Friday, August 6, 2010

The Writer's Challenge

JAN: If you are a writer, the Internet is both your best friend and your mortal enemy. Need to find an expert or see what a Glock looks like?? The info is only minutes away by Google.


But sometimes, all that time you save goes down the drain in lost productivity. In terms of writing (not promotion) that would be Email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.


Here's the challenge:
For six weeks, starting tomorrow, you must write one, full page every day -- even Saturday and Sunday -- BEFORE checking email or visiting anywhere online. That's the critical part. You can get online as soon as you finish your one page, but no sooner. If you have to check email at work in the morning, the challenge can start as soon as you come home. You are not allowed to go back to the Internet for ANY reason until you write that one page.


Why one page?
  • Because if you only wrote one page a day for an entire year, you'd have a novel.
  • Because when I gave myself a five-page-a-day quota, I found myself writing drivel, just to get the pages done.
  • Because with with a one page quota, you have time to go back and revise earlier pages. Sometimes they bulk up, lengthwise, to create an extra page. (and yes, that counts as a new page.)
  • Because one page is eminently doable.
  • Because even on the weekends, you can get yourself to sit down at the computer if it's ONLY one page. And the consistency of a writing every day enhances productivity in terms of story structure.
  • Because one page often leads to another. In other words, one page is the minimum, not the maximum.
Why now?
  • Because for many of us, August is the least productive month of the year. (hey, and I'm even going to do this on vacation)
  • Challenging yourself in January when is snowing outside is no challenge.

Why six weeks?
  • Because after six weeks, we'll all have 42 pages. If you are starting a novel, that's about where you'd end on a hook, so you'll have enough material to send it to the agent/editor with a query.
  • If you are writing short stories -- that's at least two of them.
  • Because I host the blog every six weeks.


Why do you really want to do this?
  • Aside from becoming a more disciplined writer and an all around superior person, we're also giving away prizes.



No cheating:
  • One page is defined as the FULL page, double spaced.
  • If, by any chance, you are writing a screenplay, you can still do the challenge, but that's TWO AND HALF pages a day for you.



How to enter?
  • Sign into the comments page any time through Sunday (okay Monday for you procrastinators).
  • Report in (via the comments page) every Sunday.
  • Tell us anything, your obstacles, your solutions, your progress, the best sentence you wrote, or any tricks you've learned along the way.

Prizes:
If you post at least three times (on different weeks), we enter your name in raffle and the winner gets a signed copy of Hallie Ephron's Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel. I will also read and critique your work, if you want. (you can forgo that prize if the idea of critique stunts your productivity. It's your choice.)


There's also second and third prizes, as well as a prize for the most inspired, insightful or helpful comment.


In no particular order, those prizes will be signed copies of:
Teaser (Jan Brogan)
Dead Head (Rosemary Harris),
Air Time, (Hank Phillippi Ryan)
Asking for Murder (Roberta Isleib)


(Rhys is on vacation in Europe, so we didn't want to bother her, but more prizes may be added later.)


The challenge technically ends Saturday September 18th and you have all weekend until 5 p.m. Sunday on the 19th to post your comments. I'll be drawing and deciding winners one minute after 5 p.m.
I'll announce winners September 20th.


So get started and good luck!!





113 comments:

Laura DiSilverio said...

What a great idea. Thanks for the inspiration and incentive.

Ramona said...

This is an excellent idea! To show my support, I'll link it at my Facebook writers' group. Since today is shot anyway....;-)

MaxWriter said...

Gulp. I'm in. Which means I'll have to start a new book. Which I have not plotted or planned yet. Hmmm. Nice challenge!

Edith

Jessie Crockett said...

I've been trying to get started on the actual writing of a new novel and this challenge is exactly what I needed. Thanks! Good luck to everyone!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oooooh......kaaaay. Doing it!

Rosemary Harris said...

