And We’re Off: My List of ROW80 Goals

A few weeks ago, I had a story idea come to me that I instantly knew would need to be a longer piece.  It freaked me out because I never envisioned myself writing a book this soon.  Truth is I didn’t see a novel as a goal and even fancied that maybe short stories were my “thing” and that is where I would stop. 

So, I want to focus this next 80 days on craft elements to getting my novel started (plotting, outlining, character sketches) then the writing.  In the midst of this, I am headed into my psycho period at work (now until mid-November) and I know there are other areas I’ll need to ramp up to keep me well-rounded and semi-sane.  I’m starting slow for the crazy time and then modifying the goals.

Here go the goals:

Month of October through November 10


  • Write 500 words a day, three days a week.  I’ve never done a set word count before (hello, writing in random long bursts, supplied by coffee pantser here) so I’m going to stay flexible with this one and start with short daily bits.  I figure my tendency to keep going will kick in, but I like the idea of seeing if formal planning springs some changes for me.  Doesn’t matter if these are on a WIP project (short stories or novel), article (recaps I write for Reality News Online) or blog posts.  The eventual long-term goal is to get to set writing done every day, but starting out I’ll give myself space for “life happens” moments. 
  • Read one chapter a week of a craft book.  I have several items on the docket to read on novel craft.  Some of the craft items have exercises at the end that can also lead to increased word count. 
  • Read one chapter of a novel each week.  Who doesn’t have an endless to-be-read list?  I thought about making this a page number quota, but some of my Kindle items don’t list pages.  I’m leaning towards some horror and dark fiction here. 🙂  

Social Media

  • Blog three times a week.  After completing Kristen Lamb’s Blogging to Build Your Brand workshop in August, I’d retooled my blog themes and schedule so I’d be posting Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I’ve been averaging two posts.  Yeah, the best laid plans of mice and men.  To get back on schedule, I’m adopting the advice of my WANA711 tribe and scheduling a block of time for writing posts in advance (versus my pantser play).
  • Read, retweet and comment on at least 10 blogs a week.  I already read a lot of blog links each week, but haven’t had a steady system for retweeting or commenting so this goal will help me get in more regular interaction with peeps.

Healthy Happy Living

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week.  I retooled my life back in January 2010 and by that February was regularly exercising four to five times a week.  I lost 42 pounds as a result.  Enter the car accident neck injury in November and progressive path through the bowls of healthcare red-tape that is still ongoing.  The weight loss froze at first from the stress of living with chronic pain and not sleeping.  Next from falling off the workout schedule, eating plan and losing my mojo.  Seven pounds crept back on (evil eyeing belly).  Via ROW80, I shall get my mojo back!
  • Crochet one hour a week.  I learned to crochet in the sixth grade and it is a fave thing to do for relaxation and creative output.  It is also something that has been pushed aside a bit with my recent rip/run life.  With this commitment, I’ll be able to finish a few in process projects and start some cool new ones.
  • Enjoy watching one movie a week without multitasking.  This can be in the theater (since we are upon horror movie season yea!) or via library DVD.  Another rejuvenation goal here.  Repeat movies are allowed. 🙂

November 10 – December 22 


  • Write 500 words a day, five days a week.  *increased goal
  • Read one chapter a week of a craft book. 
  • Read one short story or chapter of a novel each week.  *increased goal

Social Media

  • Blog three times a week. 
  • Read, retweet and comment on at least 15 blogs a week.  *increased goal

Healthy Happy Living

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
  • Crochet one hour a week. 
  • Enjoy watching one movie a week without multitasking. 

Inspired by the upcoming ROW80 Twitter Party festivities and Jenny Hansen’s fabulous party playlist, I figure I need a theme song to listen to if I start wandering off path.  I’m picking Michael Jackson’s “Keep the Faith.”  His voice has brought me comfort my entire life and he is right – “You can be a winner, but you got to keep the faith.”

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69 Responses to And We’re Off: My List of ROW80 Goals

  1. Good luck with your goals! 🙂 I like how you broke it down one step further. I may borrow your idea here.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog and progress. 🙂


  2. Great goal! Good luck on hitting them all – every week 🙂 I’m pulling for you!

  3. Gabriela Pereira says:

    Love your goals! So realistic and reasonable. I also love how you’ve programmed healthy living into your challenge. While I didn’t do that explicitly in my goals, it is a huge part of my daily life. I work out a minimum of 2 hrs per week and since I live in a city, I pretty much walk everywhere. Staying healthy is such a huge part of how I function both as a writer and a person. Kudos for including that in your goals!

