Wishing for the warmth of a Vacation – #ROW80

Original image via Bing Creative Commons, courtesy of laughingsquid.com

 

 

“If winter came every ten years, then half of my life would be filled with nonstop gardening.”

Cold… Winter is always too cold for me. This must be a sign of ageing. I remember when I was a kid I would spend hour after hour outside in the cold, it didn’t matter whether or not the temperature had dropped below zero. I still loved being outside, sledding and what not. I can’t help but think about how things seem to change the older one gets.

I’m counting down to the spring. Next month is maple sugaring time. March is the month of the seed catalogue. April – I live for April. That is the month where we set our seeds into the ground. Of course, I am guilty of planting too early.

I need a vacation to somewhere the warmth presides. Or, an indoor pool so I can at least pretend I’m there. Come May, I think a couple of trips to workshops and conferences may do the trick.

The RWA conference that is in TX this year would be an ultimate goal, but that won’t be happening for me. I think for starters, I will be staying close to home.

Deb Dixon will be at the Sheraton Tara in Nashua for our NHRWA Workshop. I’m absolutely going to that one. My spot has already been bought and paid for. All I need to do is rent a room for the weekend. My other half will accompany me to the hotel and see me off. I will supply him with my laptop and kindle while I am away learning how to write better.

During that same month, I hear that the New England RWA Chapter is also having an event. I have decided to attend that one too. And, once again my other half will accompany me on this trip of Vacation & Work. He has been extremely supportive of me ever since I began writing.

We haven’t had a true – stay at a hotel – vacation in almost 6 years. I can’t wait.

ROW80 Check In:

I didn’t actually do any work on my word count this week except for the blog posts. The block is still in place. It is plotting time. The plots have been too weak, and I seriously do need to do some world building, being exceptionally careful not to find myself in the world of the Game of Thrones – the next book series I honestly – absolutely need to read. It must hold a clue or some sort. I hear Martin writes in Multiple POV, which is a favorite style of mine. Anne McCaffery wrote Dragonrider’s of Pern in Multiple POV. I never noticed this when I read the series way back in the ’80s.

So, until further notice, I will be plotting and building.

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Writing to Thrive

Today is the third Saturday of the month which means it is my monthly Monadnock Writers’ Group meeting.

First off, I want everyone to know – I stepped out of my box. That’s right, out of my comfort zone. I did this by being the ten minute speaker this morning. That means I had to stand up in front of the group and read for ten minutes.

It went well.

I read an excerpt from Road Salt, the second chapter, and it was well received. Even though I was feeling shaky about the whole ordeal I did it.

This may have brought my confidence level up one more notch.

We had a speaker too. She has been speaking for the past year and I loved her topic – Thriving Creatively. She hit the nail on the head for every artists I know, even writers.

Her name is Michelle Aldredge, a writer, photographer and creator of Gwarlingo, an arts and culture website.

For more info: http://monadnockwriters.org/programs.html or

GWARLINGO.com

She described Thriving Creatively to be a form of growth, contentment, working deeply, fulfilling our potential.

But many of us struggle with thriving, especially when it comes to writing. We have many barriers in place. If we don’t then we are probably social paths and fear nothing.

She delved into the barriers that keep us from thriving – leading to the excuse of writers block and broke this into two groups.

Practical Obstacles

Physiological Obstacles

Isolation
– being alone as a writer and viewing oneself as an outsider.

Money – challenge of making a living

Career Management
– Marketing and Networking

Skill
– Learning the craft

Technology – Internet as a resource or a distraction

Fear – of doing it wrong, external judgment

Shame – being extremely vulnerable

 

Next she showed the correlation between Thriving and Struggling.

Thrive

Struggle

Play

Rest

Worthiness

Trust

Creative

Acceptance

Intuition

Hopeful

Authenticity

Grateful

Compassion

Courage

Perfection

Numbing

Certainty

Exhaustion

Self sufficient

Being cool

Fitting in

Judgment

Workaholic

Scarcity

Sarcasm

fear

 

Those who thrive as writers exhibit a strong sense of love and belonging. They have a sense of worthiness and the courage to be imperfect and compassion for themselves and others. They have found connections for themselves and others in artist communities like ROW80, RWA, local writing groups or an artist colony like McDowell Art Community.

They have learned that they must be vulnerable to create. If you strive to create the worst you could possible do then the world will open up for you. To Do – that’s why some say – Do it now!

Practical challenges are about money and making a living. Scarcity can teach us to have a different mindset and find gratitude for what we have. Once we are grateful stress seems to fade away.

