Posts Tagged ‘writing challenges’
Last week I didn’t quite fulfill my initial goal I’d set for myself. To recap, this is what I set for myself:
So, at least for this week (the nice thing about goals is that they can be adjusted), I have ONE goal:
Make a list of ten things I dream of doing and prioritize them by how much I want them, how long they will take to achieve and what steps I will need to follow to meet each one. And one caveat here… no “pay bills” goals here.
We’ll see where that gets me (What Am I Doing? 4/3/17)
Last week, I bemoaned the fact that Shiny was more than just an adjective but also a state of mind as I tried to describe the cause of my failure. I can’t say I am better off now. The ‘new and shiny’ is still demanding more of me than I suspected. I knew it would be hard to narrow down the list, but… yeesh.
Still, I think I have come up with something that works as a decent starting point. Ten things I dream of doing and how I intend to get there… and after that, new goal: to take dream from the list and start working on achieving it.
- I want to do something that will help others without causing hassles for the people I love. This may seem like an odd thing for a dream. It’s clearly not a S.M.A.R.T. goal. It’s vague, has no defined times, and… attainable and specific ran right off the cliff here. But this is who I am. I like to help, to do things that make peoples’ lives easier… and I get into all sorts of fluff because of it. Starting now, I want to figure out better ways to help without also becoming a problem. Sometimes it will mean saying “No” more. I bet sometimes I will have to say “Yes” more too. This is not something that can be given a one-size-fits-all-(or even most) solution, but… I can dream, can’t I?
The storyworld that exists in my head needs to be realized in more than one ‘permanent’ format. I don’t want to just work on the writing—I need to get through that part, but I also want to develop the skills to also give it form in other expressions, preferably drawing or painting since I have at least half a chance of achieving it there. I would like to someday make an animation of some of the stories, but that’s not as high a priority as more basic art. To that goal, I need to dedicate more time to drawing and trying out how to use other artistic media. I may start joining some of the Boodle’s art classes, as they’ve been wonderful for helping him learn how to use the different tools to achieve his artistic visions.
- I want to travel because, while the internet has made the world much more accessible, there is a limit to the depth of experience one can garner from 360°images, webinars, and descriptive text passages. This is a dream in some ways… my husband is very much a home-body. It is also a goal that I can meet in limited forms. Next week I will be on an airplane, heading across The Pond with the Boodle to spend a few weeks exploring England and meeting some fellow writers.
- I dream about living in one of those homes that is part retreat, part library, part museum and antique shop. Sometimes this dream wobbles a bit and I actually am living in an antique shop, one that specializes in old books. Sometimes the dream involves running a Bed & Breakfast that would have some of these elements. Clearly I need to refine this a lot more…
- Sharing things that I find beautiful with others brings me exponential happiness… I need, in a visceral way, to do this. Since art and beauty are subjective, this isn’t always as easy as I would like, but generally, I have good luck with this. I just want to keep doing it…. and maybe increase my ‘out-reach’.
- I know I am not taking the best care of my body that I can at the moment (as much as it likes to remind me of that fact, I am not giving up my green tea lattes from Starbuck’s though). So I have other dreams/goals involving fitness and health… one of them is to run again and do another 5K race, running the thing this time. Why? Because I had a dear friend, almost a brother, who loved to run in 5 & 10K races, and he died before we could run together.
- I’m putting this a bit further down the list because… really it’s not up to me, so to speak—it is his life, and he will make these decisions on his own—, but I really want to be able to help my son discover what gives him joy and a sense of fulfillment.
- In little things as well as big things, I want to keep a sense of wonder.
- I dream of worlds where contact between two people meeting is not abrasive, but soothing. I want people to be comforted by my presence, and to be comfortable in theirs… I’d like to find my ‘tribe’.
- If we’re talking dreams… I dream about helping grow our local homeschooling community center into a more self-sustaining resource that involves the community at large in some ways. I know what I would do if I suddenly had a lot of money… or the skills to help operate such a place.
There it is… I suspect this list isn’t The List. It just is The List For Now. Seems to me, this is a process that I would benefit from participating in regularly. So… to Round 2 for this goal, and onto the goals for the rest of this round, starting with the new goal of ‘the week’.
A Sense of Wonder
Why? Because it’s the goal I am in the best position to work on now and it opens so many of the other goals.
I know that the reason for regular ROW80 check-ins is not to brag about our accomplishments (okay, not solely), but also to share those less than stellar times when we are floundering and need the support of our fellow ROWers to get us going again. Still, I somehow managed to avoid three check-ins in the past two weeks (one at Many Worlds and two here) because I felt I had nothing to report.
