Sunday, December 5, 2010

On Writers Challenges or slipping into bad habits

JAN: I admit it, I've fallen into bad habits. I just finished a book proposal for my non-fiction project -- a proposal that took me almost a year as I had to get my head out of the original story structure - used for the screenplay - and shake up my thinking. I had major mental roadblocks and it took a lot of research, hard work and hard thinking to get past them. So when my agent loved the book proposal -- I mentally signed off -- although I've been sitting at my computer working on my fiction, I've been allowing too many distractions.

You know, the email thing. Then there was the baking for Thanksgiving thing. Of course, next there is the Christmas shopping thing. So I was thinking as part of my new year's resolution to issue a new WRITE FIRST writer's challenge for January 1.

But before I do, I'd love to hear from writers in what there special trials were and what kind of writer's challenge might be most useful. Please feel free to comment here, or email directly through my website


  1. Hey--Great idea! But I sitll think the key is Write First. I have to admit, I think of it EVERY day. And I stll do it. And it's making a huge difference.

    So my vote would be--let's try it again!

  2. Yeah. Write First really worked for me, although I had to use some illicit work time to make it happen (I simply can't get up any earlier than my already insane 5 AM...). But as soon as the challenge was over - I stopped doing it. Dumb? Yes. Can't explain it.

    So the email thing is still a problem. And now I'm on a short story inspiration, so I have to finish that, but at least that's writing. It's also avoidance on working through the last few stubbon plot problems in my book before I get out into the querying battlefield.

    Bring on a challenge. We can all use it!


  3. I'm revising, so page goal doesn't work. How about 15 minutes? Seems very do-able even on days other obligations are waiting. Most days it will extend longer. Other days can be springboard for later writing--something to get back to.

    My problem lately is "being nibbled to death by ducks"--all those small obligations that build up--so a small goal may work best for me.

  4. Hey Mo,
    I think that's a good idea -- a time/alternative.

  5. Jam, I like the Write First or even edit first. I was doing it for weeks after it ended. Keeping my chart and doing so well, but I admit it I’m slipping again. That darn e-mail is killing me.

    I did manage to get a dozen or so short stories written but now some of them need revisions. That being said, I’d go for the write a page a day or do an amount of rewriting or editing. I’m not sure what the time amount should be on that. I do know it takes me a longer time to edit and rewrite than it does to write the original story…most of the time.

    I did write 50K for NaNo in November but I made the mistake of writing an historical. I did a huge amount of research, but once I got into the story I had tons and tons of research I never thought of that needs to be done on that book which will probably end up being a novella. Since it takes place in 1928, I think it might be very marketable, so I’d like to work on that also.

    From the last challenge, I do have three short stories out, three awaiting comments from my critique group for final rewrites, and about eight or nine that need lengthening, rewrites and/or editing. So count me in.

  6. Wow. That's incredibly productive Pat. I will definitely do the challenge. Maybe it'll make me finally write a short story!