ROW80: At least I finished one thing….

  • Writing: I haven’t made much progress at all.  =(  I have to figure out a specific day of the week to devote to writing again, I think.  I never used to be a creature of routine and habit, but it does seem to be helping me make progress on my goals to set aside a day where I plan to work.  Problem is, I have a day designated for our game, but not really writing anymore since my original days got twisted around.  I need to get my writing desk cleaned and spiffed up, and set aside a day — maybe to be ready for the start of the next round!
  • Health & Fitness: I did hit the gym Monday, in spite of REALLY not feeling like it.  Will be going again tomorrow!
  • Game: We had a great 12 hour work session where we got our “money” system working, and I drew lots of cute little creatures for our game.  No screens done specifically, but much progress!
  • Reading: Biggest success of the week!  I finished If You Want to Write.  Highly recommended!  Finishing at least one thing felt great.

Here’s hoping I can make some more progress before Sunday to finish the ROW strong!

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ROW80 Check-in: Sick!

I missed my last check-in, or two, I can’t even remember now!  But even though I’m a bit sick, I didn’t want to miss another check-in, so here it is!
  • Writing: Did get in one scene edited this week, but coming down with a stomach bug has curbed any productive activity this weekend! So frustrating!!
  • Health & Fitness: I replaced the gym one day this week with a massive gardening session where my hubby and I planted mint and basil and put stones around our little herb garden.  But I made it to the gym the other day! I haven’t tracked food at all, though, and now that I have this stomach bug both exercise and healthy eating are up in the air!
  • Game: Unfortunately our work day was supposed to be today–and ended up being cancelled due to my fever. =( I sat on the couch and watched movies all day.  I’m trying hard to encourage myself to just rest and get better, but I can’t help wishing to have gotten something fun or productive out of the weekend.  Sigh!
  • Reading: I haven’t even made progress on reading. Boo! 😉

Ah, well.  Next week is another week, eh?

ROW 80: Studying people

After missing Sunday’s check-in, I didn’t want to miss Wednesday, but I hate to post because I don’t have much progress to report!  I guess this is the accountability part hehe. =)  Of course, the key to making good goals is making them accomplishable… but I can’t help being ambitious. I want it all!

So, without further ado:

  • Writing: Again! I’m quite lacking this week. No progress. BOO! But I do have a long weekend coming to make up for it…! =D
  • Health & Fitness: At least I’m still going strong here, mostly. =) Still lazy at entering calories into Livestrong, need to get back on track, but hit the gym on Monday and did yardwork over the weekend to get at least a little cardio in.
  • Game: On this front, I’m still making tons of progress, though still not as fast as I’d like. Got the 4 major remaining screens wireframed, so now I can get around to laying out all the pieces and making them look awesome. Of course, there’s still plenty of other screens to get to. The hubster built out one piece over the weekend, and we found some flaws in the design and reworked them together. Which was awesome, and even though we were throwing some things out, it felt great to be really figuring out how to make things work! Also earlier in the week, I got to thinking that I don’t really understand my userbase as well as I should, so I got into doing some user research and personas (which is kind of like making up characters, based on real-ish people). Tonight I got really into that and read all about people that might be our target user base.  I think studying people helps refine both design and writing skills, so I feel pretty good about that.  But again, the game dominates my psyche!  Maybe that’s the right thing, for now….
  • Reading: Read a tad more of If You Want to Write… and stalked Brenda Ueland on goodreads, wikipedia. This is seriously one fantastic book! I can’t believe I never heard of it before.

So, that’s it!  Wish me luck getting in some writing over the long weekend!

ROW 80: Been better, been worse

One of my worse weeks from a writing perspective… but lots of game design and such done!

  • Writing: Not so good this week. =( Virtually no progress. I’ll try to do double for Sunday to make up for it! At least 2 scenes revised, I hope!
  • Health & Fitness: Gym was great! Inclined bench and some on the bike – my upper back and shoulders are aching, in a good way.  Have gotten lazy at entering calories into Livestrong, but I’m still mentally keeping track.  Need to kick start that again though!
  • Game: Awesome progress! Got our website updated, updated our twitter feed, thought of some new game ideas, activated my shiny new company debit card! No sketches but I’m itching to get to them! I’ve also started investigating trademarks and how to get one and all that jazz.
  • Reading: Also not much here. Sigh. Sometimes the game hogs all the attention! 😉

Wish me luck at making more writing progress this weekend! =) Diablo III isn’t helping anything! hehe!

