ROW 80 Update – 8-3

So as part of this ROW 80 Writing Challenge all of us have to post updates every Wednesday and Sunday on our progress towards on our writing goals. Mine was to write 500 words – of just my novel – a day. And read a book a week. And I started late – most people started July 4th and I started July 31st – so this is my first “update.”

So how’d I do?

Hahaha. Well.

I blogged every day. Each post was something like 700-1000 words…

I went to work, ran even when it was 95 degrees outside…

Except for today, which I took to do laundry and PACK ahead of time so I’m ready when I go back to my home and leave DC on Saturday (after a traumatic packing experience in which I had less than a week’s notice that I’d gotten a job and had to empty my DORM room in one day… or should I say an afternoon till 5:30 AM…) (I did walk for an hour to come back from work though!)

I have also been thinking about my novel and making some decisions about character development, and sat at my computer for half an hour trying to write more than 300 words from one day…

Let’s just say that my writing goal might have been too ambitious for this week.

(I think part of the problem is that I’ve planned out so many scenes and I’m trying to write scenes that I haven’t ‘seen’ in my head or planned out completely yet, because they happen ‘first’. Tonight I’m going to try telling the story of this character I just thought of weeks ago, who I can visualize and whose scenes I can ‘feel’ right away, if this makes sense…)

BUT I’m keeping it as it is now, because of this:

To get into the routine of exercising regularly (5-6 days a week), I had to tell myself to exercise EVERY DAY first. Did that for almost two weeks, before I read somewhere that you had to take breaks. The week before I started on that? After a month of no exercise at all? I went running outside, a grand total of three times in a week. And did quite a bit of walking. I see that week now as my ‘transition’.

If I want to be a serious writer, I need to make myself work on this novel (as in the writing CRAFT and not just the plot) every day. So I see this week as my own ‘transition period’ – we’ll see how long it takes until I get in the hang of it. Today I’m working on at least 500 and up to 2000 words… but I won’t go crazy trying to catch up at this point. Slow and steady wins the race? Mayyyyyybe?

Time to read other ROW 80 updates, dry my laundry, and start writing!

(this music below would be like the background to the climatic scenes that I’m probably going to write tonight – yes, even that ending part fits! – if only I had the as much skill in writing as Yoko Kanno does in composing…)

Work+Concentration+Internet+Goals!

Look at who can FOCUS ON ONE TOPIC!!!!!!!

Hahaha just kidding. I’ll break this down.

This is basically a ‘ahhh… surviving WORK’ post and a ‘I spent too much time on the internet yesterday!’ post in one. But also a Life List Club and ROW 80 -related post. I was going to have links here to each different part of this post but am having trouble with the HTML… =/ Feel free to skip or skim!

Work + Concentration

Today I had a reaaaaalllly hard time concentrating at work. This is my eleventh and last week of my internship, in which I’ve organized this Metro bus wash monitoring project – largely independently, doing research and visiting sites on my own without too much orientation (except for one very helpful mentor who knows all about controllers!). Sometimes I had reports or a presentation to do, oftentimes I was on the phone asking salespeople for specifications or quotes, and at one point I was even doing water testing – in our three-foot square temporary kitchen in the office… =)

However this week I just have two deliverables – a last project report with instructions on how the project should be continued when I’m gone, and a Powerpoint presentation with that same information. I was planning to have that report done by today… but I. could. not. focus. It was really strange. I usually work with my headphones on, my email accounts open, and maybe before 9 or around lunch check out a fun site for a few minutes or chat (we have an hour for ‘lunch’ and we can adjust our hours… well, by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’ as I’m now the only intern in the office, with just two project managers…). But I have goals for the day in mind, write them down, break them down, and get them done. Each day.

Maybe the ‘finishing up’ part is the hard part for me. If I was going to continue to be involved in the project, I think I would be getting this out-of-the-way faster so that I could… DO STUFF! Like PROGRAM! INSTALL THINGS! Find INTERESTING data and ANALYZE IT! But this isn’t really a ‘final report’ as much as a ‘progress report,’ but it’s my own ‘final report’ – I guess I find it hard to finish something that doesn’t seem finished to me. Even though what would count as ‘finished’ (or at least result-worthy) to me will need even more weeks of time and installation – weeks after I leave. And if I finished that report today, and that presentation Tuesday, what would I do for the rest of the week? (Edit them. Add to them. Discuss them with my supervisor and mentor. Duhhh. Tell that to my subconscious or whoever calls the shots around here.)

Finishing things has ALWAYS been difficult for me, though. I kind of wonder why. Whether it’s taking a social research project past the research level, planning an environmental club at MIT, designing posters for the UA Sustainability Committee at MIT, getting exercise groups at my living group organized – I’ve entered each with enthusiasm and found my feet stuck in cement when it came to pulling them through. If there’s a ‘Just FINISH IT Group’ in the blogger-sphere… take me THERE.

Well, I am finishing my report TOMORROW (Tuesday – leaving early to FINALLY get my visa to China as well!), and the presentation by Wednesday/Thursday. Despite my short time here, it will feel AMAZING when I am finished with my part of the project!

