Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just close enough

It's been a busy week.  A great week, but a busy one.  I received a really nice surprise in that my yoga studio (where I just finished the in-class portion of my teacher training) asked me to assit the next round of teacher training — which started this Friday.  So I'm back in the classroom!  This time it's a bit different because I'm helping out but I'm also learning in a new way and I truly couldn't be more grateful.

Needless to say though, I've had to add on to the hours away from my writing project, with yoga and also with my freelance work.  I won't complain about that either though because this is how I get paid at the moment and I am so eternally grateful for every bit of income that comes my way!

Still, despite how busy my week was, I managed to end it only three hundred words short of my weekly writing goal!  I didn't write as many days (four instead of five) but I had one good session on Thursday that allowed me to make up for time lost doing other things that needed to get done.

Seriously, ROW80 has been life-changing for me even in just these first three weeks.  I can't express how much it's EXACTLY what I need/have needed.  Just in these three weeks it's made me learn that I can actually get more done with smaller goals and just doing a little bit but more often, than having huge sweeping goals and trying to work furiously in big chunks of time to complete them.  Doing things this new way just works for me.  It just does.

Oh, I have made myself a new ROW80 rule though!  That rule is that I am not allowed to use word count that is in excess of my 5,000 words/week goal for the following week.  So if I write 7,000 words one week, that does not mean it's okay for me to then write 3,000 words the following (because I  wrote an extra 2k from the week before).  I came really close to doing that this week but my instinct is telling me that's just a bad habit I shouldn't keep.

So my overall goals are still the same: 1,000 words a day, five days a week.  I'm okay with fudging on the number of days A BIT as long as I still make it to 5,000 words by the end of the week.  Now I've just added in my new rule, which I am calling no rollover words.

Now I'd like to end with some extra gratitude for the week:

Thank you for surprises. Thank you for the days people see potential in you.  Thank you more for the days you see, and feel it in yourself.  Thank you for how I am  integrating more and more everyday the idea that my body is a temple and one I want to take care of well, love and bless with all my heart.  Thank you for divine right action taking place in my life.  Thank you for how close I feel to my writing project, closer then ever before.  Thank you for the trust I'm gaining, in myself, in others, in the universe. Thank you for friends who are just plain old happy for you and remind you that when something nice happens you don't need to ask why, you just need to be thankful and go for it.

Thank you for the truth I feel in my heart.  Thank you for the breath within my breath.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I took a break Tuesday because I had an emotional day and was exhausted, but then because I had a less busy week freelance wise I was able to come back strong and knock out an extra 1,868 words above my weekly word count goal, for a total of 6,868 words (interesting number huh?) for the week.

Now that's out and I've got no complaints, so let's kick around with something I've been thinking about lately, shall we?  It's this very funny idea of control...

I'm one of those people who likes to pretend I have control over the way things turn out.  I think perhaps this might be one of the reasons I'm drawn to writing.  I'm in control when I'm writing.  Yes, I believe that inspiration can take you places you never expected but at the end of the day, it's my decision to sit in the chair and write the words.  It's my decision if I want to keep a paragraph or highlight and delete.  Easy as that.

I've been through a lesson recently that's shown me that what we are in control of in our lives is so, so very little, if, when you really think about it, we're actually in control of anything at all.

I know, I know...maybe you're saying, but we do have control over so many things!  We have the ability to make choices that shape our lives, from what food we decide to put in our bodies, to the ringtone we use to tell us our mother is calling.  For those of us living in Western society we have choice over heeps of things.

Except making those choices guarantees almost nothing.  Because no one, no matter where you're from, has true control over the way things go in his/her life.  We can make choices, work on building the life we want, get in the word count for the novel we're working on, and then the next day we're hit by a meteorite, or our computer crashes during that one week we forgot to back up.  We can get sick.  We can get tossed in another direction by a tornado of circumstance.

No one knows that more than someone who's lost someone or something very dear.

So what it comes down to for me is accepting, in my bones, my heart, the blood in my veins, that we have no control over anything beyond how we spend the present day, as long as we're breathing.

My wish is that one day I'll get to a place where accepting this truth frees me instead of sometimes filling me with dread for what may come.

Where do you stand on the spectrum of acceptance vs. dread?  Are you a control freak, worrying about the outcome of every action and even the outcome of things you have no control over whatsoever?  Or are you able to let go in your life, do the best you can everyday without stressing over how the future will turn out?  Are you somewhere in the middle?  Or are there any of you out there that feel completely free in the knowing that there is so much less you have control over than you previously thought?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Here we are again, so soon?

