ROWin’ On… Final Update – #24

Goals Update #24 – Final ROW

A bit more of what I wrote, a year ago….


##### ENTRY ##### 2011-06-21, num_words:904, num_minutes:75.971

I’ve been writing in a notebook more, the last few days, and far less here. Yesterday, I had a computer-free day, and those feel good every now and then. I also will always love the feel of and paper, and the connection they forge with my subconscious. I’ve learned to write on a computer, and get to my deeper thoughts, but the process and the thoughts are different, in this medium. Not worse, or better – I see equal value in using both.



##### ENTRY ##### 2011-06-27, num_words:832, num_minutes:28.7845

Okay, I’m back. Whatever I write tonight will probably be exceedingly rambly (and possibly brambly, too, which reminds me of a children’s story I wrote years ago an recently found, but then, already, before the first sentence is done, I’m wandering into other subjects with oblivion). I am very, very tired…..I went to bed at about 5:30am, and had promised Miah I would get up with him at 9:30 because he planned to go to my folks’ at 10 and spend some time doing odd jobs (they pay him, but he says he dorsn’t care nearly as much about the money as he does about the work, because it’s always something interesting).


Stuff Lise did this spring and Nocturnal  Miah…late May pictures.

So, already, that meant only four hours of available sleep (I am not a napper, perhaps most especially not when I am really tired. Sleeping for even a little while gives me a sense of disorientation and grogginess that are far more debilitating to me than bone-deep fatigue is), which is a bare minimum for me. I can get through three or sometimes four days on four or five hours, or a bit less if we’re in the buoying presence of a large group of unschoolers. But this sleep was interrupted once by my own waking, and then twice by Annalise coming to wake me so she could tell me things.


Things like, “Mommy, your face is in the pillow.” She was concerned by the zipper; she didn’t want me to get zipper face!


And, “Mommy, guess what?! I can spell six! S-I-X!” That’s new; yesterday she could not. She’s getting more and more words in her spelling toolbox, mostly though her own experiences and explorations, and she is understandably thrilled and giddy with this brand new power.


Nature Girl Tree Hugger!

And, “I’m watching Mareeps jump over the fence.” That one made no sense at all to my sleep-addled mind, and came 20 minutes before the alarm was going to sound. Later, she reminded me that Mareeps are Pokemon, and they can be counted like sheep. Ahhh, so NOW it makes sense.


When she informed me that the coffee was ready, I gave up all hope of a few extra minutes’ sleep…..


But now, I am at the getting darker part of the day. I’ve done barely any hometending….but that actually feels quite good and restful, because often I drive myself to spend two or three hours on cleaning and organizing every day, and that can build frustration and resentment when I am really too tired to do it.


That is a residual of my upbringing, when if I went to bed at 5am, because the long quiet hours of the night were the most peaceful ones in that volatile, often hostile, household, my father would rouse me at 7am. “You’re just lazy!” The bellow was as close to a good morning as I was going to receive. “Everybody else is up, and you need to be too!” And he would chivvy me, and present me, almost at once, with a list of jobs for me to do. Not having done them would earn yelling, punishing, or maybe even hitting. And, any time my fatigue caught up to me during the day, he would be there to call me lazy, ridicule whatever restful pursuit I had opted for (reading and writing were then, as now, two of my favorites), and set me back on the “straight and narrow” of hard, diligent work.

Transitional walk – the moon….June 2, 2012, Hamilton, NJ.


And, in so ignoring my needs for calm and quiet, my needs for rest (I was a teenager, and it has since been proven that teenagers really do need more sleep than adults do, and tend to be physiologically geared to stay up later), my need to exercise not only my body, but also my ceaselessly hungry mind, to direct the course of my own life to a far greater degree than I was allowed – in ignoring my very PERSONHOOD – he made it nearly impossible for me to come to a place where I can know beyond all doubt that it is good and right and perfectly OK to return to bed when my body and mind are in desperate need of rest.


