ROW80 Update + Super Fun Contest

I hope it has been a great week for Team Row80! I’ve been busy meeting goals in the usual round-about way…I trick myself into it.

I find sneaky ways to get more manuscript writing in, like launching a whole new blog topic. And you know what? It’s working!

It all began last Thursday night when my critique group gave me serious stink eye. The topic was my lack of sharing on my high-risk pregnancy memoir

Since it’s kind of their job as supremely wonderful writing pals to shove help me along the road to a finished manuscript, I have to forgive their pushy-shovey methods. But Dang…

Sitting at my dining room table, we brainstormed how I’d get my memoir finished. The final solution? Since blogging is going well, they suggested I get the pregnancy topic launched already and start writing blog posts on high-risk pregnancy. (Dang, they’re smart!)

Speaking of which, big “thank you’s” are in order. I don’t know what I’d do without them or the rest of my support team: ROW80, the Life List Club, my More Cowbell posse, #myWANA peeps…it really seems to take a village for me to get a book done.

What about you? What stops you cold in finishing your stories?

For me, it’s the structure and the depressing parts. It helps that I’ve discovered I’m a scene writer. That means that eventually I get through the depressing parts. Then it’s just the structuring of all those scenes into a completed novel that gets me down.

I’m coming into that stucturing place right now and it’s like pulling teeth.

Have you learned things in the course of ROW80 (or other goal-based programs) that has helped you over the hump when you’re stuck?

My process is soooo different than the rest of my gals at Writers In The Storm that we’re doing a blog series on Linear vs. Non-Linear Writing next week. Wish me luck cuz describing my process might be the death o’ me.

Without further ado, here’s the ROW80 Update. Stay tuned for the contest update at the bottom of this post! (Yowza :-))

  • I’m exceeding my blog goals, partly because I’m being sneaky (see next point).
  • Risky Baby Business” – the new Saturday column, and the title of my book, is helping me work out some of the rough patches in the memoir and providing me with valuable input at the same time.
  • Along those lines, I’ve written about 1000 new words on the WIP this week and have finalized the four parts of the book, their titles and how it all fits together. I’m stitching in scenes for the second section now.
  • So far this week (if we go back to my last Wednesday check-in) I’ve walked 8 miles. I also went to the doc and asked about this crazy shoulder of mine. Who would have thought a baby would give you bursitis.

Note: I swear, the word “bursitis” makes me feel like an 80 year-old woman from the Old Country svitzing in the steam baths and moaning about her aches and pains: “Oy, my shoulder…it’s giving me adjita!”

Addendum Note: That last word is pronounced ah-jih-da, for all of you who aren’t from the East Coast.

What’s going on with the rest of Team Row80? Are the goals going well this week? To find out more about ROW80 or to encourage your team mates, go here.

Contest Update

Last but not least, for those of you who didn’t trot over to More Cowbell yesterday, we’ve got TWO simultaneous contests going on and they are both very groovy. 

#1 – Commenting Contest

One lucky More Cowbell reader who comments on yesterday’s Dirty Fighting post (click here to do so) will win a spot in NakedEditor Tiffany Lawson Inman’s October class hosted by Lawson Writer’s Academy. Comment by midnight tonight (8/31) to be entered into the drawing!

#2 – Dirty Fighting Mini-Contest

Why do I call this a mini-contest? It’s only 150 words! That’s barely more than half a page…any writer can do that.

Complete rules can be found at the bottom of yesterday’s post (click here) BUT the prize for THREE lucky winners is either a spot in the October class mentioned above OR a free edit of the first five pages of your manuscript or story. And we know that the first five pages are what help you get your foot in the door! Due date for the mini-contest is midnght on September 6th.

I hope to see the entries pouring in!

p.s. I asked y’all some questions throughout the course of this post (in bold) and I’m dying to hear your answers – you know enquiring minds always want to know on More Cowbell. 🙂

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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19 Responses to ROW80 Update + Super Fun Contest

  1. Gene Lempp says:

    I think my biggest writing block is research. I go to write something, don’t know the answer, head off to research for a “minute”, return days later wondering why the aliens took so long with me…

    The thing that helps me over the hump is having great friends and an awesome life partner. Without all the incredible support, I, and many writers, would be adrift at sea with no land in site. I’m very grateful for all the people in my life.

    I’ll drop in on the dirty writing contest in a bit. Have to get ready for the day job 🙂

    All the best for the memoir, Jen!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I know so many writers with that research issue, Gene…you are certainly not alone. Next time those aliens try to snatch you, you let them know that all your ROW80 pals are gonna kick their ass if they don’t turn you loose quickly.

      I agree about the amazing support team. I feel blessed too.


  2. jamilajamison says:

    Glad to see that I’m not the only scene writer! I’m currently looking over this CampNaNo tale that I’ve been working on, and lord, it’s going to take a lot of work to stitch into something that even remotely resembles a novel. What I’ve learned during this process is that not having a detailed enough outline holds me up. This is somewhat surprising, because I far prefer pantsing things, but after this experience, I am seeing the appeal of “plantsing.”

