NMC090 Landlocked in Austin

Daphine Mbithuka


Subject: Writing the book Losing Sight of the Shore!

Stories connect and help us build bonds as human beings. For Rosa Linda Román, storytelling has been something she has done since working as a broadcast journalist. After leaving her landlocked life and moving into the s/v Dawn Treader, her experiences on the boat have become stories any person willing to venture into a traveling culture would want to listen to. And what best medium to do so than a book or a podcast?

Writing a book comes with its own challenges. However, as Rosa Linda admits, joining NaNoWriMo, a book writing challenge, was one of the most significant contributions to completing writing her book, Losing Sight of the Shore. First, she was able to work within a committed time frame. Second, she was able to block time for writing. Third, the ability to have writing sprints whereby one would try to beat the writer who’d written the highest number of words in a day was something Rosa Linda deemed as challenging and fun! So, if you have been lagging on doing something this episode will help you with tips on how to easily accomplish any task. Enjoy!

P.S. If you liked this episode check out our most recent episode:

NMC084 Round Rock Texas Bunk Bed

Recorded: November 11, 2018

Location: Austin, Texas

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Episode Transcript:

Rosa Linda Román (00:28): Hello and welcome to New Mexi-Castaways. I'm Rosa Linda Román, and I am speaking to you from Austin, Texas where I'm actually driving to the airport to pick up my husband's cousin, Mariah, who will be coming here to stay and watch our kids for the next, I don't know, four days. And then, stay, and join us for Thanksgiving. It is November the 13th today and it's been an unbelievably freezing cold day. Right now, the temperature at 11:30 is 34 degrees. Needless to say, I am not used to this weather. It is definitely not my cup of tea. So, you can hear the heat going on in the background. Sorry about the loud blast sound. I'll turn that down, now that things are warming up a little bit, but I wanted to check-in. It's been a really interesting time for me in terms of my productivity and my interests, and just figuring out how to live this landlocked life that we've been living for the past several months. Rosa Linda Román (01:36): We are now about three months into our current stay in Austin. Samuel is in school, at the local elementary, school second grade. And Ahava and Ziva are still homeschooling, and they're still doing the Florida Virtual School. That has been a source of stress, school, in general. Not for Samuel, he loves it. He's happy. He comes home every day and tells me how he loves his teacher, and he loves his school, and he's on blue or green, which are the two best colors to be on in the behavioral chart world, in his classroom. So, that's going well. It's been fun because he skates, he roller skates to school, the mile and a quarter to school every day and I run with Nala. So, that's been good for the three of us. Not today, it was in the twenties this morning. So, I said no. I usually don't say no regardless of how cold it is, but this was the coldest day we've had so far. Rosa Linda Román (02:30): So, I said, "I just cannot handle running to school in this." So, Samuel's good. The girls are wrestling with… the challenge with the online school, and it's potentially a perk, and that is that you are self-directed. So, that can be really good and that can be really bad. If you are the kind of person who likes to just work, work, work, and get stuff done and then you have lots of free time, and you're able to be self-disciplined enough to do that, that can be a real blessing. But I have not seen anyone that I know that does that. It's much more like you now have this pile of work on your plate and you constantly feel like you're falling behind and you constantly feel like you're not doing enough. I remember back when we lived on the Dawn Treader, we ran into friends on other boats who did online school or followed a set curriculum. Rosa Linda Román (03:24): I'm trying to think of one of the other names of the curriculum that friends of ours did, but they did these curriculums and curricula, curriculum, curricula. I know, I don't know the word. But anyway, they ended up working their kids. We'd say, "Oh, let's go play." You know, the kids would want to go swimming, because we were all at a marina, you know, waiting for another window to cross to the next chain of islands and they'd say, "No, we can't come out and play because we got school." And we're like, "It's a Sunday. What do you mean you've got school?" Well, now Nathan sat down with Ahava and Ziva and mapped out what needs to be done each day in order to stay on track so that they can, because their hope, I think both of them at this point is to go to a brick-and-mortar school next year. Rosa Linda Román (04:14): So, he mapped out, like, because it's self-paced, you have to figure out how many assignments you need to turn in in order to stay where you want to be in time, to get done in time. So, Ahava has to do, I think it's like four or five assignments a day, five, no, maybe it's three assignments five days a week. And they're hefty assignments. These are things that take like a week in a regular school to do, it seems like. They're all a lot of very big assignments. Ziva has to do three a day at least every weekday. And they're both doing really well. And let me just say upfront, part of the challenge is they are both, you know, they like to score very high in school, and so, a really strives to be