Row80 Week 2 update

15 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Week two is behind us!

I started out the week with good intentions, but by Friday was in a slump. It was as though I had no brain power at all, so I gave myself a break and did little positive, save info/entertainment consuming. Needless to say, the goals have gone by the wayside.

They fall into four categories:

Business: Completely redo my business website, including adding a wordpress blog.

Nothing. I’m aware that I need to do some major work on this… but giving my brain power slump, nada.

 

Creative: Finish HIS ORIGINAL SIN, and get it to beta readers by the end of August.

I am 99% finished with my synopsis, as per last week, and I need to re-arrange my Scrivener file to align with the changes in the plot. I was waiting until I was back home (I’d been visiting my Parental Units™), but here I sit with the iMac, and I’ve not done a thing. 😦

Creative:  Restart work on my second WIP, last year’s Nanowrimo novel.

This is on hold until I finish my WIP.

Creative:  Get started on my Halloween costume.

And I was just thinking, “I need a crafty project!” But this will require thinking, so no dice. Next week? Not likely. I’m back with my folks’ to visit my cousins (and meet my new nephews!)

Daily life: Finish losing that twenty pounds.

This is what’s been occupying me this week. I’m officially down 4+ pounds once again, and the sugar cravings are much better. I’ve managed to ‘just say NO’ to simple carbs and sweets (though Friday night I did indulge in a bit of Endangered Species Bat Bar – dark chocolate with cocoa nibs!! To. Die. For.)

My fav meal is breakfast, and I like to cook my own version of the Traditional Aussie Brekkie – the hearty version.

 

This morning I started out with 1/2 clove garlic + white onion sauteed in butter and olive oil. I added four sliced white mushrooms and a whole sliced tomato. Sauteed the lot with a couple grindings of Alessi’s Dipping Spices. Emptied that on to my plate, then fried an egg in the same pan. I ended up chopping up the egg and stirring it into the veggies – it was delish! I also had 1/2 cup greek yogurt with fresh raspberries and whole raw almonds, and 2 cups of coffee w/half and half.

Another thing I like is to saute baby spinach, or baby arugula, or a mixture of both, in butter and olive oil with a bit of the aforementioned Alessi spice mix.

Brekkie is the biggest meal of my day – it’s getting so hot in the afternoon/evening that I’m not that hungry.

Daily life: Practice every day.

I’ve been practicing. Not every day, but yes.

 

Daily life: Continue my Better Life Habits™ from last round (exercising, house cleaning, dog grooming).

This is going so well! The kitchen and bath are clean, I’m walking every day for at least 30 minutes. The dog is clean (and the grooming goes much faster when she’s not been neglected). After seeing this article I knew that I had to do something about all the time I spend sitting in front of the computer. So I elevated the iMac, and half the time I’m standing when I’m websurfing. It still works for me when sitting, but it’s not optimal. I may rig a keyboard stand so I can type standing up. I’m considering getting a standing desk, but it’s a bit dear for me right now. Perhaps in the fall? We’ll see.

Platform building: Continue blogging three times a week: Row80 update on Sunday, Tuesday Quotes on Tuesday (Duh!), third blogpost later in the week.

I missed the third blogpost this week – as I said, I just couldn’t think. Ah well, that will have to do.

Platform building: Be on twitter, and comment on at least one blog every day.

Twitter = FAIL

My email is overflowing with blogposts to read, and if I don’t see to it every day, I get overwhelmed. I have been commenting, though, and learning a lot!

Platform building: Including platform building for my business.

Oy. This won’t happen next week, either, since I’m back out of town. Perhaps the next?

This past week was eventful, weather-wise. It had been horribly hot (over 100F already!), but evidently El Niño is ramping up, because we’ve had several days of rain! Thunderstorms, daytime heating showers, they are such a relief, even though the humidity is awful.

 

How was your week? If you’re doing Row80, what’s news? Are you managing to stay focused?





Row80, Round 3

2 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Round Three starts today, woohoo! What is the end date? Because I have a hellacious amount of stuff that I need to do!

My goals fall into four categories:

Business:

Completely redo my business website, including adding a wordpress blog. Oy. This is a big one!

