as other parts of life beckoned.

And, as I said, I have a family. I won’t be writing when someone who depends upon me needs a snuggle, a chat, or a canoodle. I won’t be letting clutter pile up three feet deep – at least, not everywhere at once!

For another – I chose these challenges because they feed something within me, and help me to focus on projects I want to explore, carry on, or wrap up. I choose them because there’s always things to learn in them, and because they feed my creative needs.

So…what’s a woman to do?

Well -I’m going to take a deep breath -

And do what I can, with the understanding that real people come before fictional ones, and that I may not get exactly where I wanted to go.

Will that make me a loser?

No.

Because every word written, every idea explored, will be mine. It will be a commitment to my writing, and to myself. That’s something. If I don’t complete the challenges perfectly, I will still have made an effort, and I’ll have what I create – the words, and the experience of their creation.

And, in the times that I’m not writing, but engaged in a moment of living, the creation will still be happening, in the back of my mind, simmering away while I do other things. Even if the words and ideas come three months from now, they’ll be mine to develop.

And that’s why I’m doing them.

So, here we are. Less than two hours until the challenges begin. I’m finishing up this post, and working on setup, while I watch Castle.

This month of challenges will be what it will be; sometimes exhilarating, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhausting.

Sometimes, I’ll be doing something completely different…

And, in 30 days, I’ll be on the other side, with things learned, and stories to tell…

How about you? Do you take on formal or informal challenges? Why or why not? If so, how do you approach them? Is it an all-or-nothing, pass-fail proposition? Or are you more interested in progress and growth, even if you don’t complete the challenge?

I’d love to hear what you think! I’ll see if I can find some fresh cups, and take break. Let’s chat!

Playful Pause: ROW80 Round 1 Review

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Hi, there!

No, you’re not just seeing things, and I do know this is a ROW80 break!

But, since I set annual goals for 2014, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give myself a little break from my A to Z plotting, and evaluate how far ROW80 Round 1 carried me toward my goals.

I made considerable forward progress, especially in the editing and blogging arenas. I’ve started most of my larger projects, and have a couple of things crossed off the list.

A few things will be bowing out in Round 2, to return later in the year, and a few will be given more intensive focus, as I shift more toward writing and planning new material, this round.

All in all, I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made…and I’m enjoying a bit of a slower and more focused pace, now, as I gear up for my April challenges…

I’ll be posting my Round 2 intentions next Sunday….until then, may you have peace, passion, and beauty in your lives! =)

My life is rich in blogging inspiration!

2014 Blogging:

  • Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan. Setting aside, awaiting Kristen Lamb’s Jedi touch later this spring.
  • Add all useful bits, templates, links, etc, for each feature to Master Resource File. A success!
  • Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely. Becoming a habit, keeping for Round 2.
  • Brainstorm what I want in a website; move The Unfettered Life to a spiffy new home. Again, setting this aside, for a while. Other ideas are emerging; more are sure to come.
  • Visit five writing websites; consider what I do and don’t like about them. Informal, here-and there success.
The very first words of a spanking-new adventure!

The very first words of a spanking-new adventure!

2014 Writing:

  • Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream. Not much this round. More focus in Round 2.
  • Draft two more novels in the Trueborn double series, as NaNo projects. Some basic groundwork laid for the first. Plotting will be a Round 2 focus.
  • Freewrite on the ideas I’ve had for the unwritten portions of the story.Did a little; Round 2 will include plotting the first, and early development of the second.

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

  • Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge).Moving along; obviously a major early focus for Round 2.
  • Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May).Also moving along.I’ll finish prep in April; write in May.

Cozily editing….

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

  • Work through Chameleon’s DishPre-Revision Action Plan by March 1. Done, and into the revision process. Carrying over to Round 2 as a secondary goal.
  • Check out NaNo Now What Months features in preparation for MarchNaNoEdMo.I got what I needed, there.
  • Complete pre-editing notes for Bounded by a Nutshell. Done! Next step in Round 2 or 3.
  • Reread Blood and Breath silently .Completed! Read-aloud later in Round 2.

Revise all poems for QOMIS, until satisfied with the results. Not much happened here; will reappear in Round 3, when some larger things are completed.

Complete Deep Revision process with my three short story WIPs. Same progress.in play; revisiting in Round 3.