To be honest, it’s only in the last several weeks that my guilt over time taken to read or write has dissipated to the point where it doesn’t taint the joy I take in these quiet, physically restful, deeply personal activities that expand my sense of the world and myself. The tension is easing, there, and that, as much as anything, is what has enabled me to reclaim my “pipe dream” (so called by that same father) of earning I living through the words I write.


In time, perhaps I will be able to just lay down when I need to, stop, sleep, and know that, rather than the world screeching to a halt and my lazy soul being hopelessly damned, I will simply sleep, and awake refreshed, renewed, and joyfully ready for whatever is next.

Annalise, Jeremiah, and Harry on a gloaming walk…


Round 2 Goals:


  • Read at least as many books as the number of the month (4 in April ; 5 in May; 6 in June) from my bedroom To Be Read piles.
  • Phillipa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter (reading aloud with Annalise and Jeremiah) page 214 of 270.
  • I have read 5 of 6 books for this month. 
  • I am on target to complete this goal for this ROWnd.


Water Girl!
  • 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 Being Selfish Rules.
  • I read Concerned about Your Child’s College and Career Success? Leave School.
  • I have read 4 of 4 articles for this week.
  • Overall, I feel I achieve d this goal, in quantity if not definitively. I have missed the goal a week or two, and have made it up the next week. I will call this one a modified success.


  • Read at least 5 blogposts a week (not including my own), and like, comment, and/or share as I am moved to.
  • I read two posts at ROW80. (Karen Huber’s version).
  • I read Experiment Ended.
  • I read Writing Wednesday: Final Round 2 Check In.
  • I read ROW80 (Anne Stanley’s version).
  • I have read 6 of 6 posts for this week.
  • Again, I have, on average, completed this goal. Some weeks were a bit short; others a bit over.
  • I am calling this a success for this ROWnd.


Water Boy!


  • 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 am in the midst of a scene that may become the prologue.
  • I have written flash fiction, short stories, dialogue, alternate scenes, a poem, and a character sketch for this WIP.
  • I will call this goal a success, more or less. Although I did not create a lot for each area, I have a better sense of the characters and their stories, which was the objective behind the goal..and it was a delightful fresh breath after the focused draft writing of Round 1!
  • Pull material from 750 words posts not part of the Chameleon’s Dish first draft.
  • I have elected to focus only on the June 2011 posts this ROWnd.
  • I have completed transferring and clipping the June posts.
  • I have complete this (modified) goal.
  • Create essays, stories, and other pieces based upon these writings.
  • I have done this in a largely organic manner, using whole posts as endpieces for these goal updates, saving a few for future editing as stand-alone essays, and being influenced by what I am rereading.
  • I count this goal as successfully completed.
    Every party should have pizza with rainbow sprinkles, no? =D


  • Create story arc for  Blood and Breath.
  • I currently have completed the story arc through Chapter 19.
  • A natural length for the story seems to be about 25 chapters.
  • Each chapter is taking between 10-30 minutes, and I suspect there are 6 chapters and an epilogue remaining. Thus, I will have another hour or two’s work to complete this goal before or during ROWnd 3.
  • It does not seem likely that I will complete this goal before the round ends. However, I feel very good about what I have created, and I will continue on with the story arc until it is complete.


  •  Input Chameleon’s Dish into Scrivener; possibly begin rewrite.
  • I have input through Chapter 16(“Life, Mirrored”).
  • There are a few mistakes in the way I input things; I will fix those as I work on my editing/rewriting.
  • There were 25 chapters in the original rough draft, but the first several were expository rather than part of the story.
  • I believe there will be somewhere between 18- 20 chapters in the completed revised rough draft.
  • Each chapter is taking approximately an hour to input. Three chapters remain, and an epilogue, I think, so about 4 hours’ work remain for this goal.
  • I may not finish this goal before the ROWnd ends, but I am very happy with my progress and the great deal I have learned about Scrivener along the way. I will be able to finish this goal at a later point -likely before ROWnd 3 begins, – fairly easily.