 

Creative:

Finish HIS ORIGINAL SIN, and get it to beta readers by the end of August.

Restart work on my second WIP, last year’s Nanowrimo novel.

Get started on my Halloween costume.

 

Daily life:

Finish losing that twenty pounds.

Practice every day.

Continue my Better Life Habits™ from last round (exercising, house cleaning, dog grooming).

 

 

(Yep, that’s my girl!)

Platform building:

Continue blogging three times a week: Row80 update on Sunday, Tuesday Quotes on Tuesday (Duh!), third blogpost later in the week.

Be on twitter, and comment on at least one blog every day.

 

This includes platform building for my business. Oh. My. I think I needed to get started five years ago!





In which I Write: Row80 Update

20 05 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

 

What. A. Week. Work was absolutely insane this week. We had about 20% more services (that’s orchestra-speak for a rehearsal or a concert), and we’re not done yet – there is a concert this afternoon. At Saturday morning’s rehearsal I experienced something new: sore shoulders from so much playing. It’s not unusual for me to feel pain when playing, it’s a legacy of decades of work as a musician. But most often the pain is in my hands or arms. I suppose this is a good thing, since I’m using my hands so much more for writing… though I need to figure out what to do about getting the Dragon on one of my computers to save my hands.

I was under a tremendous amount of pressure at work on Tuesday, and on Wednesday my writing productivity took off like a rocket. Being a geek, I set up a spreadsheet to keep track of my daily/weekly word count and minutes of exercise back in the last week of January 2012. Given my various health issues, I had a huge slump in Feb/Mar/Apr, which I tried to not beat myself up about. My best week was the first one in which I was keeping records: I wrote 5934 words the last week of Jan, and I never came close to approaching that word count again. Then, last week: BOOM. 6611 words, between the WIP and blogging, and that during a very busy week!

Yesterday I took the day off, or rather, I had to take the day off. Between the morning rehearsal and evening concert I took a nap – because I woke up at 5 am and couldn’t go back to sleep for worrying. That’s really unusual for me, but I got my mojo back by evening. I now have big plans for June. More on that some other time.

As far as my other Row80 goals, it was a mixed bag. My Better Life Habits were both better and worse – I allowed myself to slack off with the kitchen just a bit, and the bathroom is still a science experiment, but I’m shutting off lights and closing cabinets, making the bed, and brushing the dog. I walked almost every day, and spent quality time with the dog.

 

Crafty stuff is off the map, somewhere in “Here Be Dragons” territory – IOW, no time or inclination to do anything with that. I haven’t been practicing that much, either, but with all the writing I’ve been doing I count the Creativity part of my goals as successful.

 

My Social Media goals are coming along really well. I’m closing in on 800 followers on Twitter, and have been #wordmongering with other writer tweeps several times. Not only that, but Ali and Sally and I managed to schedule a get together for tomorrow! We are all so busy that we thought that we might have to skip May, and I’m so glad that we found the time to meet! I also started a new blog series: Tuesday quotes, and have a couple of those in the pipeline, in addition to a third weekly TBD blogpost, and my Sunday Row80 check in.

On the personal side, my Mom and Dad did really well with their respective medical procedures last week. Dad had to have another two stents put in, and Mom’s cancer turned out to be Stage I, and the path report said that the margins were good, so all she needs is a bit of radiation therapy after her (second) lumpectomy. I’m so lucky to still have them!

One other thing: here is an interview with Barry Douglas, done by one or our classical music station’s announcers, John Clare. I thought you might like to hear what he had to say about our concert, our orchestra, and what he’s working on.





In Which I Become Productive: Row80 update

13 05 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

This has been a week. Well, yes, that’s true. More than that, it’s been a week that went from OMG to YESS!

Last Sunday I finally got on board with the whole Row80/blogging thing, and it solidified my Social Media preferences. That is, I’m a Blogger. Not a Tweeter, or a Facebooker. I went to the Row80 homepage, and took the time to actually read and comment on a good number of blogs, and while that could have deep-sixed my email (I subbed to all the comment threads!), I kept that window open and was diligent with scanning and deleting comment emails. I discovered that the blogging community means the most to me, and is more to my taste than Twitter. As far as Facebook, I’m keeping my personal FB for friends (including my writer friends, yay!), and eventually, when I get to the point of publishing something, I’ll go with an author fan page. Yes, I found Row80 and other writing friends on Twitter, and will still be there from time to time, but for now, I think that blogging is where it’s at for me.