Internet + Goals (update!) This weekend I somehow had too much time on my hands, and wandered all around the internet. Around blogs, in particular. This is how I discovered the “Life List Club” and “ROW 80” – two groups that encourage people to make goals and give support in the forms of posts and comments. And that’s why I went a little crazy yesterday and started my own “Life List Club” page and “ROW 80” page (the latter is a writing challenge). And I don’t regret it one single bit. That statement will probably have more weight when I say it on say September 22nd (the end of ROW 80) or July 31st, 2012 (the end of the first 12 months of my “Life List” – and my first set of goals). I encourage everyone to check out both clubs – Life List Club and ROW 80 – and try them out!

I thought I’d just give an update for my first day for both, not that I’ll be updating these lists daily:

Life List Club – I’m planning to add ‘drink 8 glasses of water a day’ and ‘sleep 8 hours a day.’ I think in junior (or senior?) year in one class, when my English (or government?) teacher asked what the most valuable lesson we had learned over the summer was, one girl said “Drink water. Trust me. It is SO important. It CHANGES YOUR LIFE.” Did I listen? Of course not. But I remembered. Water has helped me soooooo much here – every day is better with enough water.

And the same goes for sleep. When I was trying out rugby last spring at school, even though I wasn’t quite in shape, with ten hours of sleep I had enough energy to be involved for my whole B-side game (and awkwardly block the forwards while I was at it because I was a n00b and didn’t know where to go… ANYWAY…)

Got to work half an hour late (one of my goals is to be on time) – we technically do not have strict hours so it did not realllly matter – the reason was that I packed my food and left it and had to buy food on the way >.< New goal: ‘REMEMBER YO STUFF?’

ROW 80 – I planned for 500 words a day and have 287 from yesterday. Plus (not including) this snippet I wrote while trying to get started:

Hello world…

Today be the first day this girl woman specimen thing here err-writes for this here err-challenge-err when she’ll be writing 500 words a day. 500 words a day folks? That right there is almost as frightenin’ as that ol’ Jack Sparrow thinger come to life agi’n man. But she insists she c’ do it, ’tis only a paaai~ge (or two paiges double spaced methinks laddie?). So what can I tell ya. Notin’ I can do ‘ere ‘cept sit ‘n watch ‘n wince ‘n chew me tabacco or bark cause they’re cheap ’round these isles an’… “SHUT UP I’M ACTUALLY DOING THIS!!!”

So anyway… I got work done, but I still need to get in the habit of creating SCENES. And writing all the back-story. Without just barfing out exposition. How does 723 words tonight sound? Possible? Feasible? Maybe not really… since I have an oovoo call with friends, and am getting out of work early tomorrow, I’ll do some tonight and catch up tomorrow. WooHOO!

(Just started using this wordpress spell-check thing and it doesn’t like me much at all, especially my talking to myself and my WooHOO’s, oops…)

All right, end of updates! MUSIC TIMEEEEEEE

Goals for ROW 80 – A Writing Challenge!

(I believe it is now ROW 53 for me? The original challenge, to plan and meet a writing goal in 80 days, was meant to be from July 4th to September 22nd. But apparently you can jump in every three days by writing up your goals and posting to the ROW 80 writing challenge site – the challenge would still finish on 9-22. Check it out!)

Yosemite! Mountain! Challenge! CLIMB!

Wooo a WRITING CHALLENGE!!!!

So say my goal is to write 500 words of my fantasy novel a day. In 53 days I should have 26,500 words? This number doesn’t really take editing or content “borrowing” from the 40 pages I already have (and am totally destroying and rewriting) into account. I have a feeling that there will eventually be more cutting down than adding if I do this right.

So my goals are:

1. Write 500 words of my novel a day (think of it as developing a scene a day, even if it’s just a ‘background’ scene or experimenting with POV’s – anything as long as it’s story and not just planning – I’ve done plenty of that!)

2. Have 25,000 words down by September 22nd (because 25k is slightly easier to remember and say than 26.5k, and I’m sure I’ll be editing it down…)

3. By September 22nd – have a plan/outline for working on the story further (stick to a daily quota, or just stick to writing daily? Dedicate time over winter vacation, weekends, or next summer to it? Study the craft of writing more to develop my voice and style and improve the whole story? Probably going to write this plan… on September 21st!)

4. Read a book a week (part of learning/developing as a writer – that means about 7-8 books!)

I’m being pretty ambitious in these goals because now is the best time – my summer internship is ending this coming week, and I want to carry on the momentum I have been through freedom, a trip to China, and the very start of school, as best as I can. I sometimes (um often) set goals that are too much for anyone sane to handle. However, I think that this is the best way I can get my story going now, as I really need that push to get off my blog or computer and start writing what I really want to.

So the way ROW 80 apparently works is other ROW 80-ers post helpful or inspirational posts on the main site, read each others’ progress to get even more inspired, and inspire each other by posting inspiring comments?

Too much inspiration to handle… O___________O

Anyway, I’ll keep this post (which I’m making a page) updated with my progress! =)