A – Z Challenge ~ A is for Adversity

Impossible odds make achievements even more satisfying.

Adversity: making or breaking people since the dawn of time.

How much have you overcome in your life?  After you get to know someone and quit the sappy, chitter chatter of small talk, what do you tell them about yourself? Maybe you are fighting cancer, going through a nasty divorce, battling addiction or maybe you have inner demons you can’t quite figure out and you see a doctor to help you with those demons.  None of this makes a bad person.  It makes a human being and it makes you beautiful.

I try to put some of the adversity I have overcome into my writing.  Truth is much more fascinating than fiction, no doubt.  Some of the adversity I have put (or will put) into my writing:

  • Alcoholism/drug addiction
  • Being a teen parent
  • An abusive marriage
  • Growing up poor

Isn’t it interesting that those tribulations we do overcome, that adversity, it makes us stronger and gives us layers.  Imagine if everything went the way we wanted consistently… how freaking boring would that be?

Think about our writing, your writing.  There is adversity in good writing.  There is an obstacle to hurdle, a task to complete, a mystery to solve.  A good story has a protagonist that must overcome adversity to get to the goal.

Adversity makes life.

It’s ROW80 Time!

It’s ROW Time!  Yeah, This week I basically set up my goals for the upcoming April.  I signed up for Script Frenzy which is totally freaking nuts because I have never in my life written a screen play.  I have to do it this way, however.  I lack some sort of internal motivation at times and I need a fire lit under me a lot. Slacker Syndrome? Well, I do come from a vehemently long line of slackers.  I know vehement and slacker don’t really intertwine, per say, but my family had a lot of “I will eventually” in it.  I am determined to break this mold.

I am being hard on myself.  I have broken this mold and will continue to crawl out of its nasty shell and make a name for myself.  This past week I read a lot of blogs and commented on them.  I also started listening to podcasts on my iPod.  I love music, but I feel like I need to listen to more “cultured” stuff.  So I listen to music when I am in my car except on my way to work.

a) I am learning stuff

b) it distracts me from the idiots in surrounding cars.

A good one is “This American Life.”  There are fascinating stories of life in America that people may not otherwise realize.  Check it out.  Good stuff.

On to the goals:

  • read/comment blogs –  I toned it down a little, but manage about 10-15 a day.
  • manuscript – I continue to edit and revise.  I am up to page 74.  My goal is to finish before 3/31.
  • Script Frenzy – get an idea and outline going for this new challenge coming in April.
  • A-Z April Challenge – Blog a topic from A-Z in April.  Need to get some posts scheduled for this.
  • The Walking Dead – Move my weekly posts to Monday for next season.

So I continue to push myself which is good. I kind of faltered on the fitness goal, but have been to the gym at least 3x this week.  Still, need to get going on that. Next Wednesday is the end of the Round! I don’t check in on Wednesday’s so this post is a fond farewell and see you next round!

Got some goals to share, click here to submit your link!

And ROWing Right Along… ROW80 Update

Ah, good old ROW80… I have been keeping up on some goals while others found a piece of driftwood and floated out of my reach. I am loving all the blogs I have been reading.  I am not one hundred percent sure if my blog reading/commenting is a problem or not.  I really think I just love to read other blogs and comment on them. Is that so wrong? Is it?! I didn’t think so.

I reprinted my manuscript with half the edits I made.  It was a difficult decision, but the other manuscript (print version) was so befuddled that I had a difficult time concentrating on it.  So out of disgust and confusion I would stare at until I became cross-eyed and then throw it on the floor.  Yeah, not going to become a big time author that way.  So I started from my personal version of scratch.

In new news, I restarted my Parenting Blog.  I had this idea last year that with the homecoming of my sixteen year old daughter (after being estranged for five years), I would keep a log of how things went and do a daily journal of sorts. Well, things did not go according to plan (do they ever?) and I let it hop on that piece of driftwood.

