My final #ROW80 Round 1 reflections and suggestions

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”~Winston Churchill, English statesman

A Round of Words in 80 Days. The challenge is detailed here on the #ROW80 blog for all writers, bloggers, artists and whomever has large goals to achieve. This is done four times a year, with Round 1 ending today. This is a summary of my accomplishments–or nots–so you can read my original post HERE.

Which brings me back to A Round of Words in 80 Days. By the end of the first quarter–or ROW80 Round 1 dates of January 4-March 24, 2016–these are my ROW80 Round 1 goals:

HERE ARE MY RESULTS for the first Quarter of 2016:

1–Polish and publish Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks.
There’s no excuse: I got distracted, I put other things first; I was intimidated with a fuller-length fiction story…you name it. I could’ve made the time–I had the time–but I didn’t. This is something to roll over to Round 2, for sure.

2–Find and do a blog self-hosting site. 
YES–or at least almost; it’s in progress. I’m just waiting on the final domain name transfer. Have you ever done this? It’s simple yet surprisingly complex. I’ll share my thoughts in future posts, an education I wish someone had walked me thru.

3–Blog planning.
It’s something I’m working on.  I blocked off days to post my Haiku Horizon posts, for example, and some days I met them; some days, the post moved; some weeks I never wrote or published the post.  “Publishing” a post is the key.  Here’s the scary thing: I looked back at my “drafts” folder here on WordPress to see what I could reuse or update.

I had drafts there of 2011 posts.
What the *bleep* happened?!?

The list of 207 drafts includes ideas I was tweaking and blog posts I didn’t finish. This was most likely due to interrupted writing time. Now that I have set aside dedicated writing times, I can take these good, mostly-finished posts and complete them. Or not. Several things I’ve learned from this part of the #ROW80 challenge:

–I’m a good writer.
–I need to Keep Up.

Seeing this shocking revelation can help me blog-plan–I feel it!–but I’m not sure how to translate the feeling, this newfound confidence or whatever it is, into something practical.

3A-The Blog Planning goal included scheduling social media.
This goes back to blog planning: what do I want my Twitter; Instagram accounts to achieve? What do I expect from my Facebook and Amazon Author Pages? A great idea came from a blog and Instagram accountabout defining yourself and your audience. Hers captured what I think I want: “people like me who read any books and all subjects, like to read YA and other subjects.” She has a bookstagram acct–I’ll detail that later–but it made me think about my mission statement, and maybe that will be a #ROW80 goal next round.

Back to social media, I need to see how that fits into my life. I’ve got the writing planning down with carved out spaces in my days week to do it, so work in these other tasks.

4–Update my blog: About Me, Resources and other tabs.
Sounds like a copout excuse, but without defining “me” I can’t update my site to reflect that. Self-host and getting rid of the “wordpress” in website address was Step 1, so this is manageable. It still feels like playing, not actual working, and not sure how to let that go in myself

5–Fractured finger, heal thyself.
Or so I think. Weds, April 20 is perhaps final-final appt. It’s haealed or healing it feels like it has movement most days, but doc sayas it may take a year or more to fully heal. Will it ever fully heal?

6–Make progress on memoir My Father, My Friend.
And I feel like a total failure for that (also see #1 above)
I have writing time carved out. But I’ve let other things take over my time, ironically blog planning (see #3 above) has been a factor in this. Balance–need to achieve that.

7–Make time to play.
I scrapbook old photos, doing that dreaded word scrapbookers quiver at: “catch up” That’s okay; I’m overwhelmed with past projects and layouts, but any progress is a step forward. I’ve scrapbooked with a friend of mine, and I rediscovered joy in playing with paper. I’ve stepped back a bit from ATCs and altered art; I’m not feeling that vibe now, but that may be a break I need. Writing and all that goes along with it (see #1, 3, 4, 6 above)

8–Do some fun writing.
A bit. I wrote a fiction short story I began for Storytime Friday over on A Life Among the Pages and never finished. I’m still not done, but I had fun traversing along the world my mad, mad, mad, mad mind created.

