Dr. Nicole Basaraba

Assistant Professor in Digital Humanities, TCD

Nicole Basaraba


Sprinting consistently is how I ROW

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So I’m pulling a Gene Lemp or a Sonia Medeiros and punning on the word “Row” in the title of this post because us ROW80er’s are fun like that.

I missed last Sunday’s check in because I was taking the day off. I admit it. Sometimes, I feel like I just need to take a break from the WIP because when I work on it, I want to enjoy it and I also don’t want to force myself to get words down. Even though I do take time off, like most people take the weekend off from their jobs, I’m still making progress.

I’ve really been enjoying doing writing sprints with my ROWsis Em, and whom I will call Writing Sargent Laura because she’s so good at starting us off everyday at the same time, checking in at the midpoint and then at the end. If you haven’t done a sprint with us yet (or #wordmongering as some of you may know it), you should drop in when you can. I know that it happens at 8:00pm Brussels time, 7:00pm UK time and I think maybe 11:00am or 12:00pm somewhere in the US (just ask SargentΒ LauraΒ to be sure).

I’ve been doing lots of reading. I finished Story Engineering by Larry Brooks and I will post a review on Wednesday. Now I will be starting On Writing by oh who is it again? Ummmm….oh yeah Steven King. I guess this is the one book that everyone has read. But if you haven’t, please feel free to join Tia Bach and I in reading it.

This is me πŸ™

As far as the writing goes, in the last two weeks I’ve added about 7,000 words to my novel, which is less than my 5,000 per week, but I have come down with a very bad cold and this has cost me 3 days worth of writing. I’ve been doing all the good things like eating soup, drinking inordinate amounts of tea and sleeping as much as possible. The real bugger is this fever that will not dissipate. So if you know any remedies please let me know.

Now I’m going to lay down. So if you’re thinking like you’re tired of writing, just remember that at least you can write, I’m physically bed-bound.

How goes the writing for everyone else? Am I the only one who’s got the first winter cold of the season?

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33 thoughts on “Sprinting consistently is how I ROW

  1. Poor Nicole! I took a week-long sabbatical and I wasn’t sick. But, with a four-legged “daughter” getting surgery for a blown ACL and special friends/cousins en route from PA, I knew I would drive myself crazy with “I should be writing” guilt trips unless I officially announced vacation plans to my “boss.”

    That boss of mine is SUCH a slacker at times. Other times? She’s passive aggressive. She’s quite bossy this morning. LOVE writing sprints. May let drill sergeant Laura kick me into gear today.

    Get well soon. No sage counsel on the fever. Sorry.

    1. I’m soooo sorry to hear about your “daughter” and I’m sure she will have to wear a cone for a while. Its important to give her treats. πŸ™‚

      Yep, a sabbatical to look after loved ones and sick leave are sometimes necessary. Luckily my boss could tell I was sick, so no need to call in.

    2. Sorry for the blogjack Nicole but my heart went out to Gloria when I read about her four-legged daughter having the surgery for a blown ACL. My little four-legged daughter went through the same surgery July 4th. Just in case you are interested Gloria, I wrote about it http://nataliehartford.com/2011/08/09/the-things-we%e2%80%99ll-do-for-our-furry-children/ Also feel free to get in touch with me if you want to trade notes about what worked and what didn’t…or if you need someone to talk to whose gone through it. The physio is INSANE! I feel for you and am wishing you and your daughter all the best for a smooth recovery!

  2. So sorry you are a poorly girl! I am on the verge of getting a cold but with NaNo, an increasing work load at school and beinf a bridemaid in 3 weeks time I am trying to keep it at bay! Hats and scarfs all round down here.

    The sprints have been great haven’t they. It really helps me focus and having a sprint ‘date’ with others lets me know I will get some writing done each day.

    I hope you feel better soon and takes lots of care!

    1. I’m have arisen from my 4th nap of the day. Sounds like you got a very full plate. At least you can let loose at the wedding.

      The sprints work so well for me because they are at such a good time and it gets me motivated to see other writing too. Hopefully I will feel better by Tuesday to sprint with you.

