Stretching Into September: August 31, 2014

The Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life/

Wow! Can someone please tell me where August has gone? I swear it was here only a minute or two ago, but it’s already getting ready to leave for a year!

The coming of September finds me in a state of flux. I’ll be continuing many of my goals, tweaking others, and setting a few aside for later rounds. The month will begin with my son’s 13th birthday, and, two days later, I’ll be attending a World Sexual Health Day event with Elizabeth Anne Mitchell -oh, and meeting August McLaughlin, too! =)

A busy start- so it may take me a week to really get into a September swing. That’s all right- I know the autumnal air will energize me, and being wholly present during these experiences will feed my soul, and my writing! =D

How about you? Is September a shifting time, or a period of continuity?

September Focal Areas:

  • Homeschool Administration (until complete)

  • Chameleon’s Dish/ 3 short story revisions

  • Drafting Perchance to Dream/ Pre-planning and Prep for King of Infinite Space.

Soon to be a teen! =D

2014 Blogging:

Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan. - I haven’t get to any of these, this round. Shifting two to back-burner status until 2015.

  • Get the Kristen Lamb social media wizardry ball rolling. - Contact Kristen by September 7.

  • Play with Web Lab app; goal is exploration and experimentation. -setting aside for Round 1, 2015.

  • Start planning new website, using input from previous two goals. -setting aside for Round 1 /2, 2015.

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely. – On target. I’m posting and interacting regularly and often. Sharing is shakier, but I have ideas…

  • Maintain regular posting schedule; queue 3 posts for Coffee and Conversation; prep 3 ahead for WIPpet Wednesday. -hoping this will give me a clearer target.

  • Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my blog visits and participation.

  • Update sidebar; it’s a little outdated and jumbly.

A mischievous girl in a pink mustache!

2014 Writing:

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

Write at least 750 words on Perchance to Dream daily through August, or until the draft is completed. On target. Gearing up for the final quarter; I’ve had several revelations regarding story that are definitely taking things in a tenser direction!

Draft another novel in the Trueborn duology series, as my November NaNoWriMo project. - Time to start planning for November’s drafting.

  • Print and read-aloud Blood and Breath (rough draft WIP); KOIS will be its duology fanfic.

  • Complete pre-planning for King of Infinite Space, through character sketches/bios.

  • Rough out concepts for remaining books in this series.

This is my smile on Shakespeare!

2014 Editing:

  • First revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish; Pre-Revision Plan for Bounded by a Nushell: Readthroughs/notes for Blood and Breath. -This goal is subject to change; revision takes longer than I thought, at the moment!

  • Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish.

  • Throughout read-aloud, make on-page pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

  • Complete first pass revision pre-planning for Bounded by a Nutshell. Setting aside for Round 1, 2015.

  • Revise three short story WIPs for October 31 submission deadline. -More on this goal in the coming week or two.

Seventeen years later, we still like each other – OK, MORE than like! =D

2014 Hometending:

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

Continue the family room reset. On target .

Clean out email files. On target .

Continue reclaiming my study. On target .

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames from Round 1. On target.

Develop Daily Hometending Frames. On target.

Set aside time weekly for administrative stuff (Adminstrative Frames, maybe?) On target .

Complete all required homeschooling documentation, testing, and reporting.

Mail Annalise’s End of Year report. Target attained!

Complete Jeremiah’s PASS test and submit results when received. On target. Test returned for scoring.

Complete fourth quarter reports for both children, and submit by 9/15. On target .

Complete 2014-2015 IHIPs for both children; submit within 4 weeks of receiving confirmation of LOI packet.On target .

My girl – lover of fashion and wildlife!

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. Nothing yet.

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. Target exceeded, and there will be more!

Indulge in days with both children, at least one date with Jim, and one with myself. Better – did something special with each child this month; Jim and I, and myself, not yet.

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

Plan a monthly family excursion that involves physical activity. Target attained with Sterling Renaissance Festival.

One workout at the Y each week. Target attained!

Treadmill: 22 minute walking mile using “Rolling Hills” program. Target attained- new goal pending.

Recumbent bike: 8 miles in 30 minutes, using an interval program. Not quite. Closer, though!

Weights: At the Y; minimum 3 machines for arms, legs, and torso weekly. Target exceeded!

