Saturday, January 07, 2012

ROW80 Goals Status #2 = "Delving Deeper"

Time again already -  I find myself looking forward to the twice-weekly updates.  They come often enough to keep me focused on moving forward in all my goal areas; yet they don't come frequently enough to be distracting or daunting, to me.

It's been a mellow few days.  Two days of temperatures near zero degrees Fahrenheit kept us mostly indoors.  We've played some games: Mastermind and Fire Boy and Water Girl in the Light Temple  are two games I learned from my children this week.  I cut my hair.  Miah and Lise trimmed theirs, too.  I made a beef and barley stew with carrots, leeks, and celery; oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar; and assorted fruit and vegetable platters - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, oranges, frozen grapes, green and red bell peppers, celery, baby carrots, apples, and snow pea pods were all joyfully consumed, this week.

There has been art, and laughter, and Phineas and Ferb, Frances the Badger, Soul Eater,  The Big Bang Theory, and lots of PBS Kids.  There have been indoor obstacle courses and scuffles, laughter and frustration.  There have been deep discussions of a personal nature.  There've been kisses and snuggles and working together in the wee hours.  There's been lots of fun and silliness, and splashing in the tub.

Jim and I are finding moments of connection, and would prefer hours.  Looking forward to his vacation at the end of next month - or for me to go back to sleeping nights, or for him not to be tied up in car repairs.

There has been love, and learning, and life.

And there has been writing, for me, Quite a lot of writing.  Short writing just for fun, at One-Minute Writer. Chameleon's Dish, because the story is unrolling in my mind, and it's an adventure to follow along where it leads me.  Notes for an upcoming essay, and a potential business venture on a tiny scale.  And a completed essay,  here, that was deeply powerful for me.  More work on the Tiny Buddha post.  And a comment on Cooperative Catalyst that brought surprising results -  more on that later.

There's been research, and learning how to do more, and  more efficiently, with my blog platform.  There's been experimentation, and some failures and setbacks,. and successes, too. There's even been social interaction around writing, which has been refreshing and exciting, and new.

So, where am I on those goals, you ask?  You didn't?  Doesn't matter.  I'm going to tell you, anyway!

Round of Words 80 Goals - Round 1, 2012:

I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly.

Early early Saturday morning, I posted my third blog post, an intense affair.  I have created a to-do list for the next steps in the Tiny Buddha submission post and written a rough draft, and the first notes/impressions for A Tale of Two New Years, which will focus on the changes in our children and our lives between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2012.

There is another essay simmering like a thick beef stew in my mind.  It has to do with labels people give to each other, and the perceptions that we may view as reality,  I can't yet pin it down any further than that, but, if it crystallizes, I will take some notes and perhaps make a beginning.  Not right away, though - I need breaks between my more intense posts.

I'm also considering going back to the early chapters of my NaNo novel, which were basically a long series of rough, stream-of-consciousness essays.  I know there are deep and true things in there that deserve more than lingering in the purgatory of my hard drive.  It will be like a treasure hunt, finding the pearls in my sea of words, and bringing them up to the surface to share.

The comment I shared, which I brought over to my blog, too, because it seemed worth saving, and because I posted it without editing, and want to edit, was long enough to be an essay, on its own, and was publicly posted.  A short while later, I received a message from the blog owner, asking if -  gasp! - I would be interesting in writing a guest post!  I am researching more of the blog, and will decide in a few days.

So, at this point, I have four completed and publicly posted.  That's two-fifths of the way to achieving this goal!  I have an essay in progress, another pending, and an idea brewing for a third, with backup material waiting in the wings to be mined.

Oh, and it looks like I am essay writing,, I will be halfway done with this goal when I post this!

I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf

As I mentioned above, I've been working on my Tiny Buddha submission essay.  I've created a to-do list for my nest few steps, and completed a rambling first draft .  I intend to give it a bit of a rest, rereading it maybe in a day or two, before attempting to begin to shape it in any particular direction.  (After writing this, I chatted online with fellow ROWer and my  lifelong spiritsyster, Eden Mabee, and, as she so often does, she set my thoughts in a new direction without meaning to, and I think it's way better than what I had written.

The Sunday Surf post will likely be A Tale of Two New Years.  I will know for certain when I have a completed draft.  I hope to move forward on that project, too, over the next few days.  Since it's lighter and far more upbeat throughout, and I get to play with lots of pictures of the kids, new and older, it will make a good balance for the more intense material I am dealing with for the Tiny Buddha submission.

I will also continue my researching of the Cooperative Catalyst blog, and perhaps begin some note taking on potential ideas for that project.

I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel, Chameleon's Dish 

I left Chameleon's Dish halfway through Chapter 13, when November and NaNo ended.  I had wanted to finish the draft before Christmas, but instead took the time to relax and really enjoy spending the  holidays with my family

Now, I can happily report that Chapter 13 is finished, and I am, to date, 2807 words into Chapter 14.

I have a general sense of the trajectory the novel is following, and the climactic event.  I have some idea of what happens along the way...

But there is a lot of room for surprises, and they do seem to keep coming.  That makes the writing much more fun and gratifying, but makes it impossible to predict, at this point, how many words lie between me and the end.  I would say that I am somewhere solidly in the middle of the middle! =D

I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets (like Elance, for example).  

