ROWing with my Nature…Goals Update #8

Jeremiah baked his first cake this week.

It’s another Sunday, a ROW80 goals update day, and the second -to- last day of April – which just seemed to vanish, this year, for some reason.  Maybe because I have been very intent and focused on a great many areas, and the focus kept me at a heightened state of intensity.

At any rate, I feel a swell of growth, deepening,  new energy, and ideas surging up within me. The wave hasn’t quite broken the surface yet, but it is close.

I’ve been laying the groundwork, and, to some extent, getting my affairs in order.

A Random Animal asleep in her nest.

I have been in the middle places in many of my projects, and that can be a time prone to boredom and even stagnation, for me.  So, I  did the only logical thing I could do.

I finished a thing or two, and began a thing or two, and have plans for more finishings and beginnings in the upcoming days.

For me, beginnings and finishings are the cataylst that stirs everything up. They require more focus and attention than the smoother, coasting flow of the middle of things. There is a shift in energy, and there may even be snags and other hidden pitfalls.

Jeremiah creates Scratch computer animation - he was making a movie.

The just-begun is newness. It adds new thoughts to the melange of flavors already stewing within me; new connections are very often forged, and there is a certain energy that makes me alert, like a Huntress, aware of nuances I might otherwise miss.

And finishings……

For so long, I was a person without endings. As the volume and diversity of my goals might show to those who favor only one or two, I love to begin.

Growing up....

The thrill, the unknown, the potential becoming kinetic, all thrill me. It’s a joy ride, plain and simple.

But, when the newness wore off, instead of cherishing the well-worn venture as I do a pair of jeans that’s known my curves a while, I would, for many years, just drop that project and go seeking some new passion, until I tired of it, too….

It’s a pattern I am very familiar with.

Annalise's Scratch animation Animal Battle.

My family-of- origin has a particular characteristic shared by several members – to always be purchasing some major item, or effecting renovations, or adding rooms to their homes…

As soon as the project is complete or the new item ensconced in their lives, it seems, they are setting about making plans for the next acquisition or project.

There never seems to be a time of just enjoying what has just come to be. Always, the focus is on what’s next.

"See my uvula?"

School was that way, too. Learn this. JUST this. No, we can’t go any deeper into it than that; we need to move on to the next thing. Why? Because the curriculum says so. Whether I had a deep passion for what we were moving on from, or a complete disinterest in what we were moving on to, was of no importance at all. Move in we did, in lockstep, or as close to it as could be managed.

I have never been able to resist the quest for the new – learning lies there, and juicy aliveness. I have discovered that I can, though, use this need for the new to give me further impetus to roll through the coasting middles of other projects.

First-ever game of Zoo Tycoon.

I love a pace that flows with my own ebbs and flows, and that has things in varying stages of doneness. The finishings bolster me; the middles roll on, carrying me along with a gentle, natural  flow; and the beginnings are the rapids that stir everything up, mixing it all together…..

So, all these disparate elements create an organic, living rhythm that draws me in, offers a balm, an impetus, or a ripe fruit as I need it. I can be methodical or random, or a little of each. I can flow through the pondering times and explode into activity and a spate of beginning and finishing when my energy is full and wild.

Girl in the lilac bush....

It all looks and feels a little chaotic, disorganized, and haphazard – but then, I’m not unaware that so does the rest of our unschooling lives, to those who aren’t comfortable of familiar with how organic learning and partnership parenting function.

I have always been comfortable with some chaos in my life – so long as it’s a happy and productive and passionate chaos. Too much order isn’t natural, and I tend to be more comfortable with all things in their natural states.

So, welcome to the lush chaos of my writing life – wander freely, and enjoy, and perhaps take away a bit of wild energy for your own use!

Round 2 Goals:


  • Read at least 3 articles a week from my To Be Read files on computer, and categorize those I choose to keep or share.
  • I read about the Easter Island Statue Project, which is inspiring a swirling of story thoughts.  I shared it on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • I have attained this goal for this week.