ROW Check-in – A loss of momentum

Well, I’m here to check in – returned from Germany!  I made more progress in Germany than I thought I would, and had a harder time getting back into the swing of things and recovering from the trip than I’d anticipated!  So… not very much to update with this post but I thought I’d update all the same.

  • Writing: I did get some sporadic editing in over the last few weeks of no internet and planned missed check-ins, but it wasn’t nothing, so at least there’s that!  I think I did about one scene and a lot of reading and updating my scene list spreadsheet, trying to figure out the right way to rewrite one of the early first scenes.  Today with Mother’s Day I took the time to spend with my mom, mother-in-law, and grama, and it was nice to just have a relaxing dinner with them and make them happy. =) Didn’t leave much time for writing, but it was worth it.  Hopefully this week I’ll be back on track!
  • Health & Fitness: I’ve kept up the gym, but not the cardio as much. While I was traveling for work, there were no gyms or fitness rooms or anything so I walked all over the little German town we were in and tried to burn adequate calories for all the deli meat, baguette rolls, beer, and wine that is common in German food!  It worked because I lost some weight there – imagine that!  Unfortunately I’ve gained a pound or two back, but we’ll work on that. ;-]
  • Game: Continued progress. I got some new scenes sketched, started thinking about levels, and a few other things. We also wrapped up some business type things like opening our bank account – pretty sweet! That was surprisingly fun – best time I’ve ever had at a bank! hehe!
  • Reading: I read an immense amount on my trip, at nights and on plane rides.  I’m more than two-thirds of the way through If You Want to Write… I highly, highly recommend it, I think I’ve learned a lot!  It’s a weird old book, and wanders around, and you wonder if she’s going to get to the point, and then bam! That’s enlightening!  Highly recommended.

So… I’m struggling to get back on track with all my goals and normal life… Maybe if we can just finish this laundry… =]

Late checkin, but here goes nothin.

Hey, better late than never, right?  *crosses fingers*

So to complete my first “goal” — I made some better ROW80 goals:

  • Writing: Spend at least 5 hours each week revising Mage Slave. Finish character profiles for the remaining key characters. Shoot for about 10% a week, although I’m not sure that’s realistic at all.  We’ll see!
  • Health & Fitness: Today’s weigh-in prompted more seriousness and motivation in this area.  Gym twice a week. Additional cardio once a week. Track calories every day in Livestrong. Aiming for 1.5 pounds a week.
  • Game: Have all main screens for our game designed by the end of this ROW.  This one is kind of vague, but I think it’s still doable.
  • Reading: Read at least one book, bonus points for 2.  I’m going to start with If You Want To Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland, recommended by Felicia Day on this week’s Flog. (Below if you want to see!) From a quick glance on Amazon I immediately one-click ordered the one that would arrive the soonest.  It seriously looks amazing.  If I get to a second book, it will be fiction, probably Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck. Love the cover!  Also, finish Story Engineering (almost there!).


So how is it going so far?

  • Writing:Spent about 2 hours revising this week so far.  Pretty good I think.
  • Health & Fitness: Did gym today with weights and cardio. Tracked food and was easily under and enjoying myself.  Feeling great!  Hope this lasts.
  • Game: Marathon Friday and Saturday night game workathon – no worries here, full of progress.
  • Reading: Ordered If You Want To Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit. Read a bit more  Story Engineering – should be done soon!

Now that I have some good goals, let’s get this party started!

Row 80!

I’m going to give this Row 80 thing a try!  Still trying to think of my goals….  Here’s what I’ve been up to in the (excessively) long time since I last posted.

Attempted and abandoned last year’s NaNoWriMo.  I don’t feel bad about this at all.  Here’s how it went down.

I was fresh off of finishing my first complete novel. (See below.) It’s working title is Mage Slave. I’d made a nice summary of revisions I needed to make, and I was torn between plowing through them, or giving it some time so that I read it freshly when I returned. I ended up going for NaNo and deciding to let my novel rest a bit, even though I suspected I wasn’t going to be very productive because I had no kind of plan at all for the overarching story structure. Like nada. This worked out great for a couple of reasons because it taught me several things:

  • I do need a bit of a plan.  Now that I’ve written to an ending and pushed all the way through to it, it feels to good!  I want to know where I’m going!  I am, apparently, a planner.  Also, index cards are awesome.
  • Science fiction is liberating! After having written so solidly and carefully in a fantasy setting for over a year, I was dying to stretch my legs. This taught me that I probably wouldn’t be happy writing 100% fantasy; fortunately that’s not terribly unusual. =)

I got a good start planning a new novel (a sci-fi romance). I used the pressure of NaNo to do a sprint of world building, research, characterization, and story building — but very little of it amounted to actual words that you could put towards a word count.  Then, as the holidays rolled around…

I started a company with my husband and a good friend of ours.