    Life in full bloom at Sylvia’s house!
  • Finish father-in-law letter and send.
  • I am not going to finish this before the end of the ROWnd.
  • The matter is too sensitive, and there are things I feel I need to say, and say well.
  • It has been my intention all along to give both the words and myself space, to avoid angst as I write, and to do this thing well.
  • Ar present, I have five sections left to draft, after which I can begin to polish.
  • I will be moving this goal to the next ROWnd, and continuing to work my way through the points I want to explore.
  • Although I can’t call this goal attained, I am very pleased to have (at last) found a format that allows me to maintain calm and avoid responding reactively, and to be moving forward through the process, which, whatever the outcome of the letter itself, has certainly helped me to process my emotions and clarify my purpose. And that is a good thing!




  • Complete the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.
  • This goal has been attained.



  • Complete Cooperative Catalyst post and relative links (interviews with both children, and their “day in the life” posts from last year) ; submit to editor.
  • I completed this goal. Before or during the next ROWnd, I pan on following up with the editor.


  • 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).
  • This goal never really took. I did make charts for both blogs. I admire this type of schedule on others’ blogs, but it doesn’t seem to be for me, at this time…maybe someday, but not yet.


  • Add pages/ edit sidebar layout on shanjeniah.
  • I call this goal a success. I added pages, and worked a litte with the layout. I pan on continuing in future ROWnds.


Homecoming Night…


  •  Explore She WritesTwitterStoryDamPinterest;and LinkedIn .  Use, develop, evaluate, adjust.
  • I will call this a success. Although none of these became second nature to me during this ROWnd, that might have a lot to do with the intense creativity of April and May, and the demanding challenges I took on both months. I do have greater famiiarity with these sites, though, and pan to return throughout the next ROWnd, which looks to be a more subdued, continuing kind of affair…at least, right now.


  • Continue joining hops, fests, challenges, and other community blogging efforts.
  • This goal is a success. I was engaged with various ongoing and one-time challenges throughout the ROWnd.


  • Comment on and share blogs regularly; share my blogs as widely as seems feasible, and in diverse ways.
  • I did this with some regularity, but not to the degree I had hoped. And, as for answering comments on my own blog, and on my posted items and groups – well, I am, what we called in waitress parlance, “in the weeds”. I will be making this a higher priority in the next ROWnd, and hope to make some progress with the dozens of unanswered existing commnets during the break.
  • Do 3 guest posts and  host 3 guest bloggers this round.
  • This was a fail, but not a complete one. I wad featured on Elizabeth Anne Mithchell as a guest poster. I have a nearly completed essay to submit to Eden Mabee, and several other offers I will be following up on as I go through the mountain of comments I will be answering soon…I also have an essay submitted to Cooperative Catalyst, and have been casually noting larger blogs that feature guest posters. I feel that three was perhaps a bit too ambitious beginning, here, Nonetheless, it was good to feel the resistance, to move with it instead of fighting it, and to learn along the way.
  • I have hosted one guest poster, Elizabeth Anne Mitchell. I love what she wrote, and giving her a place to share it, and am honored that she shared. I would lie to host MANY more guest bloggers…HINT, HINT!


    Fun with Midi and Blaster!


  •  Submit at least 10 pieces of flash fiction or poetry this round.
  • I completed 6 submissions, with two or three more at stages near readiness or waiting for revision and/or resubmission.
  • I feel this was a modified success rather than a fail. I branched out with my submissions, and I researched several markets. I received payment for two poems published at the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.
  • I became more comfortable with the process, and am currently developing several WIPs for future submissions, as well as considering a collection of flash fiction stories as an ebook.
  • Submit at least 5 essays or lists this round.


  • Continue submitting to hops, challenges, fests, etc.; at least 3 each month.
  • This was absolutely a success, as I entered at least three challenges per month, and generally more.



  •  Organize all photos on hard drive/move to organized Picasa web albums or delete.
  • I had thought this would be a one and done proposition, but it seems to be an ongoing effort. I am going to call it a modified success, because there is a structure in place I can use, and I am regularly using it, even if things do tend to get a bit chaotic when I am really busy…having a system is a wonderful step!