  • Create flash fiction, short stories, dialogues, character sketches, alternate scenes, and poetry for  Chameleon’s Dish.  Wander cow trails, and learn these people and their lives more fully.
  • I have written some description and setting for the group dialogue scene I am in the midst of.  This is likely to alter the tenor of the piece, but that is the point of this play. =)
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I pulled a complete entry from my June 2000 posts to use as the introduction to this goals update.
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • As noted above, I used a post pulled from this source as the intro to this update.
  • Find all chapters of Blood and Breath.  Input into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • I have decided to change this goal. I will instead be gathering the chapters of **Chameleon’s Dish** and inputting them into Scrivener in preparation for next round’s rewrite.  
  • Meanwhile, I will continue to create the story arc for Blood and Breath, as well as writing flash fiction pieces which will become the basis of the scenes.
  • So, this goal will now be two goals, which will read as follows:
  • Input all chapters of Chameleon’s Dish into Scrivener in preparation for ROWnd 3 rewrite.
  • I have found the place in my NaNoWriMo writing where Nockatee fisrt revealed herself to me, and placed it whole into a LibreOffice file.
  • I am excited to have the birth of a novel so carefully recorded.
  •  I am going to edit it and share it, even if it IS Star Trek fanfic.
  • Complete the story arc for Blood and Breath. Begin writing flash fiction pieces which will be the basis of the scenes in the next rewrite.
  • I have reformatted the early chapters into bulleted points lists.
  • I have added a bulleted points list for Chapter 4.
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • I have begun a revision of this letter that is based upon logic and not defensiveness.
  • I am not hurrying through this process.  I want the letter to be matter-of-fact, no-nonsense, firm but not unkind.
  • I am willing to take all the time I need to accomplish that goal.

  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I have completed the collages to use in my Z is for Zoo post.
  • All collages are now watermarked  and ready to be imported to the post.
  • The post had been completed, embellished, and scheduled…
  • This goal has been attained!
  • Complete Cooperative Catalyst post and relevant links (interviews with both children, and their “day in the life” posts from last year) ; submit to editor.
  • I  finished updating Annalise’s “Day in the Life” post.  
  • This leaves just editing the main post, and embellishing Jeremiah’s “A Day in the Life” post, and then I will contact the blog editor to see where to go from there.
  • Create a “flow chart” for posting to shanjeniah and The Unfettered Life.  Use these, and adapt as necessary, throughout the round (with allowances made in April for the challenge).
  • I skipped doing either of the flow charts for Thursday – I felt like working on other things.
  • I submitted Watersdeep’s Edge to #Friday Flash, here, as per my flow chart.
  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • I have completed and posted a new page, Your Soapbox Awaits.  It will be a home away from home for guest bloggers, with their posts, bios, and links to whichever blogs they wish to share here.

  •   Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest;and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • I invited more LinkedIn connections, accepted an invitation, added a photo, and expanded my profile.
  • I have begun posting status updates, links, and messages via LinkedIn.
  • I am feeling quite brave, and starting to feel more comfortable there.
  • I explored Twitter on Saturday, while using HootSuite.
  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • As noted above, I submitted to Friday Flash.
  • Also as noted above, I scheduled my final Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • I will be participating in the reflection period which will begin on May 7.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • I am firming up the arrangements for the first of my guest blogger swaps.
  • I have created a page, Your Soapbox Awaits… for guest bloggers to hang their coats,put their feet up, and chat a while…
  • I am feeling some nerves and resistance about this goal.  Deep breaths.  Little steps.  Building momentum.