Life in progress on the family room desk…

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

  • Continue the family room reset. Moved forward; visible progress made. Carrying forward to Round 2.
  • Spend time daily in my study. I did well, early on. The room is now the embodiment of Lovely Chaos. Carrying forward into Round 2, adapted.
  • Clean up homeschooling files by February 15. Some progress. In the mix for Round 2.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity. Yes, and no. Reshaping my concept of ‘organization’ during Round 2.

  • Experiment with play project schedule. Target attained! I have ideas to carry forward to Round 2.

Research small business establishment /administration.

Some things are really important!

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

  • Select and complete projects from my Play Jar. Resuming in April, even if slowly, for Round 2.
  • Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect.No, not so much. Revisiting for Round 2.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

  • Choose one playful motion for each day in January; do it several times throughout the day, with a spirit of adventure. This goal shifted with each month, as intended. Adapting a new version of this goal for Round 2.

That’s it for me!  Round 2 starts April 7.  See you there!

Playful Preparation: ROW80 Update, 3/23/14

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Why, hello there!

 Well, here we are, at the second-to-last update of the round. It seems like we just started – but, no, that’s the first hints of spring playing tag with the patches of snow left over from a memorably wintry winter.

Yes, we may get more snow next week, but the air and ground are softening. Robins and rabbits are frolicking in our yard, the ducks and geese are back at the local pond.

The cold can’t grip us as it has the most of the winter…

 And yes, it means that the first round must be nearly done.

I’ll be posting my end of round evaluation on Wednesday, and an interim plan on Sunday (I like to keep the rhythm of these twice-weekly updates…and, although I do tend to relax during breaks, I don’t stop writing altogether – it’s too much fun).

But, for now, we’re still in Round 1, so let’s get on with it.

My main focus areas :

  • Revising Chameleon’s Dish;

  • Preparing for April and May’s intensive writing projects.

  • Continuing with home embetterment.

  • Continuing with life embiggening.

  • Preparation for ROW80 Round 2.

Something brand new….Pandora’s box, perhaps?

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Answer comments regularly, across all blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. On target.

  • After several days off, while I learned my new computer, I’ve gotten to some comments on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Caught up both main blogs over the weekend. There may be a few strays; I’m happily getting more comments, of late. =)

  • I’ve popped in at both Twitter and Facebook this session, and responded to some comments at each.

Make at least two return visits every other day, on average.Target attained!

  • Yes. For now, visiting immediately after responding is working well.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature.On target, mostly.

Shiny. New. Powerful…and pretty!

2014 Writing:

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge). On target.

Create premises for all stories; write POV character’s GMCs. On target.

  • Premise: 11/26 Completed; nearing the halfway point at last!

  • GMC: 9/26 Completed.

Write brief character sketch for each MC. On target.

  • 6/26 Completed.

Set Plot and Pinch Points for all stories. On target.

  • 1/26 completed.

  • Write story summaries. Pending.

Sign up for the challenge! Target attained!

  • All signed up; with the banner and badges page tagged in my Pocket file for later use.

“The IDIC Romance” Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May):Create premise, GMC, and character sketches for both protagonists by April 1.On target.

Write character sketches/bios for both POV characters.On target.

  • Both Personality sections complete – with some background stuff, too.

In the beginning…

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish. On target.

  • Completed scenes: 7/60

  • In progress: 8/60

Spend at least 60 hours (2hours/day average) on this pass during March. Target exceeded!

  • 3/19: No revising.

  • 3/20: 4 hours, 5 minutes.

  • 3/21: 3 hours.

  • 3/22: 40 minutes.

  • Month to-date: 61 hours.

Artful clutter….or, life as I know it.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.On target.

  • I’ve emptied the cabinet that will become the pantry.

  • Next up – giving it a thorough cleaning.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

  • I’ve been busily learning my new computer. Soon, I’ll begin a major organization of what I’m moving, and begin the process.

Our long and winding road..well, not so much long as steep!

2014 Lifetending:

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Choose two playful activities per day; walk at least one mile each week: workout at the Y or with a video at least once a week. On target.

  • Moving firewood; t’ai chi breathing; light in-house jogging; walking with kids and dog.

  • Used my new pedometer, and added

  • Y workout done on Tuesday.

Sponsor Visits:

See what the other ROWers are playing with this round!

C’mon, spring…we won’t make you jump through hoops!