In January, I signed up for my first round with ROW 80. For any of my newer readers, ROW 80 is a self-defined writing challenge where everyone sets his or her own goals. If you’re an author and/or blogger looking for a supportive community and a little push toward consistency in your writing, I’d recommend giving it a try.
It’s been really helpful to me because it’s flexible and self defined but there are regular check-ins, so I can look back over my progress and see what’s working and what isn’t. I posted a really long report on last round for anyone who’s interested.
The short version, as it relates to my current goals.
- I have chronic migraines, cluster headaches, and a bunch of less-common health problems that limit my writing time and make my progress sporadic.
- I don’t do very well by setting arbitrary “rules” for myself about how many words/pages I should produce per writing period. It doesn’t matter whether the “writing period ” is a day, a week, a month or what. I spent years trying to make progress with these “write so many words/so many pages” methods. I’ve completed Nanowrimo several times, and I’ve done god knows how many other quantity oriented challenges besides, but I hardly ever finished or felt satisfied with those projects, even with a ton of revision after the fact. All I’ve gotten for my trouble is burnout, frustration, and RSI. I don’t think that’s really what discipline means, and unless I have a professional deadline to meet, I don’t see the point in doing that to myself anymore.
- Last round, I finally figured out that the best way for me to make consistent progress without feeling undue stress is to set some loose long-term goals, create a to-do list, and then commit to spending at least an hour a night working on my list until I’m satisfied.
- Usually I end up with more ideas and find that some aren’t working out, so it’s helpful for me to update my to do list as I work and create a new one whenever I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Last round’s goals and what’s getting carried over
My goals for round one focus mostly on my blog. I’d like to continue with that, because I’ve realized that I want to find ways to integrate my blogging more with my fiction writing instead of viewing them as separate endeavors that sometimes connect. I’m going to change things up a bit for this round, though.
The two main ones I have right now are ROW80 (obviously) and Post A Week. I did really well with both of those last round and would like to continue them. Ruth L Snyder’s Blog Hop For Writers is over, but I have a lot of follow-up ideas that I’m working on. Readers seem to enjoy my random inspiration posts, so I’m going to continue with those, too.
Blog Structure and Posting Goals
Herding Muses is the writing-related section of the blog. I’ve got several semi-regular features that I’ve been alternating through.
- Muse Bait and Feeding the Muses are free to use ideas, prompts, brain-fodder, and resources for writers. Most are mine right now, but I’m looking to branch out with guest posts, and links to other helpful resources.
- Muse Herding Gear is a subcategory I’m putting together for product reviews, reviews of writing related books, and strategies for keeping your Muses healthy and happy.
- Advice for the Muse Herding Newbie is a series of advice articles I wish someone had given me 20-odd years ago when I started writing.
- Are You Stuck? is an ongoing series of tips for getting your writing projects unstuck.
Fandom Bouquet is the section dedicated to fan culture, media commentary, reviews, and basically anything that relates to fictional narratives or enjoying other people’s art. I have a couple of ongoing projects there, most of which started by accident.
- 100 Things I Learned by Writing Fanfiction is an ongoing blog series about my experiences in fan culture and how they have helped me become a better person and a better writer. It’s on hold right now because I realized that a lot of my post topics apply to any fiction and would work better as general writing posts.
- One Fat Woman’s Defense of the Disney Princess started as a response to a post on another blog. It’s become the most popular content here and gets about 500 hits per day. I’m looking for ways to continue that discussion and provide relevant follow-up content. I have to confess though, I’m a little bit mystified about the level of interest.
- Redefining Disability: A Discussion of Pop Culture, Media, and Changing Perceptions was an offshoot of the Disney Princess post that took on a life of its own. It’s a little different than the other Fandom Bouquet stuff because I’m trying to make it interactive, so it also falls under the heading of Community. It’s the main thing I’m doing in Fandom Bouquet right now, and I plan to keep it going as long as there’s interest/relevant topics to cover.
- Reviews —I mainly review nonfiction right now, but I’m keeping the reviews under Fandom Bouquet because I’m a nerd and have fannish leanings that go beyond fiction anyway. I review for Netgalley, Blogging For Books, Booklookbloggers
Community is a newer section of the blog that popped up as I started to post opinions and responses to other bloggers here on WordPress. Since then, it’s expanded to include my social commentary posts, religion and spirituality, disability awareness, social equality, and anything else that touches on world events or social engagement. It’s also where I post the random inspiration quotes.
Last round, my goal was just to make one post per month in each of the main categories I write for, then do random inspiration for any weeks I didn’t have topical content. That worked out well enough, but I always write in clusters, and now that I have more long-term/running blog features, I’ve been thinking that it makes more sense to just leave the goal open and say “a one post per week minimum.” Otherwise I run into this problem where I’ve posted 4 or 5 times but forgot to make a post on a particular category.
Free Reads Is Going on Semi-Hiatus
Free Reads is a selection of short works I wrote. The current content will be staying up, but I’m tabling my goal of “one new piece per quarter.” I publish Free Reads to use as practical examples in my writing tips, and I feel like there’s enough to work with right now so there’s no pressing need to keep expanding. I’ll be adding new content as I have it, but I’m also working on fiction in connection with Redefining Disability (you can read about that here) and it’s too much to do both. I’m still working on various fiction projects and will probably post about them (or post some complete stuff) but I won’t be keeping it as a goal.
All of That To Say
My goals for Round 2 are pretty basic.
One Blog Post per week, and one hour a night working on my currently posted to-do list or the List of Ongoing Topics And Ideas.
- Zero To Hero Challenge Day One: Introduce Yourself (rosebfischer.wordpress.com)
- Fandom Bouquet (rosebfischer.wordpress.com)
- Fandoms (notnotnerdygirlblog.wordpress.com)
- Weekend Roundup: New to the Blogroll (sourcererblog.wordpress.com)
- Advice For The Muse Herding Newbie (rosebfischer.wordpress.com)
- Herding Muses: Outlining Example: Level I (rosebfischer.wordpress.com)
- Fandoms Before and After the Internet (pixiemthefilmmaker.wordpress.com)