The other day after getting into it with my teenage dream I was very frustrated and decided to hash it out on my Parent Life blog.  If you are interested or know someone who might be, you can find it by clicking The Parent Life. Like I said, it is kind of new and I only have one follower on the blog.  Maybe some other mommies or want to be mommies might want to swing by.  Or, if you are looking for a deterrent on parenting, it could behoove you as well. 😉

Revamped ROW80 goals are as follows:

  • Read/comment blogs – I am doing at least ten a day.  Not too shabby.
  • Triberr – was going strong for a while.  I stop by at least once a day.
  • Facebook – I am on there way too much (damn that Words With Friends!).
  • Twitter – I do a lot of my tweets through Triberr, so I am not on there as much as before.  Aim for once a day.
  • Health/wellness – I am officially back to the gym! Squee!!  I am digging it and already have visions of me being bikini model ready by June.
  • MANUSCRIPT – Will dedicate thirty minutes or ten pages a day editing (which ever comes first).

So that is it for now.  How are your goals coming along?  Looking forward to seeing everyone’s progress.. 🙂 Check out fellow ROWer progress or link your own here!

Happy ROWing!

Rowing the Slow Sea – Row 80 Update

Rowing along at such a slow pace, you might think that I was snail powered.  I am getting things done, just not at a pace I feel comfortable.  I am editing my WIP at a painstaking rate.  I am keeping up with all of my blog posts (love the scheduler).  I am reading/commenting blogs. Many blog writers are using time-saving, free article writing services to help with their blog. Thanks to some very helpful advice, I learned a way to read/comment a decent amount and then be done with it.  I picked 10 – 15 blogs a day to read/comment.  I always make sure I fall within that range.  Sometimes if I am caught up on stuff, I allow myself to go over.

Modified goals for the week are as follows:

  • continue reading/commenting 10 – 15 blogs a day.
  • continue to write up scheduled blog posts.
  • thirty minutes a day on Triberr.
  • figure out how to drive traffic to music/motorcycle blog.
  • edit WIP – 15 pages a day.
  • get back into the gym at least four days a week.
  • Use Penzu for private journaling.
  • Use 750words.com for brainstorming ideas.

There you have it folks!  the long-awaited, highly anticipated ROW80 goal list of yours truly.  Alright, I am exaggerating (grossly).  One thing I did start doing more of this week is picking up my Kindle and reading.  I get so wrapped up in writing and everything else I forget how important it is to read and I forget how much I enjoy it).

How is everyone else doing on the ROW80 Gist?  Share your progress here.

Moving Row (80) Along

Ah, the sweet smell, feel and look of the magnificent ROW80 badge!  Alright, enough with the corniness.  Seriously, Darlene.

This week has been an absolute roller coaster ride (for lack of a better cliché).  I made it to an AA meeting Friday night which was awesome.  I have been keeping up with my scheduled blog posts. How I ever managed to hold a blog together without the Scheduler, I will never know. I went on my buddy Timm’s radio show last Sunday night and had a total blast.  It was the fastest four hours of my life, no kidding.

Work (day job) is as stressful as a cat in a yarn factory – sensory overload! The office is on high intensity being the middle of tax season.  Tempers are short and the new gal is upset a lot.

To help her out I tell her some ridiculous story from my past. It works!  I have actually thought about writing a memoir of the crazy crap I have endured.  When I tell the stories people crack up.  I would hope a similar sentiment could be conveyed with my written word.  I mean, sure I am no, well, memoir writer.  I like to think I’d do okay.

On with the week’s mission:

  • Edit fifteen pages a day on WIP. I started this and feel this is a pace I can keep.
  • Write my 750 words a day. I missed three days this month so far. Bad!
  • Keep up with Triberr.  There are a few bugs in the program, but it is coming along.
  • Read/comment blogs.  I am doing about twenty – thirty a day.  This is still way too much. I need to cut back.
  • Continue to schedule blog posts for three weekly segments.
  • Write up a new budget.
  • Walk at least twenty minutes a day.

So there you have it folks.. you can all exhale now.  Man, what a suspenseful list, eh? Hope you are all doing well on your ROW80 goals. 😀  Feel free to let me know what’s up with you guys and be sure to post to the linky tool found at the Linky Tools Thingy.  Happy Rowing and enjoy your Sunday.

