Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tomato: Week Deux

Bonjour, friends! Just to remind you, voila my summer writing goals and last week's goals:

Summer Goals:

1. Begin writing le book. (This is hard.) Get ideas and words and thoughts on paper, even if they are unorganized or don't make sense. Don't judge yourself.

2. Journal daily, even if it's just for 10 minutes.

3. Write better blog posts - get creative, have fun, maybe less words and more pics, feature guest bloggers, etc.

Last Week's Goals:

Considering this week is half-over, and i'm out of town for a wedding Friday on, i'm just going to stick with something simple and work on #2 - journaling daily for at least 10 minutes. :) I did OK with this one. Journaled ALMOST daily. ;-) One thing i did do to spice things up was to add "stuff" to my journal - aka made a mini collage, taped a sweet thank-you note i received that day, etc. I love adding these things b/c it makes my journal feel more ALIVE! I'm definitely going to try and do more of this and will hopefully be sharing some pics in the future. :)

As for this week, i've decided on more ambitious goals since i'll be spending my 4th of July weekend at my parents' house in good ole Rowlett, TX. In other words, i'll have oodles of time to get some writing done! So without further ado....

Week 2 Goals:

1. Start le book! In SOME capacity, even if it's just one paragraph. Do something to get the ball rolling.

2. Continue to journal daily for at least 10 minutes.

3. Add creative elements to my journal, aka not just words on paper. SHARE with readers!

Happy SWIM-ing!!

Kiki: And then it just came together...

Over the past ten years, I've learned that my writing process takes an incredible amount of revision and has to take place over time. It can be summed up as "write early, revise often." It took a long time to figure this out, and I've fought it every step of the way.  It's not easy to accept that you aren't like Mozart, composing a perfect piece without corrections on your manuscript.  But with every year it becomes more obvious, and I am slowly growing to accept that this is the nature of my creative process - for just about everything, really.

With this process in mind, I set my summer dissertating plan: get this chapter out by the end of June (today), the next completed by the end of July, and the final chapter drafted by the end of August. These deadlines are my own, both for the sake of practicality and process.  And they're not easy, but they don't belong to anyone else.

This week, my most important writing goal was to get a chapter draft off my desktop and out to my advisor. All the pieces were in place, and on Monday morning I started working through the sections to clean them up, smooth the transitions, pick up on themes and unifying concepts. After a full day of revising this way, on Monday evening I stopped with two sections left to fix up. These two sections needed a fair bit of work, and I fully expected to work all the way through until the end of the day to get the chapter out on time.

Today those became so much stronger - right in front of me was a unifying theme ("thresholds") that I had somehow subconsciously noticed some months ago when I slapped a working title onto the project that included the word "liminal." And yet, it didn't click until now. Suddenly, in working through the last section with the tone of a conclusion it hit me: in each of the paintings, there is a recognizable and incontrovertible threshold. A door, a moongate, the entrance to a cave, an open window onto the scene, something to be crossed over that let the viewer in to participate. And then there was another aspect, a "pause" or "hesitation" in separating reality from illusion, and somehow back in the winter I had taken down a structuralist literary theory that supported this moment.  It just came together - I could barely type fast enough to get it all down before it disappeared. It was incredible!

I am proud to say that by 3 p.m. this afternoon, I sent my chapter out the door.  To celebrate, I kicked off early and arrived home just in time to make iced chocolate when Darcy surprised me by coming home early too.  Iced chocolates in hand, we sat in the garden on beanbags and picnic blankets, sipping our drinks in the shade and chatting for two full hours, celebrating this minor milestone just by being together in that moment.

Tomorrow, I'll start in on my other goals for the week - all without reading. I miss reading your posts!

Hope your writing goals are progressing smoothly along, and that your celebrations are as sweet as mine!

Monday, June 29, 2009

dharmagirl: goals june 29-july 5

First, a follow up to last week's goals:

1. Continue posting one blog entry per day (NaBloPoMo) completed!
2. Continue journaling every day 5 out of 7 days
3. Re-read/skim foodie bits of *Bet Me* um, sorta kinda not really
4. Draft 3-4 pages of freewrite prose for RWA presentation no :(
5. Spend at least 30 minutes every day on the Novel, diving in wherever I want 3 out of 7 days
6. Conduct some scholarly research for expansion of PCA/RWA presentation into article no :(
7. Revisit digital novel presentation/abstract for book collection--sharpen up no :(
8. Continue reading The Courage to Write no:(

