I have a little confession to make:  I was a ROW80 “silent stalker” for a good bit of 2011.  The signs were unmistakable – blog visits to ROWers’ sites, the wistful sighs as I saw them cheer each other on over successes, and encourage one another over goals not met…and – ooh – the goal-envy.  Wow, look at those goals…they have achievable goals!

But still, I held back.  Why?  I guess it seemed like I’d be adding yet another thing to my never-ending to-do list.  The opportunities for weasel-ing out of goals seemed endless.  And in public, too (I’m a pro at weasel-ing under the radar, of course).

What changed my mind?  I’m convinced that it took the collision of two cosmic forces to change me from stalker to participant:  the New Year, and Jenny Hansen, writer and enthusiastic blogger of all things Cowbell.  She’s one of the sponsors of 2012’s Round 1, and I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her over the past 10 months or so.  With Jenny giving me “the eye,” I know I can expect a heap of Twitter writing sprints and overall butt-kicking from this California gal.

And Jenny isn’t the only one with enthusiasm, support, and words of wisdom for fellow writers.  Really, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a slew of ROWers who are uber-talented, supportive, and down-to-earth.  I want in!

the swinging cat...

My Goals:

1. ROW80 check ins on Sundays

2. Continue blog posting on a M/W/F schedule (I was really tempted to drop back to 2x per week, but I know that’s not a good idea).

3. Research and develop a new historical mystery from scratch in my WWBC group, a super awesome team of talented writers (and I have a lot to learn, believe me); also, provide feedback on fellow WWBCers projects.

4. Revise the plot of my original sequel and continue writing it, in light of what I’ve already learned in WWBC.

5. Continue to read books/blogs on the writing craft.

6. Continue to read fiction books in my genre.

7. Support fellow blogger/writers with visits/promotion of their sites.

8. Manage my time better, so blogging/housework/errands don’t spill over into my writing/research time:  I’m going to reserve Tues-Wed-Thurs from 10-2 (kids’ school hours) for fiction writing.  It will be a challenge to squeeze all my blog writing into Mon/Fri/weekend bits, though – I’m a bit slow when it comes to putting together a post.

9. Exercise:  Sundays 4.6 mi walks around Burke Lake with walking buddies; 2 other shorter walks per week (I’m thinking Tues/Thurs, but we’ll see).

10. Pay more attention to what I’m eating/drinking: more water, more fruits/vegs, fewer junk food choices, healthier substitutions (pita chips and hummus instead of potato chips, for example).


Okay, so let’s see how much I laugh at the naive ambition of these goals over the next few weeks!  But it’s important to aim high, right?  As Robert Browning said in his poem “Andrea Del Sarto”:

A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?


All the best to my fellow ROWers, and to all of you looking to make your dreams a reality in 2012!

Happy New Year,



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