I wasn’t writing, and somehow, I’d begun to equate words on the page as the only marker of actual progress I could use. Which is (of course) very silly on my part. I was doing a ton of things, above and beyond the normal stuff of daily life. If anything, I’ve had to become extra creative to fit in those normal things… a few dishes here and there while waiting for my hot water in the morning, sort a few clothes and move a load for folding out on my way downstairs…
Thursday and Friday I was “at college” with my son as he was invited to participate in a set of workshops* with the drama department at Hudson Valley CC and Shakespeare & Co. for their Northeast Regional tour. A mini-homeschooling conference on Tuesday, car inspection and repairs on Wednesday, dental visits on both Monday and last Thursday, and on and on…
Oh, and I have managed to get back to some writing-related stuff. The classes I am taking on Ancient Portus (not so much the Maritime Archaeology one) and the American South (global view) have provided a great deal of fodder for my stories. Time Team episodes have given me a deeper realism of the past and what skies might look like, smells, even how the water might be… We like to romanticize the past by imagining things were so much cleaner and purer (or how much more violent and dangerous) things were. At least in fiction, especially, there seems to be a sense that we do things so very different than we used to.
Then we have to consider facts like the Tiber river had become so polluted during by the 2nd C BC in Rome that there were purification rituals for the river itself (and an increased need for well drilling), that the slag heaps from ancient iron smelting were stacked so high in some places they made their own mountains (and became a source of iron in WWI), or man-made hills of discarded pottery in Italy… just think of the trees that had to be cut down and burned for those kilns and furnaces (making charcoal uses an insane amount of wood in its own right).
So, yeah… I’m getting some definite ideas about the world in more stories, smells, sights, textures. And I even managed some newish words last night. Yay!
*For the record… After Friday’s 3½ hr session on clowning, I have acquired a great respect for the control needed for any comedic actor as well an awe at the passion the Boodle brought to his parts. He’s an amazing kid.
It’s official. I am the world’s most inconsistent blogger.
(It’s also official… I do NOT like WordPress’s idea of a “newer, easier to use” [I forget the exact words they used] editor. Give me the clunky thing in my Dashboard/Admin area. Love that so much!)
Anyway… I’m back.
Another Round of Words in 80 Days began today, and since I volunteered to sponsor (I haven’t ROWed in a long time, and I miss the gentle nudges to write regularly), I need to blog. Why didn’t I choose my beloved writing blog Many Worlds From Many Minds? I don’t know: maintenance reasons, emotional reasons… Just reasons.
In the spirit of a ROW, it’s time to set some goals to keep tabs on throughout the next eighty days. I’m going low-key right now with the option (one I’m sure I will exercise because I always do) of adding goals later in the ROWnd.
In fact, my first (and main) goal is going to be: Assess progress weekly and add more projects as needed.
Notice I didn’t say “adjust” or “tweak” or any of those other (sometimes weaselly) words that allow me to drop a challenging project just because something newer and shinier has come into view? Well, I’m ALL about the shiny, trust me, but I’ve come to realize how self-defeating that behavior can be.
I just spent whole weekend cleaning out (actually I still have a few more hours left on the project yet) my OneNote files, notes that have piled up since 2003, notes that had not been synced correctly when I upgraded in 2010… notes that came with seven (yes, seven!) “conflicted versions” because a random change or edit got saved on one machine and not another.
My next project is to make sure all my story files are saved, backed up and synced correctly, and that also will include digging into some scary archives. Time to pull out DOSBox and Wordperfect 5.1 to make sure I have all the comments and notes.
And in the interim… I have the goals of:
- working through three chapters weekly of James Scott Bell’s Plot& Structure (including exercises)
- catching up in my local critique group (including submitting something this week)
- typing two pages a day of old notebooks in
And THAT is enough for anyone right now.
It’s been a process of rediscovering old interests, passions and… bad habits. But thing can change. In fact, they always do.
I forgot my last few weeks of posting (I know! but at least the break in between wasn’t almost a year like I had done). Who’d have thought it would be so hard to come up with single weekly blog post?
Thing is… it hasn’t been a single post. Just a single one here.
I’ve been busy, busy, busy over at my writing progress blog Many Worlds from Many Minds, and have been either posting there or commenting on the many wonderful participants of the Writing challenges I have been involved with: the Round of Words in 80 Days; Ready. Set. Write!; and the JuNoWriMo. It was also the end of school for me at BCS (and homeschooling), so there were progress reports to make and assignments to review….
The plan this summer is to merge this blog with Many Worlds so I can dedicate my attention to maintaining one online home. Or rather one blogging home… with Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and… well, you get the idea.
