I’m Baaaaccckk!

Yes, that’s right boys and girls. I’m back! Long time no speak… well… errr… post.

So, where have I been? What have I been doing? Well, I’ve been enjoying life, last year I spent 2 months living in Dubai, I have taken the gigantic step back into the paid workforce and I have stood by and watched my baby start school.

Oh and, of course, I’ve been writing. And writing. And writing. In the past six months I have completed the first draft of my third, as yet unnamed, apocalyptic YA novel and I have about 3 chapters to go on my fourth novel, 2 Brothers (working title). And that’s where ROW80 comes in.

For those of you that have been following my blog for a while you will know that this is not the first time I have committed to ROW80 (A round of words in 80 days) to help me keep my focus and fight my way to the finish line on a novel.

The current round of ROW80 starts today which means it’s time to set some goals.

Goal 1: write at least 500 words a day until the first draft of my novel, 2 Brothers, is complete.

Goal 2: once goal #1 is achieved switch to editing mode on the apocalyptic YA novel, aiming to edit ~5 pages a day.

Goal 3: keep up with my aim to read 50 books this year.

 

It’s day 1 today and I have already completed my 500 words. So at my first check-in I get a big tick and maybe even a smiley face. A big g’day to all the ROW80ers I have yet to meet, I look forward to visiting all your blogs over the next few weeks and following your progress.

As always, I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

 

Bon Voyage ROW80 Check-In

I have no internet at the moment so I am going to try and upload this using my iPhone – I have no idea if it will work. So I will keep it brief lest I be wasting my time.

How did I go during the first full week of ROW80 Round 4?

First with the good news – the first draft of Soul Hunter is FINISHED!!! Yay. Such a great feeling. It came out at just over 73000 words (I was aiming for 75K so not too bad).

I also managed to complete the first lecture in Margie Lawson’s Empowering Characters’ Emotions lectures. Though I haven’t yet discussed the details or assignments with my study partner, Crystal Cipriani (blame the internet again) I will get around to it soon.

On the not so good news I didn’t manage to write my two blog posts (again I am going to blame my lack of internet… are you beginning to see a pattern here?) and I also didn’t do as much exercise as I would have liked :(.

Back to good news again – tomorrow I am heading overseas (I am sure that a 14 hour flight with a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old will be worthy of its own blog post so will probably be hearing more about it next week) I am super excited. Disneyland here I come 🙂

Hope you have had a good week and I promise next week I am going to exercise…

No writing tips from me today but they will be back next week – perhaps you have a tip for me in the meantime, I always love to hear from you.

Jody Moller

ROW80 Check-In – 5 October

Don’t worry all – this is going to be short and sweet. As this is only the third day of Round 4 of ROW80 it is understandly that I have not yet achieved all that much.

I have managed to write 2000 words on Soul Hunter over the past 3 days – so pretty happy on that front. And I am more than half-way through the first of Margie’s lectures on Empowering Characters’ Emotions. As part of that lecture I discovered that I am a left-brain dominant (pretty much already knew that and the fact that I got excited when I read that I was going to be allowed to use 5 different coloured highlighters for my editing also kind of gave it away :)).

On the down side, three days in and I have done zero exercise (plus I have attended two kids parties in the past two days and have consumed heaps of junk food :P).

Each week at my ROW80 check-in I have decided to include a writing tip, some will be obvious ones that we all know, some, perhaps will be new to you and might help you with your writing. So this weeks tip is ‘SHOW DON”T TELL’ an oldie but a goodie. Often we show AND tell, but don’t mistake the reader for a fool, they probably already know that the man that is slamming his fists against the table is angry or the woman that runs her tongue delicately across her lips is suggesting her sexual availability. Show it, don’t tell it!

I hope ROW80 is treating you well so far.

Jody Moller

ROW80 Round Four – Let the Fun Begin

Has it snuck up on you too? Yes that’s right Round 4 of a Round of Words in 80 days begins TODAY! True, I thought it was due to begin tomorrow, so I was under the impression I had one more day of rest and recuperation. Alas, not to be, so straight back into it!

Goals for Round 4:

  1. Finish 1st Draft of Soul Hunter – Despite my original plans to finish the first draft of Soul Hunter over the break, I decided to have a rest instead so Goal 1 is to finish that first draft (I only have two chapters – about 6000 words – to go!). I am hoping to complete this during the first week (in a little over a week I am heading overseas for a few months and I want to have it finished before I go) so here’s hoping!
  2. Complete ‘Empowering Characters’ Emotions’ Lectures – I have purchased Margie Lawson’s lecture packet on Empowering Characters’ Emotions and along with my iCrit pal Crystal Cipriani I will be attempting to complete a lecture a week over the course of ROW80.
  3. Critique for the iCrit girls – During Round 3 I met three amazing women, Crystal Cipriani, Ozlem Yikici and Lena Corazon and we formed a group known as iCrit. I am planning to set aside AT LEAST 1 hour a week to devoted to critiquing their work.
  4. Edit my first novel, Ankhari – I have no idea how long this is going to take so I am going to plan to edit 50 pages a week (but that might change as I have no idea how achievable this will be particularly as I will be overseas for pretty much the entire Round).
  5. Write 2 blog posts per week – The current plan is one ROW80 check-in post and one other post, but with all my entirely ambitious goals we will see how we go.
  6. EXERCISE!!! – Okay so this is the most ambitious of all but the apartments we are staying at in Los Angeles have a gym so I really don’t have my usual excuses. 3 times a week or bust!

