ROW80 – Round 1 – Check-in #12

Time for Sunday’s ROW80 progress update.

I am copying Marcia Richards’ fahhhbulous ROW80 updates and putting my status updates in PINK! I love her blog and I hope she thinks that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

Writing Goals:

  • Complete outline of WIP
  • Write 1750 words a week, on average 250 words a day (can be on WIP or other writings like flash fiction, character development, world building etc)
    1602 – words total for this week (will meet and exceed goal later tonight)
  • Finish James Scott Bell book (nearly done but stalled because bright, new shiny books arrived)
  • Read 2 other writing craft books
    Done  Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a ChickLit Novel – loved it!
    1/3 through Save the Cat – so far, enjoying it! 

Social Media Goals:

  • Blog – post 4 times a week
    5 posts (1 author spotlight/1 guest post) – total word count: 1229
  • Blog – post ROW80 progress reports twice a week (Sunday and Wednesday)
  • Tweet/Comment on at least 10 blogs a week
  • Comment on 1 new blog per week (ROW80 or otherwise)

Healthy Lifestyle Goals:

  • Cardio – 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday)
    Took the entire week off from exercise to write, read and clean the house.
  • BowFlex – 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday)
    Took the entire week off from exercise to write, read and clean the house.
  • Maintain a daily food/migraine journal

The wins:

  • I will meet my writing goal but still feeling like it’s a struggle to pull my story idea together. Or maybe it’s finding my voice. Or maybe it’s finding my genre. Anyway, I keep plugging away. Keep writing and putting words to the paper trusting that the process will get easier and become clearer. Started a new character sketch that feels like a better fit so I will see where that takes me.
  • Got a ton of reading in on my craft books.
  • Rocked the social media.

Where to improve:

  • 1 week break on exercise is ok but I’ll have to get back on track this week.
  • Gotta continue to work at finding a balance that works.

How are you making out with your ROW80 goals?



  1. With the exception of your exercise, you could have just written a huge D O N E !! for you post and left it at that! You’re doing so well. And your writing will get easier and more clear, because the more you write -or the more trouble you have writing – the reasons for your hangups will emerge. Are you writing women’s fiction now? If you’re questioning if that’s your genre, maybe you should do a test of other genres. What’s your biggest interest or passion? Find a way to make that part of your writing. I was fascinated with my mom’s history and my Dad’s stories of WWII, so that’s what grabbed me. I had never read any fiction, only non-fict on that era. But it fits for me. Take some time to think about it and you may up with something hiding under surface that sparks your interest. Who knows?

    • Wonderful advice Marcia. I really appreciate you taking the time to share that with me. I think the struggle is that I want to write women’s fiction and/or chick lit but none of my ideas seem to really work or grab me. The only idea that seems to get words and ideas FLYING on the page is paranormal but…it’s just not what I pictured for myself. I keep going back and forth on and on and on. UGH! I am going to take your advice and really think about books that have grabbed me and try to center myself with them. Thank you soooo much!!!

      • I’ve read this somewhere, where another writer was working on a particular genre and was struggling because it didn’t suit them. Once they switched genres, they had no problems. If paranormal is your calling, don’t fight it girl. You can see how it goes and always come back to what you wanted to write!

        • I hear ya girl!!! LOL!! GREAT advice and when I first started out on this round, I told hubby I was just going to follow the paranormal idea because it spoke to me. And it just seemed to have the most momentum with it. But then I waiver…and I get indecisive…GRRRRR!!! I need to go back to my commitment and just stick with it. LOL!! Love it…thanks for the FAB advice!! 🙂

  2. I’m working on my balance too. Trust the process. I love this, it is one of the themes that I have clung to in my healthy journey. I have not thought about applying it to my writing. Read, blog, tweet, study, share, plot & WRITE and then add in all the other things in your life…no wonder balance is hard, but it takes all of these things to keep us moving forward. That’s really the key, right? Balance wont always shine, but we need to trust the process and keep moving forward.
    Thanks, great check-in!!

    • LOVE that!! It’s so true – balancing everything is tough but it is what we need to keep moving forward. Absolutely. I’ll keep at it, as will you, and here’s to trusting the process.