Well, hell (said southern style, "well ha-il"). Clearly my writing goals were not met this past week. Clearly I need to re-think my goals a little. I'm going to be a bit more realistic this week given my other plans. The most important writing task is my RWA presentation, as I leave for RWA on July 16. OMG!!! (i also made the mistake of looking at a calendar today. ugh.)

dharmagirl's writing goals for June 29-July 5
1. Finish June NaBloPoMo completed!
2. Continue journaling/MP every day: bump up to 3 pgs/day
3. Work on RWA presentation: create new document. add sections from PCA presentation to new document. add bits from Bet Me. keep it simple, smart, and succinct.
4. Re-read/revise digital novel abstract. send to fellow co-editor.
5. Read a little more every day--try to read one entire novel this week. just because.

Kiki: Can you write without reading?

The Artist's Way has completely banned me from reading anything this week.

I get nothin'. Nothing at all.

It's got me a little worked up, but it sure has fueled my writing goals - I can't read, but I can write as much as I want. It's like Atkins, for writers: all steak and cream but no staples like pasta.

This week's goals:

*Complete the "Studio" chapter draft by 6 p.m. Tuesday and e-mail to advisor.
*Retool a conference paper abstract and send in to panel organizer.
*Begin writing the "Longevity" chapter, with minimum 3000 words by Friday.
*Write at least 2 full morning pages each day.
*Write up list of questions for my next Prosecco Profile.
*Post every day this week.

As soon as Sunday morning rolls around, I promisepromisepromise to catch right up with your goals for the week, and the progress you've made.

Reward: extended Friday afternoon or Saturday morning artist date to blog and play at Origin8 cafe with rose meringues.

Revisionista: Goals for June 29 - July 5

Bonjour, mes amies. I have broken out of my tower a la Lady of Shalott after a productive writing morning. I managed to add 3pp to my academic book.

I need a shower & lunch, so this will be a quick post. I'm going to try to set gentler goals for this week. I am also going to accept that I basically have from now until Thursday to complete them since I'm heading to my parents' house on Friday for the holiday. So.....

This Week

  • Continue morning pages: am loving banging them out on le pink beast; they're riddled with errors but I'm finding that the stuff I write has more energy & honesty than some of the handwritten pp I've been doing. I think I've been journalling by hand so long, I sometimes don't catch myself when I'm talking at the surface level. The surface level of (I'm hungry, what am I going to do today) comes out so boring on the typewriter so it forces me to dive deeper for the real stuff.... (there'll be a post about all this craziness soon!)
  • Freewrite 8 singlespaced pp of CH 1 of the academic book (get into the fiction section)
  • Draft 20 handwritten, wild, messy pages of the NOLA novel
  • Draft & submit abstract to dharmagirl's collection! :)
  • REWARD: order favorite writing candles (Ooooo & go see Public Enemies avec Johnny Depp & Christian Bale! I'll probably do this regardless of whether I meet my goals so I'll stick with the candles as a reward!)
Happy Writing! Looking forward to reading everyone else's goals!!

Vienna: Reward and new goals

Good morning! I was asked to post a pic of my reward so I did. As you can see, I changed my mind. No journal. Friday afternoon, after the university Open Day, I left to Lea Bridge (http://www.derbyshirearts.co.uk/), a little village in Derbyshire to celebrate my friend and colleague's Hen Weekend. We had a fab time! After a nice 5 hour walk (it was supposed to be 2 but we got lost a few times...) we stumbled into a 'hippy shop' and I decided I'd get those red Thai fisherman's trousers, which are great for yoga and fun times. As you can see, I've already made the most of them. The journal will be my reward for next week, then.
Goals for this week:
  • Finish writing all module information documents for all my 09-10 modules.
  • Write resit exams
  • Finish my 'Desert flies' story.
  • Prepare portfolio for MA application.
  • Morning pages + keep working through The Artist's Way chapters.
Happy Monday everyone!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Revisionista's SWIM Update

John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott
[John William Waterhouse, Lady of Shalott]

It's Saturday morning and I'm about to dive in for a morning SWIM. But first I thought I'd go ahead and update my progress for this week.

This week started out well. I had a strong day on Tuesday with CH 1 of the academic book and both Wednesday & Thursday I worked on the novel. And since Tuesday, I've managed to do Morning Pages every morning so far.

