Checking in for ROW80, still gearing up for JuNoWriMo.  Feeling the overwhelm tickling at the edges of my consciousness and reminding myself to breathe.


Overwhelm is one of those funny things in life.  I know what needs to be done about it.  I can guide other people through and around it as I coach them.  And still it is a thing that returns to me and trips me up repeatedly.

I am letting the overwhelm come and just looking at it right now.  And as I don't panic and try to run away from it, as I don't throw myself into busy work that has nothing to do with my writing or the overwhelm, I am getting a clearer picture.  I can see that the overwhelm is stemming from fear.  Fear that I'm not a good writer, that I don't have it in me to write a novel, fear of failure.

That's all right.  If you are having fears about your creative work, say this to yourself.  Say it out loud.

It's all right.

And it realy is all right.  It's all right to feel nervous or afraid.  It is all right to not know exactly how you're going to get where you want to go.  It's all right to have these feelings.  You don't have to do anything with them.  Just have them and then pick one thing and do it.  Even if it's one tiny thing.  Even if you aren't sure it will help or be useful.  My grandfather used to say, "Do something even if it's wrong."  That's what we should all do together.  Do something.  It is so much easier to make adjustments or corrections or revisions to something that exists than it is to try to make sure whatever we do will be "right" in the first place.  So go ahead.  Go out there.

Do something even if it's wrong.

So about that check-in.  I've started on my Aristotle's Incline, but it isn't finished.  I have been figuring out some plot points and things that need to happen and things that might be really good in the story.  I'm making a list, and I'm also making a short synopsis of what I've written so far so I can see where my new ideas will fit in.

I'm going to work on my incline and the synopsis and the random scene ideas between now and Friday, and on Saturday I'm going to write.

See you Sunday with news on how that's going.  And remember--do something!



Just a quick check-in for ROW80.  With the long weekend, I forgot today is Sunday and almost missed it!

Astronomical Clock Prague

It's been a pretty busy writing time since Wednesday.  I finished the read-through of my WIP, made a few notes for later, and started notes on what needs to happen in the rest of the story.  I think I will have a good plan in place by the time JuNoWriMo starts next weekend.  I'm getting really excited to start!

Today I read through The Busy Writer's One Hour Plot and The Busy Writer's One Hour Character by Marg McAlister.  They are both short and to the point, and they have some really useful questions and exercises. I especially like the plotting book.  The character book has some sections that I'm not finding that useful because I already know who my MC is, but if you're having a hard time picking an MC the early exercises would be useful.

I think doing everything in one hour might be a little gimmicky--I think you can get good results by going through the exercises more slowly if you like.  Having the time limit can get your thoughts flowing, but I don't know that it's necessary.

That's what's going on right now.  Between now and Wednesday, here's my plan:

  • Create an Aristotle's Incline for my story
  • Work through the One Hour Plot exercises
  • Do at least one writing practice from a prompt to get my words primed and flowing

See you at the next check-in.



Today I'm doing a ROW80 check-in and a little bit of Wishcasting, too.  The two seem to be walking hand-in-hand today, so it seemed right to do both.

Time is our currency for our creative dreams

This week, Jamie Ridler asks, "How do you wish to spend your days?"  If money weren't a consideration I would spend my days reading and writing, taking classes, making art, knitting, lounging with my cats.  If money is back in the mix, then I would add in teaching others what I've learned and helping them find their dreams.

I want to remember that this is what I'm aiming at and that I can bring parts of this dream into my regular life even now, even though I have a day job.  I can put all of these things in my life right now, but I need to remember that I want to do it.

That brings me to my ROW80 check-in. I am feeling a lot more focused about my writing.  A few things have been coming together for me over the past week or so, and I have realized that while I have a lot of things I want to do and accomplish right now the main thing I want to give my attention to is my writing.  My heart tells me this is where to turn my focus no matter what my head says, and I am going to do what I teach my students and clients--I am going to follow my intuition.

Once I acknowledged that what I really want is to give my writing my fullest, best effort and once I decided that I am going to go with that desire, my attitude shifted.  I am more focused on my writing.  I am not constantly hopping from one thing to another.  I'm not even mooning and pouting over all of the cool classes that are always being touted and that I don't have money for because now, even when the classes look especially good, there's a quiet little voice in my head that says, "Yes, that looks good, but it would take away from the writing."  I hear that voice, and suddenly I don't feel bad that I "can't" take all the classes I want.  Suddenly I am feeling good about choosing my writing over everything else.

Between now and Sunday I'm going to try to finish my read-through of my WIP so far.  I say "try" because it is a little over 50,000 words, and I do have other things that I have to do between now and Sunday, so it may be a little out of reach.  But I'm betting I can get close to finishing.

I'm going to set aside making any plot notes or any of that right now--thinking about doing that while doing the read-through has been stalling me.  So for now I'm just going to read--my story and a book on plotting I picked up.  Next week I can get down to the notes and plotting, after I remind myself what I've already written.

Small steps.  It's what I teach.  Now it's time to practice it myself.



Checking in for ROW80, and I actually even have things to report.  Woo hoo!


After my weeks of resting and reading and mulling, I suddenly found myself thinking about my characters a lot, playing over some scenes from my story, basically getting pulled back in to my work.  And then, as if to prove that it's really time to get back to my writing, one of my fellow ROW80 writers mentioned JuNoWriMo and asked who was going to join her.

I'm in, and I'm excited!  I am ready to write.  And I am making a commitment to get to the end of this story.

That means a few pre-June goals:

  • Read over what I've already written
  • Break things down into scenes
  • Write an overview of what I want to happen in the second half of the story
  • Wriet up scene cards for what I will write in June

I am going back to writing by hand, and I'm feeling pretty excited about that, too.  I do love the fancy, shiny, techy gadgets and things.  But nothing is as wonderful as the feel of a smooth, fast pen in your hand sliding across crisp paper.  So I'm going back.  Of course I will use some sort of program, probably Scrivener, for the revisions (thanks for that idea, Lisa!).  But for the first draft it's going to be my thoughts directly onto paper.

