#7QT Simplified Accountability

It’s been quiet around here, have you noticed? My last post was on Monday wherein I shared all of the sad reality that is my social life. Pink Ladies aside, just because it’s been quiet here, doesn’t mean it has been quiet. Are you ready for this? Because I don’t know if I am ready to relive it.

— 1 —

I have an accountability partner (Rhonda) for my work in progress aka novel aka WIP (as the real writers call’em). Every Friday (starting with last week) we have to check in with one another about where we are with our WIP, and keep each other honest about meeting our self imposed goals. True to my procrastinator style, it was 10PM, when I realized I committed to sending my goals in. My thought “hey, it’s still Friday until it’s not – at midnight.” Knowing that typing it all up would take too long, I scribbled it on a piece of paper, took a picture of it, and emailed it. Talk about bare minimum! I didn’t even think this through, I just grabbed the most important things in my head and plugged them in.

— 2 —

For me, this week, I was supposed to write for at least 10 minutes every day, and read books each day, and not just any books as you can see:

#7QT Simplified Accountability #organization #WIP #amwriting via @fillpraycloset #books #reading

Just taking a look at this tells you a couple of things.

S/C is self care. Clearly, I squeezed that in there at the last minute, sound familiar? I did bowl on Friday, but by Saturday morning, I had a full on sinus infection complete with plague. No beating myself up for not going on a walk on Sunday. I was kickin’ self-care in the face though with all the soup I’d made for myself, the reading and lounging albeit with infected sinuses. Such a pretty picture.

— 3 —

Novel. Even with being so close to death’s door dramatic. Here’s what I took care of this week:

  • A rough draft of the outline for Act I. If you think about a novel in three acts: beginning, middle, end that’s where the Act I comes from.
  • Fleshed out my protagonist’s character sketch
  • Character sketch for my love interest
  • Character sketch of a couple of minor characters
  • The beginnings of the character sketch for my antagonist
  • Trolled Instagram for pictures to match what I see for these people I am creating. I’ve added them to the top of the character sketches so when I open the file I can be sure to say hello to them! I am also a bit of a visual person, so seeing them, makes them more real for me
  • Working back and forth with Rhonda via email, I was able to touch upon some parts of the plot that needed work. So I’m researching some
    science-y things to get a better sense of how I could incorporate that to complete some open threads going.

Full disclosure: I didn’t write yesterday and I haven’t written yet, today. Yesterday was spent in the waiting room, Mike had surgery and is recovering nicely at home *Florence Nightengale reporting for duty* I would say that I wrote so much over the weekend (about 3 hours) in anticipation so I am on track. See? Flexibility, people.

— 4 —

Reading. Well, I am focused on reading a writing craft book, a book that my WIP would live next to on the shelf, short story so I can snapshot a full story and get concentrated character arcs, setting, prose style, etc. and spiritual books, because – we’re Catholic around here (I chose Thursdays for the Luminous mysteries. I need some shine in my life)

Moving on from the infancy and the hidden life in Nazareth to the public life of Jesus, our contemplation brings us to those mysteries which may be called in a special way “mysteries of light”. Certainly the whole mystery of Christ is a mystery of light. He is the “light of the world” (Jn 8:12). Yet this truth emerges in a special way during the years of his public life, when he proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom…Each of these mysteries is a revelation of the Kingdom now present in the very person of Jesus. Pope John Paul II

Last week, I mentioned that I was reading Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Can I be really honest here? I wasn’t digging it. I really gave it a chance and got more than half way through. In the interim, I received a book by my sweet friend Katie Cross titled Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. She is mad legit. How could she not be, look at her public note of affection on the envelope?!

