Do you ever catch yourself wishing that things were easy or saying things like, "Why can't this be easy?" or "I want this to be easy!"?  What do we mean by that?  Do we actually mean that we want a life that is effortless, where we never have to exert ourselves or stretch ourselves in any way?  I don't think that's actually what we mean when we're wishing and hoping and longing for easy.  I think if we didn't have things to work toward and strive for, we'd get bored.  I don't think we really mean "easy" at all.

Now this is easy!
Now this is easy!

So what do we mean when we wish for easy?  I think we might really be longing for a clear path--knowing where we're going and the steps to take to get there.  I think it's the uncertainty of what comes next, of what our next move should be that makes us wish for that chair on the beach and effortless days.

I think when I find myself complaining that something is too hard, that I wish it (whatever the current "it" might be) was easier, I'll remind myself that easy isn't what I'm looking for.  Instead of asking how things can be easy, I will ask myself "how can I clear the way to move forward?"  Semantics, yes, but I think it's important.

Does this relate to my ROW80 check-in and NaNoWriMo?  Oh yeah.  I've been whining to myself for the past two days that this next section is too hard, I want it to be easy, why won't it be easy?  Today, just a little while ago, I realized it was the wrong question.  I don't actually mind spending hours writing, staying up a little too late, skipping other things to get in some words.  So it's not easy I'm looking for.  What I'm really needing is a focus, a plan, a clue.  So the question I need to ask myself is "how can I figure out what I need to write next?"  "How can I make the next section make sense as a lead-in to what's going to happen after?"  "How can I plan things so I don't have so many stops and starts and stuck places?"

Maybe just writing along getting all the thoughts down, knowing the basics of what I'm going to put in that spot before I get started is a form of ease.  I don't know.  But I do think I need to be focusing more on how to know what I'm going to write when I sit down rather than focusing on how I want things to be easy.  Because the truth is, I don't care that much about easy.  I just want to get my words flowing again.

What would you like to have going more smoothly in your life?  What would you like to get unstuck?  How can you clear the way for yourself to do the things you want to do?



I seem to be repeating myself a lot lately.  ROW80 check-in, been doing some writing, not doing much else, moving slowly but making progress.  Same post I wrote last Sunday, I think.  But you know what?  That's fine.

Sometimes repetition is good.  Sometimes falling back on doing the same things is helpful.  As creative people, we often think that we need to keep doing new and different things.  We can put a lot of pressure on ourselves that way.  Certainly it's a great feeling to do something completely out of the norm.  It's a thrill to do something you've never done.  Still, I think that if you're in the middle of something big (NaNoWriMo, anyone?), having routines to fall back on can help you reach your goals.

So right now, with some stressful things going on plus being mid-NaNo, I am very grateful for my routines.  I am happy that I have some structures put in place that let me keep writing and doing things I want to be doing without having to give every ounce of energy I have to do it.  So I say "hurray!" for doing it all again.

How about you?  Do you have routines and structures that you fall back on during busy or stressful times?  Are they helpful?  I'd love to hear your stories.



It's ROW80 check-in day. I decided that makes us checkers. So...


As in all November posts, all I have to check in about is NaNoWriMo.

I am moving along pretty steadily but have still not caught up on my word count.  I have realized that I don't have enough conflict (or anything else) planned for the section leading up to my first major plot point, so I am doing some discovery writing and what-if brainstorming, so I think I will be able to work my way through this.  Meanwhile, I'm in the middle of a fun scene about a demon, so I am really enjoying myself right now.

Anyone have recommendations for good spooky stories--novels or movies? I could use a little structure study.

That's my week so far. What's up in your creative world?



I almost missed the ROW80 check-in today.  Was I writing?  No.  (Well, a little.)  I was reading a really fun book, though, and it completely took over my whole day. (Ravensblood by Shawna Reppert.) And I'm not even sorry!