Nutrition goals for July:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. Target attained most weeks.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. Target exceeded!

A Midsummer Evening’s Dream…

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

Visit my “2”s every session. Target exceeded!

Come ROW along with us!

 

Annalise’s Shakespearean Still Life!

Second-Serving Sunday: #NotBacktoSchool Edition!

 

A weekly peek backwards and a look ahead, in my little corner of the blogosphere

What do I mean by #notbacktoschool? Well, it’s only a coinflip away from #backtoschool – and a universe apart.

Neither of our kids have ever gone to school. We began as eclectic homeschoolers (a lot of the “curriculum” I used with our son came from other homeschoolers, garage sales, and imagination), then shifted into the relaxed category, then became so relaxed, we were radically unschooling by the time our son turned eight. He’ll be thirteen in a couple of days, and we’ve never looked back.

So no back to school lists, chores, or schedule changes for us. Just life as we know it, flowing on. Birthday plans. Work plans. A trip to New York City for me, to expand my own horizons. Working out and swimming, and making connections with friends. Learning, living, laughing, and loving as we go.

Today’s pictures come from another #notbacktoschool week, when our youngest was officially “kindergarten-eligible” (now, she’s 10!). I think they capture the flavor of our lives very well!

Annalise’s Zen-style volcano.

 

And speaking of life…what have I been up to?

Recently at shanjeniah:

Second-Serving Sunday for August 24: Big Stretch Edition!

A week of romance as my Accomplice and I celebrated 17 years of marriage, I dis some odd things I wasn’t expecting, and new perspectives were formed. I wrote my inaugural post for Rose B. Fischer‘s Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Trip and T’Pol got all tangled up in each other, and drafting and revising took a step back for a few days. David Vienna urged parents to CFTD; Kerry took us to the museum to share Shakespeare’s First Folio; and there was this blogfest announcement:

 

 

This week’s fun:

Coffee and Conversation:

WIPpet Wednesday:

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

  • Thirteen Years: This week’s SoCS prompt was “Age”. Apropos as our oldest becomes a teen this week. Here, I contemplate the threshold between childhood and adulthood, choice and control, and what these have to do with maturity.

ROW80 Updates:

Learning about “monies” in a lobster hat, cause that’s how we rolled back then!

What’s Coming Up?:

My writing focus for September is on:

Siblings in communion with the TV, and each other.

 

This week’s blogging:

Annalise discovers that light is made of colors!

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

Learning is fun, and makes this girl grin!

Life Stuff:

  • I reflected on the past, looked forward to next week, and spent a busy week in the middle.
  • I took Jeremiah out for a workout and lunch on Tuesday, and we set up his weight room orientation. On Friday, both kids and I went for a swim, and to do some provisioning.
  • I bought my ticket for the NYC World Sexual Health Day event, and began making the travel details with my companion for the day!
  • Magnet Mountain was reduced to barious sorted piles of rubble…uh, magnets.
  • Jeremiah’s testing was completed and submitted for scoring; Annalise’s end-of-year report was submitted to the school district, and I moved forward with fourth quarter resporting and IHIP for Lise.
  • All in all, a week with some busyness, and some calm, in a pleasing blend.

What was your favorite part of your week? Did things go according to plan, or were there surprises along the way?

“I’m riding a horse on the army!”

An Odd Stretch: ROW80 Update, 8/20/14

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

Is anyone else having a hard time accepting that it’s Wednesday, already? This happens to me every time we travel, whether for a day or a weekend – I lose my time sense, and things feel a bit -well, out-of-kilter is the best way I have of describing it. It’s not that I haven’t done things, but more that the things I’ve done haven’t all been the things I usually do.

I haven’t done any revising on Chameleon’s Dish, and my blog comments are woefully behind – sorry, folks, that’ll be a priority over the coming days! – and, although I’v made my scheduled blogposts, none of them have exactly appeared on time.

On the other hand…

  • I have added words to Perchance to Dream each day. On Sunday, literally in the middle of a sentence, a major and utterly unexpected plot twist occurred, and now everything else will need to accommodate this new reality, which I never saw coming. Sometimes writing is like that – and the story will be far more intense, and the stakes higher, because of it.