In closing, my thoughts in review:
–I need to manage my time, but I know I can.
–I need to re-read my notes from Rochester Writers Fall Conference and review how the romance author publishes four books a year. She has a schedule, and that’s what I based Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks goal on.
–This has been a gentle, and not so gentle, slap in the face of how I’m using my time.

Let’s see how I revise all this for Round 2. If you’ve participated, let me know how your goals went and your thoughts on the challenge.

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10 Responses to My final #ROW80 Round 1 reflections and suggestions

  1. Erin Zarro says:

    I see some green in there! You made progress! Granted, it may not be what you planned on, but it was done and that’s reason for celebration.

    I used to scrapbook, oh about 10-15 years ago. My sister and her friend were into it, and then I got into it and would scrap with them. I’m a photographer, so I always take a ton of pictures wherever I go so I had so much material. I haven’t even finished my first scrapbook. Maybe someday.

    I have *yet* to get on a blogging schedule. Right now, my blog is mostly ROW80 but I’d like to add things in there that aren’t ROW80 or writing. So don’t feel bad. I struggle with it too!

    Good luck with round 2!

  2. Beth Camp says:

    Interesting analysis of overall progress for Round 1. What I take away is how we can second guess what our priorities are, how easily we can be distracted. Yes, we need flexibility AND joy. My husband got ill this round, so many of my goals seemed to collapse — except the big one, the current wip. All else fades in and out. I made a commitment that I would finish my rough draft this year . . . and accept that maybe the rest of my goals would fade in and out of the background. Publish 4 books a year? For me, never going to happen, but by keeping my goals in my face, I’m making progress. And that’s why I really liked your analysis for I sense a certain tenacity here. May Round 2 be a good one.

    • D.W. Hirsch says:

      Thank you. I wish you well, too, in Round 2 and in Life. I like your comment “keeping my goals in my face,” as this is something I should do to keep my motivation and direction strong. Print out a separate sheet/bookmark/dashboard for my Happy Planner with the goals on it might be just what I need. Hmmmm…thanks for that inspiration!

  3. Kat Morrisey says:

    My drafts folder is a disaster. I have posts with titles, and nothing else. I should delete them, but maybe someday I’ll write something? LOL

    On to your goals–you did great. Seriously. What I love about ROW80 (and I’ve been doing it on and off for like 5 years?) is that it’s flexible. Things happen. Life happens. We change, our goals and priorities change. And that’s okay. No one is making me work on a goal that 79 goals ago I thought I wanted to complete, but on the 77th day I realized I needed to focus somewhere else. So I change that goal. Move the original goal to a later round, next year, or delete it all together. And I then focus on the goal my mind says I need to, and when I accomplish that, I realize I made progress even if I had to modify my initial plan to do so.

    This happened a lot this Round. I planned on finished a draft and polishing a 1st draft I’d finished. But then I realized that, while I need to get it done, I also had discovered inspiration to begin (and finish) the next novel notebook for my third Ashten Falls book. I could have put Book 3 planning off–but the intensity I had, to get my thoughts out and on paper (really my laptop) was strong and I knew if I didn’t get it done, I’d forget things and regret it later. So I moved goals around, shifted things, and did what I thought was best, for me.

    Another reason I love ROW80–it’s about me. My goals. And frankly, I can change them, delete them, modify them, etc as I see fit. If it’s not working at that moment, try not to feel guilty. Reflect on it–ask yourself why. Ask if taking time away from it will help. Then rearrange your goals if necessary, and move on to something else. You’ll accomplish your goals, all of them, as long as you keep moving forward. (That’s what I think, anyway! :D)

    Okay, so I’m going to shut up, now. Sorry about all that blather. 🙂 I so wish I could get back into scrapbooking but I lose my concentration too fast. I have so many supplies for it, it’s incredible. Maybe someday! Good luck in Round 2–you got this. You’re going to knock out the goals you set for yourself, I have faith in you! And if you change things–so be it. You do you, and what works for you. ROW-ers got your back! 😀

    • D.W. Hirsch says:

      All blathering is welcome! Thank you for your insight.