like a hundred percent and Ziva is up in the upper nineties, also. Rosa Linda Román (05:06): Even though the way the system works with at least Florida Virtual School is you turn in an assignment and if the grade is less than you want it to be, you can resubmit it, not on some of the tests, but at least on all the regular assignments, you just resubmit that assignment and you get up to three times to do that. So, it would behoove them to just turn the assignments in and whichever ones they were low on, then go back and retake those, redo those, and maybe they'd be fine. But the amount of time spent trying to make it perfect I think is what's holding them back. And this is the perfect segue into what I want to talk about this week. And let me just say I'm very proud of my girls and my son. They all are doing what works for them school-wise. Rosa Linda Román (05:49): There's been a lot of questions and some pressure from some family members trying to, you know, they're worried that the kids are homeschooling, and the girls are, and if that's good for them or not, and that they might fall behind. And that's certainly possible. But I think more and more the more I talk with the girls and see where they want to be, I am okay with this choice for this point in their lives. So, I'm not going to get into more on the homeschooling front today. What I want to talk about is me, like the country song says let's talk about me, let's talk about I, let's talk about, oh me, mi, something like that. Yes, I know I am not a singer, although, I did sing to my husband for our wedding and that was a surprise for him. And I sang the song, You're Still the One by Shania Twain, and totally unrelated or using the word that I just recently learned that I think is really, really a cool word, is non-sequitur. Rosa Linda Román (06:43): I think that means it's like, not related, but I'm going to say it anyway because that's what I'm thinking about. For his birthday, which was just last week, I gave him a card and it had a picture of an island that looked like Hope Town in The Bahamas, one of my all-time favorite places in the world, with sailboats and a couple kind of standing on the shore and sailboats in the harbor. And you open the card, and it was one of those musical cards, and it played, you're still the one from Shania Twain. I was like, "What?" And it said, happy birthday. So, I'm like, you couldn't have found a better birthday card for me to give to Nathan, but I am not a singer. I took singing lessons back then and later, a few months after our wedding, my husband's cousin, you know, he's just a jokester or whatever he is like, "You know, you could have used a few more lessons." I'm like, "Thanks." Rosa Linda Román (07:32): But anyway, so getting back to the subject I want to talk about today is the coolest thing that I have been working on and it is helping me deal with my perfectionism. And that is called NaNoWriMo, N-A-N-O-W-R-I-M-O, NaNoWriMo. And it stands for National Novel Writers Month. And NaNoWriMo is every November. It's a like a self-competition or a friendly competition among authors or would-be authors, or want-to-be writers or people who have a novel in their head that they want to create and they write this novel during the month of November. Like, literally you write 50,000 words. In order to be a NaNoWriMo winner, you have to write 50,000 words or more. Technically it's supposed to be a novel, a fiction, but they have a, a category called NaNoWriMo Rebels. And that is what I am doing. Rosa Linda Román (08:37): I learned about NaNoWriMo from a group I belong to called Women Who Sail, Who Write. So, there's Women Who Sail is the core group, and there's a whole bunch of offshoot groups, and then this one is a group of women who write. So, somebody had posted it. I didn't find out about it till the last day in October. So, around Halloween, on, it was either the 30th or 31st. I was like, "Huh, that's interesting. I wonder if I should do that." And I looked it up, and I looked into it, and I thought, "You know what? I keep telling people that I'm working on a book or I'm writing this book." And the idea is I'm writing about our liveaboard life, about our experiences living on both Hakuna Matata and Dawn Treader. And although I've said that since we've been on land, when, you know, people invariably say, "Oh, what are you doing now, now that you're not on the boat?" Rosa Linda Román (09:31): And also, they said, people ask you that just in general, out of conversation, you know, after having kids or once you leave your career, a lot of people ask you that question, and then you go, "Well, I don't know how to answer that question." So, I had been telling people that I was writing this book and that was kind of what I've been doing since I've been back on land. But the truth is, the writing was very herky-jerky, sporadic at best. I wasn't feeling like I was writing anything that would actually, like, maybe it felt like more a series of blog posts or something that never would be published, because I'm the worst at, I used to be, I should say I used to be the worst at following through and actually posting those blog posts that I work on. So, I just never felt like I was actually writing consistently. Rosa Linda Román (10:24): Well, not so anymore. With NaNoWriMo, I am happy to announce that I am officially writing the book and I'm wondering if I want to give you a preview. Well, right now the working title is Losing Sight of The Shore and that comes from one of my all-time favorite quotes that I kept on a little postcard both in New Mexico and then it made its way onto the Dawn Treader