Monday, January 16, 2012

ROW80 - "Leaping Before I Look"

I've been gearing myself up for it since I decided to do ROW80, and set my goals down on paper.

I was going to need, eventually, to do something I haven't done for over a decade, now.

I need to submit to reach my goals.  

And submitting is scary, a leap with only the barest of ideas of how things will end up, a leap of faith in the blind dark......

And I am afraid of falling, of the air rushing past, of gravity controlling rather than supporting me...

I get nauseous, and dizzy, and terrified.  I can scuba dive at night, in a cavern, 50 feet deep, and float with Jim's hand in mine, in utter dark....

But the thought of falling off a stepping stone in an ankle deep creek makes me tense, even sitting here, safely, on my bed.

And yet, this week, I did some bona-fide leaping, and a lot of mountain goat scrambling.

I also learned a lot as I went along, and about things I really might not have considered before this challenge, and I'm beginning to see that this ROW80 thing is about more than setting some goals and working toward meeting them.

More about my leaping, scrambling, and learning, after the goals updates.

Before the goals, a slideshow treat of some random moments in our lives....

Round of Words 80 Goals - Round 1, 2012:

I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly.
  • Tiny Buddha submission:  Rough draft of second version written and revised.  Draft sent to Eden Mabee for comments and verification.  She sent her comments back quickly; I read them and am letting them percolate for another day or two. There are still a few rough places, but I followed the guidelines for paragraph and essay lengths, so there is actually room for me to add detail or thoughts that seem relevant in the next draft or two.  I also thought I might add some of our Buddha pictures, for effect and interest (and so they are also searchable; I'm learning a bit about blog traffic through this process).
  • Sunday Surf submission  "A Tale of Two New Years" :   I have what I think is most of a rough draft, with notes for the layout of the many pictures that will go with this reflective post.  The photos I plan to use have been edited, although I may need to move some of them around a bit before I can access them for the blog.  I'm hoping to start with the pictures tomorrow, then see how they affect the tone of the text.  I've also revised the text I have as I feel my way through to  the conclusion.
  • Untitled Cooperative Catalyst submission:  I revised this again, twice, after giving it two or three days' rest.  I thought I could include some pictures of the kids' art and/or some activity shots that might appeal to educators, and hyperlinks, but need to check with the editor before adding them.  I will be drafting that letter sometime before Wednesday, to see where I should go from this point.
  • Unschooling Bog Carnival submission:  This is a newly conceived project that evolved from a conversation on an unschooling group I belong to.  The inaugural carnival will be posted in February.  The deadline for submissions is January 25, and the topic will be LOVE.  I have wanted to write about the close bond my children share, and how it relates to  Elijah's life and death.  I have many, many wonderful pictures to use, and I can even, maybe, ask the kids to talk about each other a bit.  I am very excited to write this post, and might be able to give it to the kids for Valentine's Day - oooh!  It just occurred to me that I could use their own art to illustrate it!  AWESOME!!!

Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton, aka Mommy. 
I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf.
  • As mentioned above, both of these submissions are moving along.  One or both of them may well be ready for submission (or submitted, already) by Wednesday's check-in, or soon thereafter.
  • I am breathing through anxiety, and thoroughly enjoying this challenge.  I do a little at a time, interspersed with novel writing and blog commenting.
I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel, Chameleon's Dish.
  • I'm continuing to use 750words as my Test mile, and to write there daily.  Often, this will be my last writing of the day.  Since ROW80 began, this has been my only fiction work-in-progress, so it's a nice creative outlet, and I generally fall asleep dreaming dreams that feed the story....Since Wednesday's check-in I have finished chapter 14, and begun a wild and glorious emotional ride in Chapter 15, inspiringly titled "King of Infinite Space".  I've gotten 3826 words in, and I am loving this tense outburst of a chapter!
Source Unknown
  • I've done some research on Star Trek fan fiction, and joined a fan fiction site , where I can submit chapters of my novel, but, -ahem - I will have to save the erotica aspects for my own amusement, and keep the "official" version at "suggestive".  It'll be like my own dirty little secret, except I just told you!
I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets.
  • I submitted something!  An erotic poem, no less, to Clean Sheets. The next day, it came back, first email rejection letter, and my first rejection of any kind in over a decade.  Yes, it has been that long since I submitted anything.
Photo by Eden Mabee.
  • I feel like I've broken the ice, there, and now can simply - move forward.  I am not sure, just now, whether that means playing with and/or resubmitting it, or moving on to developing other pieces.  I will have a better idea by next Sunday's check-in.
  • I wrote up a bullet list service/item description for my independent writing enterprise, and am preparing to  submit the idea to one of my potential markets,  The Unschooler's Emporium, in order to learn more of what is involved in online sales.
I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add
writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page 
(Shan Jeniah Burton, Writer).
  • I am continuing to add links and updates to the page, and using it as a tool to aid me in researching markets and ideas.  
  • I haven't worked at prettying it up, yet.  I discovered TweetDeck, and finally feel I am beginning to get a grasp on what Twitter is useful for,  That used up most of my playtime.  I will have at least popped a few pictures and/or inspirational phrases up there, by Wednesday.
  • I have been working my way though the links I have posted there, finding a wealth of useful information. I am, at least sometimes, remembering to refer back to the discoveries later, in order to chart my path and share it with interested others.
  • I am still in the very early stages of considering what I want this page to look like and be.  Right now, it's mostly the Repository of Useful Things, and my sketchy journal of my Writerly Meanderings....... 