Oh Dear! I have 6 goals, how the hell did that happen? I was planning on taking it easy compared to last round.

Are you participating in Round 4 of ROW80? Do you have no idea what ROW80 is and would like to find out? (ps click here) Are you being overly ambitious with your goals too?

By the way don’t forget the ROW80 party on the 5th of October, gather at the #ROW80 hashtag on Twitter. For more info refer to Jenny’s blog.

Looking forward to catching up with all of you over the next few months.

Jody Moller

ROWnd 3 – THE END!

It is the end of Round Three of a Round of Words in 80 Days. So this is the place where I restate my goals and let you know what I managed to achieve across the 80 days but before I do that I want to say how much I enjoyed this experience. The challenge itself is great, Kait Nolan has done a fabulous job constructing a flexible challenge with ROW80, but what allows this challenge to stand above the rest is the participants. I can not even begin to tell you how great all of the people are that I have interacted with across the past 80 days. Obviously I can’t name you all here but I want to say a big thankyou for all your support (in particular thanks to the iCrit girls, meeting you has been the highlight of ROW80!)

Okay so on with the summary.

At the beginning of Round 3 I stated that my goal was writing 500 words a day on my WIP ‘The Soul Hunter’ for 80 days (if you remember I also put in a clause that if I was ahead in my word count I could miss a day). Which means that at the end of the 80 days I should have written (come on I know you can work it out :)) 40,000 words.

I will break the challenge down into two parts. For me the most challenging part was always going to be the ‘writing everyday’ bit. Sadly I didn’t succeed in writing everyday, across the 80 days I missed 2 days. The first of those days was spent trying to get my laptop to work when my hard drive failed and the second day was the next day when I was crying over the 4000 words of Soul Hunter that I lost when my hard drive failed. But apart from those two, slightly exceptional days, I wrote at least 500 words everyday, I even managed to borrow a computer for the week my computer was in the shop being fixed so I could keep writing. And I now back up my work everyday!

As for the 500 words a day – well I kicked its butt! Soul Hunter was at 6500 words when the challenge began and I am now at 66,646 which means that I wrote 60,146 words during the course of ROW80 (I actually wrote a little over 4000 more than that, remember the hard drive failure, but I am trying not to dwell on that too much). And the best bit is that I only have 2 chapters remaining on Soul Hunter and the first draft will be finished 🙂 With a bit of luck another week and I should be there.

Overall I am completely chuffed with my progress with an average of 750 words a day I did better than I could have imagined.

Of course, I will also be signing up for Round 4 of ROW80 which is due to start on Oct 4th (running through to Dec 22). If you are contemplating joining in make sure you go to the ROW80 website and check out the rules. In the next round I am going to be a bit easier on myself, as I will be on holidays and don’t want to tie myself down to writing everyday but I will still be participating.

Also, if you were a participant in the current round, or if you are contemplating the next round make sure you come along to the ROW80 Twitter party hosted by Jenny Hansen on Oct 5. Check out her website for details.

Once again a big thankyou to all the people that cheered me on, particularly when my computer fried, all your words of encouragement really helped.

Jody Moller

Wednesday’s Rambling Writer – Tick Tock Flash + ROW80

For those of you participating in ROW80 you no doubt already realise that Round 3 ends tomorrow!!! For those of you that aren’t I will tell you – Round 3 of a Round of Words in 80 days ends tomorrow!!! I am smack bang in the middle of the big push towards the finish line.

So I thought a piece of flash fiction I wrote a few months back entitled ‘Tick Tock’ might be appropriate. It had been submitted to a contest through the Creative Competitor website. Sadly, I didn’t win the competition but I still love the story and I hope you do to.

The rules were that the story had to be a maximum of 250 words and had to revolve around a pocket watch. So without further ado here it is (oh and my ROW80 word counts for the week are at the bottom, make sure you check them out because they are awesome – if I may say so myself).

Tick Tock

Tick. Tock. My heart pounded out a congruent rhythm.

‘The watch is the clue.’ Those had been his words. But I couldn’t see it. To me it looked like an ordinary pocket watch. Ornate, old, tarnished. I turned it over in my hand.

Tick. Tock.

The hands were moving too fast. Time was running out.

How did it come to this? Here in this square, white room, the stench of disinfectant almost overpowering.

Rhetorical question. I knew how I got here. The sins of my past were a series of stepping stones leading to this inevitable end.