So, on Sunday I was on the computer for hours – FUN hours. Then work started to intervene. Let’s just say that rehearsals this past week were pretty hellish, and though I played well (mostly), it was damned stressful. Beer helped, specifically the new Shiner brew: Wild Hare. I’ve been alcohol-free for months, but this brew made the week go better. Now that the 6-pack is gone, I’ll get back to my teetotaling days. My stomach acid is relieved (but wishes I’d also deep-six the coffee. Oy.)

Then came Friday, and my muse put her feet back on the ground and started running. 1,100 words, in a scene that I may use. Not sure yet. Because yesterday I fired up Scrivener (which I love with a mad, passionate, and completely inappropriate love) and printed out all my chapters and scene headings. While I’m still not convinced that my WIP is one novel (as opposed to, say, THREE), I went to Starbucks with the file, and organized it into three acts (including three intermezzos and two entr’actes). That took over two hours. When I got home I fired up Scrivener on the iMac once again, and re-arranged the file per my earlier work.

With that, I’ve taken my writing to another level. You see, it’s been driving me absolutely crazy that I hadn’t settled on the shape of the story. I’d written scenes from my protag’s entire life, and there was no way that anyone would buy a chronological book of that magnitude. I hadn’t determined where to begin, and how to incorporate some earlier scenes (if at all), and it had me in knots. I knew that I’d eventually figure it out – though I may not have it completely figured out just yet – and you cannot imagine the relief I feel.

Until last night.

I woke up several times, reminded of scenes that I’d intended to write, that seemed to be quite important to the novel, but wouldn’t fit into this structure. Ahem. But I’m not back to square one. Maybe square three. The important thing is that I have a huge smile on my face. This is such FUN!

Onward to my goals.

This week has been a bust in the Better Life Habits department. Too much stress, too little concentration. In addition to my work stress, my Mom had a lumpectomy on Thursday (she’s fine, just waiting on the final pathology report. Looks like Stage 1 and five days of radiation therapy), my Dad is having an angiogram on Monday (he had three stents in ’03, I’m hoping they’ll just put in a couple more, versus bypass surgery). They are 81 and 82, respectively, and in excellent health, except for the above. All this has affected my sleep – I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep. That’s very unusual for me. I’ve walked some, but I live in Texas, and the recent rain and storms put a dent in that (though we really need the rain!). The house is not spotless, and won’t be for a while. Oh. Well.

My Creativity is flourishing, as above. Too much music-making to do any knitting – it’s too hard on my hands. I’ll get back to that soon enough.

Social Media goals are working out well, as above, though I’m not going to meet with my writer friends this month. We are all too busy – or rather, when one of us is free, the other two are busy. June, for sure!

I’m adding a second blogpost series, Tuesdays will be for quotes that spark something in me. I inadvertently started that last week, with my post on the Cambrian Shoreline. I’ve got to get cracking on Tuesdays’ entry in the series, because I’ll be with my parents all day Monday… and Tuesday is full of (stressful) work.

Oh, and here’s a fabulous link for writers. Raelyn Barclay’s current Row80 update has a great link to Jami Gold’s post on Scenes and Sequels that you must read. Oh, and cute pics of Raelyn’s family’s three new members, Sonic, Neptune, and Poseidon. Squee! So cute!





Row80 update May 6, 2012

6 05 2012

Cinco de Mayo is behind us, and a great and fun week at the symphony has been put to bed. More on that this next week.

Concerning my Row80 goals – once again, it’s a mixed bag. I had my frequent house guest, and between that fun and work, the beds didn’t get made! The one thing that I’m bitchin’ with is the walking – I walked every day, mostly 30+ minutes, even though the heat is ramping up here in South Texas. The bathroom is still a science experiment. I’m grateful that my guest didn’t mind!

Last Sunday I wrote over 1800 words… then didn’t write another the rest of the week. This is not okay with me… and will change this week! I spent a lot of time on Social Media on Sunday, and continue to read blogposts and comment. I feel good about that.

