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.

6 thoughts on “In fits and spurts – Final Checkin – ROW80

  1. 27K this round sounds like you did pretty well, Andrew. Like you said, that’s the equivalent of one novella.

    It is hard balancing multiple jobs and projects. A few years ago, I was working three jobs, and I always felt like I wasn’t giving one of those (almost always my writing) enough of my time and energy. I’m curious to know if you have a hard time transitioning from programming to writing. Do these require a different frame of mind, and if so, how do you make the transition?

    Thanks for mention! I’m glad you liked the format. I was aiming to keep it simple and easy to read, so I’m glad to hear my approach is working. 🙂

    • AuthAndy says:

      Thanks, Denise. I wish the words equivalent to a novella actually WERE a novella and not a few different half-novellas, but oh well. Still progress is good.

      Yes, I do have a mental reshuffle to switch from one project to another. Programming to writing is one of these big shifts. A lot of it is just remembering what I was working on and where I was going rather than a full frame of mind reset. I am pretty creative and often have several things going on in my head. Writing isn’t necessarily SO far from programming. There is still a logic to it.

      Wow three jobs? I guess I have two at the moment, though each half time and both under the umbrella of my freelancing career. I have really learned that much beyond two and it really begins to get difficult to balance. I have let my blogging sort of slip and am trying to get that back going too. As for your format, yes I really like the simple and structured format.

  2. 27k is wonderful progress, Andrew. I’ve been having some issues balancing various things as well. I think it takes a lot of patience, practice, and getting into the groove.

    As Wednesday being closer to Sunday, yes, I noticed that too! This was my second round of ROW80 ever and check-ins seemed to be closer and closer together. Must be a ROW80 thing. 😉

    Good luck next round!

    • AuthAndy says:

      Thanks. Balance and discipline are definitely both important and difficult. We all struggle with that it seems. Good to know we aren’t alone.

      I really think I may just do one a week checkins for the next round and see how that goes.

  3. I have also felt the “I could have done more” feeling. I too have also learned that sometimes I just have to push forward and DO EEET! I also have two jobs (well 3 if you count the paying day job); writing and community theatre. Keep going!

    See you in Round 3! 🙂

    • AuthAndy says:

      Oh definitely count the paying job. They are often the more demanding. Theater is not a small one either though. I did some theater helping w few years ago and really noticed after a production just how much time it takes. Good on you for managing so much.

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