Christmas Gifts and #ROW80

After doing a series on gifts for the grammar geek, word lover, book reader, and writer, I was thrilled to get a few writer-themed gifts myself on Christmas Day. Check these out!

My new laptop stand. I’ve talked about how important it is to be nice to your back and shoulders while writing on a computer. However, it’s impossible to get both your keyboard and your screen at the right level while using a laptop. Thanks to my hubby, I can now use this laptop stand at home along with a bluetooth keyboard and keep my muscles happy. I think he was a little motivated by the idea of me not begging for a shoulder massage all the time.

Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. I’ve heard this writing craft book mentioned several times, so it’s been on my short list. I happily received a copy from my mother, and I’ll probably read in it round two of ROW80.

Jane Eyre book charmBook charms. These were featured in my Gifts for the Book Reader post and were one of the items I drooled over when I found them online. My husband ordered the Jane Eyre charm for me, and my sons got me Hunger Games. I love both of these books–obviously for different reasons. You’d better believe I’ll be wearing them when I attend my next writers’ conference.

Scrivener for Dummies by Gwen Hernandez. I took the Scrivener online course with Gwen, and it was excellent. I’m using more features of the Scrivener software now, and it’s helping me to plot, organize, and turn out good writing. However, I wanted the reference book as well, and my family came to the rescue! Scrivener for Dummies now sits on my shelf, ready for me to look up how to do this, that, and whatever.

Karen DeLabar
“Orange Karen”

Orange Karen Anthology. Obviously, this is NOT a gift to me. Rather, it is an anthology being put together to benefit fellow writer Karen DeLabar, who suffered through toxic shock syndrome this past summer. You can read her amazing story HERE. However, I was delighted to receive the news a few days before Christmas that my short story had been chosen for inclusion in the anthology. The proceeds from this project will go toward Karen’s mounting medical bills. It’s a pleasure to be able to support Karen with my words, as well as my thoughts and prayers. The anthology is due for release in April 2013.

And the continuing gift of A Round of Words in 80 Days–the writing challenge that knows you have a life. Here is the crux of the challenge: You have 80 days to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself; you post biweekly (or weekly) updates; and fellow writers keep you accountable and cheer you on. Easy peasy, right?

It’s time to declare my goals for Round 1, which runs from January 7 through March 28. Here are my ROW80 goals for the first round of 2013:


  • Complete full rewrite of SHARING HUNTER.
  • Work with editors on short story for Orange Karen Anthology.
  • Revisit GRACE & FIRE (1st novel) and run through one more round of edits.


  • Write one full short story.
  • Write blog posts for Sundays (including ROW80 updates) and Wednesdays.
  • Start plotting sequel to GRACE & FIRE (working title: HOPE & ASHES).


Non-writing goals

  • Exercise twice a week.
  • Take a true Sabbath–no working and time with God and family one day a week.

So what were some of your favorite Christmas gifts? What are your goals for ROW80? Be sure to check out the challenge HERE, and you can sign up or see who’s participating HERE.

19 thoughts on “Christmas Gifts and #ROW80

  1. Hi Julie. New laptop stand – lucky you. You’re “posture” post was goo and having the monitor at the right heigh helps. I found a wireless keyboard which I rest in my lap helps my shoulders a lot too. Now if the display on my ipod wasn’t so small I wouldn’t have to keep taking my glasses off and holding it three inches from my nose!


  2. Thank you for mentioning the Orange Karen anthology in your blog post, Julie! We’re thrilled to have you as one of our contributors! Happy New Year!

  3. Hello Julie. Thanks for the useful info about “Scrivener”. I am determined to turn out good books so I better make sure that Piper makes good use of Scrivener.

    1. At first I wasn’t crazy about Scrivener, but after tutorials, the course, and now the book, I LOVE it. I don’t want to go back to Word. Best wishes, Holmes!

      Thought of you while finishing up our Bond marathon this weekend. 😉

  4. Wow, congrats on the short story! Hope it raises a lot of money!

    And +1 on the laptop stand. Being a programmer, I found the necessity of raising my monitor and using a lowered keyboard years ago. Your back and shoulders will thank you!

  5. Okay, I’m drooling over that laptop stand! I know what’s going on my wish list 😀

    Love how you broke down your goals Julie and am wishing you a fabulous round!

  6. What wonderful gifts, you’re a lucky girl with a supportive family <– love it. I'm so excited about the anthology. You're going to have a great round and I can't wait to cheer you on. 😀

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