      One thing I have been working on…and it’s slow but progressing…is self-reflection on me and my goals. Last year, I floundered about between teaching Zentangle (I’m a CZT, but there’s not much interest in my area of Michigan) and writing (my true passion, but not yet the world famous author). I needed to give something my full focus and I asked, “Me, if you could do only one thing, what would it be?” I replied, “WRITE!” and for the next three months I came to peace and acceptance letting it go. It was not easy, but I’ve been guilt free for months and months now. 🙂

      Since writing is now my focus, I am finding what works for me for what I want to accomplish…and that’s where the struggle comes in. What do I want to be when I grow up–I mean, get older? How do I get there? What is actual progress and what is just fluffy stuff that makes me feel like I’m making progress?

      ROW80 is helping with that, and your strong, kind words help me even more! (and I’m so glad someone else understands and can relate to the writer-perfection-drafts thing I’ve got going on)

  4. shanjeniah says:

    It sounds like your round included a huge amount of learning. After years of ROW80, I’ve found that, while this might not feel like a lot of accomplishment, now, but I’m willing to bet that you’ll see a huge amount of growth based on this – because you’ve grown wider and deeper.

    As far as not quite knowing where the lessons are yet – I think that’s OK. In time, it’ll be clearer (I can say this is true for a fact, because I see it daily in my unschooled kids). And I hope you DON’T lose that sense of play – passionate writing is better writing, and serious play will make all of this strenuous exertion feel joyful and fulfilling better than “nose to the grindstone” strictness can.

    Of course, your needs may vary.

    Oh, and by the way, you just made a sale. =)

    • D.W. Hirsch says:

      Thank you! Such encouragement. I have no doubt this has been a useful, if not productive, First Quarter and I feel good with whatever direction it takes me. I started a list of what Round 2 goals could be…uhhhh, wow, I ran out of room on the front of the paper. Narrowing it down shows me two more important things:

      1–There’s a lot that I want to accomplish and I need to break all this into small chunks of small chunks AND
      2–There’s not enough “play” in there.

      I preach to everyone else “take care of yourself, make time for you, take naps” yet I am not as gentle to myself about such things. Except naps.

      Oh, and by the way: Awwwwwwwww…! 🙂

      • shanjeniah says:

        I always have more goals than I can get to, but I like it that way. My brain thrives on a smorgasbord of possibilities, and I’m not fond of that loose-ends feeling of having everything done. So I set lots of goals, all carefully considered to move me closer to bigger and more involved ones, and I accept that some won’t get off the ground, some will fly high, and most will be somewhere in the middle. It makes ROW80 less a win/lose matter, and more just the way I organize my writing and life goals in a way that makes sense to me. I’m not much for winning or losing, anyway…

        I hope you find a way to put more play into Round Two. Maybe I can help. If you enjoy Enterprise, I’ll be writing fanfiction vignettes as my A-Z posts; feel free to stop by anytime and indulge in some playtime! Since a certain lady with elegant ears has apparently decided that MY head is her playground, I figure I may as well share! =D

        • D.W. Hirsch says:

          Yes, organizing my time. And setting priorities. That’s what I want to gain from ROW80. I’m pretty sure I can get there.

          I never caught all the episodes of Enterprise, darn it all. Intriguing concept, the beginnings of the life before the life we know. I’ll be sure to head on over, and maybe catch some On Demand episodes. (I must be one of the dinosaurs who does not have a Netflix account.)

          • shanjeniah says:

            I love Enterprise. Because T’Pol. And Trip. And all the fireworks when they get together…

            When it came out, I was busy making people, and we didn’t have cable, and had just made a cross-country move by car with a nursling newborn…needless to say, I didn’t catch it.

            But, about three years ago, I gave it a try, and fell in love. T’Pol isn’t your standard Vulcan. She’s flawed and fallible, and that makes for a much better character than if she were perfect. And I say any human brave and/or foolish enough to fall for a Vulcan is worth watching…

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