#ROW80 – Don’t mind me, just having a bit of a crisis

My friends, I need you to indulge me for a bit. Long-time readers of this blog will know that every now and then I have a bit of a crisis with my writing, and then I do some actual writing and it stops. This one is possibly a little more in depth than usual, though, so I’ll give you some dot-points about why I’m feeling down tonight. I hope it makes sense.

  • During my undergraduate degree, I wrote very little for pleasure. A few small pieces of fanfiction, but that was it.
  • I started a Master’s degree this year, so there’s a vague feeling in the back of my head the same thing will happen again.
  • I have an assignment due a week from today and I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing with it.
  • Apart from uni, I’m also doing a musical at the moment. Sometimes we’re not required at all, but other times that’s a full two nights out of my week. And as we get closer, it will be busier.
  • With the exception of NaNoWriMo last year, I have basically been on a rewriting/revising/editing cycle for the last 12-18 months. I haven’t really had that writing-solidly-on-a-new-idea rush and outpouring of words for a long time. This isn’t to say I’m not passionate about my existing characters, but there’s something about starting a new project.
  • What made me realise the above point was the tinge of jealously when meeting with my writing group tonight. One of the other members has calculated that in a couple of weeks she’ll be finished her 2014 NaNo story. This is because she’s had that time to solidly work on it over the past few months.
  • It also made me realise that until I get this piece of paper (I’m studying part time, so it’ll be the best part of four years), I’m unlikely to have that sort of time, except over mid-year breaks and summers.
  • And on top of all that, what with AMCF being in post-writing stages and Unicorn Love being just about done, I’m having the I-don’t-have-any-new-ideas! freak-out, which is being made worse by the And-I-have-no-time-to-explore-new-ideas! freak-out.

My Internet was down last Wednesday, and since I wasn’t able to blog, I didn’t write myself goals for the week, even though I had proven the two weeks prior how much it helped. I’ve also been constantly tired lately, which isn’t helping. I actually really can’t wait until Easter, when I have Good Friday through to the following Wednesday off work. I have a terrible tendency to get obsessed with housework when I’m at home for long periods, but I have faith my partner will insist I relax for at least some of the time.

Anyway, so, goals for this week. Mostly I will be trying to concentrate on getting the paper written that I have due next Tuesday. I’m seeing a local production of Evita on Saturday so that will take a chunk out of my day, and I’ve got some church commitments which are going to take a larger chunk out of my Sunday morning than the regular service normally would. So I’m really going to have to try to work on this every night…

Thursday: Read relevant readings on Wattle. Makes notes.

Friday: Read collection development policies for the institutions I’m comparing in the assignment.

Saturday: (Morning) Make notes based on everything I’ve read and which angles I’m looking at. (Evening) Try to begin a first draft.

Sunday: Finish writing.

Monday: (I think I have My Fair Lady rehearsal)

Tuesday: Polish, proofread, etc.

Judging by this, it’s probably not going to be the greatest essay I’ve ever written, but as long as I turn in something, I should be all right.

I could say “no time for writing in amongst all that” but I saw a very helpful post on Twitter today, and I really think I ought to follow it.

So I’m going to try! It’s 10pm, though, so for now, I’m off to bed!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Update and #WIPpet Wednesday – “I screwed up”

Arrrrgh! I had an awesome ROW80 post that I had typed up on my breaks at work today, and then I just opened the email where I thought I had emailed it to myself, and there was nothing there! Noooo! This is what I get for copying things at 4pm when I’ve been at work since 7:45. All right, time to start the memory test.

row80I’ve decided to revise the way I do my goals for ROW80. Not only will I have my round-long goals, but I’m going to start setting goals for the following week every check-in. I’ve seen a few people do this and I think it will be really beneficial for me, particularly now that I’m studying again.

Last week I didn’t do any writing. Instead, I was getting settled into online study and trying to get my head around that. I’m doing two courses this semester: Colonial Australia in an Imperial World and Museums and Collections: Key Concepts and Practices. While the Museums one is actually relevant to my degree (Museums and Cultural Heritage), I’m currently finding the history elective more interesting. This may change, though.

I’ve already written 250 words of 1500 for the critical exhibition review I have due on the 11th of March. So I’m pretty happy with that. I’ve responded to one forum discussion for the history course. I have to respond to at least three over the course of the semester, so I’m trying to get them out of the way early so that when I’m writing major essays, I don’t need to worry. One of said major essays is due smack-bang in the middle of My Fair Lady performances, so I’m really going to need to try to get that completed a week or so early.

So now, some goals for the week of Wednesday 25 February through to Tuesday March 3:

  • Complete readings for critical exhibition review for MUSC8017
  • Get first draft of critical exhibition review up to 750/1500 words for MUSC8017
  • Complete Module 2 forum discussion response for HIST8015
  • Do 50% of readings for Module 2 online exercise (HIST8015)
  • Write a review of Cinder to go up on here on Friday
  • Finish second draft of Unicorn Love.
  • Visit 5 ROW80 blogs and at least 50% of the WIPpet Wednesday blogs

Rough plan for doing this:

  • Write Cinder review after this post, because I’m not home tomorrow and I’ll probably forget on Friday
  • Spend an hour on Friday night and Tuesday night finishing Unicorn Love. That is all it should take; I’m really close! Then someone will have to read it.
  • Spend an hour on uni work on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Depending on how long I am out for on Saturday, and on what is needed, add a second hour on Saturday.
  • Spend an hour Saturday and an hour Sunday visiting blogs, unless I have managed to already fit some of this in elsewhere.