I realized that with July right around the corner, I'm starting to freak out about how much I can actually accomplish on the academic ms this summer. I think that paralyzed me for a few days, but I think I've figured out a solution. Later this morning, I'm going to create a new ms doc and paste in all the material that exists along with brackets noting where I need to generate new material. When I was journaling about this last night, I realized that to complete the ms I just need to write 2 chapters and an introduction. So, instead of thinking about generating an entire ms this summer, I'm going to focus instead on finishing the section of CH 1 I'm writing, then moving to CH 5 which needs some new material added to it, and then when September begins (if not sooner), I'll start freewriting the introduction. This is a much more sane and manageable way to think about what I need to do this summer.

As for the novel, I had an excellent morning with it on Wednesday where I sunk in deep and was basically just observing (& recording) what the characters were doing. I'm writing my pp in a mid-sized Miquelrius notebook (not 8x10) so I think it takes about 5 handwritten pp for me to get to 1000 words. I really want to try for 1000 words/day, but I think starting on Monday, I'm going to resolve to do the research writing FIRST and complete it before noon. If I can do that, I'll be able to work on the novel, read, craft, play, etc in the afternoons.

So until noon each day, I'll be like the Lady of Shalott in my tower delighting in the tapestry I'm weaving instead of chasing after Lancelot. ;) After that, the spell will be broken and I can go do whatever I want.

This Week

  • Draft 12 singlespaced pp of CH 1 of the academic book (get into the fiction section) So far I've drafted 7 out of 12
  • Draft 35 handwritten, wild, messy pages of the NOLA novel Drafted 13/35
  • Type up pages written thus far Will hopefully get to this Sunday.
  • REWARD: order favorite writing candles I'll postpone my reward until next week
Can't wait to hear how everyone else is doing!

Friday, June 26, 2009

national day on writing

This is a super cool initiative from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) that we can *all* take part in!

October 20, 2009 will be the National Day on Writing, a day of writing awareness and activism. Hooray!

Kiki: Friday SWIMming lessons

Officially I'm on holiday right now in Devon, so my writing goals were slim little things for this week:

*Draft all unwritten and scattered sections of "Studio" chapter.
*Write three full B5 morning pages each day.

One of the paintings that form part of the "Studio." Yes, this is a Chinese painting!

When I sat down to work on my chapter, I was completely surprised to find how much had actually been done. Last week I pushed really hard to get a ton of writing in, and that seems to have paid off! And now I can honestly say that all the unwritten and scattered sections of my "Studio" chapter have been drafted! That means Sunday-Monday-Tuesday can be spent in the blinkered state known as "de-sectioning" when I attempt to link the different sections of each chapter seamlessly together into one smooth 50-page work of art. Fingers crossed, that means I will meet my goal of getting the chapter draft off my desk by the end of day on 30 June!

Morning pages weren't quite so successful. Darcy has been so helpful in making sure I do them despite the distraction of being in a house with 16 other people, the lure of fresh green lawns for morning yoga and the call of rolling hills for morning runs. But so far, I have managed them each day, even if one or two days were more like "evening page" (late and singular) rather than "morning pages" (early and plural). I have not had the chance to do my Artist Date for this week, so I'll try to snag a quiet hour away from the crowd before Saturday night.

Now the question is, what will my reward be for getting my chapter out the door by 6 p.m. on Tuesday? Any suggestions?


Hi everyone!
Well, Friday! Since I only joined SWIM a couple of days ago I feel like 'evaluation time' has come faaaaaar too soon (excuses, excuses, excuses, I say to myself). I'm writing so early (and denying myself the chance to completely meet my weekly objectives) because in a minute I'm flying (well, metaphorically, I don't tend to travel by helicopter to go to work...) to Uni where we are hosting Open Days. After that I'm away for a friend's hen weekend. We are going to a little village in Derby, so lots of nice walks and pub lunches (I hope) and maybe some surprises there. That means no laptop, no Internet connection, no blogging... Interesting experiment.
Right, objectives accomplished:
a) Morning pages (reluctantly, at some point, but managed... I've realised how grumpy I can be in the morning!)
b) Creative writing module information document. Yeah! Done and dusted (and e-mailed to the relevant people). Just waiting for some feedback now.
c) Blogs. Well, here my writing power starts to flake... I managed to answer comments and I've posted a couple of videos in Ones.
d) MA application portfolio... Absolute failure. Nothing. Didn't even touch it.

