JAN: Okay, you've had your holidays, your stuffed turkey, eggnog and New Year's champagne. Now it's time to get back in shape -- writing wise.
Maybe the rest of you are adults who can discipline yourselves, but not me, I'm a teenager at heart and NEED peer pressure. So here it is: a new SIX-WEEK WRITERS' CHALLENGE. In some ways, just like the Writers' Challenge that was so popular last summer. in other ways changed.
Here's how it's the same: There will be prizes.
Here's how it's different: This time we're awarding three signed ARCS -- that's right, hot off the presses ARCS of soon to be bestselling mysteries from Julia Spencer Fleming, (One Was a Soldier), Hallie Ephron (Come and Find Me ) and Rhys Bowen (Bless The Bride). As if that weren't enough, we also have a signed, out-of-print hardcopy of Deborah Crombie's Now May You Weep, and a copy of Drive Time, the last in Hank Phillippi Ryan's award-winning Charlie McNally series.
Here's what else is the same:
Because the seductive nature of the Internet must be repelled at all costs, and because the hardest part of writing is getting started, you MUST put off opening your email or checking whatever else you habitually, maybe even neurotically, check before writing. It doesn't matter if you write in the morning, or late afternoon or evening when you get back from work. You have to start writing BEFORE you go online.
Here's what else is different.
In the last challenge, you had to write a page a day before checking the Internet. In this challenge, you have to stay at your computer, focused and working, for a solid 45 minutes before you check the Internet.
What happened to the page quota? Last time, there were a lot of people who weren't working on first drafts. They were revising. Or writing synopsis. Or plotting out character growth. It was hard for them to get excited by one page.
Just like last time, the point is not to limit yourself to one page or 45 minutes. The point is to use that 45 minutes to trick yourself into getting started. We're happy if you're one of those thousand word-a-day people (HANK), but we're also thrilled if you are making those time consuming mental break-throughs, or pushing through the torture of a synopsis or diligently rewriting chapters.
Here's something else that's different. I'm taking pity on you. I'm giving you ONE DAY off a week. Saturday, Sunday, maybe a Wednesday snow day. Take it, guilt free. You're allowed.
Participants must sign up on the comments page anytime this week. But besides your first name, please give us an identifying last name initial or a nickname, especially if you have a popular name, say like Laura or Jennifer or especially KATE. When we count comments and award prizes we need to know which uniquely individual Laura, Jennifer or Kate you are.
You must join me on Sundays to check in on progress and comment at least three out of the six Sunday blogs. From that pool, three names will be drawn at random, and prizes assigned. There will also be a prize for most inspirational, and most-honest.
Come on everybody, be courageous. Take the plunge. Sign up. The only thing you have to lose is wasted time.
(You can also follow us during the week on Twitter, search for: #JRWRITEFIRST.)