Isolation can be a tricky one. Learning to risk participating is a good way to start off. Just asking for help is also good. It can come in the form of finding a mentor or taking an online workshop. And never equate acceptance or rejection with self-worth.

Skill = Practice. You only get better at something when you practice it regularly. This does not just go for learning a musical instrument but also when writing or drawing or anything that requires a skill. Don’t give up – stay on the bus.

Technology can help or hinder. Obsessing with technology can be a sign of numbing when you should be creating. Learn to use it mindfully.

When we learn to thrive we learn to survive and create that which we were meant to create.

 

ROW80 Update:

Eh – I was struggling last week. I fell into what I thought was being vulnerable by allowing my first draft to be critiqued. It slowed me down, but it didn’t put a stop t me. Instead it just made me rethink the first chapter and I believe I have made it much better. Now I feel I can go on. I have three weeks left until the next critique group. I have to finish the story before then or I won’t go to the critique. Vulnerably, I am not yet strong enough for that while using a first unfinished draft, even though I do feel stronger now for having done that.

I will take baby steps from now on instead of trying to run across the room before learning how to walk. (LOL)

I know I will be running before long and saying catch me if you can.

So nope, no word count for last week, but the weekend is still young and this is the time period when I do most of my writing anyways.

Are you struggling?

What’s your weakness?

What makes you stop writing?

 

Speaker at the Bow Meeting #ROW80 #RWA

Yesterday I became officially hooked into the Romance Writers World. That’s right, now I am a member of the NH Chapter too. This is a good thing. They are such a great bunch of gals and fun to be around and full of great information. They meet at the Baker Free Library in Bow, NH on the second Saturday of the month.

We had a speaker visit us at the meeting yesterday. This is one of the great benefits of attending a local writing group meeting. Next weekend I will be attending the meeting at the Monadnock Writers’ Group at the Peterborough Library on Saturday. They too will have a speaker.

Our guest was Kristan Higgins and wow what a speaker!

 

She is the author of 9 bestselling – 9 mind you – romances. She is also funny, witty, and full of great information. I see she has a blog too. http://kristanhiggins.com/blog/

So yesterday she left us with some tidbits on writing. These bits would probably work for almost any type of fictional writing and not just Romances.

The title of her presentation was Chapter One – I am born

Kristan explained to us how the first chapter is the most important chapter in any story. It is the chapter that gets the reader to keep coming back for more. It is your hook. So here is a condensed version of some of her tidbits.

  1. “Wicked Awesome First Line”
  2. Tone – Funny, Tragic, Terrifying, Elegant – “Don’t mislead your reader by writing a funny opener and having a tragic ending.”
  3. Theme – “What is your Book about?” – Show what your Character does not know.
  4. Personality – Demonstrate through action – “Beware of the cliché in character development – Create a Character the reader can relate to. “Romances are about the Character.”
  5. Character’s beliefs is somewhere stated
  6. Everyday life & World – where the story takes place and how things work in the character’s world. If the character has emotional scars, give glimpses and let the readers use their own imagination.
  7. Keep the first chapter Lean and only include the key players of the story.
  8. Seeds of the past – Flash backs, but don’t tell the reader EVErything.
  9. Immediate Goal
  10. Character Flaw – “why she doesn’t have what she wants just yet.”
  11. Character in Action – “Don’t have the character just sit there doing nothing. Create some disturbance or conflict, hooking into the emotions of the character so the reader can relate to them.
  12. The Hook – Last line of the chapter and its job.
  13. Call to the Adventure – Why life can’t continue to be the same after what has taken place in the first chapter.
  14. “The last chapter of the story should echo the first chapter.”

Then she gave us a list of NO – No’s

  1. Flash back – sometimes okay if used properly
  2. Dreams
  3. Secondary Plot lines
  4. The next four heroes & heroines in your series – keep them out of the picture as best as you can and don’t let them steal the show.
  5. Overt revelations
  6. Grocery list of descriptions
  7. Prologues can sometimes be allowed if they are very important to the story. But don’t give away the trump card.

 

At our meeting we have a Pro Liaison and she is great at giving us writing challenges to take us through the month. They are more like exercises to help us get out of the way of our muses. This month’s challenge is to write crap for 5 minutes every day to kill your inner critic.

Okay – I found an outlet for my crap writing. I have this manuscript I started in 2010 for NaNo and never finished it because I thought the story line was crap – Maybe something can happen with it and I can shape it after I finish writing the crap in the first draft. Yesterday I did 500 words in the five or so minutes I worked on it. Who know what could happen with this story.