I'm still behind on my word count for NaNoWriMo.  But I've been writing steadily, and I'm enjoying my story and feel like it's coming together nicely.  I'm also waking up every morning with story thoughts in my head, and it's usually the last thing I am thinking about as I'm falling asleep.  I feel enamored of the story, but the love feels a little tenuous.  I don't want to ruin it by putting on too much pressure and focusing too much on word count.  I want to focus on how much fun this story is.

As I mentioned, I've been reading, so I'm on target with my reading goal.  I got in a little bit of art journaling time today, too.  I am enjoying giving myself time and space to figure out what I really, truly want to be doing.  It's hard sometimes.  I find myself slipping and wanting to make plans and fill all the spaces, and I have to pull myself back and remember that I am trying to find what my real loves are.  It's a good journey so far, but not as easy as you would think it would be.

And now I'm off to bed to read a little more before sleep.  Happy writing everyone!



ROW80 time!  I will pause from my story writing for some blogging, then.

Jack wears his heart on his nose.
Jack wears his heart on his nose.

I am still behind on my NaNoWriMo story, but I can't seem to manage to sir up any worry about it.  I have been so very tired lately, and it's hard to put in as much time as I need to to reach the daily goals.  But I am thinking about this story all the time.  I even wake up with thoughts about it first on my mind.  It's like being in the throes of a brand-new love.  A very strange, slow-moving love.

Since Sunday I've written almost 6,000 words.  I've checked in on my ROW80 team.  I've kept up with my Municipal Liaison duties for NaNo.  That's about it, and it's been plenty.

Now I must head back to Blackburn's Hollow and figure out when they are going to learn that there's a demon involved in the curse.  (Yep, that's NaNo talk.)

How's your writing life this week?



It's the first ROW80 check-in of NaNoWriMo 2013.  I'm pretty sure I should have more to report, but I am off to a very slow start.  Most of my NaNos start slowly, though, so it's probably not too big a deal.  But I always feel so anxious in the first few days, until I really start writing and things start coming together.  That could happen any time now (you hear that, brain?).

Molasses Sequence courtesy of technicool licensed via Creative Commons
Molasses Sequence courtesy of technicool licensed via Creative Commons

What have I done since Wednesday?  Here's the list:

  • Finished a rough outline of my novel
  • Started my novel (only a few hundred words so far, but it's started)
  • Finished my painting for the Audubon Wild Arts fundraiser (I will post photos here tomorrow)
  • Delivered stickers to an outlying NaNo area
  • Checked in on the NaNo boards and did my Municipal Liaison duties

I think other things have managed to get done, but nothing is coming to me.  Those are the biggies.

Now I need to get my words warmed up and get this novel started.  I might be having a little bit of a harder time this year because I know I'll be handing these rough pages over to my crit group.  They don't care if it's very rough, but I can't quite stop caring yet.  I'm going to do some writing prompt exercises and see if I can get the words flowing that way.

What do you do when you really need to write (or do something else) and can't seem to get started?




I'm not late.  I'm hurried and a bit overwhelmed because too many things came due on the same day, and I didn't plan very well so ended up having to do a lot of things all at once.  But it's still Wednesday, so my ROW80 check-in is still on time.  So I'm not late no matter how it feels.

I do still have a newsletter to finish up for tomorrow.  I have my critique group meeting tonight and need to stop for cookies because I ran out of time to bake them last night.  I have a painting to finish for an Audubon Society fund raiser (that's due on Friday).  I have a bit more planning to do for NaNoWriMo.  So, busy busy.  I need to stop and catch my breath.  I'm doing so much right now that I literally feel breathless and have to remind myself to slow down.

That's really my check-in today. I've been doing some planning, no actual writing, some fiction reading (mostly for critique group), lots of NaNo work on the forums as people have a million questions as things are getting started.  I checked in with my ROW80 team.

I am looking forward to Friday and a day off of work so I can sleep in and focus on my brand new, shiny novel.  Until then, gotta run!  I'm late, I'm late...




ROW80 time again?  Good!  I have so much to report!