until someone let it, I think, it flew overboard or something like that. I forget what happened. It got wet, got ruined somehow, but it was a picture of a little sailboat out on a moonlit night, and it said, "In order to discover new oceans, you must first have the courage to lose sight of the shore." And it's like Andre Gide, G-I-D-E, I think is the person who it's who it's originally attributed to. Although now that I'm writing the book titled Losing Sight of the Shore, I looked up whose quote it was, and the actual quote and its very loose interpretation of the actual quote. Rosa Linda Román (11:24): It's not quite that, but I like that the way it's said. So, that's my version and that's why I am calling it Losing Sight of The Shore. Because the fact is, in order to do anything, you have to venture out into the scary thing, which if you're sailing, that's the dark ocean, right? But if you're taking on a new job, you have to leave the old one before you can pursue that big adventure fully. I mean, you can easily say, yeah, I'm working on my whatever as a side project, but in order to fully discover a new ocean and to jump in fully, you have to lose sight of the shore. So, that is what my book is tentatively being called. And I have written, so again, you have to do 50,000 words and you're supposed to do 1,667 words a day, I believe it is, in order to make it to 50,000 words by the end of November. Rosa Linda Román (12:19): Well, the first few days I had just, I really spent the first day just signing up onto the site and you know, creating an account and stuff like that. And then, so the first two, three days I didn't really write much, maybe like a hundred words or something. Oh, and by the way, you can't take anything you've already written and bring it into the document that you're using for NaNoWriMo. You can add that later when you're done. But anything that I had written before did not count. It's new words starting on November 1st. So, I'm trying to follow it to the letter, and you go every day, and you mark how much progress you're making, how many new words you've written. So, at first, I wrote like a hundred words, 250, 450. Well, I've discovered this that there's an actual group called AU NaNoWriMo, which is Austin NaNoWriMo Group and, or maybe it's… something like that. Rosa Linda Román (13:15): Anyway, there's a whole bunch of people in Austin area that are participating in this and they have like a support group online and they do in-person meetups, which I've never done so far. But they do these support groups and part of what they do is they post these writing sprints and it's throughout the day. So, every day, no matter time of day or night, you can click on this link depending on the time you want to do it. So, say I just did one at 10:30, so I look for the one for Tuesday at 10:30, I click on that, and then whoever is in that challenge, and that writing sprint, you are challenging yourself to get the most words written during that time compared to whoever else is in the group. Now, a lot of times there's no one else in the group but the lady who created it, but it doesn't matter. For me, it has been wildly effective, because I force myself to turn everything off for half an hour and just do that. Rosa Linda Román (14:12): I don't answer the phone, I don't respond to anything. The only thing I do during that time is I go into my Google Photos if I get stuck on something that I'm writing about because I'm writing a memoir about our experiences on the boat, right? So, the only thing I allow myself to do is if I'm stuck on something, I'll go and look at the Google Photos for that time period to refresh my memory about how things happened. And that has been super fun. I've discovered many old videos, not so old, but like, you know, a year, a year and a half old of things that I've experienced that, you know, you don't think about on your day-to-day basis. So, it's been really fun to kind of rekindle some of those sailing memories. Just yesterday I was writing about our experiences in a wonderful little island called Highbourne Cay in the Exumas, in The Bahamas. Rosa Linda Román (15:05): And I was in the crystal kayak and Ziva was diving for sand dollars, and eventually, all the kids did. But in this particular scene that I'm writing about, or I don't know, scene isn't the right word, part of my life that I'm writing about it was Ziva would… we were paddling along in the kayak and all of a sudden Ziva just decided, oh, she goes, "Stop right here." And then she jumped out of the kayak and remember we're in this crystal kayak, so you can see everything below us. And she had spotted a sand dollar and she dove down, and it was like 10 feet deep. She dove down and got a perfectly round unbroken sand dollar and it became like this treasure hunt to find as many sand dollars as she could. And then, eventually, her siblings joined us. So, it was really fun to write about that an,d to watch the video of that time, just to refresh my memory and to kind of rekindle that joyous feeling about that experience. Rosa Linda Román (16:03): So, this has been really fun. So, let me tell you, I have done these writing sprints multiple times. I try to do two a day at a minimum, because then I'm at least writing about a thousand words. It seems like I'm getting like 400 to 500 words in that half an hour sprint. Now, granted, I'm not talking about words that I'm going to take immediately and they'll be published tomorrow. The idea of NaNoWriMo is that you're writing your rough draft, because as they say, everybody that I know anything about with that has ever written anything they