 

ROW80:

This week was a blah week. I was sick and didn’t feel like doing much of anything but sleeping. I even missed a day of work from my everyday job. It isn’t like me to call in sick.

I’m feeling better, and yesterday I was able to pick up some motivation from the girls at the Bow meeting. So yeaH! I added another 1k words to Road Salt. The first draft isn’t anywhere near the word count I am seeking but at least the story line is over 2/3rds done. I can see the end of the story off in the distance.

After what I did with the revision on Witch Book I am sure I will be able to make my word count when I go back and add some fluff to the story. I tend to do the opposite of most writers. I write tight and have to force myself to add the stuff our imaginations are made of.

Have a great week and may the ROW be with you… If you have time come check out some other ROWers and cheer them on Linky List.

 

 

Joni B. Cole visits The Monadnock Writers’ Group

Here we are in the month of September and fall is quickly closing in on us. Why is it that summer always seems to go by so quickly and winter, even though it averages the same length of time, drags on and on and on?

With it being September it also means it is time for my local writing group to begin its monthly meetings.

I belong to the Monadnock Writers’ Group. We meet the third Saturday of every month in the lower portion of the Peterborough Library.

Our group meets from September to June, and then we take a break for the summer months. All but two of these meetings are visited by a guest speaker and are open to the public.

September’s guest speaker was Joni B. Cole.

She is the author of Another Bad-Dog Book: Tales of Life, Love and Neurotic Human Behavior, which is not a book about dogs. This book is a book of personal essays about people. She spoke of how she has found her book of essays located in the dog book/pet section of book stores instead of amongst the other essay books. This was not of her doing and was surprised to find this accidental marketing happening to her book.

Joni is a writing instructor and speaker at conferences. She is also the author of Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive, and is known as the creator of the “This Day” series, which includes Water Cooler Diaries: Women across America Share Their Day at Work.

Joni published many magazine articles and essays in several literary journals and frequently contributes to The Writer magazine. In 2011 she was a Pushcart Prize nominee and has been a guest on CNN and many radio and news shows.

You can learn more about our speaker by visiting her website: www.jonibcole.com

She was able to give us a few writing tidbits. One of which was about writers’ block. She said, “One should not always follow a linear path when working on a manuscript. It is much easier to write the scene that is on one’s brain. This makes the writing process much easier and enjoyable.”

Weekend Warrior

I guess I am a Weekend Warrior when it comes to writing.

Do you have a particular day where you find that you have the highest success at finding your word count for your work in progress?

I do.

It is Saturdays and Sundays. Those are my two days where I can sit undisturbed all morning long and write like there is no tomorrow. Unless there is a meeting I need to go to that day as was the case last Saturday and this coming Saturday.

From now on, I am going to try to focus more of my writing time around both of these two days, with the exception of this weekend.

This Friday I will be getting my root canal and then on Monday will be the temporary crown. So, I took the whole weekend off.

I think, I hope, that I will be in the mood to write after the root canal and then again on Monday after the crowning. This means that I will try and give myself a word count goal to shoot for over the weekend.

If I can hit 5k words a day during my so called long weekend I should be able to get to the middle of the story and quicken the pace.

When I write, I always fear that the story is dragging on – and on – and on for chapters at a time.

So those are my plans for this weekend, besides going to the first Mondnock Writers’ Group meeting this Saturday morning.

English: Main Street East, Peterborough, New H...

English: Main Street East, Peterborough, New Hampshire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If anyone is interested, we meet at the Peterborough, NH town library in the conference room in the lower portion of the library at 9:45 am. These meetings are open to the public and last until somewhere around 11 am.

At each of these monthly meetings we are visited by a guest speaker to talk about the writing process.

We’ve had many great speakers since I joined in 2010.

If you have never been to a writing group in your area, I want to suggest that you should do so if you are really serious about entering a writing career. You not only get to make some really great friends but you do tend to leave with a few new bits of information you didn’t have before you attended the meeting.

ROW80 Check – in:

Last Sunday I had a really great day for my work in progress. I was able to add 5k words to the story that has been troubling me for the past month.

Maybe I was avoiding it and making excuses not to write. Who knows? But I was real happy with what I did accomplish this past Sunday. That boosted my manuscript to being 27% done.

Now for the rest of the week, the only writing I have done has been my blogging. That’s it.

After writing this blog, I will have my 500 words for the day. Snicker…snicker…

So here’s to a productive long weekend.

Want to meet some of the other ROW’ers? Click on the Linkey List.