    • Thanks Gabriela and you are so right! I can tell the difference in my energy now versus when I was exercising regularly. Getting back to it will keep me relaxed and sane. I think I’ll try to weave in some outside walking too before out gets too cold.

  4. Hartford says:

    Fantastic goals and I love how you start out in October and increase your goals in November once you’ve got good momentum going – fantastic plan!! Woot woot!

  5. Gerhi Feuren says:

    I like that you put reading up as a goal. I’m such a compulsive reader that I would have to put NOT reading up to make any kind of challenge out of it.

    Good luck

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting Gerhi! I did an assessment and found my reading time being whittled away on magazines or books being done while multitasking or half asleep. The other stuff is okay, but I want to have more focus.

  6. CTKevinK says:

    Great list of goals, good luck with it! I should have put exercising into mine as well, that is one thing I know I need to do in order to get enough energy to try and meet the rest of the goals. I also like that you have downtime interspersed within, like a movie and reading – nicely done!

  7. Elena Aitken says:

    You have some great goals! good for you! I’ll be cheering on you and all the other ROW80 peeps!! Go for it!

  8. Good luck with all of your goals! I love that you included a healthy, happy living category. I need to dedicate more time to doing that. 🙂

  9. It sounds like you have some good, reasonable goals. Good luck in Round 4!

  10. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Barbara, these goals sound terrific. Here’s to the Wana711 group making it happen. Either as a participant or a cheerleader. I’m with you. I just posted my goals today as well. And, I’m creating a working synopsis by the end. We should both be in Round 1 come January with the rough draft I’m hoping.

  11. Embrace the long works! 😉 Longer projects are definitely a different journey. 500 words daily is a good goal to keep you moving.

    I took up crocheting back in July. I should probably make a limiting goal (crochet *only* an hour a week) because I can totally procrastinate writing with it.

    Good luck with all your goals. May this round be a successful one!

    • Whoo-hoo Katherine! Raising my yarn to you. I don’t crochet as much now because I’m crazy multitasking multiple screens on the laptop. So making myself do just that with my hands stops the multitasking vibe. Thanks also for the feedback on writing a longer piece. Scary, but fun new process.

  12. Wow! That’s quite the goal list. Good luck with all of them. I love that you included relax time…I may have to adjust mine 🙂

  13. Katy Bennett says:

    Best of luck with your goals, I love how you’ve scheduled in fun time.

  14. Barbara, these seem like reasonable, well thought and achievable goals! I’m so glad we are doing the row8 together. Thank you for inspiring me to sign up. I will cheer for you too 🙂

    • Sorry I missed responding to your comment earlier Angela! Thanks for the goals support. I’ve dusted off some old cheerleading moves for all my WANA711 peeps and might even put on a uniform for you. 🙂 If I pull a muscle, I’ll add physical therapy to the goals.

  15. Vernieda says:

    Those are awesome goals! Good luck with them!

  16. L.S. Engler says:

    Oh, these are awesome goals! I like how you’re upping the ante on a few of them in the second part of the Round, as well! I’d consider that myself, but I’m more the type who needs to pull back on my goals by that point!

    Best of luck with those…as well as the new novel idea starting to grow. It’s always a pleasant surprise when a project like that catches you by surprise and I say let the Muse take you where it will! Looking forward to keeping up with everyone this Round, too!

  17. Those are some great goals. I especially like the fact that you took some time for self care. We need those (relaxing) horror movies, gosh darnit!

  18. Barbara, I’m joining ROW80 for the first time this round and I’m so inspired by your ROW80 goals! I can totally relate to them. WIP, blog posting, reading catch up, pantsing by coffee (sorry, that sounds a little naughty). Hope you don’t mind me “borrowing” your template when I right mine up 🙂

  19. Wow! Fantastic list Barbara. I’m going to circle back and study your list a bit more. It’s so complete!!!

    Good luck!!!

  20. Lesann says:

    Well obviously I missed the memo on being explicit with our Row80 goals. No, don’t go read mine…I’ll think up something shiny and new to make it sound like I’ll be doing more than shuffling notecards, drinking coffee and slouching in front of my desk making up ideas.

    This is so lovely and organized I’m convinced you’ve already written it. *wink wink*

    • Bwahahaha…too late Lesann, I’ve now already read them. 🙂 The beauty of ROW80 is that you can go back and tweak them as you move along. I’ll be right there with you holding note cards, drooling coffee and muttering to myself about 5 random (right now) main characters. I’m hoping to still be able to hold onto some pantser cred after all the outlining.