  • I had a very strong workout on Tuesday, even after a physically strenuous day on Saturday. I’m seeing changes in the way my body looks, feeling changes in my muscles, and these changes are reflected in what I’m able to do. Since my goal is focused on well-being rather than weight loss, I feel like my exercise and nutrition goals are yielding high results, and that makes me happy! =)

So, all in all, this was a productive stretch for me, even if it had some odd twists and angles to it. Life can be like that, and, at least for me, these times shake and stir life up, keeping thing interesting. And that is definitely good for my writing!

A different view….

Here’s my somewhat twisty progress since my (a day late) last update ! =)

August Focal Areas:

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Chameleon’s Dish Revision

  • Social Media/Blog Design

2014 Blogging:

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

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature. Welll….

2014 Writing:

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

Write at least 750 words on Perchance to Dream daily through August, or until the draft is completed. Target exceeded for this session!

  • August 17: 823 words.

  • August 18: 751 words.

  • August 19: 797 words.

Beauty is where you find it…

2014 Hometending:

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

Continue the family room reset. On target.

  • More porch decluttering.

Clean out email files.On target.

  • Got rid of another sheaf of messages.

Continue reclaiming my study. On target.

  • Much more decluttering, a little beautifying. Mount Magnet awaits…

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Experiment with Daily Writing Frames for the rest of the year. On target.

  • My daily flow was odd, due to life rhythm. I did things, and that’s the goal here.

Use Daily Hometending Frames; adapt to suit shifting goals and circumstances as needed. On target.

  • Still making big progress in small sprints. Not quite so many, with Jim’s weekend, and two physically strenuous days. I expect that to shift for the next few days, which are unscheduled.

Set aside several sessions weekly for Adminstrative Frames, shifting according to goals and circumstances. On target.

  • A little. This will be a major focus over the next days; I have lots to do!

Complete all required homeschooling documentation, testing, and reporting. On target.

  • The school district finally sent the packet we should have had a month ago, so all systems are go, and the four-week IHIP countdown is officially begun.

  • This will be a priority from now, until all required paperwork has been submitted.

Seeing things from a new angle!

2014 Lifetending:

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

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. Target exceeded!

  • August 18 was my estranged brother’s birthday – a milestone one, for him. I sent a message to wish him well, and in hopes of potentially healing our relationship. We were once very close, and I miss him.

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

One workout at the Y each week. Target attained!

  • I had a vigorous workout, and loved it.

Treadmill: 22 minute walking mile using “Rolling Hills” program. Target exceeded! =D

  • 1 mile in 20.49 minutes!
  • I needed a few brief breaks, and lowered the resistance of the program (and discovered I can actually achieve descents that way!).

Recumbent bike: 8 miles in 30 minutes, using an interval program. On target.

  • 7.26 miles in 30 minutes, with manual intervals.

  • I’m edging up on this one. I was able to pedal faster and more consistently this week than in the past. I just need to build on this.

Weights: At the Y; minimum 3 machines for arms, legs, and torso weekly. Target exceeded!

  • 4 each for arms and torso; 5 for legs.

  • Gradually increasing weight, repetitions per set; and number of sets.

Nutrition goals for July:

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. On target.

  • 2/5; 1 of each.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts or seeds minimum twice weekly. Target exceeded!

  • Yogurt: 2/2; Nuts/Seeds: 1 /2 (raw sunflower seeds).

ROW80 Sponsor duties:

Visit my “2”s every session. On target.

  • Yup.

Living a triple-exposure kind of life….

 

Come ROW away with us!

Coffee and Conversation: The Gift of Grief

 

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..

Are there times of year that you find emotionally charged? Where your feelings are tumultuous and close to the surface? Where small things can lead to huge inner shifts?

As I mentioned in my posts throughout this past week, July is an emotionally complicated month for me – turbulent, surging up in joy, plunging into sorrow, lifting again…

Alive and silly, ten years after birth!

 

Earlier in the month, my daughter celebrated her birthday. She was born in July of 2004.

July of 2003 was a very different matter.

After a textbook pregnancy, our secondborn, Elijah James, decided it was time to be born, four days before his due date. Things didn’t go as expected. Eventually, forceps were used – and our baby boy, healthy only a few minutes before, was born not breathing.

