ROW80 – Round 4 – Check-in #5

It’s Wednesday morning and it’s time to update you on my ROW80 progress. I feel like I got fair amount accomplished since Sunday (considering I do most of my work on the weekend). So let’s get to it!

You can find a list of my goals here.

Work In Progress Goals:

  • 2 hours on my WIP this week so far (goal: 5 hours each week):
    • Nearly done chapter 1: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell (just have exercise 4 to do to finish the chapter).
    • Completed exercises 1, 2, and 3 in chapter 1: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.
    • Set up 2 rugs in my office which made the chair work much better (in case I can’t swing a new one: $$$)!
  • Checked-in with my ROW80 Sista – Nancy J. Nicholson!
  • I reported on my ROW80 goals on schedule.

Summary: Last night I took 2 hours and went into my writing room and read James Scott Bell’s book and did the exercises. I’ve never actually sat in that room with the purpose of working on my novel. I always seem to be on the couch so this was HUGE for me. I found that the ideas flowed much better and I was much less distracted. I left my phone and laptop in the kitchen and just concentrated on writing. Woot woot!

Exercise 1 was to free write for 10 minutes and answer these two questions: When readers read my novels, I want them to feel _____ at the end. That’s because, to me, novels are _____. At first I did it in my head but then I said “Natalie, quit taking the easy way out, get the pen, and do the work…” and I am super glad I did. It kind of gave me an overall written goal for how I want my novel to make people feel. Knowing that and having it spelled out I think will be key going forward. Gonna pin it at the top of my writing board!

Exercise 2 was to analyze a few of my favorite books against his LOCK system and that rocked! It was easy to see how his method works and why it’s so valuable – and why I sooo love the books I love! Kristen Lamb talks about the LOCK system here if you are interested.

Exercise 3 we (James and I…keep up people) kicked it up a notch! I applied the LOCK system to my own story idea. Well, as you all know, I am torn between 2 ideas so I decided to do both. Story Idea 1 is not well developed at all – it’s more an incline or a snippet. It’s like a faint “click” of an idea that I never really developed (because it scared the heck out of me for the amount of work it’d take) so I decided to do that one first to push myself. And you know what, I LOVED it! I had a blast! No, I don’t have all the missing pieces BUT I have a better sense. It requires more brainstorming and I’ll likely apply the LOCK system a couple of times until I see things more clearly.

That was it for 2 hours.

Blogging Goals:

  • Blogged 3 days (4 posts by this evening) including this post since Monday.
  • Read, commented, retweeted/tweeted on over 25 blogs since Monday night.

How is your ROW80 progress going thus far?



  1. Good job Natalie! Great craft process as well.

  2. Great work Natalie!! I like to take the easy way out when doing craft exercises by answering in my head, but really do get more out of it when I actually do it on paper. (Umm. . . as it is designed to do. lol.) Your productivity with your blog and blog commenting is fantastic. Great job! Good luck with the rest of the week!

    • Thanks so much Bridgette!! Yes, I was proud that I pushed myself to write it all out and I do agree, I think you get a lot more out of it writing it down. I’ve even started taking notes as I read the book in the hopes that I soak up the info even deeper. LOL!
      The blogging rocks! 🙂
      Tks – here’s to your ROW80 week!! 🙂

  3. It sounds like you’ve been productive. Good job! 🙂

  4. Oh Natalie! You are really making headway! How empowering! I’m sending out creative energy your way! Go, go, go!!!

  5. I’m so happy you’re finding your “groove” and getting things done! You’re gonna do great!
    Love to see your excitement 😉
    Keep it up, girl!

  6. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

    You are doing so well, I think I’ll do a Double Hook followed by a Herkie! Whooohoooo! (those are cheerleading terms, I’m taking this pom pom thing seriously people)

  7. Awesome job, Natalie! Good for you for not taking the short cuts. Keep up the great work!

  8. I love James Scott Bell. I’m working through his book Revision & Self Editing now as I revise my WIP. I heard him talk about the LOCK system at a conference and it’s really useful.

    Good job this week!

    • It is so good to hear such great feedback. I am only into chapter 1 but so far, it seems uber!! I will take note of his other for revising when it comes time! Thanks so much for the encouragement! I really appreciate it! :)))

  9. OMG – I’m so relieved we have Tameri on the cheerleading squad! In fact, I believe she was just voted HEAD CHEERLEADER WANA711ROW80 ! Yay, Tameri! Now she can get the rest of us organized. As the … ahem … mature member of the team, I’ll gladly accept the job of keeping the pom poms fluffed! We certainly have a lot of cheer about ! Keep up the good work, Natalie!

    • I know, eh?!?! She’s sooo uber awesome!! I agree, she’s now Head Cheerleader!! :))
      Mature team…LOL…gotta have fluffy pom poms! :))
      Thanks soo much Patricia. :)))

  10. Hey, I’ve got fluffy pom-poms too. LOL Go Natalie!

    Great job girlfriend, keep Rockin’ The Row! Love James Scott Bell — smart move to start with him.

  11. OMG, I’m soooo proud of you! You are doing what we all WISH we’d done way back in the day before we just started writing books all willy nilly.

    Oh, oh…I feel a blog coming on… 🙂

    • Awwww…thank you Jenny! Sometimes I feel like an epic failure. Like I should be able to just sit down, have “la idea” all ready to rock and roll (I mean shit…I’ve been thinking about this for years and aren’t writer’s usually always READY TO GO with a few ideas?!??!) But it’s just not. Realizing I have way more brainstorming and foundational work was a bit hard to swallow but with encouragement like yours, it helps me to realize I am normal and it’s OK! LOL! Thank you…and I can’t WAIT to see a blog on that! MAUH! xoxox

  12. Very good check-in. And I am envious of your writing room 🙂 I have an office, but it is not nearly as relaxing as I hoped it to be. I keep finding myself downstairs on the overstuffed couch with the laptop on my knees and a plate of cookies at my side. Not a good set up. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks so much for the wonderful encouragement Wendy and for swinging by the ol’ blog digs.
      My writing room is an office but I will say I have spent some time making it nice and relaxing. I would like to get a cozy chair sometime but alas, my huge office chair does the trick! But, I still find myself out on the couch or in bed often…lol…creatures of habit, eh!?! 🙂

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