  • Learn how to watermark pictures.
  • This goal was attained rather early in the ROWnd.


  • Watermark all photos that appear on my blogs, and all those I post going forward; begin watermarking favorites not on blogs.
  • This was a success, more or less. I am not positive every photo is watermarked, but I have the means to do so quickly, which serves m purposes a little better for doing it as I go. I also adapted this, so that I will add watermarks as I edit and update posts, rather with dealing with the 100+ posts that have pre-watermark images on them in one huge, tine-devouring chunk.


    Piggie Love!


  •  Explore marketing articles on my Facebook Writer Page.
  • This goal was successfully attained. I read several articles, and, in the process, have discovered several really nifty places to discover more about this marketing business.


  • Add useful articles to my shanjeniah  Marketing Articles page.
  • This goal was also attained. My Marketing Articles page isn’t overflowing but there is some good information there!
  • Use this information to help define my direction; adjust as needed.
  • This is still evolving organically. As a matter of fact, that is my direction. No marketing will be real or useful to me if it cannot fit around the non-negotiables in my life – Jim, Miah, Lise, the critters, travel, home and yardtending, and actually writing stuff to market! I am planning to remain true to my voice and purpose, to grow and stretch to the degree I can manage sustainably (allowing for ebb and flow), and to be as bold as I am, in any given moment. For now, that seems direction enough, and I am therefore calling this a success.


    Scenes from my cottage gardens and experimental pantings….


  •  Get Scrivener  downloaded; begin learning by inputting first an essay, and then Blood and Breath.
  • Due to my having lost (hopefully only temporarily, but I have made my peace with it if it’s permanent) most of the chapters I wrote for NaNoWrimo 2009, I chose to instead create a story arc for Blood and Breath, and input Chameleon’s Dish, my 2011NaNo draft, completed in Round 1, instead.
  • I came within three chapters and the epilogue of inputting Chameleon’s Dish. I call this a modified success – most of the novel is in Scrivener, and I feel much more at home with the program. I’m looking forward to being able to go through the editing process scene by scene, in coming ROWnds!
  • I also came within about six chapters and an epilogue of completing the story arc for Blood and Breath. Again, a modified success – I can feel the rest of the arc taking shape, and will likely complete it before the next draft begins, when I plan to create a flash fiction piece around each point in the arc, as a precursor to writing a new rough draft.


  • Use Twitter and Tweetdeck at least one day a week.  Learn more.
  • I adapted this goal as well, swapping Tweetdeck for Hootsuite. By the end of the ROWnd, I was more familiar with all three, but none seem native, and I may end up dropping HootSuite Pro, as I have not used it in some weeks. I averages a day most, but not all weeks. So, this is a bit of a success, and a bit of a fail, but much was learned along the way, which was the real purpose.


  • For WordPress, create a running list of questions; work on finding answers!
  • This was a success. I came up with about a dozen questions, and found answers for most of them. I an sure I will have more of both as time goes on!


Kinetic Energy!
  • Begin learning about how to publish ebooks.
  • Also a success. I have a great site or two I am in the process of exploring, and, while the process still seems foreign, it doesn’t seem nearly as mysterious and alien as it did at the beginning of the ROWnd. By year’s end, I hope to know much more, and maybe, just maybe, have a thing or two in progress….we’ll see!


  • Learn what I can do with my domain name.
  • This was a success, although I would need to spend considerably more money each year to use this domain name for much. This may be a possibility, in future, but I’m not comfortable doing that, yet. I can, in theory, attach my Google email to it, but I haven‘t made that attempt yet – it looks a little complex, and is triggering my tech-phobia a little…


  • Begin research list/research for  Chameleon’s Dish second draft.
  • A definite success. I made a list, and, before the end of the ROWnd, I found several useful Internet sites, and borrowed some relevant books from our local library.