But that’s for later this summer. For now… I just really wanted to both apologize to you all for being absent and to note a small change to the First Friday Photo blog hop I hold here on the 1st Friday of every month.
From now on, I’ll be opening the FFP linky up the week before the first Friday of each month so people have time to post their links. The links should go active on the Friday. This way people can schedule their posts somewhat, and they can have something to look forward to on First Fridays. 😀
Hope you’ll all join in.
Today’s a hard one. As fellow challenge poet said in her piece The Cure, how does one write freely and not write as one’s self? I’m still a bit stumped, but I’m willing to wing it and see what happens.
For those interested in joining in, there’s still time on the linky. The “rules” as they are, are here: Poets on the Page Day 3
a phone rings.
in my chair,
alone in our room
my tea is nearly finished
so I set it down instead.
I want to stay here.
It’s too loud down there
with your television show
as you type away
on your computer
Normally I don’t post here the way I probably should, but the sweet Julie Jordan Scott is running a mini poetry challenge this week, and I felt I needed to join in. The words …want.
So here is my short poem (no form used) for Day 1 of the February Mini-Challenge of Poets on the Page:
red from the effort
of standing by,
as so many have passed
Image and linky to join up are on the Mini-Challenge page.
The Storyteller in Uncertainty
As She Said
The wings felt heavy, unnatural. It should have been a clue, but the desire to escape the confines of her day-to-day life seemed so strong, so powerful, Naria accepted them. How could she not, she thought? How could anyone refuse the chance to soar free, above the clouds, to live, even for a moment like the birds…
The djinni had warned that few could wear the wings and make themselves a part of the living bird spirit that existed within them. Death came to those the bird spirit refused.
But what of those it accepted, Naria had asked, several times, demanding the djinni answer her, even to the loss of her last favored wish. She had to know. Could she become as the birds in the sky? Would she stay human, bird, both?
The answer had been unsatisfying to say the least. How could a djinni not know such things? He had sworn even to the oath of his royal family in the Planes of Ether that there had been those the bird spirit in the wings had accepted. Death had not taken all those he had been sent to gift. And yet, he could only answer her with “They became what they were already.”
A truly unsatisfying answer
Still, even if it were a moment of escape, a moment to try on the life that she would never experience again, to see the world in a new light than than of her husband’s kingdom, her oversight of the servants, the petty squabbles of her fostering ladies… If she could have but a moment to be more than she was, she would not refuse to take it.
“I won’t fall,” she told herself as she crept to the top of the highest tower of the castle. She paused at the window ledge, weary from hauling the large wrapped bundle up the stairs, held as carefully away from her body as she could in the tightness of the stone stairways. It had suddenly seemed vital to protect the delicate barbs of the fathers from harm. Every quill must remain solid and firm.
She knew this, and as soon as she’d entered the tiny chamber, she had gently laid out the plumage, inspecting it carefully, soothing it, feeling it, cool yet warm and alive under her fingers. And, though the djinni had told her otherwise, saying she should spread the wings out inside out and lay upon them till they became with her flesh,, Naria erected them, tenting them over her body as she crouched, bare to any eyes that might see. The wings felt heavy and unnatural, pressing her body into the stiff straw pad of the bed.
And now, they felt even heavier, drawing back her shoulders as she tried to stand straight and proud the way she’d always been taught. Chest in, she heard her nurse scold, though the woman had been dead many years now. Do not show a man more than he need see to know you are virtuous, her tutors had lectured. But try as habit forced her to do, she could not, her back wearied from her journey up the several flights of stairs already, and Naria felt herself drawn forward, chest pressed to the world defiantly.
Forward, unsteady, weary, wobbly, from where she stood, looking down over her husband’s lands. “I will not fall,” she told herself once more, even as she felt herself totter. A moment’s panic gripped her, but she vowed it yet again.
“I will NOT fall.”
And she did not try to hold on. She faced what was to come, whatever her choice would bring. She could not fall, she realized, because she had already escaped. She was already free. She had already done as she’d wished.
Naria did not fall.
There was a second prompt to write about; a timed prompt for 3mins. It could be in any genre, any form, just three minutes…
TIMED WORD ASSOCIATION:Treacle, Bloated, Yesterday.
Sweet the pudding words you told me, treacle to my ears and heart
Yesterday your mind was showing, you spoke some thing,
Pop art, urban deco, bloated with your self-importance, thinking foolish
hardly worth my time and thought
Yesterday, your words were treacle,they tasted sweet, they warmed my soul
Today your words smell of noxious vapors, putrid bloated in my bowl
I don’t want to touch them, don’t want to taste, don’t to smell.
I can’t even wash them