So, there it is -  my progress to date.  At the moment, I feel like I am moving steadily forward, with several projects nearing completion, but no concrete results I can point to and say, "Lookee what I did!

But, as I said, there were those leaps of faith.  One was taking a deep breath, and hitting "send" on a submission.  Yes, it was just a wee smutty poem. but I sent it bravely out into the world, and, when it returned, I welcomed it home without calling it or myself a failure.

I got just a little stronger, by doing that.

I also signed up for the Writer's Forums, along with the fanfic site.  Haven't been back to explore either, yet, but that is in the plan for the coming week.  There is so much to learn, and i am eager to find out what it is!

Those two were smaller leaps, yet still, faith and trust were required.

As for those mountain-goat scrambles I referenced earlier, they seem to be occurring on many fronts, lately:

Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton.
  • I am learning to use Twitter and Tweetdeck.
  • I am learning new ways to increase traffic (not random traffic, but those who will actually enjoy my writing, I hope) to my blog, without feeling that I am becoming a leech who only wants pageviews and comments (although I really do so love interacting with my readers, especially those readers whose own writing speaks to me, too - as Annalise would say, "That's a symbiotic relationship!").
  • I am learning a great deal about my blogging platform, and am becoming much more fearless in following up on my many "what if" questions.  I've dramatically changed the appearance of this blog, and I may not be done yet.  Like my writer page, I have only the beginnings of an idea about how I would like it all to be.....but a beginning is a very good place to start.
  • I am learning that there are far more places to post good, honest writing than I ever imagined, and that none of my writing is unworthy of being considered "serious".  Honestly, the writing I've always, in my heart, approached most seriously is my "Spockerotica" , as I call it  I've been a little ashamed of that every since my tenth grade math teacher picked up the notebook I was furiously scribbling in, read a few paragraphs, turned hugely red, and managed, "Don't ever bring this garbage into my class again."  And still, I couldn't restrain myself.  Those feelings will out-  and, in truth, some of the best writing I have ever done has been there.  It's my "safe zone" for the trickier parts of life, like infant death, abuse and manipulation, the forces that rule each of us beyond resistance, reconciling a life not lived according to someone else's blueprint, spirituality, futility, grace, and the darker places in myself.   These aren't just dirty stories; they are a rich tapestry of who I am.  
  • I am learning to remind myself of that when I forget, and give all the stories inside me their dignity.
  • I am learning that I can let my house get cluttery and be all right with that, at least sometimes.  I used to spend many hours each day in cleaning.  Now, I find that I can do that only every day or two, and have hours more for writing, and still be available for the children when they need or want me.
  • I've discovered a new belief in and peace with myself. It's new, and a little wide-eyed, wet-winged, and delicate just now, and I don't want to harm or frighten it by trying to grasp at it.  I'll just quietly tell you that it is there, over on that leaf, looking like its poised to soar....
  • I've discovered, at long last, that I can calmly ask for and assert what I need and want without whininess or entitlement.  I can accept being told no, usually with fairly good grace.  And I can take steps, confidently, to meet my own needs.
  • There are some really amazing people writing out there.  I am not alone - 
  • Following blogs led me here - #WANA.  We are not alone.  Might even write a blogpost about some of you, in the coming weeks...or, take the plunge and host some guest Bloggers.....
  • I've learned that I can be intensely self-driven and purposeful in pursuing my goals.  I have often doubted myself, and let fear carry me further from my goals, with excuses, other projects, just plain avoidance....Now, I've realized that I am not hiding from deadlines when I do that; I am hiding from myself.  And I'm not interested in doing that, anymore.
  • I also learned that my children can make cupcakes from a boxed mix, with only help in getting them out of the oven.  What a delicious thing to learn! =D
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Anonymous said...

Congrats Shan! You're getting a lot done. I love your attitude about submission and rejection. The thought of welcoming your piece back home without calling yourself a failure is brilliant. Good for you. And your dirty little secret is going to be stuck in my mind. Spockerotica. Don't even know where to go with that. ;)
--Yolanda Early

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

Thank you, Yolanda!

Sometimes it feels like I'm just going along, doing bits of this and that, moving along....and then I write it up in a status, and it turns out there was a lot accomplished. That's always cool!

Ten years is a long time between submissions. I could have never done another, and pretended that it didn't matter to me. The female antagonist in my novel is a (sometimes) felinoid Huntress, and thinks in terms of predator and prey.

Sending that little poem out was like stalking. Even the best hunting cat doesn't always make the kill. But the little poem survived, to hunt again, solo, or as part of a larger group.....

The victory, for me, this time, was in going ahead and doing it, no matter the result. I tend, these days, not to worry about the parts of process I can't control....

I hope it's a happy dirty little secret! If not, I apologize for having put it there.

I had to call it something other than "the bonding story"....and its an epic spanning decades. So...Spockerotica.

It makes me happy. ;D

Kim Switzer said...

What a great list of leaps and bounds! Congratulations on submitting your poem Keep breathing. Keep stepping forward. You're doing great!

Eden "Kymele" Mabee said...

I'm sneaking off Yolanda's post here, because it's the only place that allowed me a "reply" link...

As usual, you have a lot of energy pouring out around you. It's good to see your focus so upbeat! When there are so many things happening, then it's all the more important to keep that strength of focus. >hugs<

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

Thank you, Sys! You know me; I like doing lots of different wonderful things at once....taking more of a break today, just puttering and recharging. This was a BIG post!

Hope to see you tomorrow! =D

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

Kim - thank you for your kind words. I am truly loving this adventure! =D