#ROW80 Check-in: Week 4

Is it week 4? I think it is. Something like that. Leaving the heading that way now. For those who I have no idea what I’m on about, click to learn more about ROW80, the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

I returned from my weekend birthday retreat feeling both relaxed and very sore (that’s what massages AND bush walking will do to you), and back to the humdrum of every day life. Though I did get my hair cut (see Instagram widget in the sidebar)! And work was kind of interesting/weird on Friday, when we had to pack up our entire office in preparation of them moving all our stuff to our new workspace over the weekend. I think I strained my wrist, but I’ll be all right. For the most part, I did pretty well on my goals. Even though I missed last week’s check-in, I’m just going to focus on the last week in my check-in, because otherwise it’ll get confusing. And I’ve forgotten the week before last anyway.

  • Write one page in my notebook every day

I missed a day! For the first time since the beginning of the round. And it was Wednesday, too, the day when I was home, but off work, and had absolutely nothing better to do with my time.


However, I am sure I can cope with missing one day out of the last 28.

(Incidentally, it was hilarious how many Supernatural gifs like this one came up when I searched “crying gif”).

  • Type up stuff in notebook on Sunday afternoons

Well… eh. I haven’t done it yet, because I spent today brainstorming, and may be scrapping a character. Most of what I wrote this week was that character’s introduction, but now that I’ve redeveloped a lot of Grace and Frederick’s back story, I’m not really sure that this other character will really fit in. There is one particular plot detail that was specific to her, but I’m thinking I may actually be able to transfer it to Grace. I’m not going to force it, though. I’m thinking I’m going to spend the next week writing more on this back story, possibly from both Frederick and Grace’s POV. There’s a lot going on with Frederick in the main plot that harks back to things he did a long time ago, and I need to really solidify that.

  • Read for half an hour every day. Keep on track for 52 books in the year.

I read so much on my retreat it makes up for the couple of days I didn’t read during the week. I finished Dorothy Must Die while I was away and For Darkness Shows the Stars on Friday night. Wasn’t too fussed on Dorothy Must Die, but For Darkness… was lovely. GoodReads informs me I am currently two books ahead of schedule.

  • Write one book review per week, and queue them up so I don’t miss another post

I wrote two yesterday, and started another one.

  • Spend Tuesday and Thursday nights, and Saturday afternoons working on assignments.

I tried to spend Friday night at the library, but due to my sore wrist, could only do so much. I have now completed 50% of one course’s work, and need to decide what I’m going to write my essay on for the other 50%. There are also two 10% exercises for my second course due during August. I think I’ve decided on how to approach the first one. Also, I think I might change the wording of this goal, since I do actually try to spread my uni work over every night of the week.

  • Ride bike to work/walk from work into the city after work at least three days a week.

On my retreat I did two ninety minute bush walks, a fitball class and attempted archery. This is why I was so sore by the time I got home. Soreness extended for the rest of the week. Today was the first day I didn’t wake up with aching arms.

However! I finally got my bike tyre fixed! I can start riding again. The mornings have been pretty cold, but I’m actually quite looking forward to getting back on the bike. By the time I get to work, I’ve woken up properly, and then I have a shower and I’m ready to start the day.

  • Devise fortnightly meal plans in the couple of nights before pay day.

I didn’t really get a chance to do this as I only got home the day before payday. I bought a pie-maker, and we made pies yesterday! Vegetable curry ones. Delicious! I’m also going through the soup in the freezer, so I’ve had to buy fewer groceries.

checklistSo! How to go about this week:

Monday: check for emails from lecturer regarding essay topic and respond based on what she says; decide on article to examine for Writing Exercise #1; comment on at least 5 ROW80 blogs.

Tuesday: begin and preferably complete Writing Exercise #1

Wednesday: sport and Wednesday blog post

Thursday: brainstorm essay topic (adapt this if I am not yet decided on topic) and make a list of potential resources; finish For Darkness Shows The Stars review.

Friday: Visit at least half of the WIPpet Wednesday and WWW Wednesday posts. Return comments on my own Wednesday post.

Saturday: will be taken up with a short play festival I’m taking part in.

Sunday: Essay work.

That’s it from me for tonight, check back tomorrow for Mirth and Music Monday!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in, April 29, 2015

First up, would anyone be interested in reading Unicorn Love in full (about 3000 words)? I realised this morning that it’s nearly May and that means nearly the cut-off for the competition I wanted to enter it in. But no one has read over it yet, so it might be awful (I’m reasonably confident it’s not awful, but would like a second opinion).

I wanted that at the top to get people’s attention (my posts often get long and I’m sure not everyone sticks around to read them right through), how did I go with my goals this week?