 I am honestly, well  - uninspired - with what I have seen offered on Elance.  I 've done copywriting before, and SEO stuff.  It has passed out of easy reach, but I once wrote  all the text for a large cleaning and restoration company's website.

Truth is, though, I really don't enjoy that kind of writing.  I don't really want to plug someone for money.  I would do it for passion, so I will probably keep my eyes open around there a couple of times a week.

I feel that I am meant to do essays, and stories, and writing I deeply and passionately believe in.

So I have spent some time gathering links to possible erotica markets, and reading guidelines.  I am in the digesting phase, now.  I also skimmed some of Susie Bright's site, and found some advice for writers that I hope to read through within the next several days.

I have also dipped the tip of my big toe into looking for Star Trek fan fiction markets.  Nothing really to report yet, except the interest, and the first place to look - Boldly Writing.

I am thinking of other places my writing might fit well, but that is still in its very earliest stages.

The biggest decision I have made is to adapt this goal a little.  I had written that there should be money involved in these submissions; I am revising that.  If the publication is willing to offer me something of value - exposure, a byline, a bio, and/or archive space, I will still be moving toward the long-range goal of earning money at writing.  So, from this point forward, this goal will read:

The pay doesn't need to be much; but there should be something of tangible value offered. "

And no, I will not accept kittens.  Or chickens.  Margot the Manx is happily the solitary feline here.  We're not zoned for chickens.....

I have done some brainstorming, and chatted a little with Jim. about my potential writing enterprise.  I have started a Springpad file for notes and a very basic beginning to-do list.  I've toyed with some ideas that excite me.

And I'm still not ready to talk about them....I want to be quiet with them , and feel them, and do some research, before I offer or commit to anything.   The plan, so far, is small, but it is something that makes me feel happy inside.  Rather than force it to bloom too early, I'm going to follow that happy feeling and see where it leads me.....

I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add 
writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page (Shan Jeniah Burton, Writer). 

I've begun to see what a great tool the Writer Page is.  Since I'm not cluttering it up with trivia, or details of my life with the children,  or inspirational quotes or pictures or chatting or any of the many other things I use my regular Facebook account for, I can put links for research, my different projects and posts, and other writing- specific items there, and they don't get lost nearly so easily as they would, on the main page.  
I have added several links to the page, and more writing samples, too.  And I'm enjoying it.

Still want to take a bit of time and post some writing and book-related pictures there, though!


So that's what I've been up to the last few days.  Tomorrow is likely to have less writing in it, as we will be celebrating Lise's half-birthday.  We're going to get her the last-minute big-ticket item on her Christmas list, because the budget wouldn't allow it in time for the holiday.  Gift cards will be spent by both children, and i am getting a chill pad for the Sweet L'il Lenovo, and a new writing notebook or two, because I like to jot things.

I feel as though I have made a solid and delightful start on an adventure I've been waiting my whole life for!

Thank You, ROW80, Thank You!


Darlene Steelman McGarrity said...

Good luck with your goals.... :) I am glad I found your blog.

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

I'm glad you're here, too!. New faces and new perspectives stir me to new ideas and new levels of understanding.

I'm loving playing with these goals, using them as a framework upon which to build my writing life.....

Very exciting, indeed! =D

Heather Kelly said...

I love your description of your life--it really is beautiful and whimsical and honest all in one. I'm so glad you are making such progress in your writing life!

Good luck!

alberta ross said...

great blog -I to am glad to have found this place - please be kinder tho' all that delicious food made me mouth wateringly hungry and you are too far for me to 'drop by'

The essay writing is good - have you ever read any of the classic essay writers of bygone days - they are very interesting and studying how the craft has eveolved over the centuries - interesting.

all best for this week

Tia Bach said...

Wow, your enthusiasm jumps off the page. A great update post. I look forward to reading more from you this round, and catching some of your energy!

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

Heather -

What you said pretty much describes our lives, all right. I don't think you caught on to the untidiness, the middle of the night Pokemon machine making or the moments when screaming is all someone can think to do, in that moment.

But there is a lot of love, too, and fun, and everybody getting to do the things we love, with people we love.

Hard to beat that! =)

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

Alberta -

You probably don't really want to know what my husband is a chef, then, right? =D

I've read some essays, here and there. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who touched me with the loss of her first child and her ongoing quest to create a life of deep meaning.

That I understand, soul deep.

There've been others who slip my mind right now.....I am too tired to think of them!

I do love how language, topic, and style change over time. Something I particularly enjoy about novels from other time periods, too.

I still don't seem to have the time for deep reading that i would like just yet. But as the children grow and become more capable, I am finding more pockets of time for myself, so I am hoping that, in the not so distant future, I can finally read some of the awesome books I've been waiting years for!

All the best for your week, too!

Shan Jeniah Burton said...


Ah, so THAT's where it went?!?!?!

I think it took my energy with it - I could use some of my energy right now, too - oh, wait! I already did.

I get really punchy when I'm overtired - sorry for the silliness.

Mostly, I do what makes me or someone I love feel joyful. Singing spirits make enthusiasm a lot easier to come by....

Also, I spend the majority of my waking hours with children. THeir energy is catching, I think.

I know their giggles are!

Giggles, enthusiasm, and energy to YOU, too!