My fingers are hovering over the Y-E-S keys. I'm in the middle of revisions and I will be hiking in Montana next week. I don't suppose new pages in the current book count...

JM Reinbold said...

I'm in! Looking forward to it. 6 weeks -- Wow!

PatRemick said...

grumble, grumble...
Yes, it's a great idea...
OK, but I can't start until Thursday, but I will write 2 pages each day until I make it up.... (very fearful that this is going to show HOW addicted I am to email...)

Lynn Steinmayer said...

This sounds wonderful -- like NaNoWrMo ... except a page a day sounds far more possible than some gargantuan number of words...

Sign me up!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yes Lynn...brilliant. JayReeWri, um. Wee?

JayReeWriWee?

Anyone?

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

ANd no, already written pages don't count. (Right, Jan?) I only know this because I tried to see if I could finesse that way myself. :-)

Rhys Bowen said...

Rhys is in Europe but will be happy to offer a book as a prize. As to the page a day--I'm currently on 5 pages a day so does one of them count if I promise not to read email first. My head is completely in the book--in fact we passed a Chanel perfume shop in Cannes and I said to John "Isn't it amazing that I know her?" Then I realized it was just in the book and I didn't really know her!
Weird.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Rhys, I can't even begin to count the ways that your post is annoying. Let me try:

One: we passed a Chanel perfume shop in Cannes

Two: Rhys is in Eurpe

Three: I'm currently on five pages

Four: I said to John

Five: My head is completely in the book

Ahh...I can't go on.

Have fun, sister!! xoxoxo

Steve Liskow said...

Cool! A prize for doing my homework first before I can go out to play.

Jan Brogan said...

Thanks Ramona, that will be greatly appreciated.

And Rhys, yes, that will work. And thanks for the prize offering!!


Already written pages don' t count, but if you go back and revise a page, and by the time it's done its two pages, the second page counts as new.

So Ro, You could use the above rule. No one says this has to be a new book or new work.

I'm so thrilled you are all in this with me!!

Kate said...

Okay, I'm in. This is just the kind of challenge I need to keep me on track. Six weeks? I'll be back at work by then. Yikes.

But still - I'll do it. And I'll tweet and FB it around. (Gives me something to say...)

Jan Brogan said...

That would be wonderful, Kate.

And Pat, that works. In fact that will be the rule for latecomers. Thanks!!

Sori said...

I'm in!

cluttery said...

Hi everyone! I found this via Kate's tweet. I'm in. I am starting over on a story that is completely plotted in my head but got derailed in the guise of a romantic comedy. The comedy part didn't quite work for me, but the story won't go away. Nice to meet you all.

Roberta Isleib said...

I'm going to try too:).

P.A.Brown said...

I'm in. Good timing, I just started a new novella of 11-15K so this would put me well on the way.

Now to remember NOT to open the Internet first thing. LOL.

Jan Brogan said...

Welcome Sori and Cluttery!! I'm keeping a list of all gamers!!

Jan Brogan said...

Welcome PA, too. Our comments crossed in transit.

Darlene Ryan said...

Is it cheating if i sign up for the challenge when I already write 3 single-spaced pages before I check my email or blow a good morning kiss to Matt Lauer on my TV screen?

Jan Brogan said...

No Darlene, it's not cheating. It's an inspiration for the rest of us. But remember, you have to do it Saturday and Sunday, too, to count.

Even without Matt Lauer to look forward to, after.

Jan Brogan said...

And remember everyone -- you have to come back and update us on your progress every Sunday. We're especially interested in the obstacles and distractions you overcome to get the page done. How doing it BEFORE you hit the internet affects your writing (or not), and how writing every day affects your story progress.

P.A.Brown said...

Good start. I shut down my Internet and wrote a little better than a full page on A Place of Silence, my new historical novella.

So every morning at least a page before I go online.

annoxford said...

Thank you, Jan! I'm in. I had put aside a novel, but can't quite thinking about it. It's exactly what I needed, too.

