Wonderful Waterful Wednesday: Ocean Heroes and Stylish Bloggers

This weekend the Blue Frontier Campaign and its partners will convene the Blue Vision Summit. Hundreds of ocean activists from all over the country will descend on Washington, DC to learn about ocean issues, experience ocean-inspired music and art and lobby Congress for better ocean policy. Among the speakers and guests will be some of the best known and passionate ocean advocates in the world. This week’s wonderful waterful post is dedicated to a half-dozen ocean heroes and the wonderful work they do.

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A Stylish Blogger

I’ve been given a Stylish Blogger Award! Yes, Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog has been recognized for it’s substance and style (well, it’s style at least) with this prestigious accolade.

So, what makes me a stylish blogger?  No, it’s not the bare feet. I’ve been nominated for the award by my fellow blogging buddy and writing group member (writing groupie?), Patrick Ross. I first encountered Patrick’s creativity through his tweets about creativity (Conveniently enough, he tweets as @on_creativity), and have since become a big fan of his blog, The Artist’s Road.

There are three obligations that come with the award: as I recipient I have to post seven random things about myself, nominate five other blogs, and link back to the wonderful person who nominated me. As a bonus, I get to display the Stylist Blogger Badge on my blog! (Check it out at right).

Seven random things:

  1. At the age of 6 or 7 (?) I proposed and debuted the role of Toto in a summer camp production of the Wizard of Oz.
  2. I have a naturally deep, scratchy voice, which prompted double- takes and comments from strangers when I was young: “Where did you get that voice?” (Occasionally, I told them I stole it).
  3. On a family trip to Senegal when I was ten, I was chased by a baboon wielding a dead parrot. My father had to scare him away.
  4. I pursued majors in bio and French in college and one of my professors tried to convince me to pursue a PhD in French lit. I can no longer read the papers I wrote back then.
  5. I shook hands with Nelson Mandela and attended a private speech he gave to the Independent World Commission on the Oceans in Capetown, South Africa.
  6. While recovering from a break-up in grad school (you know who you are!), I learned to knit, spent a month brooding and completed a sweater. In the process, I developed a wool allergy and have never been able to wear it.
  7. Before my first pregnancy, I couldn’t stomach the smell or taste of tomatoes or olives. Now I love both.

My five Stylist Blog Award nominees:

  1. Eat The Damn Cake. Kate is an author and blogger who writes about beauty, body image, women and dessert.  She does an “unroast” with each post, highlighting something she likes about herself. @EatTheDamnCake
  2. Three New Leaves. Blogger Matt Madeiro turned over three new leaves in his life: he lost weight, started to travel and embraced a minimalist lifestyle. In addition to blogging about it, he wrote two great e-books: Simpler and Roots. @MattMadeiro
  3. Jen Greyson, Author – Survival. Mama’s Point of View. Author Jen Greyson writes about disaster planning and survival in mama-sized chunks. Because survival is about getting what you want. @JenGreyson
  4. Shellie Sakai – Something Wicked This Way Comes. Author Shellie Sakai and her creepy crawly spider friend blog about wicked spooky things like demons and zombies. @shelliesakai
  5. Damian Trasler’s Secret Blog – Do Not Read! Playwright Damian Trasler posts top secret information about life, plays and…shhhhh…Canada. You should read it – but he may have to kill you afterward. @dtraslerwriting

I met Jen, Shellie and Damian through a wonderful online blogging course given by social media maven Kristen Lamb, who’s pretty stylish as well.

Round of Words in 80 Days: Wednesday Check-in

Writing is going well.  I’ve done my morning pages everyday except, gulp, today! (Will get to those as soon as I finish this post!). I sent a synopsis to my agent friend on Saturday. It’s for an erotic short story.
While waiting for her feedback, I started revising an older piece story that I think would also make a good erotic short story and I’m pleased with how it’s going.

This AM comments came back from the agent, however, so I’m putting the older piece aside. This week I’ll revise the synopsis to make it editor-ready (I’d sent her a rough draft to get feedback on the story) and enxt week I’ll start writing the story itself. I’ve agreed to get it to her in a month. Wish me luck!

I’ve met my blogging goals so far this week: Sunday and Wednesday posts and ROW80 check-ins. I’ve put aside the learning goals because I have so much writing to do. Of course, I’m learning while I’m learning “on the job”  this way, so it’s all good!

