La Riposte

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Final Countdown in Afghanistan - a #ROW80 Update

It's the Final Countdown...
So, I missed last two week’s ROW80 updates, and missed publishing chapters of The Perfidious Mister Wickham. I’m behind on finishing up Steven Pressfield’s “The Warrior Ethos”: One Marine Officer’s Critique & Counterpoint, and as for my other various writing goals – nothing! It would be easy to throw up my hands and say “Such is life in a combat zone,” but believe it or not, I’ve actually been doing a very great deal of writing, it’s just that not all of it aligns with my personal goals. 

Much of it is work-related – it’s important to recognize superior performance, and since my last check-in I’ve written up three Meritorious Service Medals, six Navy Achievement Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and ghost-written a Bronze Star Medal. I’ve also drafted a 2000-word op-ed on diversity in the Marine Corps, published 3 issues of the squadron newsletter, and done a bit of work on my ROW80 goals, as listed below…

So why the retro-hair-metal picture? Well, besides the fact that Europe rocks, it's official - we're counting down the weeks (soon to be days) before redeploying back to the States - which is great, but it just means there will be that much more work to do. Thus, I have to be realistic about how much I'll be able to do as a writer - the answer? Probably not that much. 

Before the goals update, I do have some other exciting news to report; I’ve been asked to co-author a screenplay on a most interesting Victorian character, and am now planning to release the first volume of The Perfidious Mister Wickham as a novella in early August, while I finish the book in its current online-serial format and re-release the whole novel next year.
And now for a very brief goals update:

- Wrote 1500 words on my critique of Pressfield’s The Warrior Ethos.
- Wrote an Op-Ed: The Marine Corps's Diversity Task Force: Looking for the Right Answers, Asking the Wrong Questions. Now to find a publisher... Thinking the New York Times "At War" blog, or possibly the Opinion page. Any suggestions?

- Did 225 lbs on the squat, and 275 lbs on the deadlift in a recent weightlifting competition – adding 80 lbs to my previous score from just 6 weeks ago!
- Bodyfat is down to 11% - so I'm doing well in that department.

- Got in 5 solid hours of French study this week… Je suis un bien eleve!

- Still looking for more – anyone joins will get free books and advance copies of new material in exchange for reviews and critique… Are you interested? If so, leave a note here, or drop me a line directly to

With just 11 days left in this ROW, how am I looking for the original goal set? I’ve failed to make any progress in short story writing or publishing, or to advance with my Learning Indonesian book. I haven’t started the “Parasol Books imprint” or gotten much done in networking. I’m probably averaging closer to 4 hours of French study per week than 5, but I am on track for my bodyfat goals, (16% -->11%) and I have added an average of 13 lbs per week to my bench press – the goal was only five!

I'd like to say that a big push in these final weeks of the ROW will put me over the top, but... No. I'm practical enough to realize that it's unlikely to happen. That said, I hope everyone has had a great weekend, is all set for another productive week, and is doing better than I am at attaining their goals this round.

A la prochaine!



  1. I'm duly impressed. Writing is writing, whether for your personal goals or otherwise. That said, glad to hear you get to come back stateside even if it is extra work. That said, it sounds like things are going really well for you...congrats on the screenplay opportunity! Is all your work Victorian-era? The title of your novella seems to fit that theme. Just wondering.

  2. As Anna noted... writing is writing. Yes, some ROWers (myself included) have a fiction goal as well as a total number of words or scenes, but it's not a requirement to get better at writing or to even be published. (Or rather it is, but the skills you will get from any other kind of practice will hold you and propel you to success later.

    The number of successes here, well I'm sure that you'd have rathered your successes be over and beyond your failures. You do want to do, even if your head says you want something else. That's something to consider too. If you're seeing a lot of failures in the same areas... ask yourself why

    And have a great week!