Susannah C said...

I'm on a deadline, so definitely in.

Renee Gold said...

i have never done anything like this. Yet, i have been putting off the second book for lots of good reasons. Now, i guess the way you suggest here, i dont have an excuse any more...

Funny though.... i have not had any time off lately and have been under great stress. Tomorrow was booked off as a much needed, mental health beach day... I will just have to write that page before I put on my swimsuit.

Thanks for this great encouragement.

AliasMo said...

I'm in, though I need to take the revising route most days. At least one new page's worth of writing per day before e-mail and Internet.

How about "Jungle Red WOW" (Weeks of Offline Writing)?

Mo

AliasMo said...

This has nothing to do with the topic, just struck me as funny. My verification "word" was...

prowlygu

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hi Renee! Lovely to see you!

Pauline Alldred said...

Great idea. One page is possible. Thanks for coming up with the idea.

Pauline

Kate Gallison said...

I'm in. I have a project underway that needs a swift kick.

cluttery said...

Hi! I am away this weekend, taking my ballerina girl to her summer intensive in another state. But I will check in on Monday, with my 3 pages (Sat., Sun., Mon.--see, I get it, I will finish my page on Monday before checking in!!!!). Or do you mean NEXT Sunday?

Jan Brogan said...

Cluttery,
This weekend is for signing in. Next Sunday 8/15 starts comments. And you don't have to report every week. although we love to hear from you. Just try to come back with feedback three of the Sundays.

Welcome all newcomers!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I'm jumping in the pool as well. Of course I read this post before writing a word today, so I'll have to start tomorrow!

~ Jim

Hallie Ephron said...

This is so exciting! I'm in, though I can't do it next week (I've got two manuscript revisions due) but right after I turn in the last one... this is going to jump start my new novel!

Rosemary Harris said...

Okay...if Hallie can start after her revisions, so can I. I'm in.

Jan Brogan said...

It's Saturday morning, and I had to quickly close my screen -- open to Junglered so I could check comments and record participants -- and write my page!!

Also writing before I go off to Fairhaven for the day, with a cup of latte my husband made for me to celebrate the beginning of the challenge.

ANd welcome to Kate Gaillison, James, Pauline and anyone I didn't name -- I'm so excited that this is getting such a good turnout.

MaxWriter said...

It worked! And I was so into the first scene of the new book that I kept writing beyond the first page. Thank you, Jan!

Edith

Pat Marinelli said...

Okay, I'm in. This is the kick in the butt I need to form a writing schedule. And...of course, stop this Internet addiction.

It doesn't help that I'm signed up for an on-line writing class. Oh, well, I'll make it work.

Like Jim I'll have to start tomorrow since...I'm here now.

Kate said...

I am game! I have 67 pages of a novel draft written; I am editing it based on Hallie's book (she's already saved me twice - my original character name is already the subject of a series of mysteries, and I visited my local police chief who steered me away from some basic police procedure errors!). So I plan to do a chapter of detail revisions each day, and write the page. Today, I actually wrote two pages.

This is a great way to keep me working! Thanks!

Susan M. Boyer said...

I'm in! I'm just picking a project back up that I started a year ago. This will help me maintain some much-needed Internet discipline.

Sarah Ballance said...

Perfect timing - I'm IN! I'm finishing edits on #2 and starting #3, and this is the perfect plan to get me off and running with the new ms. Thanks for the inspiration!

Lynn said...

I'm in. I write before I leave for work so this will assure that I'll get my writing in first rather than email eating up my writing time. Thanks for the challenge!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, my gosh.
This WORKS! I'm already ahead!
JAn...genius.

RJ said...

Okay, I'm ready to get going, to get started...

This should incentivize disciplined behavior. I can do this.

Anonymous said...

I'm in! Thanks! Gogo.

Barb Ross said...

I'm in.

