In fits and spurts – Final Checkin – ROW80

This is the final check-in for Round 2 of ROW80. It has been a great experience and has gotten me to write more than I normally would. I haven’t really met my original goals though. Granted I had really high flying goals, but I am ok with aiming really high and not hitting them.


Since my last check-in over a week ago, I have only written 1500 words, but that in one morning.

I did a quick run through my checkin’s and added up my reported words. I come up with 27K total. There may be a few recounts, but that is a good rough number. In general that is a really cool number. That is essentially what I shoot at for the length of a novella. So in 12 weeks I wrote enough for a novella.

My original goal was 5000 a week, so 60K total. So I hit slightly less than half of that, but I am sill ok with it. That is 27K more than I didn’t have at the beginning. I laugh at myself when I read that goals post where I implied that 1000words a day 5 days a week is difficult, yet attainable. It doesn’t feel so attainable at the end here, but I still think it should have been. If I just dedicate 40minutes a day I know the works will flow.

I had originally hoped to have three books done, but it was not meant to be. I have one nearly done and enough material for a first draft of a second. The third and a standalone are half done as well. So overall decent progress, just not as much as I had originally hoped..


There are 24 overall checkins, but I only made 15 of them. I kind of decided on the days that I didn’t have any progress to report that I wasn’t into doing a checkin. I don’t know how I feel about that. On one hand writing excuses and explanations why I didn’t write for a few days felt both unpleasant and un-progress-ful. (That is a word, I made it up.) On the other hand, part of this ROW project is the regular checkins to help responsibility. On a few of the non-progress checkins that I did do I got some wonderful helpful advice.

I’m definitely going to continue with ROW next round. It is a great project. Not sure if I will try to just do one checkin a week or go abck to trying everyone. We shall see.


I was a sponsor this round. It was a wonderful experience. I did get a bit overwhelmed in places though. One some checkins I had 4-5 posts to read and try to make constructive comments that didn’t sound like cheap “way to go” clones. I wanted to be able to offer something more than a single sentence. I did ok overall. I think I fulfilled the requirements, but I didn’t go much beyond them some weeks.

I will not do sponsoring next round, but I would definitely encourage anyone interested in the project to sign up.

Other Projects

So I have really learned that I can balance about two projects reasonably over time. Just two. I really expected to be able to do more, but it doesn’t seem like that. Three seems to go ok for a short time, but it wears me out very quickly.

So I have my day job. This round it has been half time as a web developer for a great little startup. Early in the Round I had a second project for a client in Switzerland. I was able to manage those two and writing for a short amount of time. Then I kind of got stuck on the writing and a month ago started another personal project which sucked all of my time.

So it isn’t just the concept of projects to balance, but the personal passion store as well. I am really interested in writing the novella series. I too want to see what happens to the characters. It isn’t my training though. That means nothing except sometimes writing takes a lot of energy. I often find myself being pulled in another direction. This round it was the Peanut Butter Bar (that little floaty bar at the top of the site.) It started as a joke that turned into a project that I think is actually saleable. (Mail me if you want to be on the beta round for it. More info on coming soon.) So I have been pouring time into getting it ready and am making wonderful progress. This has however taken my writing time and energy. There are a lot more pieces to making a saleable plugin than I ever imagined. That isn’t necessarily bad as I am truly enjoying the project, but it means I need to work on balancing against the writing.

Lessons Learned

This has been a great experience overall. I am definitely going to continue next round in July. I did learn a few things.

1) Discipline is important. Forcing myself to sit down with a story that is frightening me and work on it. I am amazed to see the words flow when I just force myself to work on it.

2) Planning helps discipline. If I plan time for something and write down that plan, I am far far more likely to actually take that time and not get distracted by– oo a squirrel. Oh wait where was I?

3) Juggling work projects with personal projects is easier than juggling several personal projects. The one with the slight edge of passion and ease of doing (programming is easier than writing for me) seems to win. And win big in terms of sucking time. As mentioned, this isn’t a bad thing as I really do enjoy the Peanut Butter Bar project, but it is something I learned.

4) Wednesday is a lot closer to Sunday than I realized.

Going Forward

Next round I am getting much more diverse in my goals. So many of the ROWers have fitness, reading and social goals on their list. I like that.

I also like the format that Denise D Young used on her checkins. There is a message at the beginning and each of the weekly goal is tallied with a progress. I think I’ll work up something like that and try to stick to it.

Overall this has been a great experience and look forward to continuing. Check out other’s last checkins here.

Wednesday Checkin – ROW80 – Week 10

So again I missed on Sunday checkin. One of the things I am learning as a work-at-home freelancer is that “day of the week” concept becomes very hazy sometimes. That said I am working on plans and schedules to keep myself on track.

Writing Progress since last Wednesday

Thursday – Guest post on my wife’s travel site about Cinque Terre, Italy. Started another one about tips for eating while in Italy.
Friday – 760 words
Saturday/Sunday – no writing
Monday – 1350 words
Tuesday – nothing
Wednesday – 480 words

So it isn’t every day that I get to write, but I am getting better at more regular. I had some grand ideas at the gym on Monday which really helped. I don’t feel stuck in the story anymore. Hopefully I can push on until the end.

Other Projects

  • I have been pouring a ton of time into the bar on the top of the site. I am working on a lot of other features and plan to get it up for sale this summer.
  • Been doing a bit of blog-post writing for Ali’s site.
  • Sponsorship for ROW80.
  • Regular gym attendance. It sucks that the gym is 30minutes away, but going makes me feel better and I often end up with good ideas while working out.

It has turned to summer here in Germany, which is not at all a bad thing. It does however mean that it is warm and without A/C getting used to sleeping in the warm is a bit of a thing to deal with. I have been tired a lot. I am really pleased with progress on all fronts despite that tired. I do notice that the tired state increases my creativity at the cost of the ability to push and get stuff done. I keep feeling new projects bloom in my mind and I have been trying to write them down to not forget, but also not let them take time from finishing projects already near their ending.

Overall a decent week.

Back into the Groove – ROW80 – Wednesday Checkin Week 8

Again I missed last Sunday’s check in, but due to a good excuse this time. My wife and I did a long weekend in Munich. I got to sit in the sun at a beer garden all afternoon hanging out with her. Work started back at a normal routine this week, and happily the writing habit came back too. A bit spluttery with quality, but the words are still there.


M : 750
T : 300
W : 500

I am still struggling a bit with the story, but I had some great thoughts at the gym yesterday that I hope will get me closer to finished. I’ve been doing other things as well. An article I wrote a few weeks ago about getting inspired from travel for landscapes in stories went up yesterday.

Helping Ali on her site about helping first time travelers (Travel Made Simple) and getting her book on packing up as well. The little floating bar on the top of the author site (yes, right up there) is my work as well and has a bunch of different features planned.

Finished reading Republic and Deathmaker by Lindsay Buroker, enjoying both.

Plans for the Week

One more day of work on Thursday and I have Friday off. So hoping to really push through somehow this weekend and get the story done. I am hoping my ideas from yesterday are enough to get it there. This is a story that came back into draft writing from the editing phase, so will have to go back to editing.


I still need to hunt editors and figure out covers. I keep playing with covers and get frustrated. I’ll get there though.

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Happy I am getting back into checking in and writing. Check out other ROWers check-ins here.