The Wednesday Row80 Around

Row80!!!  Woo Hoo!  This week is going so well!  Ok, my Talk About It Tuesday didn’t make a huge splash, but I have faith that it will grow some goo and stick to a few windshields. Maybe I didn’t talk enough?  Or maybe the subjects weren’t nuts enough.  Or maybe….. the universe does not revolve around me and people are actually doing *GASP* non-Darlene related things!

A-GO-NY!! Anyway, it is actually the first post I ever posted on a Tuesday come to think about it.  I was doing the customary ROW80 Sunday and ROW80 Wednesday posts. Then I added the Flash Fiction Friday segment.

Now I am adding two new segments.  Talk About It Tuesday and The Walking Dead Chow Down which is scheduled for Thursdays.

I always find these ridiculous stories in my RSS feed in work and I figured my readers would appreciate the insanity in the world just as much as I do.  So Talk About It Tuesday was born.

Thursday is all about zombies and The Walking Dead.  I thought of this because I wanted a fun theme that I love (and some of my readers love) and I figured I could not go wrong with zombies! So I am adding the upkeep of these two themes to my ROW80 goals.

On to the Goals:

  • Reading/commenting blogs – I have been doing very well on this.  I have found some great new blogs and have commented and read a good 1o – 12 blogs a day.  It is time-consuming.  To make it less time-consuming, I let them all build up in my inbox and then use my lunch hour in work to read and comment.  Eating and reading interesting stuff works for me!
  • 750words.com – I am kicking so much arse on this goal I am contemplating the actual taking of names. I have been free writing with no rhyme or reason.  It is coming out very raw and I love it.
  • WIP – Totally bombing on this one.  I started the editing process but felt like I still knew too much of what was going on in the story that I would fill in parts in my mind that weren’t written in.  Does that make sense? So I put it back on the shelf for another thirty days.
  • My new blog segments – This is a brand new baby!  I discovered the beauty of scheduled blog posts thanks to Kristen Lamb and I am loving it! It has made my life so much easier.  Making my life easier has given me more time.  More time has led to structure on my blog. It’s like building a flea circus out of safety pins and Popsicle sticks, except it works.

Off topic:  if you haven’t seen the movie DRIVE starring Ryan Gosling, you might want to give it look-see.  I am not a fan of his, but my boyfriend put it on tonight and I was drawn in by the lack of script and the abundance of sound and actions.

So that is it for this week. I’ll be posting my post to the linky tools site which can be found here.  How are everyone else’s goals coming along?

Today’s Post – Brought to You by the Letter “G”

Yes! The letter G… just when you think I couldn’t get any dorkier, here I come down the street, running behind you screaming “G!” “G!” as you bob and weave out of parked cars.

I say “G” because this week focuses on goals and guest posts. My first guest post (ever!) will be over at Marcia Richards’ blog this month. Her blog is smart, sexy and the colors are so easy on the eyes, she could blog about squirrels in a battle for the Winter Nut Challenge and I would read it. Her style is so smooth and positive. If you are not following her, hop on over and check her out. No need to send me marshmallows. My guest post at Marcia’s blog will be about Goals! With the new year already flying by, we need to make sure we’re not taking on more than we can accomplish. Rock on Marcia!

In other “G” news, I will have my first guest blogger (everrr) over at The Great 80’s coming in February. Sharon Howard tells us what it was like in England in 1988. I am excited about this! I have never traveled outside of the country and always wanted to know what life for a teenager was like in other places. Join in the fun. I will be doing some shout out’s to remind all my peeps about Sharon’s guest post. Her blog is amazing and honest.

In ROW80 tirades, I am freaking out because the more I edit my NaNoWriMo novel, the more I get down on myself. I know it is a good story, and know it is the first novel I have ever completed (with the exception of the novella I wrote and never edited back in 1998). Maybe it is my perfectionistic attitude toward myself. I read about this attitude, and it can only lead to emptiness if I let it own me. I am in the process of my second edit/rewrite and then I am going to have someone else look at it.

Also, I started writing my second book idea with the help of 750words.com (which I am loving!). There is something about forced accountability that helps me.

On the menu for this week:

  1. Continue to clean up “Bound and Broken” rewrite.
  2. Finish query letter for “Bound and Broken.”
  3. Read 50 more pages of “The Art of Subtext.”
  4. Read/comment blogs.
  5. Write 750 words a day.
  6. Get to gym at least 3 times this week.
  7. Relax for two hours today.