Rhys Bowen said...

Reading this is like watching one of those old Judy Garland movies in which they say "Gosh--we can put on a show if we try!"
It's so inspiring to see what a collective challenge like this can do to motivate. Maybe we'll have a bestseller at the end of it and we can say "we got that book started!"

Steve Liskow said...

Okay,
I did three pages today and saved them before I opened my email. I'm going back to them later when I get back from the gym.

If I can keep up at the pace of the last week--and this will help--I'll be able to finish my first draft by Labor Day. Sweet.

Stephanie Edwards said...

I just saw this on Facebook. I'm editing a novel, but I need to start something new. Getting started is the hard part. I think I will give it a try. Thanks.

Colleen Collins said...

I'm signing up for the challenge! I'm down to the last 100 pages of a book, and this is the kick in the XXX to get it done.

We check in on Sundays, right? See you then, ladies and gents.

Colleen (AKA "coco")

Gina said...

Thank You! I've just wrote two pages.

Pam Ripling said...

I SO need this. WRITE. FIRST. WRITE. FIRST. Breathe. Then check email. I'm in. Procrastination is delaying my next book!

Sherry Lewis said...

Have I procrastinated long enough? Am I too late to join? No? Sigh.

I'm on deadline. Days are flying by. Really struggling to get back onto a workable schedule after cross-country move and my daughter home all day for 9 months while looking for work in a depressed economy. She begins new job on Monday, and this sounds like a good idea to me.

So okay. You talked me into it.

Annette said...

Count me in starting tomorrow!

Missy said...

I'll dive in to; lurker that I am. Thanks.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

I'm in!!

And thanks to Clare over at Women of Mystery for linking to this post.

Terrie

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Sherry, Annette, Missy and Terrie. PAm and Gina! Hurray! Love seeing you here...xoxo Hank

Ruth McCarty said...

Jan,brilliant idea! Please count me in. It's exactly what I need to get my novel done before Crime Bake and my agent pitch. Thanks!

Debby Buchanan said...

Jan,

Great idea! I'm in!

TCBlue said...

I don't actually write mysteries, but this sounds like a good idea to kick me in my mental contemp-romance butt, so... Sure, I'll play. :) Unofficially, if necessary. LOL

~Tis

Jungle Red Writers said...

TC --
YOu don't have to be writing mysteries to take part. One of my projects is non-fiction. You could be writing poetry even (but I guess that would be a poem a day every day....)

Welcome, Debby, Terrie, Missy, Annette, Sherry and anyone I may have missed.

Ruth, great to see you here!!

~Jan

Clare2e said...

Since Terrie followed my Women of Mystery post to sign up here, I would be TOO cowardly if I didn't sign up myself!

In!

aeTyree said...

What a fantastic idea. I'm in.

Nigel said...

I just have to do this! One page a day, I tell myself. I can do that!

Goodbye writer's block!

Carol Kilgore said...

This is a great idea and one I can do. Thanks.

Colleen Pittman said...

Count me in! I need to break my "let's just check my email/feeds" habit.

Reckon I need to stop messing around with my outline and get to writing.

Nikki B said...

OK -- I'm in too :)
....I think I'm sweating....

Ro -- how does it work when you are hiking?! Have fun!

~Nikki

Ilonka said...

Perfect timing! My August productivity has been terrible. Count me in - even if I'm starting a day late, but I just found the challenge. (And apologies if I posted twice. I think my first response vanished.)

Verity said...

Great idea -- thanks for sponsoring this!

Dog Mom said...

This is a really neat challenge. Thanks for hosting it. I plan on doing a short story first (10 pages), then getting back to my novel.

Tanya said...

I'll give it a go. Between office patients and call, I think I can handle a page a day.

P.A.Brown said...

This works amazingly well. I'm expanding it. I not only don't go online in the morning when I first boot up, but when I shut it down during the day I don't go online until I write at least a page. I also don't turn the TV on until then. I'm already up to almost 10K on what I thought would be a 12K novella, but now I can see it's going to be longer.

