Final ROW80 Update -“ROWIng Softly to the Shore…”

Mirror writing by Annalise, age 7.75 years. Chalk on driveway.

I’m the kind of person who likes to take the time to feel things all the way through.  Therefore, I’m not ready yet to explore all that my virgin ROW80 round had meant to me, all the ways in which my life has changed because I gathered my courage and made the leap of faith of considering where I was and where I would like to go in my writing life, creating goals based on that new awareness – and then committing myself, for 80 days, to living my life in a way that nurtured my striving toward them.

I will be writing in detail about all this –  but not until I can see more than just the fact and shape of the changes….and that will happen only with time, and perspective.

Sunshiny driveway day!

For now, I can say for certain that I am not now who I would have been, had I not embarked upon this particular journey,  I suppose that is true for all paths; making one choice can make others unavoidable, and still others impossible.  Often, though, those differences are subtle, and easy to miss, while I am  going about the matter of living.

Sometimes, there’s no way to tell, in the moment, whether the changes brought about in me by my choices are to the good, or  not so much…..this time, though, there is little doubt.  I am more myself now than I was before I struck out on this adventure.   I am more confident in my ability to write, to accept criticism, to create goals that help me to grow, and that I can pursue with passion and joy.

Showing me where their friend Ryan crashed his motorbike - a few scrapes, but no serious injuries....

I’ve learned that when tragedy and its resultant chaos and upheaval fall into our lives, writing can be therapy, a refuge of fantasy and sanity in the midst of uncertainty and the kind of fear that clutches at heart and breath….

I’ve come to see many more ways I have chained myself to parts of life or ways of thinking that held me too tightly to Earth.  I’m now working on undoing those fetters, and loosing myself.

I have offered up pieces of my soul, and they have been taken seriously.

This is Annalise and I with balloons, under the sun and happy together....

I have met some truly inspiring people, and had the chance to get to know a lifelong friend in a new way…

I have learned so much about writing in general, and my own writing in specific….

But I need more time to get much deeper than this.

So, once more, here are my ROW80 Round 1 goals, and notations about my progress and/or thoughts on each….

Round of Words 80 Goals – Round 1, 2012:

  • I will write at least 10 essays and/ or photo essays, and post them publicly. 
  • I accomplished this, and in spades, writing several additional essays.  
  • I’ve discovered that my love for essays extends far beyond those high school essay tests….and I will be writing more -perhaps, many, many, more.
  • I will complete all necessary homeschool reporting (2010-2011 end-of-year assessments; fourth request for approval of 2011-2012 IHIPs, and Second Quarter Reports-  all items for both children).  These will be completed and submitted as follows:
  •  2010-2011 EOY Assessments  –  January 31, 2012 
  •  2011-2012 IHIP Approval Request – February 15, 2012, 
  • 2011-2012 Second Quarter Reports – March 1, 2012 
  • I finished this goal, and am free of reports until June 1.
  • I’ve found the reports, formerly hugely odious to me, are less so when they are ROW80 goals.  Good to know, since the reports are a part of life, so long as we homeschool in this state.
  • I will submit at least one essay or photo essay apiece to Tiny Buddha and Sunday Surf.
  • This was harder, mentally and emotionally, than I thought it would be.  There was resistance.  I moved through it attentively, a little at a time, and there was growth in doing so.
  • I did submit both of these.  
  • Sunday Surf posts all submissions, weekly, and “A Tale of Two New Years” posted in February.
  • Tiny Buddha posts accepted submissions which meet the guidelines.  My submission, “My Way, Your Way….Or Another, Altogether?” will be posted several weeks from now! =)
  • I will complete the rough draft of my unfinished NaNoWriMo novelChameleon’s Dish.
  • I finished the draft at 8am today.  I am fairly certain that there are missteps, inconsistencies, and dead ends.  That’s what subsequent drafts are for, and I intend to play some before I delve into the next…exploring the characters and situations in far less formal ways.
  • I will submit at least four pieces, queries, or proposals to for-pay markets.
  • Again, there was resistance in this one, and it took much courage to make those little steps that led to the edge, and then leap from it…..
  • I shifted this goal slightly, so that the focus was less on monetary payment, and more on any tangible payment –  exposure, by-lines, the opportunity to stretch or receive criticism….
  • Of the submissions I made, I have received rejections for two of them; one was to an open blogging community; one I am waiting on (and will be for several weeks more); and one was ACCEPTED!
  • I will update, keep current on a weekly basis, and add writing samples to my Facebook Writer Page, and I will  update, edit, and post to both of my regular blogs on at least a weekly basis.
  • I did fairly well at this.  What was most often neglected was The Unfettered Life, as my focus was most often on writing and writing-things.  Also, Blogger has not been letting me comment the last few weeks, even on my own blog, and I haven’t wanted to be posting there when I couldn’t answer comments…
  • I did post regularly here, usually more than once a week, and have posted often to my Facebook page.  I am learning how to use the Facebook page as a tool for myself, and as a window into my writing life for interested others.
  • I am calling this a slightly modified success.  I averaged more than two blog posts a week, but not necessarily on two blogs.
  • Annalise, self-portrait.=)