For a description of the Round of Words challenge and my ever-shifting goals, check out this post. To follow everyone else’s progress go here.

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Wonderful Waterful Wednesday: Carnival of the Blue & Round of Words Check-in

Who doesn’t love a carnival? The sights, the excitement, the sounds. This week I’m honored and excited to host The Carnival of the Blue, a monthly round-up of ocean-related posts from around the web.

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Carnival of the Blue # 48

Seafood at risk: Dispersed oil poses a long-term threat —  Allie Wilkinson

This April marks a year since the Deepwater Horizon spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and almost 2 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit were dumped to “clean” it up. In a guest blog at Scientific American, Allie Wilkinson asks: “With all federal waters currently reopened, the question still remains— is the government responding appropriately to ensure not only that the present levels of oil and dispersants are not toxic, but also that those levels won’t build up over time through the accumulation of toxins in the tissues of seafood, contaminating Gulf seafood for generations to come?” Great question – and the answers are far from reassuring. Check out the post here.

Marking the Oil Spill Anniversary In Washington DC — The Beacon: Oceana’s Blog

Oceana marked the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with an event in Washington, DC featuring actress and supporter Kate Walsh (“Private Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Aaron Peirsol (gold medal-winning swimmer). Also attending was Patty Whitney, a Louisiana resident-turned-activist whose home was affected by last year’s disaster. Couldn’t make it to my backyard to attend? You can watch a video of the event here.

Awesome Orcas All Around — Amanda Banks

Author Amanda Banks describes an exciting encounter with a pod of orcas offshore of Monterey Bay, CA. I’ve only seen orcas close up once (further north of where she was, but also with a group of whale researchers) and it’s an experience I’ll never forget. Check out her play-by-play of the amazing behavior and victorious hunt of these incredible animals here.

The Ways of Whales —  Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog: http://daniellemeitiv.com

As a complement to Amanda’s orca post, I’m including one of my own about the evolution of whales, some of their unique characteristics and the threats they face today. Check out the fabulous photos – and a link to a life-sized encounter with a blue whale, the largest creature to ever live on Earth – here.

Hiding the doomsday device: camouflage and venom in stonefish — Zen Faulkes, Neuro Dojo

Zen Faulkes writes about the stonefish one of the most venomous creatures in the sea. Interestingly, the stonefish don’t appear to use their awesome powers for anything – good or evil. They’re ambush predators, so their venom isn’t used to capture prey, but neither is it used to ward of predators. As Faulkes notes, it sounds like a good subject for a dissertation! Check it out here.

Squid Have Mirror Eyeballs — Danna Staaf, Squid A Day

Many sea creatures use camouflage to hide themselves from predators – but their eyes remain a dead giveaway. Squid use smoke and mirrors – ok, maybe just the mirrors – to hide in the open ocean. Their eyes reflect ambient light like a special kind of mirror called a ‘dielectric.’ When the light hits them a certain way, their eyes don’t appear to be there at all! Don’t take my word for it, check out Daana’s post here.

Ping-pong paddle worm — Susannah, Wanderin’ Weeta (With Waterfowl and Weeds)

Wanderin’ Weeta brings us a video of a tiny paddleworm that hitch-hiked a ride to her home in an empty thatched acorn barnacle shell. I love the music! Who knew that invert biology could be so entertaining. Watch how this critter wriggles to the music. Ok, maybe the wriggling came first, but it’s still fun to watch here.

The fun continues  – just head on over the the blogs listed above and see what these ocean authors have in store for you for May!

What are your favorite ocean topics? Let us know below!

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Round of Words Mid-Week Check-in

My progress has been somewhat inconsistent this week, but still pretty good so I’m pleased.

  1. Writing/revising: my good friend, the talented literary agent Louise Fury, convinced me to take on a cool new writing project (complete with deadlines!) so I’m psyched about that. I’m still revising my WIP and received incredibly supportive and valuable feedback from my new writers’ group. I have yet to do my ‘Morning Pages’ today – and it’s after 9pm. Sigh.
  2. Learning: Working through Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel (while I do just that), but haven’t done much on The Artist’s Way. Hope to go on an artist’s date tomorrow – Friday at the latest.  Perhaps a hike?
  3. Blogging: I’m here, aren’t I? 😉 I’m pretty happy with my new Sunday feature – a mash-up called ‘Beachcombing.” That brings me to twice weekly. I’m hoping to add a third on Fridays, but I’m not committing just yet…

Check out everyone else’s progress here.