I was supposed to write a non-row80 blogpost last week. As you can see, I didn’t. However, I have 2 posts in mind for this week, and they will  be accomplished!

I have been practicing, mostly due to necessity. I have some big parts to play in the next two weeks, and would like my stress level to be as low as possible. Right now it’s off the charts. By the time we get to the concerts, all will be well.

I started a new knitting project – a mohair cardigan – and am almost finished with a very generously-sized gauge swatch. I have no idea if I’ve “gotten gauge”, but the fabric is so wonderfully light and airy that I don’t care if I end up knitting another gauge swatch, or two before actually getting to the sweater. The wool scarf that I started a while back is on the back burner for now. As I’ve mentioned before, I have creative ADHD. I have a gorgeous AVL weaving loom that I’ve been trying to sell for some time to no avail. However, the weaving bug may be biting again, so I guess it’s a good thing that I haven’t sold it yet!

I haven’t done anything toward learning mask-making, even with inspiration like this.

I still haven’t managed to schedule a meet up with any local writer tweeps for May – we’re all so busy!





Row80 update, 4/22/12

22 04 2012

This past week has been full of misfortune and woe, stark realizations, and progress.

On Sunday, two baby hummingbirds were taken by some bird of prey. I know about this because I had been watching Phoebe’s webcam. The recorded video from the attack stung my heart – though luckily the hawk had perched on the webcam and knocked it down, so you couldn’t see the predation. As you can see, she’s already rebuilt the nest, in another place. I think there’s a lesson for us all in this. Her human watchers were all aghast, but Phoebe? She got on with it. (There is another hummer webcam, Emma’s nest, if you’re interested. She has two hatchlings as of this writing.)

Then on Monday I learned that a dear friend’s 22-year-old son was killed in a one car automobile accident early Sunday night, the 15th. It was late, and he was driving through the Texas Hill Country near Driftwood, TX. Four other people have lost their lives on that particular stretch of road – something about a blind corner. There is nothing good to say about this circumstance. The funeral was Saturday.

Later on Monday I learned that my mom needed to have a breast biopsy on Tuesday. On Thursday the preliminary pathology report came back: it is cancer. She is 81, and a 16-year breast cancer survivor. It seems that this will be another easily-beaten cancer, though at this time we don’t know what she will have to go through. Last time it was a lumpectomy plus radiation. At her age, I hope they don’t prescribe chemo.

She is surprisingly unaffected by this diagnosis – she just wants the tumor OUT… NOW! The women in our family have a history of breast cancer, going back to her mother, who had a mastectomy. My 88-year-old aunt has had a double mastectomy, after having breast cancer twice. I imagine that my turn will come soon enough, within the next ten years if my mom and her sister’s experiences are any indication. I am accepting of this risk, and get my yearly mammograms.

I also had an echocardiogram and a 24-hour cardiac monitor this week, because I’ve been having palpitations for a couple of months. I don’t think that it’s any big deal – I’ve had them off and on for years – but a friend recently had a heart attack and needed to have a stent (she is a couple years older than me, and is slender!), so I took it as a friendly head’s up and decided that I’d better check in with a cardiologist for the first time in about four years. I won’t know anything for a week or so.

So – on to Row 80 and my goals. You’d think that I would have been knocked for a loop, but I wasn’t. The holter monitoring was a huge bother – I thought the itching under the tape was going to drive me insane – and I’ve been a depressed, but on Friday I came out of it and actually wrote a blogpost! Will wonders never cease…

Better Life Habits: I’ve been doing quite well in the mornings, actually making my bed before noon most days. (huge grin) I managed to walk five times in the past seven (helps with the depression), and the lights are off and the cabinet doors are closed most of the time. The kitchen sink has proven to be more of a challenge, but hey, I’m managing. I’ve spent too much time on Facebook, and when I’m depressed iPhone games are too easy.