  3. Hi, Natalie! Great job on the goals this week – woo-hoo! As far as the genre goes, I would suggest that you do some visualization…how do you picture yourself when you’re a wildly popular author? What kinds of fans will you have? What kind of gushy letters will they write you? What kind of interviews will you give? What would the display in the bookstore (assuming they live out the year, LOL) look like? Goofy questions, I know, but maybe they will help you zero in on the genre that’s whispering to you. Good luck!

    • I love this, Kathy!

    • WONDERFUL suggestions Kathy! I love it. I am definitely going to spend some time visualizing and maybe even writing out some answers to those very questions to try and pinpoint my area. LOVE IT!! Thank you!!!
      I think I know I WANT to write women’s fiction and/or chick lit but for some reason, I am really struggling to put together what I think is a novel-length idea. I don’t know why I feel like I keep hitting a brick wall with each idea. I get the initial concept and log line but then can’t seem to build from there. I can’t seem to pull together Act II and III. Weird. A paranormal idea seems to jump WAY out at me with tons of ideas/scenes/conflict. It fits into the 3-act structure, the protagonist and antagonist format that I keep learning about much easier. But it’s not what I picture myself writing. Alas, the struggle continues.
      I am going to take yours and Marcia’s suggestion and really sit with it this week. I will work on your questions (not goofy at ALL) and perhaps review some of my FAV women fiction genre books to see if I can’t put something all together!
      Thank you again for your amazing support Kathy – I soooo appreciate it!!! 🙂

      • One other thought…as long as you have a goal for your protag and an antagonist that causes a lot of trouble and all the other elements of a great story, who says it has to be novel length? Maybe novella (17,500-40,000) or a novelette (7,500-17,500) or even a short story (under 7,500)? Something to think about.

        • Funny you should say that Marcia, hubby said the EXACT same thing this morning when we were brainstorming.
          In women’s fiction, who is the typical antagonist? Can “life” or “bad luck” be the antagonist? For example, I am pondering a story idea where the wife is unhappily married and blows her life apart without realizing why she’s doing it and then the struggle she goes through putting it all back together. Her personal journey of self discovery. Who’s my antagonist? She’s her own worse enemy but I remember reading a blog post by Kristen Lamb that “life” or being one’s own worse enemy was not an appropriate antagonist. How does one RAISE the stakes etc in women’s fiction? I mean, it’s not like some big bad person is out to RUIN her life causing her disaster after disaster….other than herself….
          You see my issues when trying to fit my ideas into the form. HELP!!!

      • Jumping in to echo Marcia here about considering shorter forms of fiction in addition to the novel. I’m also in this boat where I’m not 100% certain that I have enough to carry me through a full novel — tackling that middle part is especially difficult. Long projects are just darn long, and sometimes it’s nice to just write something short and sweet, especially because it means that it doesn’t take as long to reach the finish line.

        When it comes to antagonists, I think having “life” as the antagonist can be appropriate, depending on the genre. The thing is, life will manifest itself through other people/circumstances/situations, either in terms of challenges that will get thrown at your heroine, or the choices that she makes. Anyway, just my two cents’ worth over here!

        • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment Lena. I really appreciate it and it’s so on point!
          Aha – I guess I was hung up thinking my story had to have 1 MAIN antagonist and it had to be one person. Sometimes I am soooo rule orientated that I think reading instructional/craft books can do more harm than good because I get totally HUNG up on doing it “right”! LOL!
          I think I need to read some great books that I wish I’d have written and instead of getting lost in the story, do some analysis of how it’s all put together because it sounds like I could have multiple antagonist; life, circumstances, douche bags etc!

  4. OK, here’s my suggestion: Write a completely fictitious scene for my Dirty Fighting contest. Hell, write two that are completely different to see which one feels better!

    – 500 words max
    – No one will see it but you and me unless it’s so outstandingly amazing it wins (it could happen!!)
    – You have a set exercise to help you practice voice and genres

    I’ll even promise here and now to give you some feedback as a reward for giving it a try. What do you think??

  5. Finding the balance is a ride on a teeter totter but I admire your work and persistence.

    I loved the distraction because of bright and shiny books. Hope you get your exercise routine in target the way you like. Have a goo week.