Things got a little blurry for me, after that. My blood pressure tends to be low; it dropped precipitously. I remember asking the nurses what was wrong with my baby, and the nurse answering, “He’s fine, he’s fine,” as I watched them attempting to resuscitate him.

After what seemed an eternity, they got enough response to whisk him away and intubate him – I’m not sure about the order of those events, only that both happened in the four hours I spent recovering before the maternity staff allowed me to use a wheelchair to go to the NICU.

My husband went to be with the baby, and my emotionally volatile mother stayed with me. She had been with us through Elijah’s birth, and I know she was feeling protective and helpless – but she became embroiled in a power struggle with my nurse, and the conflict had me trying to play diplomat, and feeling not only raw and terrified, but also like I was the non-sentient tug of war rope in their battle of wills. All I wanted was to see my baby, and for him to be okay.

I am lucky. Elijah was awake when I met him; we regarded each other. I wrote about that meeting in my poem, “Soul to Soul”. Here’s an excerpt…

Elijah lived twelve days, and died on Friday, July 25, 2003.

I turned thirty-four 4 days later.

I’ve learned not to try to hold a balance during this month. I live a life that is peaceful, chaotic, often laughter-filled, inspiring, sometimes frustrating. I have a tremendous deal to be thankful for. I have a marriage that survived a loss that 85% of marriages don’t, and that has grown stronger, deeper, and richer. I have two living children, and they are happy, strong, curious, kind, affectionate, bright, funny, confident, independent, and many other wonderful things – the chiefest among them being that magical word – LIVING!

I have a child who lived and died in less than two weeks. He never cried, never nursed. I never held him without tubes and sensors attached to him.

His death is the most shattering thing I have ever known. And it was the catalyst for deep healing. His donated heart valves made a little girl’s life easier. His brief life made me take a long hard look at the way I was raised, and what I wanted for my own children, my marriage, and, maybe most importantly, for myself. It led me to make massive changes, as a mother, and as a human being. He is my most precious and painful gift.

I don’t know how to balance between the extremes of this month. Instead, I go for blendings- allowing the emotions and memories to weave in and around and through the life I live now, the love I share, not only with those who are here, but also for the small life so quickly ended, and whose presence has been a part of me, ever since…

It’s July 14, 2014. I’m home alone, remembering, writing, hometending, and planning a weekend camping trip. Life goes on, and I remember, and make memories, all at once…

I ask you to take a few moments, today, to look at your life, at your loves. What would life be like without them? How can you show them how very cherished they are? How can you do that for yourself? Most importantly, what are you waiting for? I’ve got a fresh cuppa something hot and sweet. Won’t you drop by and chat a bit?

Sitting up front and looking mighty grown at twelve.

 

 

 

A Festive Stretch – ROW80 Update, July 9, 2014

 

Curious? Click the icon to learn more!

Ahhh…here we are again, at the first check-in of a brand-new round!

I’ve been up to a lot, but not so much things that are directly writing-related. You see, this round started on Monday, and Tuesday was my daughter’s tenth birthday. She wanted to have a Girls’ Day just with me. So I squeezed in my weekly workout on Monday, and Tuesday was all about her – taking her to a movie, shopping, and out to dinner.

We had a lovely time. She is delightful to be with, and I am amazed at the way she’s blossoming.

I haven’t really hit my stride with my ROW80 stretching just yet, because, well, the blue-eyed Force of Nature had priority. And I am more than OK with that! =D

How does this Wednesday evening find you? Are you happily engaged with people and activities that bring you joy? Is there some way you could have more of that? Have you stretched in any way, lately? I’d love to hear about it! =D

Part of the life ROW80 knows I have. =)

July Focal Areas:

  • CampNaNoWriMo

  • Homeschool Administration

  • Blog Maintenance and Exploration

2014 Blogging:

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

Maintain regular posting schedule;queue one post for each regular feature.A bit of a rough start; writing and celebrating took precedence.

Continue interacting through comments; expand and diversify my willingness to comment. On target, although I have a comment backlog to address due to writin’ and celebratin’ and workin’ out.

  • I’ve visited several blogs, including my sponsor visits, and left often extensive comments.

Striking a pose, with attitude!

2014 Writing:

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

Continue drafting Perchance to Dream during July NaNoWriMo.On target.