    The support system that I’ve found through ROW80, #myWANA, and the other writing communities that I’ve stumbled upon is definitely what keeps me going. The support, the cheerleading, and other people’s confidence in my abilities push me forward, even when I harbor doubts.

    I’m excited about the Risky Baby Business column, and I love the title. Finding sneaky ways to fulfill goals is the best way to go. 😀


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, definitely a scene writer here. I think of a book like a quilt. Trust me, you’ll here more about that next week on Writers In the Storm. 🙂

      The saving grace habit that I’ve learned (painfully) on this scene writing business is to do a basic layout of 3-Act structure and turning points before I get started and to review it often. This lets me understand what I’m writing my scenes toward and is a huge help.

      I’m excited about Risky Baby Business too and thrilled that the book finally has a great name.


  3. Linda Burke says:

    For fiction, I prefer plotting. For non-fiction, I would think you would have to at least outline what you are discussing so you don’t forget to pull together all the different aspects of the subject. Good luck on your project.
    Bursitis – hate it with a passion. Had it in my left leg for months, then my left arm, then my right arm over a year or more. It took forever to heal. The only medicine the doctors offered back then was arthritis medicine which has the side effect of destroying your liver. Decided I didn’t want to take it. Just used tylenol and aspirin in small quantities. Haven’t had any for several years now, thankfully. Read something afterwards that the doctors have determined it is work-related due to the position we put our bodies in while working.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Linda! I need all the luck I can get.

      On the bursitis front, I’ve had issues with both my shoulders since my baby was born, but the left one is brutal. The doctor told me I could just come into his office and get a shot in the shoulder. It sounds creepy but if it works, I’ll probably kiss the poor man right on the mouth. 🙂


  4. Laura Drake says:

    Hardest part of getting to my goals? Patience, DAMMIT! I’m fine with the writing, good with the chapter by chapter editing. But then – it should be done already!!! Hate second edits, third edits….
    Rewrite? You want a freakin’ rewrite? WTH is that? Sigh. We all have our challenges, Jen. Nobody gets out of this alive.

    Goals this week – I subbed the latest (crappy) iteration of my synopsis for my proposal to my critters, and have my slide show created for my new website. Progress, at last! Now if I could just actually finish something…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I saw your synopsis and it WASN’T crappy. It just wasn’t done (that’s what your crit group is for). it’ll be done after one or two more of those edits you hate. 🙂


  5. Stacy Green says:

    Great job on your goals, Jenny. I’m looking forward to your high risk pregnancy posts. For me the hardest part is at the beginning of the book, getting the routine down and making myself slog through those first few thousand words until I really get a feel for things.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Stacy! One of my critique partners always says she doesn’t even know what the book is about until she’s written the first three chapters. There’s a lot of writers like that so you are in a stellar club. Process is a funny thing – I think half the angst of writing is figuring out what your process IS.


  6. HI Jenny,
    First of all I have to say I love your repeated us of the word “dang.” I used to say it all the time because I think its hilarious and suitable so thank you for being in the “dang” club.

    Second I was stopped cold on Sunday from writing on my WIP because I ran out of plotting. So forcing myself not to be lazy on a sunday evening, I printed everything I had so far and wrote 11 chapters of plotting by hand. I got organized and I hope it helps for the rest of the week. And of course the encouraging comments from the ROW80ers helped. 🙂

    A baby-themed blog day is a great idea. Sounds like you have a great critique group.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, Nicole…DANG is supremely funny to me over here too. Glad to have found a member of the Proud Dang’ers Club.

      Wow, 11 chapters of plotting – you are amazing! I’ve got to go read your Row80 update and make sure you mention that because that is a HUGE accomplishment!

      The bloggers at Writers In The Storm are my critique group and they are WONDERFUL. 🙂


      • Well dang, I will have to round up some critique partners and betas along the way. I have given myself the deadline to finish draft 1 by March 2012. So we’ll see if I can keep plotting and writing up a storm until then. I loosely plotted 11 chapters AFTER my ROW80 update on Sunday. 🙂


  7. Marji Laine says:

    My fingers type like they’re in mud as I approach the mid-point of the story. When I revise, this area sees the most work to avoid doldrums, but in draft-mode, it feels like I’m wading through quicksand.

    Happily, I made it through alive – this time! 🙂


  8. Jody Moller says:

    One word for you – OUTLINE. My current WIP is the first one I have attempted with a detailed outline and it had worked wonders. Well that and all the support from my fellow ROW80ers 🙂


  9. Jenny Hansen says:

    LOL, Jody…my 3-Act structure with turning points serves as my outline. I write the scenes that point that direction. Sometimes I have to scrap them but mostly I think about what I need and write toward that, with the “W” diagram in front of me.


  10. deniz says:

    Sounds like you’re doing great! I can’t work from outlines either, I write scenes as they come.
    Good luck with the new blog!


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