How are your goals coming along?  Steaming along, dragging your feet?  It’s all good. Let us know so we can cheer you on – below!

Marine Mammal Poster Giveaway

I’ll announce the winner of last month’s drawing soon, I promise!  just haven’t compiled the names yet.

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, science geek, gardener, and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Sunday Beachcombing Booty: the Environment, Health, Writing and More

My son Rafi and I examine our beachcombing booty.

Beachcombing is one my all-time favorite activities. And why not? It happens outdoors, by the ocean and it’s best done barefoot! There’s a certain mystery about it: I can never anticipate what I’ll find and I’m sure never to find the same thing twice. (This is also why I love shopping at secondhand stores).

Beachcombing takes patience, curiosity, and a love of discovery. One time you may happen upon the perfect snail shell; a smooth piece of glass the next. Look carefully and you’ll find a dozen treasures to take home, things you want to remember and show to your friends.

Surfing the web is a lot like this (minus the sandy toes). A lot of stuff gets tossed onto the shores of the Internet – it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume. But if you look carefully, there will some clear gems, people and ideas you want to remember and share with your friends. Here are a few of the special bits and pieces I came across this week.

Oceans & the Environment – Much of my personal and professional passion is dedicated to learning and writing about the environment and working to protect it for the future. Here are just two of the dozens of wonderful resources I turn to on a regular basis.

Speak Up For the Blue features the best of the ocean blogoshere, brought to you by Ocean Leaders from around the world. is the brainchild and passion of Andrew Lewin, a marine scientist dedicating his time to encouraging people to speak up for our endangered seas. I am honored to be included as one of Andrew’s Ocean Leaders, alongside such great advocates and personal heroes as Sylvia Earle and the Cousteau family.

Lake Titicaca Frog
The Lake Titicaca Frog: one of the cool and bizarre critters waiting for you at Arkive.org.

Arkive: With my two-and-a-half year old daughter poking her head under my arm as I try to avoid typos write this post, I have to toss in one of our favorite nature sites. Arkive is a collaborative collection of images and information about endangered animals and plants from all over the globe. With photos and videos of everything from elephants to octopus, frogs to eagles, my daughter and I are entertained for hours.

Gardening & Health – Gardening is something else I like to do barefoot. OK, not the serious digging, but I’m often out there shoeless, picking weeds and harvesting greens – or just admiring what’s come up. Being outside toes in the grass is good for you, as are all the yummy things I plant, so I’ll toss some health stuff in here, too.

When I was getting started with my new veggie garden, Kenny Point’s Veggie Gardening Tips was the first gardening blog I read and still one of my all-time favorites. Kenny introduced me to the joys and ease of growing garlic and fall and winter veggie gardening, which is A LOT easier than you think. This year he’s inspired me to plant goji berries – I’ll keep you posted on how they do!  Subscribe to his blog for a free intro to veggie gardening.

rows of garlic - March 2011
The main garlic patch, mid-March. Now the greens are twice as big.

Two very different posts from Mark’s Daily Apple will illustrate why I love this blog. In 6 Common Herbs and Why You Should Eat Them (Hint: They Don’t Just Taste Good) primal eating and fitness guru Mark Sisson describes the health and cooking benefits of six herbs you’ve eaten, and could easily grow yourself. The Mysterious World of Smell examine the power of our most ‘primitive’ sense.

Mark’s Daily Apple is one of the web’s best intros to the ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ type diet. After 27 years as a vegetarian, and 3 years as a reluctant meat eater, I’ve recently become convinced of the superiority of eating those foods that our bodies evolved to consume: meat, veggies and healthy fats – and eliminating those that are products of recent agricultural history: all grains and grain products.

The result: I feel better than ever, and although I was not overweight to begin with, I’ve lost 5 lbs in two weeks with only minimal exercise (so it wasn’t just ‘water weight’). Check it out. Another good intro to the primal lifestyle is Whole9Life.