  • Complete essay by Sunday night – I actually wrote a draft for an essay due next week, and have been granted an extension on this one. So not completed, but I didn’t waste my time.
  • Polish essay on the following couple of days – n/a
  • Write a review of Jackaby and schedule the post – done! I have both my May reviews scheduled now. And I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading at the moment, so that should be my first June one. I was getting a bit sad because I’d read a whole heap of 3-star books in a row, and they were fine, but nothing incredible, so it’s good to read another one I’m really into.
  • Decide on item for significance report. Email course convener and also have chat to people at work about it. – This is what I wrote the draft of. So I’m ahead on this one.
  • Visit 50% of WIPpet Wednesday posts – done!
  • Visit 5 ROW80 blogs – done!
  • Reply to comments on this last week’s post – done!

I’m glad I didn’t make “keep on track with Camp NaNoWriMo” a goal this week, because it sadly would have been a fail. I just about made it to 7500 words for the month, which had been my original target, but then I decided to up it to 10k. So part of me wishes I’d left it. However, winning/losing a NaNo event is not the be all and end all, and the brainstorming that I did do over April will help greatly with post-semester-and-musical-all-at-once writing projects, and that’s what’s important.

For now, new writing projects are going on the backburner. I simply don’t have the time to commit. I know they say you have to make the time to write, but it takes me an hour to get ready for work as it is (I already get up at 6, and I get to work early so I can finish early) and then after work, it’s either rehearsal or study time. At work, I’ve just taken to reading in my spare time, though I am carrying my notebook with me each day in case of any sudden inspiration. I’ll probably write a bit, but it’s not my main focus. As such, I’ll also be taking an indefinite hiatus from WIPpet Wednesdays until I have something to share again.

So, goals for the next week:

  • Have essay ready to hand in on Tuesday 5/5.

… Actually, that’s about it, really.

Okay, I’ll add some more.

  • Read for half an hour a day
  • Write review of Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel if I finish it.
  • Comment on at least 5 ROW80 blogs.

But really, this history essay is my focus for the week. I’ve got rehearsal tomorrow night, Sunday afternoon, and Monday night, so tonight, Friday and Saturday really need to be head-down-bottom-up. I’ll finish this off here, and catch you all later!

~ Emily


#ROW80 Round 1 Final Update

My goodness, it’s the end of Round 1 already. That certainly snuck up on me. In fact, most dates seem to sneak up on me these days. Is that what it’s like, being a grownup? Either way, I feel I’ve participated in this round far more than I have the past few I’ve tried to make a go at, so that’s good. Figuring out that weekly goals instead of round-long goals were what worked best for me has been a breakthrough.

First up in my last update for the round: I got the essay done! It was a hard slog, and I didn’t exactly follow the day-by-day goals I set for myself, but I got there. It helped that I ended up not having a rehearsal on Monday night, so that gave me some extra library time. It did get to a point where I was doing a bit of word-bashing, and thinking all the while, “This is really not a good essay” however, when I got to proof-reading last night, that changed to “This essay is kind of okay, I guess.” Certainly not my best work, but I’m quite certain I won’t fail. P’s make degrees, after all, as we say in institutions where grades are P (pass, 50-59%), C (credit, 60-69%), D (distinction, 70-79%) and HD (high distinction, 80-100%). Those percentages vary from uni to uni, but the terminology remains.

All that sitting at the library meant that my back was killing me by yesterday, so I called in for a massage on the way home. I got my favourite of the guys who work there, so that was good. And I’m now up to my free massage on my loyalty card! 😀

I also found the time to rework the ending of Unicorn Love when I had just arrived at the library and then my computer decided to give me no choice in whether or not it would restart to complete the Windows update. I wanted it to end on a punchy note, and getting the dialogue just right was a challenge, but I made it work. 😀 I’m actually quite proud of that story. It began during Camp NaNoWriMo last July, and has sort of evolved and devolved to the point where it’s now only around 3000 words and rather more philosophical than I ever expected it to be, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’m going to submit it for the Writer’s Digest Annual Short Story Competition, as I think I have mentioned in previous blog posts. This will be the first time I’ve ever submitted any of my writing anywhere, so I’m a bit excited!

So! There’s now nearly a fortnight until the second round of ROW80 begins, but I’m going to be busy in that time. Shan Jeniah Burton inspired me to sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo, which I intend to use to start my world-building notes for a revamp of last year’s NaNoWriMo story. I’m only aiming for 300 words a day (or a little over, my goal for the month is 10k) because I have other things, too, but this will at least give me a good start.