#7QT Simplified Accountability #organization #WIP #amwriting via @fillpraycloset #books #reading @kcrosswriting

Devoured it in two nights. It held my interest better than Koontz. You can quote me on it. She asked me to read the book, as I’d already read the novella Isadora Interviews prior, and the second in the series is about to be published (and sent to me next week to preview!). As I began the book, I thought WOW she really wrote this. The book is magnificent in it’s artwork and binding, not to mention the story is captivating, well researched and holds your interest. But then, you know, my worst critic showed up as I turned on my book light to tell me that I could never write as well as she could, that I should just give up right now. Instead of falling prey to it, I just sent Katie an email with all kinds of questions about the craft. While this book wasn’t on my accountability list when I started, I allowed myself this treat. Aren’t I so good to myself? Can this count as self-care, too?

I replaced the Koontz with Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I read some of her poetry when I completed some undergrad coursework during my grad work (follow that?), so when she came up as a potential “competition book” based on what I’m writing about, I did a quick library swap. The editorial review on Amazon notes:

In Oryx and Crake, a science fiction novel that is more Swift than Heinlein, more cautionary tale than “fictional science” (no flying cars here), Margaret Atwood depicts a near-future world that turns from the merely horrible to the horrific, from a fool’s paradise to a bio-wasteland. Snowman (a man once known as Jimmy) sleeps in a tree and just might be the only human left on our devastated planet. He is not entirely alone, however, as he considers himself the shepherd of a group of experimental, human-like creatures called the Children of Crake. As he scavenges and tends to his insect bites, Snowman recalls in flashbacks how the world fell apart.

For short story, I read some Kafka. You know, light reading. Metamorphosis where the main character wakes up as an insect and has to manage how to live within the confines of a room in his parent’s house, and The Judgment where the main character thinks he’s pulling the wool over his dad’s eyes, when WHAM! His dad is totally on to him and can exert such power that the main character…well, you should read it.

#7QT Simplified Accountability #organization #WIP #amwriting via @fillpraycloset #books #reading

For spiritual reading, I’m all over this book, St. Dominic The Grace of the Word by Guy Bedouelle. Are you surprised? I’m not. From Amazon’s editorial review:

The focus of the biography is the way in which St. Dominic embodied the role of Christ as preacher and the results that came from this grace. From his earliest youth, Sacred Scripture was the very heart and foundation of Dominic’s spiritual life. He never ceased to plunge into the Word of God, to study it, to pray it. Bedouelle thus documents how St. Dominic’s whole life and mission was one continuous proclamation of the power of the Gospel to transform individual lives and society.

#7QT Simplified Accountability #organization #WIP #amwriting via @fillpraycloset #books #reading

— 5 —

Blog. This week, I lied about blogging on Tuesday, and blogged on Monday instead. I didn’t beat myself up too much, because I have to be flexible and you just had to know how my first night of bowling with a new friend went. It was hard to not blog more. I missed it, but, as you can see, I wrote and read a ton more.

— 6 —

Social Media / Other. Rhonda thought an imposter got to my inbox and sent my accountability email. Usually I am all.over.social.media. To say that I would only be promoting blog posts and doing #fridayintroductions on Instagram, was very unlike me. However, I have to take a step back, like she says, to take a really great step forward. I think I am doing that. Even my Chinese food fortune cookie says so:

#7QT Simplified Accountability #organization #WIP #amwriting via @fillpraycloset #books #reading

I am working my way through Learn Scrivener Fast tutorials, twice a week. As the tutorials aren’t very long, I can get through a lot in a short amount of time. Ever use a tomato timer? Or the Pomodoro Technique? That’s what I’ve been using to work for 25 mins and then break for 5 mins. Very helpful in keeping me on task. The thinking is that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. I just think it keeps me focused.

I also took a step back from working with the RCIA team and cantoring this fall. Believe it or not, that adds about 20-30 hours back to my month. While I will miss these parish activities, I know that sometimes saying no, is ok if there’s a goal in mind. Don’t just say no because you just want to sit on the couch and watch reruns of Pawn Stars everyday. Follow your calling, and cut out the extra. I also need to be sure I am around for Mike. Not to mention, when he is back to his old self, he’ll be traveling again, this time internationally. The boys will definitely need Mommy a whole lot more.