Writing & Creativity

Time Management for Writers – Getting More Done in Less Time, by author and blogger Kristen Lamb. As a fellow ENFP, I can relate to her struggle to learn the organizational skills that come naturally to her more detail-oriented husband (mine is the same), and REALLY appreciate the insights and suggestions she shares. I’ve learned a whole lot about writing, online media from Kristen’s blog and even more from her online classes, so don’t be surprised if she shows up on my list in the future. You can find her on Twitter as @KristenLambTX

Writing is an art and the well that all artists draw from is called creativity. Patrick Ross, creativity explorer extraordinaire and the blogger behind The Artist’s Road, tweets as @on_creativity and sends out some really great stuff.  If you’ve missed his gems, you can catch his weekly round up: Creativity Tweets of the Week.

Round of Words: Week Four Check-in

I’ve set three types of goals for this 80-day challenge. You can read the details about them here. Some of those goals are right on track:

  • Blogging: Twice weekly check-ins (Sunday & Wednesday) as part of a weekly Wednesday post, and now a regular Sunday mash-up.
  • Writing:
    • Morning pages (an exercise from the Artist’s Way): and EVERYday, so far. Nnot always first thing, but more often than not in the morning, so that’s something,
    • Daily/Weekly words: Over the past four weeks my writing goals have flip-flopped from revising to writing and back again. After attending a weekend retreat called “In the Company of Writers,” I’ve come back to my original goal of revising the current WIP (work-in-progress): the first draft of a fantasy novel focused on the sea. Since I’m back in revisions I’m going to drop the daily wordcount, and instead give myself a target of doing some revising everyday. I may make that more specific as I get further along – or not.
  • Learning: I didn’t even look at the Artist’s Way last week and skipped the artist’s date as well. Will jump back in at Lesson/Week Four in the upcoming week. Since I’m not creating but revising, my coursework will shift from Holly’s How to Think Sideways course to How to Revise Your Novel. But the goal to do some revising via Holly’s method everyday.

Check out all the other wonderful writers taking the 80-day challenge here.

And you?

How are your writing, revising, blogging or other goals coming along?  How does your garden grow? I’m always looking for new resources and new online friends, so stop by and say hi below!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, science geek, gardener, and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Taking My Muse on a Date: Round of Words Weekly Check-in

Week Two of a Round of Words in 80 Days, or #ROW80 for those of us who spend waaay too much time on Twitter. It’s been a good week.

Among my goals for ROW80 is to work through Julia Cameron’s creativity rediscovery program as detailed in the The Artist’s Way. Each week there are specific assignments as well as tools that carry over from week to week.

One such tool is the artist’s date. I think of it as taking my Muse on a date. Like all relationships, it’s important to spend time one-on-one with your creative self. What you do is up to you but there are two ‘rules’: take around 2 hours and go alone.

Last week, I took a trip to the local art supply store. I’d passed it regularly for three plus years but this was the first time I’d ventured in.  Whoa, was that an education! I discovered some very deeply-held beliefs about my own lack of artist ability and remembered childhood attractions to certain art materials (including cray pas and colored pencils).

I bought some things that caught my fancy and put them, along with some materials I’d been squirreling away, into one of my dad’s old art supply boxes. (Yes, my father is an artist. Yes, it occurred to me that that has something to do with my insecurity). That stuff will come in handy during a future artist’s date.

This week I took my Muse for a walk. On Friday morning, I had a doctor’s appointment around two miles from my home. I took the bus there and walked home through Sligo Creek Park, one of the many streams that feed into the Anacostia-Potomac river system.

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The walk was about 2.5 miles, and took an hour and a half. It was a gorgeous day: high fifties, sunny with a slight breeze. I stopped whenever the mood struck and took pictures (in the slideshow above). Along the way I helped the park by pulling up any garlic mustard I saw. It’s a terribly invasive plant – bad for the park but yummy when sautéed for my lunch.

So that was one goal achieved this week. And the others?

Writing:

(1) Submitted my application for the writer’s workshop – Woo Hoo! While on a roll, I also sent in page one of my manuscript to “American Author” a first-page live critique done by agents and editors at the Washington Romance Writer’s retreat (coming up at the end of the month). Not for the faint of heart – thank God its anonymous!

Now that that is done, the 3000 words/week goal kicks in.

(2) Morning pages – not always morning, but more often than not, and everyday. I’m working on a new program to get more restful sleep, and wake earlier. That should help me get up before the kids, and get them done before chaos is unleashed (usually between 6:30 and 7:00am in our house).