Things that got in the way:

a) piles of laundry and other domestic issues which had been left abandoned for a while because of the hectic end-of-semester.
b) for the same reason, NOTHING IN THE FRIDGE. Had to go food shopping.
c) Answering students emails and giving feedback on exams FOREVER.
d) BOILER BROKE DOWN and had to get an engineer to come and fix it (He came but didn't fix it, he's suppose to come back now this morning and he has exactly 9 minutes to do it or I'll be gone to work).
e) There is one thing that I could maybe have done something about it. I have been soooooo busy during the last months that I haven't had the time to spend in my creative writing. Now I feel a bit scared about writing again. I want to do it, I will do it, but the classic blank paper block is acting on me. I know I need to get it right so I can take up my MA second year. Well, this will be my job for next week. Overcome this fear, believe I can do it and actually WRITE.
d) The other thing that gets in the way of writing and getting things done is my huge ability to get stressed out (just thinking about everything that needs to be done) and clog my brain with all sort of negative thoughts. Some work for me there, too.
REWARDS: I didn't have time to go out shopping for my top and, anyway, I decided I didn't want to spend more money this month before getting paid. Plus I haven't done everything I wanted to do... I'm not sure I've met all my goals, CAN I STILL BUY MY JOURNAL? Since I'll probably get some extra motivation from it, I think I will.
HAVE A LOVELY WEEKEND! I look forward to reading about your writing week.
It's great being here!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another SWIMmer

Hi everyone!

I am delighted to join you in this writing adventure. I am a lecturer at the University of Nottingham (U.K) and after an extremely busy final semester it's like my brain's gone on a strike. All this writing I want to do keeps piling up somewhere at the back of my head; wants to be rescued and got on with; and WHAT A FANTASTIC INITIATIVE this Summer SWIM. Thank you!

My Summer Objectives (I'm not sure I'm going to be realistic here, but I just want to empty the 'to write' drawer and be able to look at its content, face to face!)

1. To finish writing portfolio and application form for an MA in Creative Writing (this needs to be done asap).

2. To finish writing the module description for a 'Creative Writing in Spanish' module that I'm trying to create (and get accepted) at uni.

3. To finish editing three short stories which have been left abandoned for ages (maybe that could be part of my MA portfolio); especially one, which I would like to send to a Writing Competition at the end of August.

4. Morning pages.

5. To post new entries to my blogs at least weekly. To write my "My Yoga Journey" blog (http://myogajourney.blogspot.com/) at least three times a week.

6. Complete 'The Artist Way'.

7. And the BIIIIG ONE. Finish the first draft of a NOVEL.

This week's objectives: Well, this week is not going to be very long for me. Actually, I have only two and a half days!!!!!
Ok. I'll keep it simple, short and realistic (I hope).
1. Morning pages
2. Module Description for Creative Writing in Spanish
3. At least 30 min a day working on my portfolio (which may include either short stories and some chapters of my novel)
4. New entry in my blogs: Ones, Writing in Spanish and My Yoga Journey).

Reward! Yeah! Will go shopping for a nice top. I'm away this weekend on a hen night and I really fancy wearing something new. Ah! And a new journal/notebook.


Rewards for Good Behavior

Just popping by to say that I'd forgotten to mention a super important part of SWIMming: REWARDS!!!

How do you plan to reward yourself for meeting your goals for this week? a bag of m&ms, a matinee, new office supplies, songs from itunes, a visit to your favorite cafe, a bouquet of flowers, time enjoying your favorite guilty pleasure guilt free?

I'm planning to order more of my favorite writing candles if when I meet my goals.

The writing flowed well yesterday so I'm hoping I can recreate the magic today.

Wishing you all a happy & productive writing day! Can't wait to find out more about what you're each working on!!

Little Tomato's Diving In!

Bonjour, mes amies! I am THRILLED to join all of you on your SWIM this summer - what a fabulous idea! I'm not a writer by day (unless you count commercial leases, partnership agreements, private placement memorandums... ok, i'll stop), but think the power of putting words on the page is magical. Plus i've had lots of books in my head for awhile now so i figure now's a great time to start! Voila my goals...

Summer Goals:

1. Begin writing le book. (This is hard.) Get ideas and words and thoughts on paper, even if they are unorganized or don't make sense. Don't judge yourself.

2. Journal daily, even if it's just for 10 minutes.

3. Write better blog posts - get creative, have fun, maybe less words and more pics, feature guest bloggers, etc.

This Week's Goals:

Considering this week is half-over, and i'm out of town for a wedding Friday on, i'm just going to stick with something simple and work on #2 - journaling daily for at least 10 minutes. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

diving deep...

I'm thrilled to be SWIMming with y'all this summer! The accountability will help me focus and actually produce some meaningful prose and poetry rather than a bit of dabbling here and there...