I hope everyone else in this ROW80 thingamabobber is doing amazing!  I look forward to reading about all my fellow ROWers goals and progress.  You can link here if you are in on the ROW80 fun!

All Aboard the Rooooooow (80) Train!!

I just realized my dorkness level based on my title alone.  Don’t ask me why these things pop in my head. Things like the Soooooul Train which used to come on television weekend mornings in Philadelphia.

Ahem. So my goals are coming along nicely.  I will be doing two guest posts shortly.  One this month at Marcia Richards’ blog which I love.   Her blog is colorful and goal oriented.  Goals rock! Go check her out.  Since her blog is so awesome and goal oriented, it makes sense that my guest post will be about goals!

The second one is over at Renee A. Shuls-Jacobson’s blog.  That post will be coming in March.  Renee is a teacher and funny.  I wish she would have been my teacher when I was a little lass.

Why am I bringing this up?  Uh, I am stoked!  I have never done a guest post.  And now I am starting off 2012 with two potentials.  This makes me feel like I am moving forward as a writer. 😀

For the rest of my goals I am choo-chooing along nicely.

Editing on my WIP is coming along better than a well-trained puppy on a leash.

Exercise is, well, not coming along so well.  But I am going to the gym today with my daughter.

I have been eating healthy! 😀

On the agenda today:  Watch post-season football – take my daughter driving – Wii for thirty minutes.

For the rest of the week:

continue to revise WIP

continue to read/comment blogs

Get three hours of exercise total in this week.

Happy ROWing! 😉

ROWing in 2012!

Ski Boots - Satans Shoes

ROW80 Post #1

Yes, it is the birth of a new year.  A new era.  A new Darlene. I made 0.0 resolutions this year.  They don’t work for me.  Resolutions are my way of cementing failure.  I never fail at failure.

This year I have goals. Small attainable goals that I will achieve. I call it a 2012 Bucket List.

I checked one off the list today.  I went skiing for the first time ever today.

I skied down a small hill today several times and I only fell once.

*NOTE* standing up in skis is very difficult. So try your best not to fall – all you newbies out there.  When I walked in the boots I felt like my shins were going to be severed in half.  But I smiled and laughed as I walked around the grounds of Blue Mountain Ski Lodge with seven-year olds that were pointing and laughing.  I know they were.

My crew abandoned me after lunch.  They were ready to hit the actual slopes.  I was not ready.  I almost said screw it and went to the “real slopes” despite my fear.  But that fear was real and I could taste it.  The instructor smelled it and called me on it.

People!

So.. after lunch the crew went to the slopes and I headed back to the “learning slope” to get a few more lessons in. There were too many kids.  When I was on the hill earlier I almost smashed into some kid standing at the bottom of the hill.  So when I was back at the hill this time around, panic set in.  My anxiety swept over me like a broom over a dust bunny.  I actually stood at the bottom of the hill like a tool staring at all the kids and parents skiing down the hill. No one noticed me standing there.  But I noticed me standing there.  I picked my skis up, walked over to the lockers and sat in the corner by the light pole people watching.

I cried.

I looked down and saw a tiny, black spider and smiled.  I like spiders.  He seemed to be in a big unfamiliar world, too.  I smiled at him, said my hellos and continued to watch all the kiddies and their parents ski and snowboard.

So I reflected on my day and my ROW80 goals as I sat there with my new eight legged friend.  I did ski for over an hour, so I checked that off of my list.  True, I did not glide gracefully down the mountain.  I wanted to.  I wanted to love skiing.  I am going to go back.  I do not give up.

For the first round of ROW 80 I am keeping it simple.  Tax season is here so that means fewer hours in my day.  But that is okay because less hours means more money.

First Round Goals

  • Edit first draft of NaNoWriMo novel.
  • Finish outline on WIP2.
  • 2 – 3 posts a week on blogs.
  • Read screenwriting book.
  • Back To The Gym.

That’s it for now!  Happy New Year everyone.  Looking forward to getting to know new ROWers and catching up with familiar faces.