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.


Light at the end of the tunnel – ROW80 – Wednesday Checkin Week 7

I skipped the past two ROW check-ins. I really had nothing positive to say about progress and just felt they would be unhelpful to write. I still have no writing progress to report, but I hope this is less depressing to report.

The Ripple Effect
My day job is a freelance web developer. I week ago I had a project deadline on one big project rear up. It went really well, but meant a lot of my time got stuck into it. It also meant I had to squeeze for the other projects that I work on that were not in deadline mode. So that push had a ripple effect. Of course, this ripple affected other things like writing. That should all be done now and the pond of ripples should be calming down as of next week.

I was also stuck on my story. I have started to collaborate with a fellow author on Twitter, bouncing ideas off each other for our own worlds and planning a shared one. I’ll announce that more concretely soon. He has given me some great ideas and helpful advice to get me un-stuck a few weeks ago. Then I hit another snag. I have characters and an overall plot, but could not figure out how to mesh them together in one spot. I couldn’t even articulate it to my author friend until this past week. And still, once I could explain the problem he came up with other ideas that I really think are great. I just need to find time to write them all down in prose. 🙂

Not a total loss

  • Tons of paid work completed in the past few weeks. Paid work is good, as money is used to exchange for goods and services. Including food and shelter. 🙂
  • New projects developing which I am excited about. Nice to have a job that continues as long as I need it to.
  • I re-themed my author site. I was looking at themes for our collaboration Imprint and came across this one for my own site. A few hours re-jiggering the colors and I am 95% happy with it.
  • Off on vacation for this weekend for relaxation with my wife. Hoping to get caught up on sleep and creative juices for a bigger push to write next week. In addition, more free time in general to actually do writing.
  • Got my next “Here Be Dragons” post completed for Displaced Nation. Not sure when it will go up, but I will link that too.
  • Got the sponsorship duties done. Nice to see how other people are doing on their goals and that I am not the only one who struggles.


I am sitting at 17K for my Novella #2. With Jeremy’s ideas, I am really hoping I can write the next 8K and get it finished. I had planned by May 31, but that is unlikely to happen. The hope is still to go for end of June for a completion date.

Need to work on finding cover artists. I found one on Deviant Art that I like, but she hasn’t responded to my emails asking about commissions. I’ll need to search more.

Need to e-mail a few editors and feel out that part of the process too.

Next week should see me back into a better routine, so hoping that will let me get back to the discipline I need to write.

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Light is coming at the end of the tunnel and I am close enough to see it isn’t another train. Check out other peoples checkins here.

Finally Moving Forward – ROW80 – Week 5

Slightly less than half way through the Round of Word 80 challenge and I finally feel like I am having a good week of discipline. I’ve mentioned on the last few check-ins that I have been struggling, which is true, but I think I made some good strides this week.

Am Writing

Goals: These have really mellowed from my overly ambitious goals at the beginning. Maybe I can ramp back up, but for now am happy to write a little bit every day and make any sort of editing progress in the week.

Monday: 550 words in 45min
Tuesday: 500 words in 45min AND 30min of editing
Wednesday: 300 words and some editing in 35min

The editing has been frightening me for a while, but I feel like I am getting back into it. I have started talking more often with a writer friend of mine has he has been quite supportive and gave me some great ideas on how to approach the editing. I think I was trying to do too much in Novella #2 which is why it felt too hard to edit. Too many ideas to cruelly chop them. And yet now I am working to smooth the story out a bit and push even certain characters later in the arc so I can explore my MC’s deeper. It felt good the past two days, so I am hopeful.

Am Reading

Lindsay Buroker’s Republic : So far really quite entertaining, like most of her stuff. Enjoying it and trying to feel inspired by reading it.

Am Doing Other Stuff

Work is going well, but busy. I’m happy I put my writing time in the morning. More chance of it actually happening.

Won’t make it to the gym this week, but oh well. Just too much going on with work deadlines.

Also up to writing my next installment of a column about fantasy writing as an expat. 🙂 Should be fun.