In light of that, goals for the next week (I’ll still do a post like this next Wednesday, even though it’s not officially ROW80 time):

  • Write review of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  • Write review of The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
  • Write review of Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park.
  • Type up the end of Unicorn Love and send it out to my writing group for their consideration before submitting.
  • Spend an hour continuing to format AMCF and compare two files with text-to-speech software.
  • Research and write Module 3 750-word response for HIST8015
  • Research and write Module 5 750-word response for HIST8015
  • Decide which essay questions I will use before meeting with lecturer on Monday (also HIST8015)
  • Decide on an object to use for my significance report (MUSC8017)

It looks like a lot, but I’ll be able to knock over quite a few of them quickly. I’m going to leave this post here because I’m out tomorrow night and I’m having people over Friday, so I really need to clean my kitchen and lounge room. See you soon!

~ Emily

#WIPpet Wednesday – “Make no mistake” + #ROW80 Update

cupidI’m going to start my post with WIPpet Wednesday, so that those who are only visiting for that don’t have to scroll through all my lists in my ROW80 update. For those who don’t know WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly blog hop where writers come together and share excerpts from their WIPs. The only rule is that it has to somehow relate to the date. The linky is here. I’ve got three paragraphs from Unicorn Love. After Aphrodite informs Lydia that she was responsible for Lydia and her (now ex-)boyfriend, David, coming together in the first place, she drops another bombshell: David is moving back to town.

“He’s been offered a job here, and he’s hoping that enough time has passed that he can deal with the return.”

“Then I imagine he’ll be trying to avoid me at all costs.”

“I wouldn’t say that.” Lydia tilted her head at her boss. “Five years later and he’s still got your number on his phone. His fingers have hovered over it more than once in the past few weeks, though he’s talked himself out of calling you every time. Make no mistake, Lydia, you are certainly on his mind.”

As you’ll see below, I have basically finished Unicorn Love. The whole story is there, I just need to polish some of it up.

Onto a ROW80 update. ROW80 is the Writing Challenge That Knows You Have Life. Last week I decided to try setting myself some weekly goals to see if it helped with my time management. I think it was really beneficial and I’m definitely going to keep doing it. Here’s how the last week went:

  • Complete readings for critical exhibition review for MUSC8017 – completed Monday night
  • Get first draft of critical exhibition review up to 750/1500 words for MUSC8017 – I got it to 736 words, which is close enough.
  • Complete Module 2 forum discussion response for HIST8015 – I wanted to do this last night, but ended up being too tired. Howeverm Module 2 runs for this week as well, so I’m okay.
  • Do 50% of readings for Module 2 online exercise (HIST8015) – ditto
  • Write a review of Cinder to go up on here on Friday – done and done!
  • Finish second draft of Unicorn Love. – also done! Though the final scene is awful and basically needs a complete do-over. But I’m having some away time for a little while before I do that.
  • Visit 5 ROW80 blogs and at least 50% of the WIPpet Wednesday blogs – while I only got to maybe 30% of the WIPpet blogs, I did visit some ROW80 blogs after the Sunday check-in (even though I don’t actually participate in that one myself).

row80Additionally to everything above, I also brainstormed a new short story on my lunch break on Monday. I wrote a little of it during a meeting on Monday afternoon but I think I will wait until I’m on a computer to really start it in earnest. I’m quite enjoying the short story writing, even though I don’t know what I’m really going to do with them later.

So, goals for this week. We have a long weekend in my state this week, so an extra day for doing things! 😀 (though that day will probably be reserved for housework, as my other half is working anyway, so I’ll have the house to myself)

  • Write review of Redshirts by John Scalzi
  • Spend an hour each day reading
  • Write 500-1000 words on First Christmas*
  • Complete A Day In My Life post for LiveJournal.
  • Visit 50% of WIPpet posts and at least 5 ROW80 blogs
  • Complete Critical Exhibition Review for MUSC8017
  • Plan 750-word response for HIST8015

*I actually have no idea how long this story will be, but this will be a good start on it.

This is how I’ll achieve these goals:

  • Write Redshirts review tonight
  • Spend an hour writing tonight with the Internet turned off
  • Organise photos and post ADIML post tomorrow
  • Spend an hour tomorrow finding sources for history assignment
  • Dedicate Saturday to critical exhibition review. Ask Edy to assist with structure, as well as making sure what I think is critical analysis is in fact critical analysis.
  • Spend two hours on Sunday doing reading for 750-word response. Make notes.
  • Spend an hour (or two if necessary) on Sunday dot-pointing a plan for response.
  • Spread out blog visits over the weekend.

If some of the weekend tasks spill over into Monday, that’s okay, but I’d like to have one full day of the long weekend to enjoy if I can manage it. (I know what you’re thinking: “Enjoy? But you said you were doing housework.” Yes, well, I’m one of those people who gets immeasurable pleasure and satisfaction from cleaning).

We’re waiting for dinner to be delivered right now, but I think I will go start on my Redshirts review. I’ll catch up with you all soon!

~ Emily