By day, I design software. I think about users and people and what they need and how to make that for them. But I do it for other people’s idea of who and what we should do. I want to make what I think people want, how I’d like to make it! ;-] Namely, we’re making games. We’re starting with a free game for iOS that will be fun to play completely for free but have some in-app purchases that can expand the experience (and thank the developers). Our first game is a fun little simulation game, but I’m hoping someday I can also write for one of our games that might be more action or RPG oriented. (But those are harder so we’re starting small. =)

This has taken up a lot of my time, but it’s the only thing I’ve every done that was almost as amazingly fun, fulfilling, and joyful as writing, so I can’t turn it down.  I also hope that it might be a quicker path to financial independence which might allow me to set aside a whole day a week for writing, or something like that.  Who knows.  The market is crowded, and many games flop, but when I’m with our team I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of, “Holy crap! We can actually do this!”  More on all this as we get it done…

Lastly, I’ve begun preparing to edit and revise Mage Slave.  I’m almost done reading Story Engineering, which has been a great book on craft.  I’m looking at my plot structure based on what I read. I’ve always thought I was kind of weak at plot, but actually my plot is standing up pretty well.  I’ve always thought I was pretty good at character, but I can see now my characters have some big holes in their backstory.  Well, I knew this all along, but now I see some opportunities to improve the story with it.  Man, knowing the ending is powerful!  Now that I know how the story has gone and turned out I actually feel great about going in to flesh out the details of their backstory to make the ending the most powerful ending it can be… =) woot!  So perhaps a little bit of pantsing is my style after all… (I wrote my first draft about 40% during crazed NaNoWriMo sprints… hence the need for a bit of revision hehe.)

So the ROW 80 goal of the week is…

  • Come up with better ROW 80 goals.

They’ll probably be something along the lines of…

  • Finish revising Mage Slave by the end of ROW 80.  Need to complete enough revisions to get it out to some friends to read.
  • Continue to go to the gym twice a week. Maybe add cardio once a week?  Maybe track calories every day?
  • Have all main screens for our game design by the end of this ROW?  Some kind of game-related goal.
  • Something about reading? I don’t read enough by any means.  Partially because I have a tendency to absorb whatever I’m reading and put it into my current WIP whether it makes sense or not…  We shall see.  The backlog of books I want to read is growing MASSIVE.

So that’s it!  If anyone has any advice on how to plan ROW80 goals when you’re primarily revising and editing, I’m open to ideas! 

New Year, New Blog

New discipline?  New novel?  New body?  ;-]  After seeing a few others doing this online, I’ve decided to keep a blog to keep track of the things I want to do better in 2011!  But first a recap of good things from 2010:

  • I married the man who taught me what love is really like, who makes my heart smile, my thoughts swirl, my lips sing, who fights by my side both in the real world and virtual ones.  We took an epic honeymoon to California Wine Country and Hawaii!  It’s hard to think of anything remotely close to that!!!  But I’ll try.
  • I wrote a mission statement for myself and tried to make my time match to those goals.  Still more to do here but the mission was the first step.
  • I took a writing workshop from Orson Scott Card that completely rejuvenated my writing habits.  I also got to tell him how much he has changed my life for the better.
  • I attempted NaNoWriMo and wrote about 37,000 words in a month. 
  • We bought our first car (full own, in cash, owe nothing kinda bought).
  • I gardened a ton and loved it. Hope the bulbs come up next year! 
  • I also got to meet David Tutera which was pretty awesome as well!  The way he helps brides is inspiring and wonderful.  Right up my alley like that. 

Well that’s all I can think of right now, but I’m sure there’s more.  Here are the things I would like to do this new year:

  • Finish my first full novel
  • Lose 25 pounds and feel fit and healthy again
  • Continue to practice relaxation and manage stress like I did during my wedding
  • Better understand what I want from my life and match my time to it
  • Stay in touch with my friends better, and visit them!