Friends and Holidays – Wednesday CheckIn Week 3

So yeah, I missed the Sunday check-in. That should give you a sense of how the weekend went. I got no writing of any kind done between last Wednesday and Easter Sunday, so I just decided the check-in would not be motivating. I did however peruse the other ROW80ers in my role as a sponsor and was happy to see that others were not as non-productive as I was.

It was still a great weekend with some visiting friends. We got to go to France for lunch (it is awesome to be able to do that) and went up a local hill on a cable car that was fun (and inspiring for my Steampunk writing, gotta have cable cars somewhere.)

In other news from last week, the first post of a new column at Displaced Nation went up. I am exploring the connections and relationships between travel and fantasy writing. The column is called Here There Be Dragons.

As for Goals:

I wrote 800words yesterday, which is about what I have done since last Wednesday. I have managed an hour of editing. However I did do a plot outline for Novella 3.

So all in all, not so good on my goals this week. It is a good reminder that if I can get myself to just open up the Scrivener and stare at it that I can produce words.

Lessons and Outlook:

I really need to track what I write. I mean I am pretty sure I got no more than 800 this week done, but between the guests and activities I don’t have a lot of space in my brain for that kind of stuff. I need to write it down.

I have a business trip up for this weekend. Which means 6 hours on the train in both directions. So I will get as much writing time as my laptop battery survives. So I am really hoping to get more done.

#ROW80 – Wednesday Update : Week 2

Up to week 2 on ROW 80. I am a freelance developer, which means work comes in waves. I had a long time free to work on writing and this week started in with projects again. I enjoy projects, but it means shifting time again and figuring out where writing fits. I think I am doing well with it so far.

Sunday: 1100 words written on blog posts Hamburg Speicherstadt and a post that will go up on Displaced Nation later this week.
Monday: nothing
Tuesday: 1 hour of editing and 250words written
Wednesday: 1200 words written and 15 minutes of editing

So I am on track for the week. A shame that most of the words written were not on my mainline novellas. I had originally thought I would not count blogging in my “words written”, but now I will. Today I wrote a fair amount, but on a different story. I seem to keep opening up projects when I need to be finishing them. This one is a set of short stories based on the Story Prompts at SelfPublishingPodcast and around the early life of one of Crossing the Dropline’s main characters, Jason.

Overall I am finding my creativity again. I spent a few hours reading an awesome webcomic with talking animals call Beyond the Western Deep. I like the storytelling in it. Hoping to learn from everywhere. The rest of the week may end up being a wash. We have guests for Easter weekend, but we shall see. It may be a good time to ruminate.

Remaining: 3.75 hours of editing and 2700 words to write.

#ROW80 – Wednesday Update : Week 1

Only two days into the Round of Words challenge. I’m doing fine though. Click here for other ROWer’s first Midweek checkin.

Monday – 1150 words written.
Tuesday – Net 724 written, but I tossed a few scenes, so the number actually written is higher. This was a part of an hour of editing too.

I am still working on Novella #2 still tentatively titled “Resholm Rising“, though I will likely need a new title. So the editing and the writing are blended. I really think I am at 99% on that first draft though. I will try to do one more editing run before letting it rest for a few days.

Sponsoring Duties: Yup, keeping up. Already submitted my inspirational post and have enjoyed perusing the goals of other ROWers.

Next Project: I want to work on Catman or Keeper of the Trees at least some before diving back into book #3 of Crossing the Dropline.

Other Tasks: I have started contemplating covers and editors. I did the cover of Queen of the Cloud Pirates myself and while I quite like it, it doesn’t fit 100% to the genre and took oodles of time. I want to relaunch book 1 with a different cover when book 2 is done, so I have been working on that. As for an editor, I need to just suck up the money and seek out someone to proof the books before I publish them.

I have posts set up for this blog every Monday into May, which is awesome. I have just committed to a short series on Travel and Fantasy Writing at the Displaced Nation though, so I am glad the author blog is set.