Renovating My Life and ROW80 Week 2 Check-In

Here’s where I admit that ROW80 is not going so well.

I picked just one goal, because this is my first time trying ROW80 and I do better when I’m not multitasking. My goal: 5 hours a week of writing or editing.

For Week 1, I hit somewhere around 2.5 or 3 hours.

For Week 2, I hit all of 2 hours. I’m working on the fifth and final part of a serial story (the whole thing will be about 10K when it’s done) and feeling pretty good about how it’s coming together — a minor miracle since I’m a pantser and this is my first attempt at a serial. So that much is good at least.

This is why the writing isn’t moving much…

Renovating My Life

I mentioned in my initial ROW80 post that this is the year of Project: Making Space — physical, mental, temporal — and that I would be staging a multi-pronged attack.

ROW80 is one prong. Another is my house. My significant other and I moved from a crowded, disorganized one-bedroom apartment to our first house…and promptly threw ourselves into planning for a big family event, then a big trip overseas, and then starting our very first vegetable garden (details in link above). Now that the dust from all that is settling, we’re noticing that our house is still just as disorganized as the apartment was.

To fix that, we’re currently doing some renovations that will give us more storage and more living space. (And by “we” I mean our awesome contractors.) This will be a good thing for Project: Making Space in the long run.

But in the meantime, we’re neck-deep in choosing new flooring and paint colours, with many more decisions ahead of us in the next few weeks…and then decluttering and (re)organizing and decorating the newly renovated spaces.

Needless to say, this is taking up a lot of brain cycles and decision-making power and even a certain amount of creativity.

(Decorating does not come naturally to me, but I have strong opinions about what I don’t like, and as for what I do like, “I’ll know it when I see it…”. This makes things tricky, as you might imagine. But I would really like this house to look more like somebody cares…and it ain’t gonna be my significant other who picks out the exact shade of paint and coordinating decor.)

ROW80 Under Revision

Like I said above, these renovations are actually still working towards my overarching goals for the year.

So I’m thinking that this ROW80 is going to be more about “get the newly renovated spaces in my house in order” with a certain amount of “don’t drop the ball on writing completely, because it’s a lot harder to start up again from zero than it is from a crawl”.

I’m not really sure how to make that into a nice, neat, measurable goal, though. Any ideas?


8 responses to “Renovating My Life and ROW80 Week 2 Check-In

  1. What about setting a daily time goal that fits more easily into little spaces, such as 15 min. a day not less than 5 days a week? Then, if you have more time, you can use it. If not, at least you got something done. 🙂

  2. ReGi, that’s tricky. Part of what I’m trying to change is that when I write in little chunks, the writing tends to stay at the “surface”, take the obvious path, and not delve deeper. So I’d like to start writing in bigger chunks in the hopes that I can increase my skill level. On the other hand, writing in little chunks is still better than not writing! Food for thought….

  3. You might surprise yourself with what you come up with if you write in little 15-30 minute chunks. Having done a lot of those now, I find that the benefit I get from them is that, even if the writing isn’t particularly good, looking over the results afterwards often gives me pretty cool ideas for fixes, or for later scenes. I also suspect it might be possible to train your subconscious to respond to the shorter sessions so that it rewards you appropriately when you sit down to do them.

    You don’t have to limit yourself to a single chunk a day–you can do multiple ones through the day as the opportunity presents itself. I generally like to think in terms of pages, with a page equaling roughly 350 words, which coincidentally takes me about 15-30 minutes to do. If I get an hour for lunch, I bring my lunch, devour it, then write a page. When I get home from work/school/whatever, I’ll write another page. If I get to school 20 minutes early, I plop myself down at a table and write a page. If I don’t have enough time to finish the page then, I finish it later.

    They may seem like small steps, but they add up over time. I’ve written a lot of stuff this way, and I like to think that any time I’m putting new words to page or screen, it’s good practice.

    Now that I’m trying to concentrate on revising a story, I’m experimenting with how to manage my time in similar chunks. Lately I’ve been using music as a timing device. When I sit down to work on my revision, I pick an album to listen to while I work, then work for as long as the album plays. If I have more time then, or if I can make more time later in the day, I do it again. The key is that I have to make the time. I’m never going to have enough time unless I make it happen myself.

    Granted, it’s a fragmented way to work and might not work for everyone–and I might later realize it doesn’t even work that great for me, especially when trying to revise a piece. But so far it’s helping me get at least some measure of progress, and makes me feel a little better.

  4. Like your house, try thinking of writing in terms of projects. A chapter can be a project. A scene can be a project. A short story can be a project. With that in mind, you can target getting a project done in a day (with the idea you may not always meet his goal).

  5. If you’ve found that 2-3 hours a week is what you can realistically manage while you’re doing the house, why not set a goal that’s at the upper end of that? That way it’s achievable but stretches you a little bit. 3 hours a week seems about right based on what you’ve managed recently.

    If you’re setting goals for lots of things, including writing and organising the house, then it’s definitely worth thinking in terms of SMART targets:

  6. Thanks, everyone, for all the great advice! Lots of tips and tricks to try…I’ll keep you all posted on how they work.

  7. you say you’re happy with the writing that is a fat positive – don’t knock it – I would say with all going on with the house – and I know I have been there how it drains one – I’d agree that lowering the goal would be better. ROWer’s al recognize that has to happen when LIFE intervenes – creating your home is important – creative writing is difficult if you’re not happy in your environment – All the best:)

  8. Alberta, thanks for the supportive words! You’re right, renovations do suck up all available time and energy, but the end result will be worth it ( I hope 😉 ). In the meantime I need to remember not to be too hard on myself for not being Superwoman. Thanks again!

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