(3) & (4) Blogging twice a week: doing by my regular post on Wednesdays (including the mid-week check-in), and adding the Sunday check-in. Next month I’ll add another blog day, if I can work it in with my 3000 words. Those are words of fiction – the blog doesn’t count.

(5) The Artist’s Way. I’m starting week three, so that’s going well.  I haven’t completed all the exercises from last week but that because some require a bit more thought. Overall, it’s going well.

(6) How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers: I’ve re-read the first two lessons, and I’m working through the assignments. I love it! I have an idea for a flash fiction contest, and I’m hoping that doing HTTS will inspire me.

There are dozens of folks participating in a Round of Words in 80 Days. Among them are these two fabulous women: Kerry Meacham, who is Desperately Seeking Sanity, and Robin McCormack, who counts the many ways she is fortunate starting with My Two Blessings. All the other amazing writers who are on this 80-day journey can be found here.

Marine Mammals Poster Giveaway

This month’s giveaway is an out-of-print NOAA poster of Marine Mammals of the Western Hemisphere. Every comment left in the month of May equals one entry. Every link or reference to this blog on your site equals two entries. The drawing will be held on the 1st of May, so start your entries now!

Danielle Meitiv is an oceanographer by training, an advocate for all things marine and a writer of science fiction and non-fiction. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Brave Blue Words, and Danielle Meitiv.

Wonderful Waterful Wednesday: Preserving the Blue Frontier

“The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea.”

–Isak Dineson

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Life evolved in the sea and never really left it. We just took it with us onto land – in our blood, our tears and the amniotic fluid where our days begin. Ocean rhythms flow through every living thing, from the first fish that crawled on land to the first critter that swam through the water and the first bits of matter and energy that came together to make something that would recognize as being alive.

Our lives still depend on the seas. Oceans produce the air we breath and the food we eat. Even the winds that sweep over the globe are fueled by the heat stored in ocean waters.

Isn’t it time we gave something back? That’s what the Blue Frontier Campaign (BFC) is all about.

The Blue Frontier Campaign was founded in 2003 by author and ocean advocate David Helvarg. I encountered Helvarg’s work through his first ocean book: Blue Frontier: Saving America’s Living Seas. Since then he’s written four other books about oceans and the environment: The War Against the Greens, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, Rescue Warriors and Saved by the Sea.

With the Blue Frontier Campaign, Helvarg’s put his time and energy where his words are. BFC emphasizes bottom-up organizing to bring the voice of citizen-activists into decision-making that affects the world oceans.

50 Ways to Save the Ocean

David Helvarg’s new book, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean focuses on practical, easily-implemented actions everyone can take to protect and conserve this vital resource. Here are a few:

1. Go to the Beach
2. Visit an Aquarium
3. Eat organic and vegetarian foods whenever possible
4. If you chose to eat seafood make sure it’s sustainable
5. Grow a natural yard and garden
6. Maintain an earth (and ocean) friendly Driveway. Try a Green Roof.
7. Reduce Toxic Household Pollutants
8. Drive a fuel-efficient car, car pool, or use public transit
9. Don’t use your Storm Drain as a toilet
10. Support Marine Education in our schools

Check it out the rest on the Blue Frontier website, or watch it as a Flickr slideshow here.

Blue Vision Summit: May 20-23, 2011, Washington, DC

BFC’s 2011 Blue Vision Summit will bring together hundreds of “seaweed” (grassroots) activists in Washington, DC learn about the state of the world’s oceans and what citizens can do at the local, state, national, and global levels to protect them.

The first two days will focus on education and planning – Day Three is for action! Seaweed activists will wash over Capitol Hill, flooding their Congressional offices with demands to preserve the oceans today and for future generations.  Don’t worry if you have no experience with that sort of thing – experienced advocates will walk you through the whole lobbying process.

Thanks to my total lack of personal modesty (around other women writers, that is), I have the privilege of being one of the sponsors of the 2011 Blue Vision Summit. (Yes, there’s a story there…) You can find more information and register for the summit here.

Marine Mammals Poster Giveaway

This month’s giveaway is an out-of-print NOAA poster of Marine Mammals of the Western Hemisphere. Every comment left in the month of May equals one entry. Every link or reference to this blog on your site equals two entries. The drawing will be held on the 1st of May, so start your entries now!