Another ROW80 check-in already?  Wow, I feel like these things are going to continue to sneak up on me pretty fast!

Last night was my first official, "that's it I'm not writing tonight day."  Only my second week, second day, and already I decided to take the night off.  I'm doing my best not to be hard on myself, for two reasons: First, I have a good chunk of time on my hands today so I plan to use it to make up for my word count goal of 1,000 words lost yesterday and write 2,000 words today.  It's not unheard of for me to write that in about three hours or so, so I should be okay.

Second (and here comes the excuses), I had a busy day yesterday and more than anything parts of it were emotionally draining for me.  I know one day I'll probably come clean and talk about exactly what this thing is — that has been so trying on me emotionally, spiritually and even physically — especially because since having gone through this thing I realize there's a lot of silence around it and that makes dealing with it even harder.

I know, I know, why am I being so elusive then?  It's because I'm just not ready to come out and talk about it all I guess.

So for the meantime, what you know is that I'm going through something and this something will sometimes take me away from my writing and I'm giving myself permission to go through all the emotions of it and if I need to, sit on my couch and watch the new episode of Downton Abbey instead of getting in a few hours of writing.

And so already we have a kink in the chain....but that's life right?  Isn't this the writing challenge that knows we've all got one?

I'm trying to believe, in spite of everything, that I'm still stepping up — because I haven't given up, because I'm still devoting time to what I love to do.

By the way, here's some inspiration from Alan Watts on that, in case you haven't seen this video already, thought I'd share:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Funday

Excuse the cliche please, but this is what my Sunday is today.  Why, you ask?  Because I've made my ROW80 goals for the week!

I only have one goal, and that's 1,000 words a day, five days a week.  When I made that goal I took Kait Nolan's advice and cut my original goal in half and posted that as my ROW80 challenge.  I have to say, I felt a tiny twinge of uncertainty for a goal of only 1,000 words per writing session but as I've said before, my issue in 2012 was setting this grand sweeping goal that became unattainable for me in light of the rest of my life that I have to (gladly) live and ultimately was a failure.

Now I am so over that tiny twinge.  In fact, it's turned into a warm glow.  Here's what I wrote for the week, copied from excel (I'm keeping track!).


So as you can see on January 10 I only got to 700 (I had a very busy day that day) BUT all the other days I went past my word count goal to reach a total of 5601 for the week — 600 words OVER my total word count goal for the week.

Ideally I'd like to write more, but I was super busy with work assignments and I can't complain about that.  Other weeks I won't be and on those weeks I hope to write more.

The point is that I can't be hard on myself, nor do I even feel like being.  I met my goal!  I made writing a priority for a length of time, five days a week and because of that I made headway on my WIP and that is what's most important to me.

So today I get to do some cooking for the week and just hang out — with my hubby, with a book (I'm reading The Hobbit for the very first time if anyone wants to comment on that), with some television, and doing some laid back Internet surfing (made it to yoga this morning too).

Also usually I like to do one gratitude blog post a week, so here's just a big old Thank You to ROW80 AND to the writers who have visited my blog this week and offered their stories and encouragement.  I cannot express how cool it is to all of sudden feel not so alone in my writerly pursuits.  So thank you!  I plan on continuing to check out other ROW80 folks and offering my support right back!

Happy Sunday people.  Hope you're enjoying yours! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On Ganesha and how you handle an obstacle in your path

It's not even a week since New Years day and I'm feeling really good about things, really grateful.  I've had some good freelance work come in, my yoga practice feels great and I've been cooking delicious, healthy food and gobbling it up.

I know this is the easy part though.  I'm feeling motivated and things are organized — so checking off the things on the list is a joy and goes by in a breeze.

The challenge will really come when I'm not feeling motivated, when life throws something in my way.

Even though Ganesha (the dude in the picture) is known as the remover of obstacles, a yoga teacher said in an online class I took a few weeks ago that he actually likes to put something in your way when you're on the wrong path.

I like that idea.  It follows along with the "everything happens for a reason" motto.  So I'm putting the idea in the memory bank (and on this blog in case the memory bank teller goes on vacation) for the next time Ganesha — or the universe, or your dead uncle harry, or God (however you like to word it) — puts a big old bolder in my way, or a pebble in my shoe, or a bump in the sidewalk.

Because I know these things will happen.  It's part of life.

Still, I'm not sitting around waiting...