I also changed the title to Placing Out. One of these days I'm going to blog about what that means.

Diane said...

I'm committing myself to this challenge and thank you for proposing it. I have a mystery novel to finish and a 1/2 written screeplay as well. Count me in!
Sincerely,
Diane Finney

JoAnn said...

I'm in! Ha! I was fooling around reading the SinC digest (instead of writing) when I came across your link. I'm looking forward to a little imposed discipline since the self-discipline just isn't working.

Karen said...

Okay, I'm in too. I'm working on my nonfiction book proposal and this will be perfect timing. I know I'm two days late but I'll make it up, honor system works for me!

Delia said...

A wonderful way to discipline. I'm in. I missed the morning, but will do Sunday's page tonight.

Anonymous said...

Joann Breslin said, I'm in. Have to refocus my first mystery.

Thanks!

Joann

Jayne Barnard said...

Hi, Ilonka! So glad to know you're getting down to work again.

I'm stalling at the last 75 (or so) pages of a mystery manuscript. Hopefully I can break my email habit this way, as I often use up my entire free time on not really necessary replies.

Robin Burcell said...

I am also in! (But won't get started officially until I get home tomorrow.) I'm also on the last 75 pages or so of my novel. But I was a good girl and took a pad of paper to the coffee house this morning and wrote by hand. Surely that counts if it was done before e-mail???

Robin Spano said...

Signing IN. This is great timing b/c I'm knee-deep in promotion and real writing makes me feel stronger. By forcing myself to start the day with fiction, I'll do a better job at everything else.

Thanks in advance!

Jungle Red Writers said...

Wow.
Welcome everybody!! I'm thrilled to say there are so many new people, I can't name them all.

But so glad to see you here. This really works!!

~jan

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yes I agree Robin--because you can convince yourself that promotion IS working. And it is. But writing the book is the most important. And it's easy to be lured into losing sight of that.

WRITE FIRST!

mstery9 said...

I'm in! In fact, I've already started, having written a full page before I went online to sign up for this.

Jan Brogan said...

Welcome Mystery 9!!! Never too late to discipline your internet use and WRITE FIRST!!!


Will be posting updates on Sunday here, and via Twitter #WRITEFIRST

I'm at janbrogan if you want to follow. But not until AFTER you write!!

Allison A. Davis said...

Sorry was out of town and NOT checking the internet. I am in. I am re-writing but still doing a page a day is good for that as well so I should have some solid text by the end. Thanks!

Ilonka said...

Writing first - Day 2, page 2.

Thanks for the push!

Gail said...

I'd love to participate, but I won't be near a computer on Sunday - we are leaving on a short trip. Not to mention this is the craziest week for me with camping and work. However, I'll still rise to the challenge.

SocialRegister said...

Thanks for offering this. I've already sent word on to others to join in. Good writing, everyone!

Nikki B said...

Yep -- it worked! I had to do emails for work but they were short & sweet....and without this challenge I am sure I would have given in to being pooped!

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

You said it was ok for the procrastinators to join on Monday. Well I'm the worst kind -- a disorganized procrastinator with a broken clock. :)
If it's not too late I'd like to participate. Thanks ~ Donna

Jan Brogan said...

Donna,
Not too late, from one procrastinator to another.

Nikki, I"m glad its helping you. I know its pulling me through August....

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yay, Donna! And love to see you, Nikki!

Don't you think this is absolutely empowering? It's a way to say--I have permission to do what's important first.

WRITE FIRST.

Dona Matthews said...

i know i am WAY late in starting, but i am IN. i LOVE this challenge, and think it is just the spur i needed...we'll see.

Jan Brogan said...

Welcome Dona!! Never too late-- glad you're in.

~jan

Paula R said...