  • Current word count: 94,846 (this is clearly going to be a loong draft!)

  • CampNaNo word count: 30,988/50,000

  • Scene 30/60 in progress.

2014 Hometending:

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

Clean out email files.On target.

  • I did a bit of this while looking for an email.

Birthday Dinner.

2014 Lifetending:

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

Indulge in days with both children, at least one date with Jim, and one with myself. On target.

  • As noted, Girls’ Day to celebrate Annalise’s tenth birthday.

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

One workout at the Y each week. On target.

  • A moderately intensive workout on Monday – weights and cardio.

Continue exploring fitness goals – more on this throughout the round. On target – I’ll explain these a little better on Sunday.

Workout goals for July:

Treadmill: 22 minute walking mile using “Rolling Hills” program.On target.

  • .48 miles in 10 minutes.

Recumbent bike: 8 miles in 30 minutes, using an interval program.On target.

  • 6.17 miles in 30 minutes; resistance to 13.

Weights: At the Y; minimum 3 machines for arms, legs, and torso weekly.Target attained for this week.

Nutrition goals for July:

  • Acquire Intuitive Eating ebook.

Consume minimum five veggie/fruit salads and/or fruit smoothies each week. On target.

  • 2 of each, thus far.

Consume Greek yogurt and nuts minimum twice weekly. Target attained for this week.

Weight goal for July:

  • Maintain or reduce weight measured at beginning of the round. On target

Sponsor Visits:

Wanna ROW a little further?

Still Silly After All These Years!

 

WIPpet Wednesday: Disparate Bindings; Tangled Pulls

 

Are you ready to WIPpet?!

Are you ready to WIPpet?!

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It is hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel,maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

It’s July, and July is an emotionally slippery month for me. It holds birthdays, death anniversaries, and the entire lifetime of our second child. It’s bisected by a much-anticipated annual out-of-state gathering, Unschoolers Rock the Campground.

I’ll be riding the waves this month. I’m also participating in CampNaNoWriMo. I’ll finish my current WIP, The Stars are Fire, and add more words to another, Perchance to Dream.

Since both of these are ragged and extremely rough, I’m going to continue with snippets from my Story A Day May Challenge: Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction exploring the interspecies relationship of T’Pol and Trip, in a project titled The IDIC Romance.

Disclaimer: T’Pol,  Trip, and all the rest of Star Trek are property of Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just want to play with them, and I’m careful!

A bit about the challenge:

Story a Day is just that- a story every day in May. To make the challenge more interesting for myself, I used all of the prompts offered, throughout the month.

The stories are sequential, with various tones, POVs, and voices, due to the particular prompts that were in play during the writing.

For those keeping track:

  • This is the final installment of Story #3, Vermilion Threads . The prompt was to write a story of about 640 words. An additional guest post was to use the words “vermilion” and “musky” (both used in previous WIPpets). “musky” (both used in previous WIPpets).

WIPpet Math:

Today is July 2, 2014.

Today’s math…

  • 14 sentences, for the last two digits of the year. Yup, that simple! =D

This snippet is the aftermath of T’Pol’s meditation on her first hours of compulsory duty aboard the human starship Enterprise in the pilot episode:Broken Bow Part 1. It follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet,Trip, Stumble, and T’Pol.

 

I opened my eyes, considering the flame, and my fingers reached again to hover over the thread. Only now did I realize that Trip - Commander Tucker – had not intended an intimate gesture, but only to shake my hand in the manner of a human greeting. Although I knew I couldn’t return it, Awakened to him as I was, I allowed a moment of remorse that I hadn’t found some way to acknowledge his welcoming ritual, especially since there had been some element of challenge in it, something that spoke to those moments when our souls had communed with the surging music.

My own fingers, the restless indicators of my own inappropriate longing for him, danced away from the token of my bondage to Vulcan, to the PADD. I traced the vermilion piping on Trip’s uniform with paired, trembling fingers, then dared to caress his image’s face. I longed to sample the texture of his human skin; to feel the interplay of his muscles as they shifted in what seemed to be an endless dance, conveying emotions I didn’t have enough data to identify or comprehend.

I drew a deep breath, staring into those intensely blue eyes- the color of Earth’s sky on a sunny day – and imagined, for an uncontrolled moment, that he was here, in this room, meeting my gaze and accepting my touch.