say the rough draft always is terrible. You have to just know that the first draft will always need a lot of work. So, let's go ahead and get that first draft done, and then you can move on to creating those amazing, wonderful, that wonderful pros or those amazing words. Rosa Linda Román (16:53): So, that is what I'm doing and I've been steadily plugging along. I am not to the pace that they recommend. As of yesterday, which was day 12, I should have been at 20,000 words in order to meet that 50,000-word deadline or goal. But I'm also way farther than I ever was when I started. I am currently about, I think when I just did this last one it was like 13,400 words, which is crazy. I just wrote 13,000 plus words. I mean that's amazing to me to think that I've written and it's been really uplifting, because it's taking me back through those memories and reminding me of some of the things that I've learned along the way. And a big part of it too is it's helping me to see kind of look at my life and our liveaboard adventure from a little bit more of a critical eye. Rosa Linda Román (17:48): Because now here we are in a "Normal life." And thinking about those adventures, and how we pulled them off, number one. And also, what part of that life matters enough to me to hold onto it moving forward. And it's been interesting, because just today and starting last night and today I started writing about finding the balance between Nathan's work, and the boat, and Ahava's gymnastics. That has been a huge challenge when we're trying to figure out exactly what we want to do. It's been really hard, because obviously, gymnastics is something you have to do in a specific location unless you happen to have Jim on your boat, which, yeah. And so, that has been one of the greatest challenges and Nathan's work or us trying to sail. And interestingly enough, I keep in touch with several friends who still live on boats, and a bunch of them, they were congregating in Granada for hurricane season. Rosa Linda Román (18:54): Well, hurricane seasons just ended. So, now, everybody's starting to move again. And as they're starting to move, it makes me realize that I miss a lot about the boat. I really do. But I also feel like, okay, we're doing something different right now and that's okay. It makes me sad a little bit. Like, I just saw my good friends, Rondo, just made it to Bequia, Bequia, I think it's called. Hang on, let me get in the right lane. I don't know if I'm going the right way. I guess I'm going to stay right here. Sorry it's hard to drive in a city. All of a sudden, I'm trying to get to the airport and I don't know this town. We live quite a ways from the airport and so now I'm kind of a little bit lost. Rosa Linda Román (19:40): So, and at one point in Austin I-35 splits. Like, I as you're driving on I-35, it just splits. They're both I-35 south but one just goes in one direction, one goes in the other. So, I think I took the wrong one, but that's okay. So, anyway, let me go back and finish my thoughts. So, Rondo, I'm sorry, I know that was herky-jerky, all around the place, but I'm not so good at multitasking. That's why these sprints work for me because I have to focus on that one thing at a time, which reminds me that I really need to do that with my schedule in general, because I try to, you know, you try to be like homeschool mom, be with the kids, be a good mom, and I'm working on overhauling New Mexicast, and I'm writing a book, right? So, at some point, if you try to do all of those things at the same time, something has to give and sometimes my patience is the thing that goes first. So, I don't want that. Rosa Linda Román (20:34): But going back to the point about Rondo, so they made it to Bequia, right? And I saw that this morning and I took a minute, and I looked at the map to see oh, where exactly is that? And I had kind of that little pang in my chest, the sadness of missing that, and wishing that they were one of our buddy boats that we most wanted to sail with. And their daughter is one of Ziva's, she and another girl from Pura Vita, they got along really well and so, if we were ever going to sail with anyone, it was going to be Rondo and Pura Vita and they both made it to Granada. We did not, we didn't make it past The Bahamas. And you know, it always makes me sad when I think about it and seeing that they made it, you know, to Bequia beyond Granada and all these wonderful islands. Rosa Linda Román (21:25): I am happy for them. And you know, I saw that and I thought, "Oh, that's so great." That was my first thought. Then my second thought was, "Darn it, we should have been with them." But then my third thought, because I have like all these wrestling, you know, conflicting thoughts in my head. My third thought is, "No, we're right where we're supposed to be right now." And that's the first time I've heard myself say that. I don't know if that means we should stay here, you know, forever. But that is what Ahava's hoping for. She really wants to stay here, because she's loving her gym, and she's loving her team, and she wants to continue with them. But at least it's a really good feeling to know that I am where I should be right now and maybe that's so that I can write these things, and you know, write my book, and I can shore up New Mexicast, and launch my New Mexi-Castaways podcast, which if you're hearing this, I've already succeeded in doing because at the time of this recording, I just keep recording things and I'm not actually producing them, right? Putting them out into the world. So, if you are hearing this, that means that whatever I decided to do was somehow successful. All