Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week In Review/Preview - ROW First Week

A Round Of Words In Eighty Days

I knew I had a heavy schedule at day job for this half of the week, so my goal was to not lose too much ground. I wanted to hit the 600 minute mark (my weekly goal) a day early -- on Saturday -- so I could line up my week on the Sunday Update posts. And I made it! I made it early enough that I will probably do some work tonight to get started on next week's 600 minutes.

Wednesday Day 3 - 39 minutes! This was my long day at work, so I slacked off a bit on the Dare Goals. But I had an inspiration there, about a tough scene that was coming up -- how to transition from a major turn, to Karla realizing that her books were floofy. (It's a clue.) It pulls the whole sequence together. So I wrote that.

Thursday Day 4 - Oh, crap. Nothing done. Thinking, maybe. And I was SO excited about working on some scenes. But though today was not such a long day, it was an exhausting one, and I have to get up early in the morning. I ended up revamping that post I did for Friday, about Sustainable Anticipation, because it is relevant to what I'm working with right now in the book.

Friday Day 5 - 96 minutes. Whoo hoo! That leaves me within easy striking distance of hitting 600 minutes by the end of the day Saturday. Which allows me to start the next week on Sunday. Worked on Chapter 17, in which Karla realizes she has a naked man in her house... or else a fully clothed man who is dripping wet.

Saturday Day 6 - Exactly 120 minutes, to make for 601 for the week!

This coming week, it's the early part of the week which will be tricky. So now that I've reached 600 minutes, I'm actually going to start next week's goals tonight after midnight. I hope to have all the pieces in place for the tricky section -- up through the end of Chapter 18 -- by the Wednesday update. The rest, I think, will go a LOT faster. I think I'll have an actual coherent draft, from beginning to end, soon.

Comparative Goal Making

I think I know too many hard-driving pros. I'm always surprised when people say that my goals are ambitious or that I'm setting the bar high. I never think I am. I mean, yes, I do always set the to something I'll have to work on to achieve, but they always seem comparatively low. (Compared to, oh, people like Dean Wesley Smith.)

I noticed that a lot of the other participants in this writing challenge (and others) have lower goals. And exactly the kind of good, steady, low, habit-building goals that you would expect.

But here's the thing: I've been writing for a very long time. I've not only formed habits, but I've tweaked them pretty well. I've learned about myself and what I can and can't do. I am disappointed that I can't just shift into gear and do what DWS does, and that I never will for more than a short period of time.

But I also know that where I am is really quite spiffy. And I have an idea of where I can go, and am likely to go under various circumstances.

Coming this week:

  • Monday Covers: Lite Darkness, where I look at two covers (not cozy mysteries) which evoke exactly the sort of "lite" darkness that I want to see in a cozy.
  • Tuesday Short Form - I'll review some short stories I've been reading. Not sure which ones yet.
  • Wednesday - ROW80 Check In - (CHANGE: Instead of more about my goals, I'm going to talk about Reversing Discouragement -- since so many seem to be discouraged lately.)
  • Thursday - Coverage Vs. Critique
  • Friday - One Rule: Pay Attention -- all the other rules boil down to that one.

Food Of The Week -- Chao Two-flavor Pork

I got two little boneless pork steaks -- too much for one stir-fry dish (or a "chao"), so I decided to make two dishes with contrasting flavors. Yum!

First flavor: Mu Shu Pork

I shredded up a quarter of a small cabbage, and and about a quarter of a large onion radially so I had similar long shreds for that. And, of course, cut the first pork steak into shreds as well (easiest to do if it's slightly frozen, unless you have mad knife skills). I normally would have added mushrooms, but alas, the mushrooms went yucky on me a day sooner than expected. Stir-fried up those with some minced garlic and a lot of hoisin sauce.

Second flavor: Cumin Pork

This isn't technically a Sichuan dish, but I've only had similar flavors in Sichuan restaurants. It originally comes from Muslim Chinese areas, and is a lamb dish. But like other lamb dishes, it's really tasty with pork.

I cut the second chop in cubes, and stuck it in a ziploc bag with some Sichuan red oil, minced garlic, a couple dashes of cumin and oregano, and a dash of soy sauce and dry sherry. I would have added ginger, but I didn't have any. I diced half a large sweet red pepper, and another quarter of a large sweet onion. Then I chao-ed the meat (with maybe one more dash of cumin, and some Sriracha hot sauce) and added the veggies when most of the pink was gone.

I did this all while watching Campion on my computer in the kitchen. (Amazon Prime gives you free access to some nice streaming choices.)

This all made me happy. Perhaps that's why I had great success at writing that day....

See you in the funny papers.


Julie Jordan Scott said...

Wow! You are up to a lot with your ROW80 goals and it makes me feel, somehow, comforted. Like the Little Engine that could... I feel like we are all a group or community of little engines that could. Which makes me smile. Which helps me believe everything will keep moving as I keep moving my pencil.

Great to meet you via ROW80, looking forward to more connections.

KH LeMoyne said...

Congrats on doing so well! And the flavors worked to make me hungry - unfortunately, no smell-a-vision. Can you work on that? (smile).

Brooke Jackson said...

Good job meeting your goal! Ten hours a week is quite impressive; I'm lucky if I can find just 15 minutes each day. But, as you keenly noted in your Comparative Goal Making section, you've been writing for awhile (certainly much longer than me!) and it's reasonable to expect such a high standard. I'd like to be at your level some day!

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks all!

Here's the secret (I should do a post on this someday...):

Get your life under control.

Ten hours a week isn't all that much if you think of it as a job. Real work. But it can take years to sort your life out to make room for it. And you've got to do that in small steps too.

So the first big step is to have a goal you can keep, and then keep it. Show yourself you can do it, get in the habit of acquiring "Dare Points."