Creatively, I have had a moribund week until Friday, when I wrote the above-linked blogpost. The muse came out and kicked me in the butt, and I tried to do some writing over the weekend, to no avail. Today I’m going to go for a walk, then sit down with the laptop and start pounding away. It will probably be shite, but that’s better than the total lack of progress I made last week. I’ve done nothing with Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways course, but it’s there waiting for me when I decided to actually do something about it. I haven’t been practicing the flute, but that may be changing soon. I haven’t had the inclination to knit, or work on my mask-making project, but I have been delving back into tarot again, participating at Aeclectic Tarot from time to time. I have a large collection of decks, and this week added a much longed for deck: the Tarot de Paris. I enjoy reproductions of historical woodcut decks, and this is one that I’ve lusted after for years, after just missing the winning bid on eBay a while back. I also have discovered some wonderful self-published decks, like the Incidental Tarot. I don’t know where my revitalized interest in historical and new tarots will lead me, but it makes me happy, so that can’t be too bad!

Social Media: I haven’t been on twitter (bad, BAD writer!), but I have written the non-row80 blogpost, and will have a writer meetup today at 2:30 with a couple of my writer friends. I’m SO looking forward to that!

I finally got an invite to Pinterest, and have some thoughts for image-collecting there. But for now I’ll leave you with an unattributed quote from yesterday’s funeral.

Great is the matter of birth and death;

impermanence surrounds us.

Be awake each moment;

do not waste your life.

Godspeed, J.J.





Finally feeling better!

11 03 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

I have been on overwhelm, dealing with illness (see below), and have not been writing. At all. It’s times like these that make me doubt my determination to be a writer, at least, until I remember that I’m not a ‘slow and steady’ type. I’m a sprinter, not a marathoner… in every way but literally. I work best in fits and starts, and when I’m going full-out, it’s great.

As I mentioned before, life has caught up with me, and it still has me by the throat. Last August I noticed something odd – I was Reiki-ing myself as lay on my back, and as I relaxed more and more I noticed that the back of my tongue was falling back into my throat. I thought,”That’s odd, and not a good thing!” So I slept on my side from then on. It wasn’t always comfortable, and my shoulders bother me from time to time, but oh well. Some of you know where this is going, and I did, too. Sleep Apnea. Denial is not just a River in Egypt, and I avoided doing anything about it.

This past December I was sleeping sitting up, because I was bothered by reflux. In the middle of the night I woke to a loud “GAAH!”, which erupted from deep in my throat.

Okay, there was no denying this anymore. I had a problem, and I knew it.

I called my doc and made an appointment for after the holidays, which was delayed and delayed. Eventually I had a sleep study,which was jolly. YOU try sleeping in a strange, plank-like bed, hooked up to about 30 electrodes, with some stranger watching you on infrared video, and let me know how well you sleep! I didn’t sleep much, but well enough for them to determine that I have moderate obstructive sleep apnea. I never made it to sleep stage 3 or 4, my REM sleep was 9%. Now I knew why I don’t dream. I averaged 22 ‘episodes’ in an hour, and each of those non-breathing episodes further interrupted my sleep.

The good news? My blood oxygen level never went below 91%. I’m not going to die in my sleep. The bad news? I will be sleeping with a CPAP for the rest of my life. Further good news? It works! I’m feeling better!

I had been shatteringly exhausted for weeks, and finally on March 1st I had a day when I felt almost normal. I’d been using the CPAP for just shy of a week before I could tell any difference in how I felt.

It continues to be an adventure. Fitting the mask so it doesn’t leak is a work in progress, and I get contact dermatitis from the plastic, so I had to buy a mask liner. I still wake up with a red spot on the bridge of my nose some days, but it’s a small price to pay for FEELING BETTER.  I only have had one claustrophobic night, thank heavens. And one morning I took off the mask, then went back to sleep. I woke with a snort… a strong indication that I really do need this thing.

Given what the alternative diagnoses for my fatigue could have been (hypothyroid, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, cancer, heart failure, you name it), living with a CPAP is easy. The hose doesn’t bother me, and the machine is very quiet, so no problems there. One problem: I like to read myself to sleep, and it’s hard to see my kindle with the mask on. I haven’t been reading much in consequence.

Before I got the CPAP I was running on fumes. Exhausted, emotionally strung out, unable to do more than the bare necessities. It was work/food/trying to sleep, and some days I had to call in sick. The work I do is very mentally taxing, quite intense… and I just wasn’t up for it. But now I’m gradually able to add more to my life. Like meeting up with writer friends (Hi, SJ! Hi, Ali!) Getting back on twitter, blogging… and…

Writing.