  •  Edit all 2009 posts on  The Unfettered Life.  Consider layout and design changes.
  • I didn’t even come close to attaining this goal! There were about 57 posts, the vast majority as-yet unedited, and I really knew it was too much…I plead temporary ROW insanity! I intend to keep moving forward on this goal, using a much saner schedule.
  • I did do some pretty major layout changes, but much remains to be done before it’s close to where I envision it. Thankfully, there are ROWnds in the future….the near future!


  • Take clips from first Penzu notebook.
  • I almost had this one. At Rownd’s end, I had clipped all but the final three posts. I hope to get to these before the next ROWnd begins, so that my figurative slate will be clear, at least for this.


  • Input Blood and Breath and Chameleon’s Dish to Scrivener.
  • This goal was modified fairly early in the ROWnd, when I realized I did not have the chapters I needed to input Blood and Breath.My progress on this goal is listed above.


  • Clean up computer downloads, documents, photos, and other clutter – move it or lose it!
  • I made progress here, but it seems that this will be an ongoing project for me, as I have so many projects going at once.
  • However, I now have a much more workable filing system, so that when I am in an ebb point, creatively, I can tidy things up fairly quickly.
  • I’ve also gotten an 8g memory card, so that I can back up my writing files, maybe not needing to keep everything in the laptop all the time..


This year’s experiments…..


  • Add JOY to every day!
  • I attained this goal….it was a joyful, and sometimes infuriating, ROWnd!


  • Add movement to every day, too!
  • I moved this ROWnd. Not as much or as regularly as I would have preferred, but much more than I might have.


  • Add self-decorating to every week!
  • More some weeks than others…I counted things like a smile and being sun-kissed. I like natural self-decoration! A modified success.


  • Add more of my passions to each day, in as many ways as I can manage.
  • I did well at this, never before in my life have I claimed my writing or myself so fully and passionately and naturally! BIG SUCCESS!!!!


  • Add all these for my beloved others, too!
  • I did fairly well at this one, but, of course, there is always room to be kinder, sweeter, and more fun! A success.


 Administrative Stuff:

  • Write and submit third quarter reports for both children.  These are due on June 1, 2012.
  • I attained this goal, even a little early, for both Jeremiah and Annalise.


  • Cleanup email folders/organize, move, read, delete, act upon as needed.
  • I cleaned up the chaos. I also wanted to read through what remains, and sort new email as it came in, but those things fell by the wayside as I got really busy with other goals. However, once again, having a system to sort things in ebb phases will make the task simpler, which means I will be more likely to take a few minutes here or there to tend to it, or even, in busuer times, just prune a bit here and thee. A success.


  • Input two writing practice notebooks to Penzu.
  • I modified this goal to one notebook about midway through, but still did not finish. I reached page 68 of 120, Tm many other things to do, and this more mundane project was often shuffled to the end of my list of things to work on. Next ROWnd, I will take on a bit less, and, hopefully, get my notebook transcribed, because there is a wealth of goodness in what I’ve done, so far, and, also, there is something very powerful in getting to know my former self, and how the things that occupied her life have grown, faded, or evolved. A fail, but a good effort, nonetheless.


  • Take critters to the vet; renew Corki’s dog licence.
  • A partial success. Vet visits done, but the Town Clerk was closed on Friday afternoon when Jim went (it’s a small town). Hopefully, we’ll get that tended to this week, before the dog control officer knocks on the door to check in on us – yes, it IS a small town, and he will!


  • Pay remaining balances for summer trips to Unschoolers Rock the Campground and Northeast Unschooling Conference.
  • I paid the campground fee, and started the process of allowing the hotel to charge the card number they have on file. It looks a little complex, so I set it aside for a bit, until I have a quiet moment (once I open the link, I only have 15 minutes to complete the process. A little nervous-making, that! I am calling this a partial success.


So there you have it, my assessment of my accomplishments for this ROWnd. As ofr what I have learned and how I have grown, or the insights I’ve gained – well, I think I will let them present themselves as they will. It feels too son for that type of evaluation, and also a bit like looking a gift Vulcan in the mouth….

Until we meet again, I’ll be ROWin’ on…..



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