  21. Tia Bach says:

    I love the way your broke down and then increased gradually your goals. Plus I’m inspired by your attention to detail, especially reading chapters. I tend to say I’ll read a whole book and then get bogged down by the “bigness” of it. Congrats.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you progress and connecting through the rest of 2011 and beyond. Welcome to Round 4.

    • Thanks for the comments and welcome Tia! Much appreciated. Yes ditto for me on the reading books thing. I’ll list a book count, then freak when I’m behind because I tried to bite a chunk versus little corner. The chapter idea felt doable and for the craft books it will give me time to do some of the great exercises and let what I’m learning sink in.

  22. Lena Corazon says:

    Yaaaay, I’m so glad to see you aboard ROW80, Barbara! I think this is a fantastic list of goals, and I love that you’ve integrated your life/social media goals with your writing ones.

    As a lifelong pantser, and random word vomiter, I found that setting a low word count goal for myself really helped when I started ROW80. My goal was 250 words, and gradually I found myself writing more, which was a lovely surprise.

    Anyway, I am looking forward to tackling this round with you. Have a great week!

    • Thanks for the support and feedback Lena! “Lifelong pantser” – glad there is a support group. 🙂 It works beautiful when I have time for dedicated hours of word bursts, but crashes and burns if I get swamped. Thank you ROW80 for the lessons I will soon learn.

  23. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Barbara, I really like your very do-able goals. I think this ROW 80 you’ll be a winner.

    • Thanks for that Nancy! I wanted to do my “crazy schedule” time differently. If I can build in and make ROW80 goals now, I’ll really rock when I have more time to focus on WIP and reading. Realistic was the aim so I won’t (with the support of the cheering squad) flame out.

  24. Ohmygosh these are awesome goals!

    I love that you put your health and well-being in there as well with working out and watching movies without multitasking (I’m going to have to try that. I’m SO bad about doing ‘shtuff’ while watching a movie, so silly) and crocheting.

    You so totally rock, Barbara! This ROW80 will enhance your life and writing.

    • ((HUGS)) and thanks Tameri! I’m also quite bad with multitasking through movies. I’ll zone off and then raise my head to have no clue where the story is. That is not enjoying the movie or even relaxing. I know the ROW80 community and completion of our goals will rock all of our writing.

  25. Jennifer says:

    HI, Barbara. I came here from WANA1011, and I LOVE your goals. I’ve got to keep things low key through the end of the year, but is there a group ROW80 thing periodically? Or is it all do-it-on-your-own? I’ve done NaNo several times (also skipping that htis year) but hadn’t heard of ROW until now.

    • Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting Jen! Hope you are loving the WANA1011 class so far too. My understanding is that ROW80 goes year-long with four rounds. The next round one starts in January. You don’t have to start at round one though. This is round four and my first time joining in. That is the beauty of it–you can even join mid-round by making goals and joining in the check-ins.

  26. Good luck with your goals! The thing with the word counts is you will build momentum. 🙂 I like your goal to relax and watch a movie without multitasking. I definitely don’t do that!

  27. I have such a hard time with sitting and enjoying a movie. I always have to multi-task. Congrats on that, and your other goals. I’m sure you’ll do great!

    • I’m with you Anna. I multi-task like a fiend with movies I watch at home. Maybe I should turn off the lights and put myself in complete darkness like a theater. Then I’ll have to pay attention. Thanks for the congrats and for stopping by!

  28. Ali Dent says:

    I wish you the best with your goals. They look awesome.

  29. jkdeblieck says:

    I hope your first week of ROW80 goes well and that you are able to stick to your goals. You have broken them down pretty effectively! BTW, I am amazed at your abs of steel…lol. 🙂 Happy writing.

    • Thanks for stopping by JK and the support! I see a few schedule things I might tweak for next week (like not change the reading goals, but determine for myself specifically what day I plan to do it), but feel like I’ll be able to get it all done. I like having it lined out in small chunks.

  30. Liza Kane says:

    Awesome goals! I love seeing the writing balanced with healthy happy living!! I look forward to ROWing with you! ^_^

  31. Suma says:

    Fantastic goals Barbara! Good luck pursuing them.

  32. Callene Rapp says:

    I’m terribly late here, but your goals are awesome and I’m glad you are my ROWsis!

  33. tamikaeason says:

    Your goals inspired me! I did NaNo a few years ago, so I understand how important setting goals is. I have every confidence that you will get all these things done on most days:)

    Go get um!

  34. Hey Callene! Thanks for popping by and for being my ROWsis support! I know I’ll need some wrangling from time to time as we go along.

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