My major writing projects this summer are:
1. Jenny Crusie presentation and article. I already presented a version of this paper at the Popular Culture Association conference back in April, and now need to a) shift the focus; b) include another novel; c) shorten; and d) craft into an informal presentation rather than a formal one.

Then, I need to work with both presentations to create an article for a collection of scholarly essays on Crusie's work. The deadline for this article is...unknown. I need to do more secondary research, and integrate suggestions from readers.

2. Digital novel article. I'm co-editing a collection of essays on the evolution of the novel in the digital age, and I'm also contributing an essay I wrote for two conferences last year. I look at how new technologies--particularly eharlequin.com, author blogs, and scholar blogs--are changing the romance genre. This article needs some work and research, and I also need to spend time doing co-editor stuffs (whatever that may be...)

3. My novel! I have a lovely character, who is facing a process of life revision, and is doing it one summer on the shores of Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan. I really like this character, and I want to give her experiences voice, but have not been successful working on writing said story. I need lots of motivation for this one!

My goals this week:
1. Continue posting one blog entry per day (NaBloPoMo)
2. Continue journaling every day
3. Re-read/skim foodie bits of *Bet Me*
4. Draft 3-4 pages of freewrite prose for RWA presentation
5. Spend at least 30 minutes every day on the Novel, diving in wherever I want
6. Conduct some scholarly research for expansion of PCA/RWA presentation into article
7. Revisit digital novel presentation/abstract for book collection--sharpen up
8. Continue reading The Courage to Write

Monday, June 22, 2009

Come SWIMming - the water's fine!

With its extra-long days, summer holds so much potential for new projects. The summer begins with so many good intentions and lofty goals for our spare time, and then when autumn begins we wonder where we spent all that time we seemed to have because the projects are not completed and the goals are not met. This is particularly true of writing, which comes straight from the blood and sweat of our souls and fingertips. Come fall, when we discover that we have left these creative expressions behind we can feel guilty, dissatisfied, wasteful.

This summer is different.

Today, the first day after the summer solstice, the Lit-tastic Revisionista and I are thrilled to announce SWIM: Summer Writing Inspiration Movement. This summer, we invite you to declare your writing goals out loud and mark their progress together with us in environment of summer fun, support and inspiration. Whether your writing is personal or professional, full time or spare time, we invite you to join SWIM!

What makes SWIM different from a traditional writing group is that it is not limited to one particular form of writing. Creative writing, academic writing, journaling, blogging, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, mission statements, personal manifestos - whatever you write or want to write, you are welcome here. Every writing goal is equal at SWIM, and with that equality we hope to draw inspiration from the diversity of our group's ambitions.

On Mondays, we will be posting our writing goals for the week and reminding ourselves of the larger goals in the pipeline. On Fridays, we will be posting a check-in with our progress. During the week, we'll be leaving comments on SWIM members' posts with encouragement and ideas. It's that simple!

Summer writing intentions:
*Generate a full draft of my dissertation (3 chapters remaining)
*Produce two conference papers
*Complete "The Artist's Way" creativity course

This week's intentions:
*Draft all unwritten and scattered sections of "Studio" chapter.
*Write three full B5 morning pages each day.

Come SWIMming! The water's fine!

Dateline: Salcombe, Devon, UK

Calling All SWIMmers

Hi Everyone!

Kiki, the effervescent creator of The Prosecco Life, and I have decided to join forces to create a support blog for those of us working on writing projects this summer.

We're planning to post updates twice a week: one on Monday to declare our writing intentions for the week & one on Friday (or the weekend) to share what we managed to accomplish.

So, if you'd like to join us, send an email to revisionista77@gmail.com and I'll add you to the list of SWIMmers. Once I've added you, you'll be able to upload your own posts to the blog.

This support group is for anyone trying to get a start on or complete any kind of writing project: academic article/book, dissertation, fiction, poetry, personal statements, manifestos, etc. Even if you've never written anything before, but you're ready to get that idea that's been simmering in your head onto paper, this would be a great opportunity to get started!

I'll dive in first by briefly listing my summer goals & what I'm trying to accomplish this week.

Revisionista's Writing Intentions:

Summer Goals:

  • Assemble a complete draft of the academic book
  • Draft ACT I of the NOLA novel
This Week
  • Draft 12 singlespaced pp of CH 1 of the academic book (get into the fiction section)
  • Draft 35 handwritten, wild, messy pages of the NOLA novel
  • Type up pages written thus far
We look forward to SWIMming with you. ;)