- Come to The Practice Room anytime in the 30 minutes before a session to “check in” and set a goal. (On Monday nights, that’s between 7:30 and 8:00 pm EST.)
- During the “Unplug” time, write like crazy. (On Monday’s that is 8pm to 9pm EST, but people do what suits them best. If you can’t write for that hour, you can still chat afterwards. Some people in the later time zones come to the chat first and then write afterwards.)
- Return to The Practice Room (IMPORTANT: REFRESH THE PAGE) after the Unplug to attend the chat between the writers. (The chat starts at 9pm EST on Mondays.)
When I first saw Google+ hitting the news and started getting invitations to join, I groaned. Facebook, yes. Twitter, I’m there. But ANOTHER ONE? I didn’t think I could do it. So, I deleted all the invitations and said, “The social networks stop here.”
But then, Tina Laurel Lee suggested a Google+ Hangout for our TPR group. If you’re not familiar with TPR (The Practice Room), check it out here. The brainchild of Tina Laurel Lee, TPR is basically a way to write in the company of other writers, separately but together, in a designated 1-hour session of concentration (no phones, TV’s, or internet allowed) and chat about it afterwards.
Google+ Hangout gives TPR a way to meet (occasionally) in a visual chat for a writing session. Imagine the Brady Bunch heads in their little square boxes, only everybody is busy writing in their boxes – taking a break every 25 minutes to chat, throw out a question, share a breakthrough or a frustration – and then returning to another writing session. People arrive and leave as suits their schedule. One of our Hangouts lasted for 2 hours of writing, with designated “water cooler” breaks to share.
So far, we’ve done this twice, and we’re planning another session for this Friday, August 19 at 2pm EST. (This is a change of date since my original posting — We wanted to avoid conflicting with Write On Con.) If you’re interested in attending, contact me or Heather Kelly (Tina’s on vacation) for an invitation. Since this is my last week of summer vacation (quiet sob), I hope to set up some evening Hangouts once the school year begins, for those of us unable to make the afternoon EST times.
Okay, so I broke down and joined Google+, but the Hangout is the only thing I’ve done with it. Tell me, blogging friends, what else is it good for? I’d love to know what (if anything) you’ve done with it!
School’s in session!
I like my class: they’re smart and well-spoken and good-looking, too! (I know they can use Google, and they’re gonna find this blog and read it sooner or later. Best to butter them up now!)
However, a full teaching day cuts into my writing time and blows my concentration. If I want to keep up my productivity, I need to schedule some dedicated writing time. Over the summer, I found Tina Laurel Lee’s blog, The Practice Room, to be extremely helpful for focus and productivity.
So I volunteered to run evening sessions.
This week, I’ll be running my first session of TPR – Thursday night, at 8pm EST. If you want to get in an hour of productive writing – or just see if I can manage this feat without a technical disaster – join me! Here’s how it works:
1. Show up at http://tinalaurellee2.blogspot.com/ sometime in the half hour before the scheduled session. In the case of this Thursday, pop in anytime between 7:30 and 8:00 pm EST. Let me know you’re present by adding a comment to the post and establishing a goal for the hour. (You can draft new words in your WIP, write some upcoming blog posts, work on revisions, outline a new project – anything!)
2. At the designated time (ie: 8:00pm) a post will appear announcing WE ARE UNPLUGGED. At this time, close the internet and unplug (or ignore) your phone. JUST WRITE.
3. When the hour is over, return to The Practice Room. A chat box will appear (assuming I don’t screw up) for everyone to report on their progress and talk about writing. If this is your first visit, you will have to take a moment to register with Chat Roll. Returning visitors need only sign in and start chatting.
What’s great about The Practice Room is the feeling that you’re not alone in your writing. You designate a time to commit to your craft, and you know there are other people out there working beside you.
I also like the “unplugged” nature of the session. Yes, I get tempted away from my writing by Facebook and Twitter. But I also get yanked out of productive writing by the sudden “need” to research what kind of hard candy was made in America in 1867 or what train stations can be found between Reading and Catawissa, PA. Researching piddling details can derail my writing, but when I’m “unplugged,” I’ve learned to type BLANK in the text and research it later. Fluency is achieved; details are cleaned up later.
Looking forward to Thursday, and hope to see some of you there! There are plenty of other sessions, too, so check the schedule posted at The Practice Room.
Don’t forget to enter my 100 BLOG FOLLOWERS CONTEST! Turn in your quizzes by Friday!
At the beginning of summer vacation, I posted goals for myself. The idea behind posting publicly was to shame myself into actually doing them. Now comes the public unveiling of my accomplishments:
Goal #1: Write another draft of screenplay
I completed draft #7 of the We Hear the Dead screenplay in the early part of the summer. After letting it sit for a few weeks, my collaborator (producer Amy Green) and I have found this version to be lacking one crucial thread – and we think we know how to fix it. So, yes, there will be another draft coming this fall, and I’m very excited about this one. I think it might be the one!
Goal #2: Show the landscaping who was boss
Just look at the picture. Let’s face it: I didn’t even try.
Goal #3: Outline and begin draft of The Caged Graves
Okay, I didn’t write an outline. I jumped in and started writing this one by the seat of my pants with only a dim idea where I was going. I made a couple wrong turns along the way. There are loose ends from plot pathways I chose not to take — which now have to be cleaned up in revision. But I’ve drafted 57,000 words, and I’m about to gallop into the climax of the novel! Starting school will slow me down a bit, but I’ve got the end in sight now! I credit Tina and Heather and Marisa and The Practice Room for helping me get this far!
Goal #4: Revise my Revolutionary War piece to use in class
This is clearly a work-related project, so why would I do it over my vacation?? Besides, once I got into The Caged Graves, I didn’t want to break my focus. Then it occurred to me that (watch this brilliant rationalization!) revising this piece during the school year — in fact, modeling those revisions in front of my class — was a much better idea. Agree with me here, folks. This makes sense.
Goal #5: Swim for exercise in my pool 5x a week
NOT TOO SHABBY
I laughed out loud when I wrote that one, because I knew I’d never do it. However, I made more progress on this goal than I did on #2. In the beginning of the summer, I really did swim 5x a week. I slacked off a little toward the end, but I made a pretty good effort.
Also over the summer, my blog membership topped 100!!! On Wednesday of this week, I’ll roll out my 100 Blog Followers Celebration Contest. Be prepared. There will be a test.
Did anybody else out there meet their goals or surprise themselves?