    I will write at least one book review,  and a rough draft of a letter to my father-in-law.

  • I’ve written two book reviews, this round, and am planning more.
  • It was a little hard to write less than favorable reviews, but good to learn to do so civilly, and to speak up about things that bothered me.
  • I have a rough  draft of points to cover in the letter.  Letting it rest for a week or three, then revisiting….it is also good to speak up about things that bother me in a personal arena, although I would prefer not to feel the need to…
  • I count this goal as a solid success.
  • I will edit, revise where necessary,  and properly categorize all posts in this blog.
  • I accomplished this goal.  I am not claiming perfection.  I did review each post, edit, revise in places, add links and images, and properly categorize each post.  And I learned a lot in the process.
  • I will input one of my writing notebooks into Penzu, and clip all materials I would like to pursue further.
  • I adapted this goal near the end, when I realized that I would need to rush through the clipping and probably still not finish it in time.  Not wanting to rush the process, I chose to move the clipping portion of this goal to the next round.
  • I completed the notebook inputting, and will definitely be transcribing more of these in other rounds….
  • So, this goal was a modified success.
My Portrait, by Annalise.
SO, I have accomplished my goals….with a little extra here, and a little tweaking of expectations there.  I did what I could to go with the flow – of life, of energy, of family needs, of thoughts, of joy and peace….
I’m not ready, yet, for deeperreflection, or big projects.  Today, I’ve puttered a little on the house, slept 7 hours, hung out with family, played with this blogpost, downloaded but didn’t edit these pictures, and read a few chapters in the book I was in the middle of when I shifted to finishing my goals, checked the weather for this weekend,  – and that’s about it.Soon, I will be packing, and then – rest, if my mind will allow it.
Which will be a theme for the next couple of weeks, while the current ebb leads to the next surge.
There will be a few things I may focus on, over the next days, though….
  • Blogpost for Unschooler’s Blog Carnival
  • Awards Acknowledgements
  • Short and flash fiction pieces
  • More detailed wrapup of this round
  • Family bio for the Always Learning Live Unschooling Symosium in May
  • Challenge updates
  • Work out Blogger comment problem
  • Enjoy my family, and our trip
  • Catch up on reading
  • Set up post ideas and/or begin posts for April’s A to Z challenge
  • Write Round 2 goals
  • 5oo Word blogposts for the 3 first responders to a post on my Facebook Page.
I may do some or all of these.  I might do other things, too…refilling things.  Spring is here, and fresh life breathes in me and through me….and, hopefully, through all of you, too….Check in on the other ROWers, as they tally up their goals and reflect on the journey….

Jim coming home after his first day resuming driving, post-crash


    • Sys-

      Like life, there were wonderful times and terrifying times ,and a lot in the middle…

      I’m not sure I’m though it yet, emotionally. The catastrophe was enormous and sudden and shifted everything, and feeling it all the way through will take time – maybe a lot of time.

      Writing was, as always, the best way to begin. It’s likely also the best way to continue.

      Which turns out to be pretty convenient, meeting writing goals wise….. =)

      • Like all things that have real effects on our lives, I’m sure you aren’t through it yet, but as you continue on, other things, even small things, will affect you and dilute or modify or somehow integrate themselves into this big experience, smoothing out some edges, buffing up others… Changing the general landscape that you call life. And it will be yours either way. And you will do well in it.

        >hugs< and love.

  1. As an outsider looking into your world , a stranger meeting you gradually over the weeks I would say in my British understated way you have travelled well and acheived much:)

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