I do love a good list. I’m actually feeling fluttery excitement in my belly at the thought of getting stuck into these so I can strike them out in next Wednesday’s post.

wippetwednesdayOnto WIPpet Wednesday. I’ve revamped Unicorn Love a bit. I’ve taken all the time travel out, as well as some other material, and made it a lot more concise. Where the first draft was nearly 9000 words, I think this will be under 4k.  I’m really hoping that will be the case, because then I can enter into the Writer’s Digest Annual Short Story Competition. Anyway, today is the 25th, so I’ve added 2+5 and have seven paragraphs to share. The scene I’m sharing comes a little after the one I shared last week.

“Would you prefer to have never cried the tears you cried over David?”

“What? Of course not.”

“You said that if I didn’t meddle, many tears could be avoided. You and David didn’t come together by chance, you know. Would you have preferred to have never known him, and never cried over him when he left you?”

“You mean, you…”

“That’s right.”

Lydia looked down at her hands. “And then I screwed it up.”

To her credit, Aphrodite did pause before answering, trying to find a tactful way of agreeing. “Well,” she said finally, “yes, you did.”

For the record, Lydia screwed it up by getting drunk and making out with another guy in a bar. At least, she tells herself she was drunk. It may have had more to do with the fact that she and David had had a fight the night before and she was feeling reckless and spiteful, than with her level of alcohol consumption.

Y’all should join in on WIPpet Wednesday, or ROW80 or both! WIPpet Wednesday just requires that you post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow relates to the date. Then you link up here. All the chocolate and coffee to our fearless host, K. L. Schwengel. ROW80, or A Round of Words in 80 Days, is an awesome system for sorting your writing goals and having some accountability. It’s a bit more complicated, but you can check out the website for more info.

I’m going to go now and try to get my Cinder review before I fall asleep on my keyboard. See you all over the next few days!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in #5: In which dragons have been distracting

I mean actual dragons, that’s not a metaphor or anything. Actual dragons, in the book I’m reading. The book is Temeraire by Naomi Novik, and I like it so much I’ve been reading it on all my breaks at work, even though I usually use at least some of my break time as writing time. It has dragons (fierce ones and adorable just hatched ones, and everything in between), and battles and men in uniforms really and ships of the line and plucky female characters and really, what else does one want?

row80So there’s that, but I have managed to keep up with my writing. I ended up not needing to do much brainstorming; once I worked out where I was going with one particular scene, the rest just followed. The first 10,500 or so words can be read from beginning to end with no gaps, which is nice. My feminist tendencies are sneaking in more than I planned, not that I see this as an issue; at first, my MFC just got annoyed that my MMC was a bit of a dick sometimes and didn’t seem to think it was worth figuring out the proper way to treat her, but now a whole other character I hadn’t even planned has turned up in her workplace and is being an actual dick who will not learn, so she’s going to have to complain about him. I don’t envisage this particular little subplot taking up too much of the story, but it will add a bit of length I hadn’t expected. That’s where I’m up to at the moment. At time of writing this post, I have added 2524 words to the WIP this week, and will probably edge it up to 3000 before I go to bed tonight, since I’m halfway through a scene.

Incidentally, I think I have been converted to Scrivener this week. I put all my scenes into separate text parts in Scrivener so I could work out what I still needed and what needed to be reworked, and now I’ve realised I actually quite like formatting things to look like a real manuscript and the corkboards and lots of the other features as well. Guess I’ll actually be getting my money’s worth from it in the future.

As to other goals, well, choir started back on Thursday, and I went, so… check? While my uni courses don’t officially start until March 4, both course outlines have been put online, and if the course material starts getting uploaded, I’m thinking I will start getting to the library a bit earlier than March just to get a head start for myself. Assignments don’t sound too bad, but probably won’t be that much fun. Well, maybe the course on local history and archive collections might be fun, since that’s sort of the industry I work in (though my work is on a more national level without going into much detail). But these courses have a tendency to sound all right and then suck to do. Too bad I need the piece of paper to get any further, really. If I’m really lucky, my WIP will be just about finished by the time crunch time for assignments rolls around (in about mid-April), at which point writing will unfortunately fall off the radar for a bit.

Also,  just randomly, I will be changing my “official” Writing Night from Tuesday to Wednesday. I am starting Italian lessons with my friend Casey (whose family is Italian, though she second-generation Australian, so she’s never really had to learn) and since they are from 6-8 on a Tuesday, it’s unlikely I’ll feel like doing an hour of writing afterward, particularly considering we will have to travel a little afterward to get home. Learning the basics of Italian is one of my 101 Things in 1001 Days goals, so I’m pretty excited, even if I have felt poor this entire pay period after spending $330 on the course plus textbook (luckily they use the same textbook right through all their courses, it’ll “only” be $260 for any subsequent courses).

That’s it from me this week, I’ll see y’all at the Linky!~ Emily