What I did this week:

Writing Goals

  • Do 10 minutes of writing practice from prompts twice a week:  I did a lot of list making and note making for the new story.  I did one writing practice session to work out a chunk of the story line, though.  And I'm feeling like I'm getting a good vision of what this story is going to be and how I can make it work.
  • Read at least one page of fiction at least four times a week:  Plenty of reading this week.  I got a new book, The Wolf at the End of the World by Douglas Smith, and I read the whole thing over the past three days.  It was very good, and I feel full of story now.
  • Check in with my ROW80 team:  Yep.  I love seeing what everyone else is up to.  And right now it's exciting seeing lots of us gearing up for NaNo.

Coaching Goals

Revamping these goals because the ones I originally set aren't really workable right now.

  • Check in on the KMCC Facebook group at least once a week
  • Brainstorm for Body Pages at least once a week
  • Brainstorm for Muse Moon at least once a week

Art/Art Journaling Goals

  • Finish dowloading all Life Book 2013  lessons:  On target
  • Continue BOD; finish lessons before Christmas: A little behind but still in good shape to get it done by Christmas
  • Create a place to keep my various journals so I can access them easily: I have a great new craft table in the living room, and as of last night it's all set up and ready for play.  My visual journals are on the edge of it, and I'm hoping that will make it easy to remember to sit down and paint.  I'm not quite ready to call this goal done yet, though.  I want to set up a spot for my written journal and maybe tweak how my journals are set up on the new table to make it easier to have them visible and still have the work space all clear.

A good week all around, and now I'm finishing it out with the apple crisp I made earlier.  Hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday evening.  See you Wednesday!



It's ROW80 time again.  And what a few days it's been since the last one!

Turning this plan around
Turning this plan around

I was cruising along, moving forward on my goals, following my plan.  Life was looking good, things were coming together.  And then my Muse grabbed the wheel.

"Look at this shiny new story," she said.  "You could get this ready to write for November," she cooed.  "You know you like it," she wheedled.  And I caved in.

Yesterday I (temporarily) threw all of my other goals and plans out the window, grabbed a new notebook, and started planning a brand new story.  And I'm thrilled and excited and can't wait to finish the post so I can get back to it!  I love this story.  This tiny little seed of a story, really.  I have a character name.  I know how things start.  There's so much more to find out!

Tonight I'm going to do a little more brainstorming and free writing, and then I'm going to use The Busy Writer's One Hour Plot to lay out a basic plan.  And then I'm going to wait until November, and I'm going to write and write and write!

This is crazy, of course.  I don't know how this is going to work with writing for my critique group.  I need to decide if I'm going to continue writing my short stories for my group while also writing a new story.  If not, I need to figure out what I'm going to take to my next meeting (next Wednesday, so still October, so not the new story yet).  I don't know how I'm going to make the group thing work out.  But I know I'm going to write this new story, so I guess I'll just have to let the rest of it sort itself out as I go.

As for my other goals, I'm going to get to the other craft book after I finish doing this plot work.  I've been checking in on my ROW80 team.  My writing practice is brainstorming for the new story this week.  I've been downloading my art journaling classes and getting them in order (there are so many of them!).  I am reconsidering how I want to do the coaching stuff.  I think I'll have some new goals in the coaching category on Sunday.

That's it!  I'm back to my haunted house/witches/creatures in the forest story (it's still a little up-in-the-air).  See you Sunday!




It's late, but I want to get at least a short ROW80 check-in written up.  But I am very sleepy, and the sound of clicking keys seems hypnotic.  I hope I don't fall asleep over my keyboard.


It was a bit of a slow week.  I came down with a really bad cold and spent a lot of time resting.  Still a little tired, but I'm much better now, so the rest was a good plan.

What I did do this week:

  • One writing practice session
  • A journaling session, but not 20 minutes.  It was enough, though, which makes me think I may adjust that goal to just be one journaling session each week.
  • Created a schedule for reading James Scott Bell's Writing Fiction for All You're Worth (my craft book for this round)
  • A few more pages of fiction reading
  • Began an outline for my new short story

I'm hoping to get back on schedule this week.  It should be a fairly quiet week, so I think things will go pretty smoothly.  I am so much looking forward to a quiet week!