Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

ROW80 Update . . .

ROW80 (A Round of Words in 80 Days) begins officially with Monday and Wednesday posts, January 7 through March 20. We have set goals and now will climb the hill of accountability every week. On this last Monday, one ROW80 writer cleverly separated 'writing about goals' from 'writing about writing', so that's what I will try to do with today focusing on goals.

Writing: I would like to finish another round of editing of Years of Stone. This last week has seen a breakthrough as one of my major characters comes into her own. Of course, being somewhat demanding, she requires a complete rewrite. She will not faint. She will drink more than tea. She will confront dragons (figuratively). She is challenging me to rethink her every action, and I will.

Being part of several writing communities, the Internet Writing Workshop, the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and ROW80, as well as keeping up my travel blog makes me wonder if I've stretched myself too thin. Especially for the travel blog, I find it difficult to keep posts current, unless we are on the road somehow. This last six weeks, I've been writing about our trip to Africa. I'm now posting about one entry a week. But each morning begins with writing on Years of Stone first. So far.

Reading. Aargh! I'm feeling undisciplined. I'm reading four books, maybe five, right now: Sally Mitchel's Daily Life in Victorian England; Orson Scott Card's Characters & Viewpoint; Ken McGoogan's Lady Franklin's Revenge (nonfiction); and Kate Grenville's The Secret River.  But late at night, the Kindle calls with its lovely, oversized print. Of these, so far, Card has been most useful in digging into ideas I need to understand, particularly re character motivation. I did sign up for GoodRead's challenge to read 50 books this year.The mail also brings in Writer's Digest and The Writer to keep me thinking about writing craft.

Marketing/Publishing/Outreach. Today, I submitted Standing Stones to an independent publisher specializing in historical fiction. Big step. Lots of paperwork. Now I wait 5-10 weeks and may hear nothing at all. But the book is out there once again.

In addition to ROW80, I'm posting daily for the Ultimate Blog Challenge (UBC) through January. Most UBC participants are not writers, but they have marketing and technical skills galore. I'm learning new vocabularies and new ways of thinking about what marketing strategies will work for me. One lesson: Work on the 'business' side of writing every day. My goal: To have a specific list of actionable steps I can take to improve my marketing by the end of January.

Do you have your 2013 calendar yet? For the first time, I have listed writing goals throughout the year. Yes, I will submit to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association literary contest in February. Yes, I will write a month of poetry in April for National Poetry Month and participate in NaNoWriMo this November for Rivers of Stone (after a summer of research).

My favorite quote just now is from poet Sharon Olds. I met her one rainy weekend at a writing retreat on the Oregon coast. She says: "Writing or making anything -- a poem, a bird feeder, a chocolate cake -- has self-respect in it. You're working. You're trying. You're not lying down on the ground, having given up."  So, respect yourself. Respect the process. And may your writing (or other projects) go well. May you celebrate each day with joy.

Masaii Women in welcome dance, Tanzania, November 2012


  1. Interesting post on writing. Am keen to find out more about the around the world in 80 days that you are currently on seems interesting

    1. Thanks for visiting, Dominique. I added the links to make it easier to jump to A Round of Words in 80 Days or you can google "A Round of Words in 80 Days".

  2. Your thoughts and plans are very enlightening. I'll find out more about the ultimate blog challenge. I lack technical skills. I agree that writing, creating thoughts and expressing them on paper is a great achievment. Good luck with your submission.

    1. Thank you, Francene. Your comment inspired me to write a technical tip for today's post, and your decision to go with an independent publisher also influenced me. My emphasis here on planning (and reporting progress) comes more from ROW80 (A Round of Words in 80 Days) rather than the Ultimate Blog Challenge, but I am amazed by the marketing information available through the UBC. And thank you for your good thoughts. I'm hoping for a Yahoo!

  3. Hi Beth, I think you deserve to be undisciplined with your reading! Be gentle with yourself.