  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • Although not quite as nervous about submitting as I was last round, I still find myself resisting this process, and approaching it with apprehension. I’m glad I set my “quotas” higher, because I can’t think of a better way to work through the feelings that come up than by giving them more opportunities to do so….
  • I faced my emotional reactivity, and submitted my poem, 4AM Call, to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • I am hoping that this gets my momentum rolling, because I have 9 more flash fiction or poetry pieces to submit, this round!
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.
  • As mentioned above, I am working on the Cooperative Catalyst package, prior to final editing and contacting the blog editor.
  • I have added links and photos to all but one post.
  • I have done a complete read-through and course edit of the essay for this package.
  • Next, I will do a more complete edit, formatting, and smoothing-out run, prior to submitting.
  • I wrote a second version of my On Becoming a Blogger essay for the Anything Goes nonfiction column in the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • I am much happier with this piece than the last one –  it feels far truer –  and will let it rest a day or three before beginning to revise.
Lilacs abounding!
  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I have added the photos I downloaded from Facebook  for this week’s writing projects to a synced Picasa album, and deleted them from my Downloads file.
  •  I have also synced an album labeled To Process and Sort from my Dropbox folders, and deleted those photos from my hard drive, as well.
  • I will return and sort those photos after I have finished with all the photos on my hard drive.
  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • I have maintained my preference for small beginning steps by watermarking the three photos that appear in the post I am editing in The Unfettered Life.
  • Watermarking the photos used in that blog will be simpler than the process for this blog, as there is one dedicated Picasa Web Album file for all of the photos that appear there.

  •  Explore marketing articles on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • I read this wonderful article on Author Platforms.
  • I will be returning to read the second article in this series.
  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah  Marketing Articles page.
  • I added the above article to my Marketing Articles page, with a brief description.
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.
  • I am beginning to build a mental picture of the shape and scope of the writer platform I am constructing.
  • I am currently mulling several small steps, deciding which to implement, gradually, during the coming weeks.
  • I know already that all of my actions will be based upon passion, communication, and inner truth.  Nothing  is really relevant in my life, anyway, if it doesn’t include at least one of these.


  •  Get Scrivener  downloaded; begin learning by inputting first an essay, and then Blood and Breath.
  • I am changing this goal to reflect the reality of Blood and Breath’s missing chapters, and my decision to rewrite.
  • This goal will now be to input Chameleon’s Dish into Scrivener. which will also set me up for the rewrite I plan for the next ROWnd.
  • The new goal will read as follows:
  • Get Scrivener downloaded; begin learning by inputting first as essay, and then Chameleon’s Dish.
  • I have begin this process by transferring Chapter 8 of the NaNoWriMo version of Chameleon’s Dish, written in Quick Note, to a LibreOffice document.
  • Next, I will  reread the chapter, fix any obvious issues, and then break into component scenes for saving to Scrivener
  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I used Twitter via Hoot Suite on Saturday, which seems to be becoming my regular day to explore there.
  • I still can’t say it feels natural to me, or that I prefer it, but I do find it interesting and worth checking in from time to time.
Perfect bloom, perfect light...and I think I have finally figured out my macro setting!


  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • I updated – watermarked pictures,  added captions, edited, and added tags – to my post, …And More Freedom.  
  • I am enjoying this process, and reading through posts that re nearly three years old – it’s an opportunity to celebrate how far I and my family have come.
  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • I have moved one entry to my Writing Bullpen.  A portion of it appears at the end of this post; the rest is the remainder of a memoir story of our most chaotic Thanksgiving as a married couple.
  • Input Blood and Breath and Chameleon’s Dish to Scrivener.
  • As mentioned above, I will be creating a story arc for Blood and Breath rather than inputting it into Scrivener.
  • I have formatted Chapter 8 (which will become Chapter 1; it’s complicated!) of Chameleon’s Dish, separating the scenes and naming each based on POV character.
  • Next, I will begin to input the chapter into Scrivener.
  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • As mentioned above, I cleaned up my downloads, and a large picture file, To Process and Sort.