Belated row80 update

16 01 2012

Yesterday was a wash, so here’s my belated row80 update!

Writing: I managed about 1600 words or so yesterday, which is all I wrote since the last update. At this rate, I’ll complete my 40k to finish the novel in October… which is several months after my ‘end of this row80 round’ goal. There are several reasons for this. I’m still using the Dvorak keyboard, and it’s a trial, though it’s getting faster. Right now I’m writing using QWERTY, and flying through the writing. :\

The second reason for my slow writing is that I’ve been distracted, and the book is mucked up in ‘omg I need to sit down and do some #amplotting’ mode. So though I want to write, I’m disheartened with the novel right now. When I sit down to plot, I’m lost. I have subplots that have sunk below sea level, and every one of my chapters needs fleshing out. The first 50k were written in 2011’s NaNoWriMo, and read like it. However, I do like the story, and I think that it has merit. There are twists and turns that will keep pages turning.

I did manage a blogpost last week that I liked, and am having fun on twitter. I have an open tab on the iMac to Kristen Lamb’s ‘Twitter Tuesday‘ category, and am putting into practice many of her suggestions.

I have been successful with my walking goals, and have put in 20+ minutes most every day.

I am going to set aside the rest of today for some #amplotting. Time to get out the notecards and Just Do It. I have another day off tomorrow, and I will get to 3k words by 11:59 pm CST 1/17/12!

Have a great day, and keep on #amwriting!





1/11/12 #Row80 update

11 01 2012

I have been up to my eyeballs the past several days, so this will be brief.

1 – I will use the Dvorak keyboard layout exclusively by February.

Yes and no. I’ve been back and forth between Dvorak and QWERTY, doing most of my writing in the latter. But I am getting faster with Dvorak… but I’m not going to make my deadline at this rate, and I’m not sure if that’s important or not.

2 – I will finish the first draft of my current WIP, likely getting it to 80-90k words…That equals 500-750 words/day, not counting worldbuilding.

Ahem. Real Life has intervened, and I’m seriously off track. Between “cedar fever” and my work schedule I have had absolutely no energy for any writing. But I have spent a lot of time worldbuilding, which counts!

3 – I will blog at least 1x/week, plus two Row80 check-ins, and post one book review/month.

I’m on track with this, thank heavens! Oh dear… I forgot about the book review! 😮

4 – I will be on twitter 6 days/week, 2x/day, to continue building my network, and FB as I remember to do it.

I’ve managed this, as well.

5 – I will allow myself to work on my other book if the spirit moves me.

The spirit has not moved me!

So, there you have it. Nothing fancy this time. See you Saturday!

 





Goal Revisions, worldbuilding links, my row80 update

7 01 2012

I spent way more time on twitter than I meant to yesterday, but I’d like to think that it was time well spent… though it may well result in my revamping my row80 goals.

I had realized that I have major plot/structure/worldbuilding work to do before my writing time will be productive, but then this afternoon I came up with several new scenes while walking the dog, and wrote another 1800+ words tonight. So much for needing major work before the muse settles in for the weekend! Thanks to my friends at #wordmongering, I wasn’t writing alone. (Well, them and the dog…)

This post by Donna Newton is the impetus for restructuring the book, FWIW.

Dvorak is coming along nicely – every day it’s getting easier! I reverted back to qwerty while writing today, but I’m back to dvorak tonight, and as slow as molasses. O, F, and I remain my nemeses.

I found the following worldbuilding links useful in showing me what is missing in my book’s world. This one is one place that I found Patricia Wrede’s worldbuilding questions. I copied and pasted them into a new file, printing them up and deciding which ones I needed to consider for this book. My inner geek is smiling!

The second link is to a 30-Day Worldbuilding Challenge, and it lists a topic per day to be considered. If you read a few of the posts, it was originally suggested for October, as a NaNoWriMo warmup. I’d love to do it that way, if I didn’t have a job!

I’m adding two more goals to my list: walking 20 minutes every day that it isn’t pouring down rain, and getting to sleep before midnight. I’ve been doing the former, and I feel better already. As for the latter… I’m starting tonight!








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