I was intended to marry Koss, but I was Awakened to Trip. There was no logic in deluding myself – about the realities of the situation, or my own emotional agitation. They were as real as the strange scent of my new quarters, the too-chill temperature, the too-yellow quality of the ambient lighting, the unaccustomed vibrations of the humans’ primitive Warp 5 engine, the prototype of which they were so unaccountably and unabashedly proud.

I knew what my world demanded of me, and why. There was a logic to it that was a part of me, that had been whispered into my ear, as an infant: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few – or the one.” But now I looked at Trip’s image, and the thread Soval had given me, and I asked myself a question I knew ran counter to what it meant to be Vulcan.

Do I wish to honor my obligations to my family and my homeworld, or surrender myself to the pull of this human on my soul?”

What will T’Pol decide? What is Trip‘s reaction to T’Pol’s presence on Enterprise? Will this assignment change the course of both of their lives?

Yup, you guessed it…you’ll need to either read below, watch the series, or wait for next week, to learn more, from Trip’s point of view.

 

Story A Day commentary…

Full version of the story…

These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. Already, new stories are weaving themselves into the fabric. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my phase pistol on stun ..for the most part.

Want more WIPpets?

I’ve kinda left poor Captain Archer out of these stories, thus far, but someone made this nifty video…

 

Coffee and Conversation: ROW80 Round 2 Retrospective

 

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, myfamilywas 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...

So, what about that ROW80 thing, anyway?

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), is the creation of Kait Nolan. It’s “the writing challenge that knows you have a life”. Rather than an intensive writing marathon with rigid rules, ROW80 divides the year into four 80 day segments, with breaks between. Each writer devises their own personal goals, then gives an accounting once or twice a week. If the goals aren’t working, they can be changed at any time.

It’s an idea that’s brilliant in its simplicity and flexibility. Through it, I have learned a great deal about myself- as a writer, and as a person. More, I’ve found a supportive community of fellow writers at all levels – I can learn from those who are further along the road than I, and offer support and advice to others, as well.

It’s break time now; Round 2 is over, and Round 3 begins on July 7. So, it’s a good time for me to take account of where I stand, in order to get a sense of what I’d like to do in the next round.

For 2014, I’ve set annual goals; each round, I make steps toward these in the form of smaller, incremental goals. Some of these goals will be somewhat altered for the next session, since I have a better idea of what I can accomplish at the midpoint of the year than I did at the beginning.

Curious? Click this icon!

So, without further ado, here are the goals I addressed in Round 2, and their status:

2014 Blogging:

Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan.

  • Mostly, I set this aside, for this round.

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

  • I did fairly well with regular posting, and with answering comments.

  • As far as queues and sharing, not so much.

Brainstorm what I want in a website; move The Unfettered Life to a spiffy new home.

  • I have a better idea of what my eventual website will look like.

  • As for The Unfettered Life, it will be incorporated, in some form, into that website.

2014 Writing:

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

  • TBONTB complete.

  • TSAF nearly complete at 138K (it’ll need some cutting in the edits, for sure!)

Draft two more novels in the Trueborn double series, as NaNo projects.

  • I’ve got some extensive basic notes on one character’s story arc for one story.

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. (Overstrike; completed!)

  • The Last House concept was renamedKifo Island Chronicles, and will be developed as a series of novellas.

  • The Enterprise fan fiction project was named The IDIC Romance, and will be offered freely online as a serial project.

2014 Editing:

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

  • Chameleon’s Dish in revision; set aside for most of this writing round.

  • Pre-planning notes for Bounded are complete.

  • Blood and Breath has had a read-through.

2014 Hometending:

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

  • Progress made in resetting rooms (but a slow process!) and in the study.

  • File cleaning was more organic; with the introduction of a snazzy new computer.

2014 Lifetending:

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

  • I got together with some friends I hadn’t seen in longer than I wanted.

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

  • More thought being given to fitness and related goals.

Do you set long-term goals? Do you enjoy moving toward them as part of a group, or are you more of a soloist in that regard? Or, like me, do you prefer a blend of personal attention and group accountability? Please pull up a seat, and I’ll pour you a fresh cuppa while we chat!