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80): Week Two

My goals for this 80-day writing challenge, which started last week, are described here. My progress during Week Two:

  • Morning pages are going well.  So far I’ve done them every day, and only once in the evening.  This AM I even came up with a story that i;m thinking about entering into a flash fiction contest!
  • Still revising my workshop submission, so the 3000 words a week will have to wait. I’m pretty psyched about the submission piece and plan to enter it into a few contests.
  • I’m blogging on the oceans on Wednesdays and doing ROW updates twice a week, so that’s going well.  I’ll add the Friday post at the beginning of May. Stay tuned!
  • Weekly reading of the Artist’s Way is going strong. Tomorrow is my second artist’s date – I’m very excited!
  • I’m working through Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways Course from the beginning, and re-read Lesson One today. Great stuff!

Tune in on Sunday for another update.  In the meantime, check out everyone else’s progress here.

Baring All for the Sea

You KNEW I wouldn’t leave you hanging, right? At a recent party for women writers, I participated in the 2nd Annual “Skinny Dip for Charity.” Each one of us who took the plunge – five in all – raised $1000 for the charity of her choice. Other worthy causes included the Wounded Warriors Project and a local animal shelter.

Danielle Meitiv is an oceanographer by training, an advocate for all things marine and a writer of science fiction and non-fiction. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Brave Blue Words, and Danielle Meitiv.

A Round of Words in 80 Days: Swinging Through Week One

Swing dancers

It’s the end of week one of a Round of Words in 80 Days and the beginning of a three-month long journey to turn writing goals into long-term habits. I discussed my goals for this round in this post. So how did I do?

1. Writing.

  • 3000 words did not happen this week, unless you count all the rewrites and revisions I did on the piece I’m submitting as an application for a writers workshop. I didn’t expect it to – but as soon as this piece goes out (tomorrow!) that goal moves to the front burner.  I’m going to put my current WIP aside to breathe, and work on something new. Looking forward to it – and a bit nervous too.
  • Morning pages.  They happened everyday, I’m happy to say – but not always in the morning, unless you’re referring to somewhere over the Pacific just this side of the international date line. Things got better later in the week, when I realized how easy it was to let them slip. It’ best to do them as soon as I get up – both for the subconscious and to get them done. However, on the days when I get up with the kids and I don’t beat them out of bed (no, I don’t mean it THAT way!) I’ll get to them as soon as the house clears, which is around 9am. Not ideal, but not too bad.

2. Blogging

  • I did my Sunday and Wednesday posts, but decided to put off launching a regular Friday piece until May. I have a bunch of other projects going on right now and want to be sure that the new blog feature gets the attention it’s due.  So look for it on the 1st Friday of next month.
  • Check-ins.  Here’s the end of week one and my second check-in. So far, so good!

3. Learning

  • I had to return the library’s copy of the Artist’s Way, but luckily mine arrived on the same day.  I’ve worked through week one and I’m reading the material for week two. I even got in an artist’s date, although not as much of one as I’d hoped. Next week’s is already on the calendar – I’m taking myself to one of the Smithsonian art museums.  I’m so excited!
  • After put this workshop submission to bed, I’m going to start working through Holly’s Course, How to Think Sideways. So that moves to the front burner along with my 3000 words, starting this coming week.

I’d love to write more, but in celebration of finishing our taxes early and meeting most of my writing goals, and the facts that we’ve discovered swing dancing at our favorite local pub AND we have childcare, my husband and I are going dancing as soon as the kids are in bed!

See you on Wednesday.

Danielle Meitiv is an oceanographer by training, an advocate for all things marine and a writer of science fiction and non-fiction. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate of Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Brave Blue Words, and Danielle Meitiv.

A Round of Words in 80 Days: A Writing Journey

Where Can Writing Take You…?

Someone on Twitter was fab enough to point me towards this amazing 80-day challenge. As my husband can attest, I’ve very goal-oriented, and respond better to external prods than internal ones. That’s unfortunate for some who is self-employed, and particularly difficult for a writer.

Although it has it’s critics among professional writers, I LOVE NaNoWriMo because it provides that push. But I couldn’t handle it more than once a year. And while it’s a great way to get a lot of ideas down in a short time – ideal for my style of first drafting – it doesn’t do much to help me develop consistent writing habits.