— 7 —

It’s Gabriel’s birthday today. He’s 7 and I can’t believe it. He pitter-pattered into my bedroom last night and told me this would be the last 6-year-old kiss and hug I would get, but not to worry because I’ll get the first 7 year old kiss and hug.

And we’re back to bowling tonight. So how was your week?

 For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


23 thoughts on “#7QT Simplified Accountability

  1. This is you being more awesome than me. 🙂 And I still have to learn Scrivener….maybe I’m just a paper and pencil girl and always will be? I haven’t started any new projects since I sent the ms out to the beta readers. I’m sort of waiting for NaNo in November–I AM thinking about what I want to write for that, and I think I have an idea, but I usually start planning for that in October, so we’re not quite there yet.
    And social media for the blogging? Man, I am AWFUL about that. I need your help!
    How’s Mike doing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you can always keep learning Scrivener. It’s pretty intense, but great for people who need and thrive on organization! I am having second thoughts about NaNo considering, Mike. He’s getting better every day. On to the next set of issues and we should be in the clear!


  2. I love reading about what you accomplished on your WIP this week. Isn’t it amazing how much work you need to do in order to build a novel’s structure? It always amazes me. It’s like putting up the frame for a new house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it may be harder than that! At least with the frame you have a set of blueprints, that will be perfectly constructed so long as you stick to the plan. With the novel writing (as you know) characters tend to deviate from the script! Thanks for visiting!


      1. Thanks!! This comment was at the perfect timing…I was about to sit and try to craft a new post that I don’t really need to do *right now*…and so I’m saying “No”. 😉


  3. First of all, I’m so beyond impressed that you have someone to hold you accountable. I keep having anxiety when I think about having children (no, I’m not pregnant) because I”m afraid all these other things I love will fall be the wayside. People like you give me hope and strength for whenever that day DOES come.

    Second, I’m SO HAPPY you loved it! I don’t write love notes on all the envelopes I send out, but you, for sure, got one. Thank you so much for reading, but thank you most of all for not counting yourself down because of someone else’s book. SO important not to do that.

    I really do love yer friggin face. 🙂


  4. It’s so fascinating to get a glimpse into the background steps and all the discipline that goes into writing a novel. It’s truly amazing! I hope that as you continue to simplify you find your writing falling into place!


    1. From your mouth to God’s ears! I think all the years of online schooling helped with the discipline. I can’t even tell you the commitment that took to complete!


  5. I can’t stop thinking about why a tomato timer would be 25 minutes with a 5 minute break…THAT HAS TAKEN OVER MY ENTIRE MIND! I’m gonna have to go look this up.

    Hope Mike feels better soon, and that you’re all fixed good now *hugs*

    (YAY! Good books and accomplishments. Well done you)


    1. Awww Lizzie pants. What did you find out? I didn’t research, but came up with a theory, maybe the Pomodoro Timer was named as such because that’s how long it took to make a good Pomodoro sauce? Probably not, but I tried. xoxo


      1. I forgot to find out….I got busy rolling the word ‘pomodoro’ around in my head, and then I kind of didn’t want to know what it means, because it sounds so lovely while I DON’T know 🙂


  6. I love how you’re defining and sharpening yourself! It’s amazing to see the growth and development just since we met. I’m so happy for you and pushing yourself to go farther and do more!


  7. I haven’t stopped by in a while, Christina, because I haven’t been reading many blogs lately (or even keeping up very well with my own). I’m so thrilled to hear you’ve got a WIP! I wish you much success with that!

    I’m my own worst critic, too. That’s why I don’t read fiction while I’m writing a book of my own (or at least I try not to, but every once in a while, I succumb to the temptation!), because I am in awe of others’ talent and start to feel like a hack who has no business being a writer at all. I know comparison is the thief of joy and all that, but I fall prey to that weakness. So I can’t wait to finish the novel I’m working on, so I can read all the books I’ve been dying to read since I started. (And one day, I’ll be reading yours!)

    I know you’re super busy already, but I nominated you for a Liebster Award over at my blog today. 🙂


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