right, I'm going to take a break because I'm in this, like, traffic jam, and I don't know where I am and I need to let Mariah know that I'm on my way. So, I will check in in a minute. Rosa Linda Román (22:46): All right, I'm back. I talked to or checked in with Mariah and I'm about 10 minutes out, so that's enough time, oh, that's loud. That gives me enough time to kind of wrap this up and just tell you that I am so excited about writing this book. It goes in line with one of the things that I mentioned in the previous episode that I'm working on four areas, those are four specific areas that I'm really trying to work on improving. And that is body, book, broadcast, brains, right? If you go back and listen to the last episode where I do kind of the pressure point or whatever touching my fingers, and kind of give myself that positive pep talk and focus on those areas and kind of do a self-check as to whether I'm getting the things done and that I want to get done. Rosa Linda Román (23:34): And on the body front, I am generally very pleased, because I've done, and I'll talk about that in another episode. I've been doing Weight Watchers and something called Camp Gladiator, plus the skating running to school with Samuel. So, body, check, book, now this is NaNoWriMo, is allowing me to start checking off that box and feeling good about that. And it's not supposed to be like, "Oh I'm all perfect body, and check, I'm done." I'm checking in that I'm making progress and investing in these areas at least three times a week. So, when I say check, that's what that means. So, body, check, book, check obviously, because of NaNoWriMo, broadcast, oh I hope I'm not rubbing the microphone here. Sorry about that. I've had my headphones in, body, book, and then broadcast I'm doing right now as I'm talking to you. Rosa Linda Román (24:25): And I'm also working on overhauling New Mexicast with my friend Kim Iverson and I will talk to you more about that partnership in a future episode. And then brains is [German 24:37] and that's, I just said I speak a little German and that is because I have been actively working on learning a new language and I will definitely talk about that more in a future episode too. But for now, body, book, broadcast, brains are the things that I'm really trying to invest in and I can say I have made progress in all those areas. So, I feel really good about that. I hope by the time you hear this, I'll have written my entire book, Losing Sight of the Shore and I'll tell you at the end in a tag how you can get it if you want. What was the other thing I was going to tell you? Rosa Linda Román (25:14): I was just listening back to the episode. Oh, and I forgot to tell you why Mariah is coming to watch my kids. We are going to, Nathan, and I, and one of our neighbors, Amy, are going to fly to Seattle for a Seattle actually for a Green Bay Packers, because my husband's a huge Packers fan and they're playing the Seattle Seahawks. So, Packers-Seahawks game in Seattle, and we're going to be joining his cousin Jesse, who is also a crazy Seahawks fan. Amy's a Seahawks fan, so we'll have two Seahawks fans and two Packers fans. And we're going to the game. This is my gift to my husband for our 20th anniversary. His gift to me was to fly me to Hawaii and treat me like a queen. And I had an amazing time, but that's why Mariah is here. And I totally didn't even get to talk about the fact that Samuel's birthday was two days ago and we had a fantastic time. Rosa Linda Román (26:09): My sister Sara and my niece Christina came into surprise Samuel for his birthday and it was really great to see them both. And Ari, my brother-in-law came in for, he actually drove with Nathan because he lives in Tucson. He drove the camper, which I know I've talked to you about before. The two of them drove the camper back here to the Austin area. So, I'm really excited because now the camper, it's at the Jayco dealer getting serviced, and in a few days we're going to pick it up and we will have a new way to… even though we are landlocked and in many ways, we are a little bit caught, I'm feeling a little bit caught. We still have a vehicle that will allow us to have some weekend freedom and go on little quick trips together as a family. And there's a lot in this area that I want to explore. Rosa Linda Román (27:02): So, I'm going to end that here because I just arrived at the Austin airport. Oh, and let me just tell you, if you come to Austin and you have somebody picking you up, when they say, "Where shall I pick you up?" Make sure that you're either in the main airport, Austin Bergstrom International Airport, which I forget the name of this terminal, Barbara something, or there's a south terminal which now has some flights to it and it looks like an old military base. I found out yesterday when Ari was flying out that it's like 15 minutes away from the main airport and I had no idea. And it's a really cool little airport. And I went and scoped out the little executive airport area because my dream, my thing that I'm working on manifesting is flying in a private jet with my family. That's what I want next. That's going to be my next big adventure. But anyway, I hope you guys are dreaming big, having a great time. And I won't probably talk to you before then. So, let me just say, have a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving if you are listening to this in the Thanksgiving timeframe. And if not, I hope you find many things to be thankful for whatever time of year it is. Thanks for listening to New Mexi-Castaways. I'm Rosa Linda Román.

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