  6. Natalie.. there are so many DONE’S on your list.. I love it!
    And I really like the idea of the food/migraine journal. I get some whopper migraines that I wake up with.. so I feel your pain.
    And the exercise..keep your chin up.
    You’re doing a phenomenal job! 😀

    • I hear you on the migraines. I hate the ones you wake up with because it’s like they start stabbing you in your dreams…ugh! Here’s to more migraine-free days!!
      Woot woot! Thanks Darlene – you know how to make a girl feel great!

  7. You are rocking this ROW! I don’t know how you’re reading more than one craft book at a time, though. I can’t keep track like that. I’m impressed. Best wishes with your WIP. As you know, I got a bit stalled last week, but we are going to blaze the trail this week, girlfriend! Let’s knock it out. 🙂

  8. You are doing amazing Natalie! You meet almost all of your goals girl! So you had a week off exercise, but there are no dust bunnies flying around your house this week! Sometime I find that makes me more productive in other areas knowing that job is done. Have a great week! 🙂

    • Thanks Karen!!! You are absolutely right. The floors were so nasty, it was distracting. And…in a way, the mass cleaning was exercise. LOL!!
      Here’s to both of us having a fab week ahead!

  9. Love, love, love the work you are putting in on your chick lit/women’s fiction story. From the comments it sounds like the determination will pay off. I echo the vote to write short if a novel length project doesn’t come together for you.

    Jenny’s idea sounds terrific. I hope you will let us all know how it works out?

    • Thanks so much Bridgette. You and Marcia are right, perhaps I need to take the pressure off and just concentrate on finding my voice, whatever length that turns out to me. 🙂 I will definitely keep y’all posted on my Jenny-adventure. 🙂

  10. Wahoo, you’ve had a great week, Natalie! Seriously, you’ve gotten so much done, I am in awe. I feel you on that never-ending search for balance. Not sure if I’ll ever actually *reach* that point, but I figure I should get points for trying. 😉

    I really hope you take part in the Dirty Fighting challenge! I was lucky enough to have my short piece picked for the first round, and Tiffany gave me some fantastic feedback. Good luck!

    • Girl, I don’t think anyone ever truly masters “the balance” and if they do, I am sure life just shows up and throws them for a loophole. I think it’s the consistent trying that key. In that effort, over the long-term, it all works out. 🙂
      Squeeeee….awesome Lena! I hope you do take part again…ahhhmazing!!!

  11. I think I’m caught in the same writing whirlwind as you, but keep writing, eventually there has to be a way out, right? *smile*

    Anyway, great week overall. Exercise can be hard to balance in. I just say 30 minutes a day, sure its always the treadmill but you can put whatever activity you want in that time. Once a rhythm is established it gets far earier to accomplish.

    Have a fantastic week, Natalie 🙂

    • Thanks Gene. That’s my take right now “just keep writing” and it’ll sort itself out. LOL!
      I hear ya on the exercise advice. It’s tough. This week I think I’m going to try and incorporate 30 minutes of stair walking at lunch. That way, it’s done so if my evening blows up, it’s not a big deal. Besides, it’s good to get away from the desk periodically.
      Have a FAB week Gene. Thanks so much for all your support!! 🙂

  12. You had a great week, Natalie, even if you didn’t met ALL of your goals—you did meet most of them after all.
    And I know how you feel about genres and voice. Right now I’m trying to decide which path to go down too. I have an outline for a contemp romance, a sci-fi romance, and a urban fantasy … see, all different. It’s a pain to decide. Maybe I’ll just flip a coin or something lol
    But I think it’s all part of our journey, you know. We have to get through this, to wonder, to try new genres and different POVs … only then we’ll know which one is the one we’re suppose to write 😉
    Just don’t give up!
    Have a great week!

    • OMG it is such a relief to know that I am not alone. How do you choose?!?!? How do you choose!! I have a great idea for a paranormal, women’s fiction, and chick lit!!! And I love them all….as soon as I decide on one, I flip back over to the other and the cycle goes around. And my productivity just tanks.
      I agree, I think it is part of the painful process of sorting out our voice and our tone. It takes time. It takes trial and error. It takes time and investment. I just keep telling myself to keep writing and trust the process will sort itself out.
      I won’t give up…you either!! And keep me posted on how and what you decide to write…
      Have a FAB week!

  13. You’re doing great, Natalie!

Don't be shy...tell me what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: