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Archive for January, 2012

Writing Wednesday: Row Check-In 1/11

Writing:

Finish Guarding the Heart by the end of January.: Still on track here. Wanted to have at least 2550 words by today and am up to 2609. Only have 3 more scenes planned out before the end, so could be “finished” by the end of this week or early next week. Then, I’m going to let it sit for about a month before I go through and figure out where I need to add in/take out stuff.

Blog at least 3 times a week.:Got Mondays post up, so just need to figure out Fridays.

Reading:

Read 1 craft book a month.: Still working my way through Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. UPS brought Plot & Structure today, so I’ll be starting on that one once I finish self-editing.

Read 1 fiction book a week.: Doing great here. I was hoping to be halfway through The Next Always by today, but I finished it last night. As always, Nora drew me right in and kept picking it back up when I wasn’t going to read anymore right then. Still waiting for the other books I ordered from B&N(even though I got the email about them being ready to ship before the email about Plot & structure, so not sure why that one got here first). Started reading Elena Aitken’s Drawing Free this morning. Only a chapter in so far, but liking it.

Social Media:

Comment on at least 5 blogs a week: haven’t really done any commenting yet this week. hopefully will do this during the second half.

RT at least 5 articles a week.: I’ve done 1.

Interact personally with at least 5 people a week on Twitter.: Still nothing here. I don’t know why this is so difficult for me.

Finish setting up my Facebook page.: Still nothing here either.

Lifestyle:

Cut out pop at home: Doing good here still. Haven’t had any pop at all since New Year’s Eve. And really don’t miss it all that much.

Attempt to eat healthier snacks: been eating popcorn at night, and I had some applesauce(with cinnamon sprinkled on) last night, which is at least healthier than cookies or some other stuff I could be eating.

Exercise 4-5 times a week.: I’ve gotten 3 workouts in so far this week. Decided not to take a rest day today, but did one of the other workouts on the program that’s not part of the 30 day challenge. Still going to try to get in Thursday & Friday’s workouts as long as I’m not too sore.

Knitting Monday: Bibs Galore

Last year, shortly after picking up this knitting thing, I found a pattern for a bib with semi trucks on it. I thought this was perfect as my husband is a truck driver. I was able to knit it up in less than a week, and I thought it turned out pretty nice, definitely considering I’d only been knitting for about a month at that point. I found the designer’s blog and found her other designs. In the last couple of months, I’ve made three more of her bibs.

Monkey Bib

Baby Starfish Bib

Baby Seahorse Bib

I love how quick these bibs knit up(take me between 10-12 hours to finish one, so between 3-5 days depending on how much time I have each day to knit) and how they turn out. I made all of these with 100% cotton yarn, Lily Sugar n Cream, except for the monkey one which was Loops & Threads Cotton Club. There’s a little bit more yarn in a skein than the Lily ones have, although there’s not much of a difference in price.

Sunday Check-In

Writing:

Finish Guarding the Heart by the end of January.: Still on track here. Only fell short of my weekly goal of 5000 words by 155 words. As long as I write at least 828 words a day, I should still be able to finish on time. So, for next week I’m going to aim for at least 850 words a day or 4250 for the week. I’m not sure that it will hit 90K on the first draft, it’s looking more like 80-85K, but I have other scenes to add in that will flesh it out more. I’m just going to keep writing until I get to the end though. Knowing me, if I go back to add scenes in now, I’ll get bogged down. For me, it’s best to keep the forward momentum going.

Blog at least 3 times a week.: Check, check, & check. Got my knitting post up on Monday, check-in on Wednesday, and a family post up on Friday.

Reading:

Read 1 craft book a month.: Still chugging along with Self-editing for Fiction Writers. I’ve made it through the first three chapters and most of chapter 3’s exercises. Need to make more time for this though. I ordered Plot & Structure Friday night from bn.com, so I’m hoping it gets here sometime this week.

Read 1 fiction book a week.: Finished Kill Me If You Can on Thursday. I just could not get into the book for the whole first half of it. I’m not sure why, and I’m not sure why I kept at it. Usually I’ll give up on a book if it doesn’t pull me in fairly soon(always give it a few chapters, but if I still am not interested, I don’t continue). And then came a major plot twist(which Lauralynn Elliot talked about on her blog this week too). Then, I had trouble putting it down, so the last half went really quick. Started reading The Next Always by Nora Roberts Thursday night. Read five chapters so far. Hoping to be at least haIf way through by Wednesday. Ordered another of hers and one of her J.D. Robb In Death books Friday night(and got both kids a book) and downloaded Elana Aitken’s Drawing Free on the Kindle app for my phone, so I should be set for books for a couple weeks at least.

Social Media:

Comment on at least 5 blogs a week: I think I got 5-6 comments in at least.

RT at least 5 articles a week.: I know I did at least 5, maybe even 1-2 more.

Interact personally with at least 5 people a week on Twitter.: total fail on this one. I know I’ve barely even posted myself. Need to put more effort into this.

Finish setting up my Facebook page.: Still nothing on this.

Lifestyle:

Cut out pop at home: Still doing good here. Last night was the first time I really wished I had some when we had pizza for dinner. Usually drink it when we have that, but I still just had water.

Attempt to eat healthier snacks: okay here, I guess. Still not have many healthy options on hand, but made popcorn the other night instead of eating cookies.

Exercise 4-5 times a week.: Got 4 workouts in this week. The program I use on the Wii works in a rest day after every 2 workouts. But, I’m thinking of doing a workout outside of the 30 day challenge ones or another program for it on the rest day and then just taking the weekends off(when I usually end up not working out anyway).

Other than 1 or 2, I’m still doing pretty good with my goals. how did everyone else do this week?

Family Friday: Holiday Recovery

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was pretty good over here. On Christmas Eve, we went over to my mother-in-law’s and had pizza and wings for dinner(what? that’s not a traditional Christmas Eve dinner?). Then, we exchanged our gifts with her and the kids got to play at Grandma’s for a while.

Standing in front of Grandma's Christmas tree

When we got home, there were two pairs of pajamas waiting under the tree for the kids. They got those on and we hung up their stockings before sitting on the couch to read The Night Before Christmas. I don’t think Hayleigh has ever been so excited to go to bed. And she was probably asleep less than 10 minutes after I tucked her in.

Both kids were up by about six the next morning. And had their gifts unwrapped in no time. then they got their cookie for breakfast while we got ready to go down to my mom’s.

Santa left a gift beside her bed

Opening their stockings

More interested in the animal crackers than anything else

a new dumptruck

At my mom’s we ate the sticky buns my mom has made for as long as I can remember. Then after family pictures, the kids got to open their gifts.

two new puzzles

her Cinderella doll

wearing his new owl hat around

We had a green Christmas this year but a week later, we finally got hit with the white stuff. We got probably at least two feet of snow over the course of a day when we’d only had a total of maybe a foot the rest of the winter. So, on Monday we took the kids out to play in it. Nathaniel did not seem to know what to make of it. He has been out in the snow one other time, but there had only been an inch or two then. It may not have helped that it is difficult for him to walk in his snow pants and boots. Hayleigh had a blast though and did not want to go back inside.

Ready to go outside

Not sure what to make of all this white stuff

riding together on the sled

Sitting together in the snow

Writing Wednesday: First Check-in & Writing Every Day

I know we’re only 3 days into this round, but I’m happy with my progress so far. Before I get into what I’ve gotten done, there’s something I’ve been thinking about for a bit now. I always see it said, “Writers write. Every day.” Well, I will admit it, I don’t. I have tried to, and sometimes don’t have a problem with it. But, most of the time it seems that I can actually get more written when I only write five days a week. I’m not exactly sure why this is, but one reason I think is because taking a break, giving yourself time to rest, is important. So, I have started taking the weekends off from writing again. And I find that I’m really excited to get back to it Monday morning. What about everyone else? Do you make time to write every single day? Or do you take a break from it for a day or two?

Now, on to my progress:

Writing:

Finish Guarding the Heart by the end of January.: On track with this one. I wanted to write 5000 words a week(over 5 days) and have 3058 words after this morning’s writing session. According to my spreadsheet, I only have to write 835 words a day to finish by the end of the month.

Blog at least 3 times a week.: Got my knitting post up on Monday, so once I get this one up, I’ll be on track. I just need to get my Friday post ready.

Reading:

Read 1 craft book a month.: A little behind where I thought I’d be by now, but I should still be able to finish it by the end of the month. I just finished the exercises for chapter 1 last night. Need to spend some more time on this.

Read 1 fiction book a week.: About halfway through Kill Me If You Can. If I can read 10 chapters a day(which are each only a couple pages long), I’ll have it finished by the end of the week.

Social Media:

Comment on at least 5 blogs a week: I’ve done at least 2 so far. Will try to comment on at least 3 during the second half of the week.

RT at least 5 articles a week.: Just 2 here as well.

Interact personally with at least 5 people a week on Twitter.: Haven’t done this one at all. This is the most difficult for me, but I need to put some more effort into it.

Finish setting up my Facebook page.: Haven’t worked on this one at all either.

Lifestyle:

Cut out pop at home: Successful so far. it probably helps that there is no pop in the house right now. And I’m not really wanting any either. I’ve drank between 7-8 cups of water(from a bottle that holds almost 3 cups) the last 2 days.

Attempt to eat healthier snacks: Not so successful. Need to stock the cupboards with healthy snacks instead of the M&Ms and cookies we have from Christmas.

Exercise 4-5 times a week.: 2 days so far this week. Took today off(the programs puts in rest days after every 2 workouts), but I will meet this if I get my workouts in the next 2 days.

So, I’m pretty much on track to meet just about all of my goals this week. How is everyone else doing so far this round?

 

 

Knitting Monday: Fixing Mistakes

I have been knitting for just over a year now. I’ve moved on from the simple projects to slightly more advanced ones. Of course, there’s still a lot more I want to learn. But, I figured I could at least follow a pattern without making major mistakes. Apparently I was wrong.

On Saturday, I started knitting a blanket. I’ve started one other blanket, but quit after just a few rows. I was using a super bulky yarn and found it very difficult to work with. So, I just ripped it out and decided to put it away. I might take the yarn back out some other time and try to work with it again though. The one I just started uses a light weight yarn though, so I should have an easier time with it.

So, Saturday afternoon when the kids were in their rooms for nap time(cannot knit when the monster man is up. He will not allow it), I cast on 121 stitches to start the blanket. The instructions said to knit the first five rows. Okay, that’s easy enough. I got the first two rows knitted during nap time. After the kids were in bed that night, I got the rest of that part finished and moved on to the pattern rows, which is four rows that are repeated for the length of the blanket. I got the first two of those done(the first a knit row and the second row was purl). But, the instructions also said to keep the first and last six stitches of each row in garter stitch(knit every row). I decided to forget about that part though, I guess.

It was on Sunday when I was about halfway through the third row of this pattern that I remembered. So, I had to rip out the stitches I’d just knit for that row. I thought that was going to be good then remembered the row before was a purl row, so I had to rip that one out too. And since I was apparently still not thinking, I started to rip out the one before that. Then, I remembered that was the knit row, so obviously the first and last stitches were knit. I did finally get back to where I had started that afternoon. But, that was about an hour and a half of basically wasted time. Sunday night, I did get the next six rows done, so have finished two repeats of the pattern rows. And I put stitch markers on the needles after the first six and before the last six, so hopefully I will not make the same mistake again.

2012 Row80 Round 1 Goals

Time to set my goals for the first round of ROW80 in the new year. I don’t normally make resolutions since they are almost always impossible to keep. I do have a lot of goals for this round(no different than any other round though), but I have them broken up so hopefully they will be more manageable.

Writing:

  •    Finish Guarding the Heart by the end of January. Yes, I extended my deadline again. But, I like things to be even(hello, OCD tendencies), and the end of the month is more even than some arbitrary day in the middle. And I still will have finished it within 3 months, which I think is a good pace.
  • Start outlining next WIP(to be decided) in February. Hoping to be done with this one by the end of the month.
  • Write at least 2 flash fiction pieces a week during February. I don’t want to just stop writing during the outlining phase, so I’m hoping to keep my writing muscles toned with these.
  • Start writing next WIP by the beginning of March with a goal of 1000 words a day, or 5000 a week. I’m going to concentrate more on the weekly goal than daily though.
  • Blog at least 3 times a week. This will include my ROW80 check-ins. May restructure my blogging schedule, but not sure of what I want to do.

Editing:

  • Start editing Guarding the Heart at the beginning of March. My goal is to edit for at least 1 hour a day. Not sure what progress I’ll make during that time. Also not sure if I’ll be able to switch between writing and editing easily, so I may have to reevaluate later.

Reading:

  • Read 1 craft book a month. Right now I’m reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Planning on ordering James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure soon. Am open to suggestions of others as well though.
  • Read 1 fiction book a week. Right now I’m reading Kill me If You Can by James Patterson. Going a little slow right now as I haven’t really been able to get into it so far. I also have Nora Roberts’ new one, The Next Always, in my to be read pile. And planning on ordering 2 or 3 others from barnes & noble(our local store had almost nothing I wanted when we were there last week, so I’m just ordering the ones I want online).

Social Media:

I have a problem with social interaction, so these goals are always difficult for me. I’m going to put more of an effort into it this year though.

  • Comment on at least 5 blogs a week. I tried to do this during the last round, but did not have much success.
  • RT at least 5 articles a week. Means I need to actually spend some time on Twitter again.
  • Interact personally with at least 5 people a week on Twitter. This is one that is really difficult for me, especially when I go through phases of completely ignoring Twitter.
  • Finish setting up my Facebook page. Started this last Spring/Summer, but then let it go.

Lifestyle:

  • Cut out pop(soda or whatever the rest of you call it) at home.  I’ll still drink it when we go out, but I really need to cut down on how much I drink and up my water consumption.
  • Attempt to eat healthier snacks. Need to work on meals too, but I’m starting out small.
  • Exercise 4-5 times a week.

Like I said, I know it’s a lot of goals, but I’m hoping with the way they’re broken up, I’ll be able to manage them. And I’m leaving room for evaluation if something doesn’t work.

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