I am gonna try this. One page is doable, but I can't today since I already messed up. I will start counting tomorrow so I can join in the fun.

Thank you Roberta for telling more about this.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Paula R said...

Hi, I caught up with the page a day. Yippee. I am looking forward to progress as I continue this challenge. Thank you for offering it. I will be back tomorrow to report in the number of pages I got done.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

mstery9 said...

I did it! I admit that I had a couple of (momentary) slips, but then what felt like the beginning of a new habit clicked in. And I was off to the races and feeling very productive.

Sarah Ballance said...

My laptop crashed. That was SO not how I envisioned meeting the requirements of this challenge! I've got a loaner w/o net access, though, so this is one habit I'm pretty sure I can work on this week, LOL!

P.A.Brown said...

Well, two great things since I started this challenge. I just got a new Toshiba Satellite laptop - the perfect size at 13.3 inches -- and I finished the first draft of my 28K novella. I finished it because not only did I not go online in the morning until I wrote at least 1 page, but I wouldn't go online anytime I rebooted my laptop. Since I might have had 2 K done when I started this challenge, I guess that means I wrote 25-26 K. Not bad for first draft.

I'm recommending this to all my writer friends.

Ilonka said...

Week 1: Day 7, page 12

Habit is a terrible thing! One morning this week I automatically opened my email program without even realizing I'd done it. I was horrified to see emails dribbling into my inbox when what I expected to see was the opening page of my novel. I shut it down immediately, but was a little irritated with myself because I’m taking this challenge very seriously. I wrote an extra hundred words that morning just to reinforce the commitment. I’ve since moved the email and browser icons to different locations on my desktop. Now my fingers actually have to consult my brain before opening either program.

Sori said...

( A day late for posting) I started off really well... I did my pages. Then I got derailed on Wednesday and the rest of the week was a bust. Still I got 8.5 pages last week, so I'm considering it a win, plus I'm remotivated to get back on the keyboard tomorrow before I get on the Internet. I already got on the net today (as you can see) but I promise to write at least a page by the time my family comes home from school/work and tomorrow I'm back to the challenge. I do believe that sometimes I get in my own way of success.

Dog Mom said...

Just checking in. I have 7 pages of my short story complete. The thing is, I did have to log onto the web before writing a few times for research purposes. However, I still got more done this week than usual.

Colleen Collins said...

No other August 22 Sunday comments? I'm the first?

I took my Alphie (AlphaSmart) with me on a 2-day surveillance so I could get my writing in...did 20 pages in two days (for those who don't know "Alphie"--it's not a word processor, so I could type away while watching the rear-view mirror...you see, I'm determined to finish this book!).

Back at home, I've revised another 15 pages, so this week was 35 pages total.

Until next Sunday, Colleen

P.A.Brown said...

This challenge has done wonders for my writing. There were days I almost slipped, but I stuck to it and have finished my 28K novella, put the finishing touches on a novel I'm co-writing with another author and started research on a new time period.

One thing I found, when I had run out of new material to work on, it forced me to go back to a story I had started a few months ago but had dropped. Now I've started it up again. Who knows, maybe I'll finish it this time.

Jungle Red Writers said...

Hi guys,
I just realized now 8/28 that people were still posting here.

So apologies to Dog Mom and Colleen and PA Brown Mystery 9, Sori, Illonka and Sarah -- so sorry to hear about your computer crash -- for not responding to these comments earlier!

Anyway, I know some of you have already moved to Sunday, but for those who haven't, please check in tomorrow (sunday and/or any Sunday) so I don't wind up inadvertently ignoring anyone.

~Jan

P.A.Brown said...

Well I'm still here. I've doing at least one page a day, usually more. I'm 20K into a story I had all but abandoned. So it's working for me.

P.A.Brown said...

There were a couple of days it took forever to do the 1 page -- at least one day where I hung on until afternoon to go online. But I've done it. Over 25K done so far.