‘The watch is the clue.’

I resigned myself to the fact that I would never know the answer, closed my eyes and listened to the last few minutes of my life ticking away.

No wait, that was it!

Time. Time was the clue. Not the watch.

To be more precise, the passing of time.

Time heals all wounds. That’s what he’d meant. He was telling me that he forgave me my sins. Unforgivable as my sins were. He forgave me.

Another tick.

With an audible beep the plungers on all four syringes began their automated journey. Apple green liquid snaked its way towards my manacled hand.

I looked down at the watch, given to me by the father of my victim. A final absolution of my sins. Somehow its presence provided me with strength, quenched my fear.

Another tock.

I tightened my fingers around the pocket watch. It would all be over soon.

 

ROW80 Weekly Update

Thurs – 1031

Fri – 603

Sat – 1142

Sun – 1406

Mon – 1117

Tues – 1214

Wed – 1782

Yes that’s right people, this week I have written 8295 words on Soul Hunter 😀

I was determined to come home at a full sprint and I still have a full day to go.

I will post a full review of all I have acheived over the course of ROW80 once it is all over (probably on Friday) Tomorrow I am hoping to do very little other than write, write, write!!! [except Son has had a temp all day today and husband heads of overseas tommorrow and I have to make cupcakes for Daughters last ever day at preschool, but still I am going to try and write as much as I can]

I hope you have all had a great week and I don’t forget that words written on the last day still count! Oh yeah and make sure you leave a comment and tell me if you liked my story 🙂

Jody Moller

Wednesday’s Rambling Writer – Powering Through To The End

There is only a week left of ROW80 and I am looking forward to the end. We are sprinting down the final straight – it is the point in the race when you really start to feel the burn in your muscles, that point where you really have to buckle down and power through to the end.

I’m not ashamed to admit it – I have been struggling. The past few weeks life seems to be overwhelming me. I feel like I have no time to write, no time to blog, certainly no time to read and comment on other blogs. Basically I have no time at all.

This can’t actually be true. I am fairly certain that the number of hours in the day have remained the same – clearly it is what I am doing with those hours that has changed. Perhaps it is just that now the weather is so divine (Spring has hit here with full force) I am spending more time outside (if only I could find a way to write my story while pushing my kids on the swing!)

Today I really struggled. I didn’t turn on my computer at all until after the kids were in bed and at that point I still hadn’t had dinner. I could barely keep my eyes open and for the first time in weeks the thought of just skipping my 500 word goal for today genuinely crossed my mind. But I have come so far and the last thing I want to do is falter at the finishing line.

I have some experience with this (take my unfinished story – Kali Jacobs, Please Take a Seat as a fine example). But today when I was thinking about faltering it wasn’t my failures as a writer that I was thinking of, it was a far more literal interpretation of ‘faltering at the finishing line’.

When I was 14 I was taking part in the Regional Cross Country (a running race over a few kilometres between the best runners from the surrounding schools). In order to make it to the next competition, at State, you needed to come in at 9th or better. So I ran my little heart out. As we were approaching the finish line someone yelled out to me that I was coming 10th and low and behold I could see the girl in front of me and she seemed to be struggling, so I stepped it up a notch. I caught her with less than 100m to go in the race, and with my lungs burning and my legs aching I ran past her. The only problem was that as I ran past her my foot hit hers and I stacked it face first onto the asphalt.

It wasn’t one of those little stacks where the person lands a bit awkwardly and jumps back up onto their feet and continues as if nothing happened. No I landed on the ground hard and then skidded for a few metres (embedding lots of nice bits of rock and dirt into my wounds for the Dr to dig out later). Needless to say I didn’t come in 9th place. I came in 10th, well sort of, I was actually carried over the line by some of the MANY witnesses to my spectacular fall.

So why is this story relevant? You ask. Well – two weeks later I received a phone call telling me that as the 10th place getter I was the first reserve for State. Someone had injured themselves and I was being called up – only I was still injured myself and was certainly not capable of competing. The moral of the story is that sometimes just finishing the race is the goal. All those years ago if I hadn’t tried to run past that girl then I would have gone to State.

So today when I sat down to write I decided to hit my 500 words but not worry about the extra 600 I would have needed to reach 5000 for the week. I would have been pushing myself too hard and goodness only knows what might have happened. So I can proudly say that I completed another week where I wrote at least 500 words a day, everyday. My word counts for the week were:

Thurs – 569

Fri – 661

Sat – 596

Sun – 628

Mon – 870

Tues – 549

Wed – 516

Which gave me a total for the week of 4389 and a total so far for ROW80 of 49728 (yep that’s right almost 50K since I started!)

One week to go. One week to go. One week to go. Repeat the mantra people. We will get there 🙂

Are you struggling? Are you looking forward to the finish line? I hope you have all had a good week.

Jody Moller

ps. I apologise for any spelling/grammatical errors. I am so tired I am not even going to proof read this before I post it – I will do it tomorrow!