I've hit above my word count goals for the first two days of ROW80 and most likely will again tonight.  The writing is going pretty smoothly right now since I decided to begin Book 2 again from scratch after writing 20,000 words of it and feeling like something big just wasn't working.  Now that I've figured out what that something big is I feel a lot more comfortable going forward.

Have you ever had that feeling — when you've started something but you feel like something's not right?  And then instead of that feeling going away it just turns into neon flashing lights in your brain — often without a decipherable message?

That's always been a signal for me (not that it happens all the time) to turn around, go back the way I came, and figure out an alternate route.

Or maybe you're a plough on through person?  The kind that knows he/she may have made a couple of dents or blunders along the way but is perfectly content going back and fixing them, and then fixing everything else so the whole thing fits together.

I'm sure there's pluses or minuses to either approach.  Part of writing, part of life, is making mistakes and there's always more than one way to fix them, I think.  Don't you?

Just don't give Kristen Cashore says, never surrender!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why don't we give this a try?

Just when I said I wasn't going to declare any kind of writing goal on my blog I found something that's really got me inspired.

Not sure if any of you have heard of NaNoWriMo before? It's a writing challenge that comes about in November where writers all buckle down and try to write a novel in a month.  Some are successful, some are not.  I almost tried to do NaNoWriMo once, but things got in the way.  What I didn't like about the challenge is it didn't help me to make writing a daily habit - which is what I wanted (and still want) most.

And then, I swear in some sort of kismet way, last week I stumbled across A Round of Words in 80 Days.  It's like this writing challenge was made just for me! If you read my last blog post, it speaks to all the reasons why I didn't set a big sweeping writing goal for myself this year.

With this writing challenge you set a writing goal of your choosing and must try to keep it up for 80 days.  BUT....the challenge encourages you to set a small writing goal — one that is easily attainable for you and will get you in the habit of writing. Also, you don't have to stick to the same goal throughout the 80 days.  If things in your life change, if for some reason you need to adjust your commitment — you can adjust.  As it says on the A Round of Words blog — this is the writing challenge that knows you have a life!  I love that! Especially because I often forget (or try to ignore) that part when I'm setting my goals.

The other part I love is that you check in for the writing challenge twice a week by posting on your on blog — so this also encourages more blogging.  Seriously, I truly feel this challenge was made for me (even though this isn't the challenges first year).  Also, A Round the Word in 80 days does this challenge four times a year.  So cool.

So here I go.  Here's my small writing challenge — I truly hope it sticks!

I pledge to write AT LEAST 1,000 words a day, five days a week. I don't know if this sounds like a small number or a big number to others but I can write more than that in a small stretch usually — but what I really want here is to get in the habit of writing most days.  Does this mean I stop writing when I reach 1,000 words?  No. But if I can get in this habit of writing AT LEAST this, five days a week.  I'm gold.

I'm pretty busy with other things in January and February, so I hope to actually increase my word count in March for the last stretch.  I will also have to take a slight break in February because I have to do some travelling but what's important is right now and right now my goal is 1,000 words a day, five days a week.  I'll be checking in with updates on my blog Wednesday's and Sundays.

Here goes! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another blank canvas

Last year I set BIG! goals for myself.  (Now insert unrealistic where you see BIG!).

I've gone through being frustrated and hard on myself about it — to feeling kind and forgiving.  I had no idea what 2012 had in store for me — that I'd be much busier with other things than I knew when I set said goals.  I wouldn't trade that business.   I wouldn't take back the other parts of the year that filled my life with new experiences and new work and joy and even sorrow.  It's what made the year.  It's what makes me, even now.

So now it's 2013 and even though I didn't get to everything I hoped I would in my writing life for 2012, it's time to start again.

Do I have writing goals?  Sure do.

I've got word count goals in mind.  I have promises to stay away from television and internet surfing that I've made to myself.  These mundane writerly goals are important, and that's why I'm noting them here — but they're not what really counts I've learned.

So I want this to be the year I find greater strength.  I want this to be the year I find greater commitment, devotion and also greater patience.  I want this to be the year that my writing turns out better than any year before.

I'm not sure how exciting any of that sounds but it's my truth.  I'm not even sure how these goals will help me to be productive without a concrete execution plan in place, but I'm ready to try a new approach.  I'm willing to see if doing it this way will bring me closer to the dreams I'm never giving up on.

Anyone with me?

Let's take away the things you can measure in pounds and inches, pages and word counts, dollars and cents, cholesterol levels, hours and minutes. Take all that away and ask yourself what you really want for 2013?

It's another blank canvas people.