Posted in April CampNaNoWriMo 2014, Blogging from A to Z 2014, Blogging from A toZ April Challenge, CampNaNoWriMo, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing

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?


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!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2014, Round 1 2014

Playful Pause: ROW80 Round 1 Review

Curious? Click the icon!

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 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!