It's funny how relatively easy it is to help others come to these realizations in their lives when I'm coaching but how difficult it can be to get there on my own.  Just one more reminder of why it's good to talk to people, get advice, get support.  And it's really fabulous how much easier it is to connect with each other through the internet.  I am feeling like a very lucky muse tonight.  Thanks, ROW80 friends, for all the help while I was figuring all of this out.  See you all Wednesday with more.



Checking in for ROW80 with some thoughts on downtime, resting, drifting.


I think my time of needing lots of rest is winding down.  My body still needs rest (recuperating from a hip/leg injury now), but my mind is perking back up.  It even gave me an answer about the writing software question I've been pondering.

As so many answers do, it started with asking the right question.  The question wasn't what features the software has or even whether I can use it on multiple computers or from my flash drive.  The question was, "What do I want my writing time to be?"

The answers: I want it to be something I can do pretty much anywhere I am, on any computer.  I want it to be easy to open up and get started on writing without a lot of setup.  I want access to my notes and pictures I've saved while I'm writing.  I want the mechanics to be something I don't really have to think about.

I'm going to move my writing back to how I used to do things.  A notebook, index cards, scraps and bits of paper clipped and tucked into my notebook, Word.  I would still like to learn more about the writing software I've been looking at, but I'm making that something separate from my actual writing.  I am not going to try to move my story into one of the programs to keep working on it.  Sure, I may not be as organized as some writers who use the cool software.  But I'm pretty sure by taking things back to my beloved, old fashioned pen and paper I will actually be writing.

Interestingly, I realized that while I want to move my story writing back to pen and paper, I want to do more journaling digitally.  Not blogging--actual journaling.  I used to keep a LiveJournal, and I am thinking about restarting that.  I would like a place to write about my plans for my stories and my coaching and my life in general.  This used to all go in my journal, but life is different now, my schedule is different now, and I don't seem to manage to do nearly enough journaling to be useful.  But I spend most of my day in front of this computer.

If I open up a journal page every morning and do a quick journal entry about what I hope to do during that day I think it would help me focus my mind.  During September, 2011-June, 2012 I had about half an  hour every morning while I waited for my work to arrive, and I used to make a quick to-do list for the day.  I feel as if I got a lot more done during that time because I knew what I wanted to be working on.  I don't have that time anymore becaue that schedule has changed, but if I have a page open to jot down the things I want to do as they come to me, I can type them in amidst doing my work and then have a map for the rest of my day when the day job work is done.  I'm going to give this a try and see what happens.

Plans for the rest of this week:

  • Get all Ordinary Girl notes and printouts in one place
  • Start a morning wish list practice
  • Check in on more ROW80 blogs




I've missed Glue It Tuesday the past few weeks for one reason or another,and I was missing it so I made sure to get to it today.  It's amazing how good it feels to take just a few minutes to make something.  I haven't been doing much in the way of Found Inspirations these past few weeks, either, so I combined the two (which is what I usually do).

All Wrapped Up

I've added an extra piece to my creative practice the past couple of times I've done these Found Inspiration cards.  Before I start sifting through my clippings or paging through magazines, I set an intention, something I want to look at more closely.  Today I asked "what does my writing need?" and then I just let my mind wander as I chose things. I ended up with this collage telling me that I need to get all wrapped up in my writing, in the magic and fantasy and the worlds I live in when I write.  And of course I already knew this, but having it come up this way seems to make the message so much clearer.

I'll do a little bit of journaling on the back of the card and call it done, and then I'll have a look at my writing to see how I can get all wrapped up in it.  Sounds like an excellent way to spend a Tuesday afternoon to me.



A quick ROW80 check-in just to keep in touch... I have been resting a lot the past couple of weeks.  I kept telling myself I shouldn't need all this downtime, that I should get back to doing things. And then I remembered that those are silly things to tell myself.   We need as much downtime as we need.  I've been sick and stressed out a lot this entire year.  So why shouldn't I need a lot of rest?

Hammock 1

The main form my R&R is taking is reading.  A lot of reading (currently I am devouring Seanan McGuire's October Day books and loving them so much!).  And you know what?  It feels great!  And it is reconnecting me with my writer self, reminding me why I write--because I love stories.  So not only am I getting some good destressing, I am getting lots of ideas for my own work.

I am also working to set up a good writing system for myself.  I write in multiple places on more than one computer, so it's been a little hard to find a system that works for me.

I really want to love Scrivener--I may still end up loving it if I can find a good way to use it that doesn't make it too easy to mix up which version of a story I'm on and that doesn't make the program really sluggish.

I also have Liquid Story Binder. I tried it out a few years ago and liked it, but it's really hard to see on my netbook which is currently the only computer I have at home.

I looked at a bunch of writing software over the past month, and I've narrowed it down to these two.  I've been poking at both of these programs, and I think my next step is going to be to just load them both on my flash drive and work through the tutorials and then make my decision.

I haven't been doing that much journaling, and I want to change that because I know my mind feels clearer and sharper and more settled when I fit it in.  I have been looking around at various things in my life and gently noting things I would like to give attention to.  I am remembering, finally, to use my coachign training on myself to do the things I want to do.  It's funny how easy it is to walk other people through ways to help themselves but how hard it is to do it for yourself.

That's about it for this meandering check-in.  I guess if you want some quick take-aways it's these: let yourself need and want what you want and don't throw a bunch of "shoulds" in there, and go slowly and gently so you can really figure out what you want and need and the ways to get it.

See you next time!