That’s where A Round of Words in 80 Days comes in. This brand-new challenge, started by Kait Nolan, will kick in four times a year. Someone on Twitter pointed me towards it the day after it started, and I’m in! The timing was perfect because I’d already made a bunch of commitments to myself and my writing. What I lacked was accountability, and that’s what this challenge provides.

Like NaNo, there’s no prize for sticking with it, and no penalty for failure. No problem. I can provide those myself 🙂 I do guilt really well, and I bought myself some great fingerless gloves, and a tablet for winning NaNo.

Round Two! April 4 – June 23, 2011

Round Two starts on Monday. I thought about why Round One was less successful than I’d hoped, and wrote about it in this home-stretch post. With eighty more days of wisdom under my belt, I’m ready to tackle Round Two.

Here’s a summary of my Round Two Goals, with more details below:

  1. Writing: 600 words/day, 5 days/week + daily morning pages
  2. Blogging: 3 posts/week = Sunday check-in, Wednesday post with a check-in, Friday post.
  3. Learning: one lesson/week of the Artist’s Way + some part of the How To Think Sideways course material/week.

1. Writing

My goals will evolve over the next few weeks, as I settle into my next writing project. I’m in a bit of a weird space: I’ve finished one novel, and want to revise it, but feel like it really needs to breathe a bit. So, for now I’ll put it aside, with the expectation that it will sneak back onto my goals list when I’m ready for it (probably before). Consider yourself warned!

In the meantime, I plan to start something new.  What, I have no idea – or rather, no end of ideas, which is usually my problem. But whatever I decide on, it will require regular writing, so that’s what I’m going to aim for. I’ve given myself daily goals, but outside of NaNoWrimo, those have been only marginally successful. I’m often not able to write at all on Fridays and Saturdays, due to family and religious constraints (I don’t use my computer on the Jewish Sabbath), and end up feeling like I should make up the time later.

This time around, I’m going for a weekly goal. I like the flexibility: I can do it all in a few chunks or spread it out over a number of days. I know near-daily writing is said to be ideal, and I will strive for that. But knowing that a few days of interference (read: life) won’t totally set me back will help me stay with the goal for the long run.

I will also commit to daily morning pages, as described (prescribed!) in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (more on that below)

Weekly writing goal: 3000 words (600 words/day, 5 days/week), plus morning pages

2. Blogging & Online Check-ins

Thank to a wonderful class given by social media maven Kristen Lamb, I’ve put a lot of time into revamping my blog, and recently increased my schedule to 2x a week (Wednesday and Friday). So, one goal will be to maintain that schedule of regular posts.

I realized that part of my downfall during Round One was skipping out on the twice-weekly check-ins (Sunday and Wednesday). For the next eighty days I’ll add a brief Sunday check-in to my blog schedule (bringing it to 3x/week). The Wednesday one will be included in my regular post.

Weekly blogging goal: posts 3x/week. Regularly-scheduled posts on Wednesday and Friday, ROW 80 check-ins Wednesday, and Sunday.

3. Learning

I am new to writing. The whole idea of giving time and energy to creative expression is new to me. And what any newbie needs is the opportunity to learn. So, I’m going to establish some learning goals for the next three months.

Many people have recommended The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It includes a 12-week program for discovering or recovering your creativity.  I’m working on the latter, and will use this round of ROW 80 to pace myself, one chapter/lesson per week. Daily morning pages – three longhand pages written as soon as you wake up – are one of the critical tools of this program.

I am also taking an online self-paced course by Holly Lisle called “How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers” (HTTS). I stopped progressing through it when when I started wrestling with revise versus write on my current novel. (I’m also enrolled in her “How to Revise Your Novel” Course :-)) I want to get back up to speed on HTTS, but since it varies from week to week, I’m not going to set a specific goal of one lesson a week. Instead, I’ll commit to working on the course material at least once a week.

FYI: I like Holly’s courses so much that I’ve become an affiliate, which means that I receive a commission for everyone who hears about the course from me and signs up. If you think you’d like to take them yourself, please click on one of these links so I get the credit for the referral. Thanks!

How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers

How to Revise Your Novel

Learning goals: one lesson/chapter of The Artist’s Way, and some part of the HTTS course material each week.

Wish me luck! You can check out the other participants’ goals here.

Danielle Meitiv is an oceanographer by training, an advocate for all things marine and a writer of science fiction and non-fiction. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate of Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Brave Blue Words, and Danielle Meitiv.