Penultimate ROW80 check-in

This is the second-to-last check-in for Session One of ROW80, the 80-day writing challenge marathon founded by Kait Nolan that has been the source of inspiration spurring me on to productivity in my writing since January. When ROW80 started, I was coming in fresh of a NaNoWriMo burnout experience and wasn’t sure I was ready for another “writing challenge.”

But ROW80 has been a different experience. The goals are our own, and changeable as life changes for us. And oh, how my life has changed in the past eighty days.

When I began ROW80, I was working full-time for my faith community, and writing was something I did late at night, robbing myself of sleep to accomplish. I began slow, then did better, then slowed again, then finished strong.

And five days ago, I lost my day-job and suddenly, after a long conversation with my wife, we have decided the time has come for me to take my writing seriously. As in, this is what I do now, full-time. No more filling up my weeks scraping for temp-job assignments to bring in some meager pay and rob myself of writing time.

I can think of no bigger change than that.

At my last Sunday check-in, I was still working full-time. I set a goal for my week: 5,000 words at least 1,500 of them coming from EMBER, and by Wednesday’s check-in I had pretty much already surpassed that goal, because I had lost my job one day before check-in.

So, with full-time writing now my main focus, I reset my goals for the second half of the week. EMBER became lower priority because I need to get something on the market as soon as possible, to start bringing in money. EMBER’s a first-draft project and MOST LIKELY…, but YA coming-of-age novel that served as my master’s thesis twenty years ago, only needs to be reentered, updated, revised and reviewed.

So I called for myself to finish out the second half of the week by re-entering at least 9,500 words on MOST LIKELY. The sooner it’s entered, after all, the sooner it can be revised. I’ve even started making mild revisions as I go, when I spot passive voice and other pet peeve flaws.

How did I do? Well, as of Wednesday’s check in, my word count on MOST LIKELY… stood at 7,388 words. As I enter this post tonight, my word count on MOST LIKELY stands at 25,742 words. That makes for a grand total, of 18,354 words entered since Wednesday’s check-in. So, for the week, my MOST LIKELY word could stands at 23,567 words on the week, plus 1,018 words of new progress on EMBER, written before I lost my day job and re-prioritized my WIPs.

So, overall? My combined goal for the week was 14,500 words and I actually produced 24,585 words.

That means this week was a no-holds-barred success, in terms of my productivity.

As we enter the final days of ROW 80, Session 1, I find I’m more energized than ever to write each and every day. Some of that is the necessity of no longer having a day job. But at least part of that is due to ROW80. Where NaNoWriMo left me drained and dispirited, ROW80 leaves me doubtful that I could take a 10-day break before ROW80 Session 2 begins on April 4.

Because, with its movable goals, ROW 80 isn’t a wind-sprint challenge; it’s a marathon. It’s a lifestyle. Quite simply, it’s what works for me.

So here are my goals for the final days of ROW 80, Session 1:

I am now just under halfway through MOST LIKELY… I need to press on and get the rest of the novel finished as soon as I possibly can, so that revisions can begin in earnest.

With four days left before the final check-in, I want to enter at least 5,000 words a day, and reach 45,000 words by Thursday. That would leave me 15,000 words or so left before MOST LIKELY… is complete, a goal I could reach while ROW80 is in recess. That would also allow me plenty of time to start revisions on MOST LIKELY… and I should be well into that process by the time ROW 80, Session 2 begins.

That’s my goal for the last four days. See you on Thursday. I’ll let you know how I did.

4 thoughts on “Penultimate ROW80 check-in

  1. Wow, you could easily do a NaNo with those goals and ambition! ;)

    Congratulations on becoming a full-time writer. Good luck!

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  2. well done on all you have acheived – its a big thing going full time wriitng but it eases some stress I find – and brings more enjoyment to the writing process

    See you in April

    keep smiling

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  3. ROW80 has been amazing. Good job on your progress. When something happens to our regular jobs, it is not surprising to see us pick up our writing and run with it.
    I did that last year when I had my hour cut on my day job. Since then the hours have been restored and finding the time to write has lessened but I still try to move forward with all my projects.

    Good Luck with being a full-time writer.

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  4. Craig,
    Sorry to hear about the layoff, but all times in season. Glad to see you motivated with the writting. Note the article in star tribune of an e-writer getting a standard book deal.

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