  3. Tea with honey and lemon and lots of it … in between the classic chicken soup, of course! My late Hungarian mother-in-law swore by these and they always work for me.
    On Writing has been my go-to support for years. I hadn’t read anything by King until that book was recommended at every single writing workshop I took. There’s just something about the way he says it all. Let’s see what you think … and plug that kettle in! Sending get well karma across the waves.

    1. Thanks Patricia.
      I have been drinking exactly that – tea with lemon and honey. Hope it works soon.
      Yes, I’m very interested to see what King has to say. It seems to be the most popular book on craft out there.

  4. never done a ‘sprint’ how do they work I keep hearing about them – do you just turn up say hi and start writing?

    anyway only way in my experience to beat a cold (are you sure it’s just a cold?) is rest warmth and lots to drink – but check it isnt chest infection throat infection or any other kind which may well need medicine, they often look like a cold – look after yourself girl hope you feel better soon

    1. Yes, the sprints are pretty easy. Usually everyone drops in at #row80 on Twitter and Laura’s usually there to gives us a 5-10 minute warming until the start. Then we write for 30mins and tweet out word count and then write for another 30mins and tweet our final word count for the hour.

      I was thinking to do to the doctor on Monday as it does seem to be quite severe. I’ve never had a fever for this long before. I think you’ve convinced me that I should get it checked out to be on the safe side.

  5. Hope you feel better soon! I would join in a sprint, but I seem to have my own at random times, not sure I could do it at a specified time! lol
    Trying to break out of wallowing myself, but at least the creative juices are still flowing even if I feel like crap! hehe

    1. Ahh yes, I was exactly the same way. But I tried the sprint once and it worked quite well because I just so happen to tend to procrastinate around the time that I see the #row80 crew revving up for a sprint.

  6. oh, ‘on writing’ is great – simple, to the point, and pretty entertaining. if you’ve read a lot of craft books, you’ve likely heard some of his better tips, though. it actually inspired me to pick up strunk and white. let us know your thoughts on ‘story engineering’ – worth the read?

    glad to hear you took a day off – we all need them! and congrats on your progress.

    happy writing this week!

  7. Oh no! I hope you feel better soon. That sounds like a truly nasty cold. And I agree about taking the day off – not sure I prescribe to the notion that you’re not a real writer if you don’t write every day. Writing should still be fun, you know? Not a chore. Anyway, 7000 sounds like a lot of progress to me! Good luck on your goals for the next week and I definitely hope you feel better ASAP!

    1. Thanks Annalise. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks you have to write a couple thousand words a day to be a writer. Hopefully I can pick up the slack next week when I’m feeling back to normal.

  8. Oohhh my dear, you sound so sick!! Definitely get yourself checked out tomorrow. Long lasting fevers are never a good thing!

    Thank you for the shout out. I love the sprints. It’s one hour I know that something will get done, and I love that I get to do it with all of you!! The US times for our standing weekday sprint date are 2 PM Eastern, 1 PM Central, 12 PM Mountain, and 11 AM Pacific. I’m really enjoying throwing and joining random ones in the evening as well!!

    I LOVED Story Engineering. Some of it was repetitive, but the rest, SO HELPFUL, especially the bits on Structure. Can’t wait to see what you thought about it! Feel better and have a good week!!

    1. Once I feel better, I will try to get sprinting as much as I can. I know I’ve missed quite a few already. You will be happy to know I went to the doctor and surprisingly she said sweating was a good thing. Means the body is trying to fight the fever.

      I didn’t find Story Engineering too repetitive, just enough to make it sink in.

  9. Hope you are feeling better soon, Nicole! Not sure about the fever, but rememdy for cold includes Cold-FX, if you can get it, or 3 garlic x 3 echinacea x 3 elderberry 3x daily!

    Really enjoyed ‘On Writing’ by you-know-who. Plan for 2012 is to read one book on writing per month.

    How does one become a ROWer? πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks for helping me here Marcia. I was in fact out like a light for the past, oh I don’t know, 24 hours. I’m taking a break from the bed, but I will have to return shortly. Although all the lovely comments here are making me feel better.