  • Add JOY to every day!
  • Thursday: Old-picture nostalgia; reading; writing; working in my library.
  • Friday:More old pictures, finishing the A to Z Challenge; mowing lawn.
  • Saturday: Special time with Jim, M*A*S*H; taking pictures; coffee and a long chat; staying home; hanging with the kids.
  • Sunday: More mowing; more photography; reading old writings; nostalgia feeding my nascent novel idea; time with kids, with Jim, and alone; sleeping in.
  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • Thursday: Hometending.
  • Friday: More hometending.
  • Saturday: Hometending; dancing; mowed front yard.  Our home is located on the downslope of a shale ridge.  The entire yard is pitched, very steeply in some places, and mowing it with our push mower is a whole-body workout!
  • Sunday: More mowing.  Finished front yard, did side yard and a bit if the back.  More tomorrow if the weather holds.  Short walk to meet kids at their friend’s house.
  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • I was decorated with more calm than is typical for me when I am this hormonal, and also with a rosy complexion from working outside in the cool weather (which might account for at least some of my prevailing calm…..).
  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • Thursday: Old picture musings; scrapbooks with Lise; reading; allowing myself a mellow day.  Cleaned, organized, and simplified my night table top.  It’s very inviting and soothing, without all the accumulated clutter.
  • Friday:More old pictures; completing a long-term challenge, reading and writing; cleaned in my library.
  • Saturday: Jim!  Mowing; kid time; reading; writing; AND I SUBMITTED SOMETHING!!!  Taking pictures.
  • Sunday: More reading; writing; mowing; pictures.  Reading things I wrote years ago.  Being present in much of my day; serving my family with joy and purpose.
  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • Annalise: Listened to her reading; said yes to her walking on the road and to her friend’s house on the corner; lots of snuggles and talk; introduced her to Zoo Tycoon for the computer; bought her a copy for her 3DS.
  • Jim: couples time; dealt with garbage company conflict; let him use the car all week without sharing; hometending; mowing; talking (this is Jim’s list).  He says we can’t overrate that sex thing, though…
  • Jeremiah: Looked at  and photographed his Scratch animation art (he says he’s making a movie) ; snuggles; conversation; agreed to his longest-ever road walk; said yes to play at Ryan’s house; introduced him to Zoo Tycoon.
 Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • I have updated Annalise’s Reading section to reflect her very recent leap in skill and interest.
  • I have written her Writing/Spelling section
  • Cleanup email folders/organize, move, read, delete, act upon as needed.
  • I mercilessly winnowed my hugely swollen Leisure Time Reading folder from 398 messages to a far more manageable 20!
  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • I am up to page 23 of 120 on notebook #1.
Corki and the mower....

Excerpt from my Writing Practice Notebook, December 1999…..WRITING FEARS AND CONCERNS

failure (outright and utter)

rejection letters

change in lifestyle

change in me

success (outright and fantastic)

not being good enough

not being seen for as good as I am

losing a life’s dream

having enough (or more than enough) money

My relationship with Jim changing or ending

losing my anonymity (LOVE that word)

falling on my face


Mystery bush in bloom!


“There is no reason for you to think you can make a living at writing.”


And there’s no reason NOT to think it, either


We are NOT desperate  for money, and I HAVE invested money in this goal.


I’m still planning to work.  Why NOT try?

Everyone should strike for their highest purpose.  I think writing is mine, whether I get paid for it or not.


…I like myself less when I’m not writing.  So I should write .


What does money have to do with writing, anyway?  


Jim makes enough money for us to live on.  


When I get pregnant, I’m going to need a hobby!


12/3/99 – 

“I’ll get serious about my writing AFTER…”

“…I have my tea.”

“..I’m awake.”

“…I make a sale.”

“…I get someone to tell me to.”

“…I put out the cat, walk the dog, and clean the house.”

“….I get the Christmas presents wrapped.”

“…I finish this book.”

“…I finish this book.”
“…I finish this article.” 

I just found this interesting…what has changed, and what has stayed the same…

Something to ponder….


Lise feet.....



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