        Susan: I have eaten A LOT of garlic in hopes that it will kill the virus. πŸ™‚ In 2012 I was to up my reading goals too. Maybe 2 books per month. 1 craft, 1 fiction. Hope to see you in the January Round of ROW80.

  10. Fevers usually accompany a form of flu and it may just need to run its course, but if you’ll feel better going to the doctor, definitely do so. Hope you feel better soon!
    Congrats on the success with sprints. They’re not for everybody, but glad they’re working for you.
    I may be one of the few who hasn’t read King’s book, but I’m ordering it now.

    1. You’re right on that one Marcia. I went to the doctor and she says I have the flu. I have to stay in bed for the next 3 days to let it run its course as you said.

      I will need to sprint my but off having no writing done for 6 days straight. Next year, I’m getting the flu shot!

      You’re not alone on have not read King’s book yet. But happy to know you will be. We can swap notes after.

  11. Hope you are feeling better Nicole. Sounds like you are making great progress towards your goal. I love your healthy, balanced approach. I agree, time spent on your WIP should be something you enjoy and I think a balanced approach gives you a better chance at that.
    LOVE the writing sprints. I see Sargent Laura announce them all the time but they are around 3 pm my time so I’m usually at work and can’t take part but you never know when I’ll jump in.
    Here’s to a great week ahead!

    1. The progress is much slower than I had hoped, but maybe I will kick it into high gear after I recover. I think that even though I don’t write on my WIP everyday, I at least blog or read on those days which all contribute to improving my writing.

      I also love the writing sprints because they work well for me. I’m better at writing a lot in one hour, than spending 15mins a day or something like that. We can always set up a time to meet on Twitter for a sprint….as long as its not during my sleeping hours.

  12. Good for you taking a day off. I think it makes us better writers.

    I’m definitely joining you guys for a sprint this week. I need the kick in the pants, and I’d rather get it from friends. It’s easier on the backside. πŸ˜‰

    Looking forward to On Writing!

    1. You may have to be my fill in for this week as I don’t know my brain can produce anything coherent for a while. But I will be back in business as soon as I can. In the meantime while I’m bed ridden, I will read On Writing.

      1. Sorry to hear you are still down, being sick sucks. Hope you feel better soon. I’m a doofus and missed that part of your original email, thinking you took the day off to do just that. Feel better soon!

  13. I hope you are feeling better, Nicole! I am battling a throat infection and the beginning of bronchitis at the moment. And that’s really interfering with my NaNoWriMo challenge (writing a novel in one month’s time – 50.000 words!). And at the same time updating a blog and going to work πŸ™‚

  14. It is Monday and I am checking in on more of my ROW80 friends – hope you are feeling better and perhaps I’ll see you at today’s sprint/wordmongering?

    I love “On Writing” and while I have never read any fiction by Stephen King, I buy this book whenever it is on the bargain bookshelf and give it to people who claim they want to write. I have found it so practical and useful over the years!

    Anyway, will be sending health -and-love vibes!

    1. Hi Julie. I would love to wordmonger with you, but I’m still not at 100%, probably sitting at about 50% now. Hope to be back in action on Thursday. Maybe I’ll see you on Twitter.

      I’m looking forward to reading On Writing. That’s a really nice gesture, buying the book and giving it to others.

  15. You’ve been rocking those word sprints! “Writing Sargent Laura” LOL. I’ve been calling her the Word Sprint Queen. I think your term is more fitting. But awesome job on the word count. I hope you feel better soon.

  16. Feel better, Nicole! I always have chicken soup for a fever. Take it easy, and drink lots of fluids. You have written far more than I have these past weeks. I’m still recovering from a fall I took back in the third week of October. I hope to begin writing again in earnest by next week. I have lots of ideas floating around, and I miss the schedule, but it couldn’t be avoided. Sometimes your body just says No.

    Hang in there! I can’t wait to hear about Story Engineering. I just ordered it a few days ago during Writer’s Digests warehouse sale! πŸ™‚

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