Sunday, February 20, 2011

Writers' Challenge Week FIVE

JAN: Okay, we are closing in on the end. I managed to write even while vacationing in a house right on the beach in Puerto Rico -- and I didn't check my email for three whole days. It was terrific.

I learned a trick to make myself write when I'm on vacation. I didn't bring my manuscript, which would have involved hauling along a lot of paper -- not just 250 pages of the manuscript, but also a critique from a writer friend. Instead, I decided to start an essay, and I told myself each morning that I didn't have to sell it. Didn't even have to show it to anyone.

And you know what? Writing didn't seem like work anymore. It seemed like this really fun thing I was doing every morning before I went to the beach.

This week I went back to the manuscript and got a lot done. I'm a third into what I hope is the final, final draft. Already new ideas for books are percolating -- a sure sign its time to move on.

After five weeks, I've gotten better about not checking the Internet in the morning, but I can revert to compulsive behavior later in the day. I'll have to devise a challenge for that someday.

Any ideas?


  1. I had a very productive week as well, two mostly re-written chapters that are much improved. Checking my email is getting to be a drag though since I'm checking it less the more it piles up. I've put myself on digest for two of the groups I joined--five are too much.

  2. Productive, not so much. I guess it just is in the definition. But risky, yes.

    I did my first interview on my group blog for a debut author who's in my chapter.

    I presented on character development for my chapter on Saturday. Scary!!! But fun and the discussion was great!

    I got back another rejection - Boo and sent off pages for a contest - Yay.

    But fiction words? As of right now, 378. far short of my goal.

  3. E.B. -- it sounds lke you are making a lot of progress.

    Lynn - not all the week's progress has to be in words, right? You got a lot a accomplished.

    I'm fussing over little tiny and not so tiny plot changes myself.

  4. I fell off the wagon badly this week, trying to work on a short story, but not until I'd checked my emails and visited all my favorite websites. Ha. I guess I just took the week off after finishing the WIP last week. Sent the WIP off to a new, professional reader this week, and was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of Times New Roman. I've always been old school -- Courier. I'm hoping change is good.

  5. I should have mentioned earlier - I'm going to be chatting tonight at from 7 to 9 .pm for anyone who is interested.

    I'll be talking about writing both fiction and non-fiction and of course, our favorite subject -- the writer's challenge!

  6. That sounds so great, Jan - writing for the fun of it. I often find I don't even know what I think about something until I write it down.

    My manuscript continues to grow, though not due to any great sticktoitiveness on my part. I mean to stay off the Internet, but then that's where I go (and here I am...)

    DISCONNECT! I want a button that says that.

  7. I had a super productive week and completed two short stories I'll be using for summer workshop applications. However, full disclosure, the week before life got the upper hand and I missed four days in a row of writing. I had house guests and a few late nights, all fun, but it messed with my routine. I think this disqualifies me but I'm still sticking with the challenge. It was just a little slip...

  8. All of your projects and progress, methods and musings, continue to inspire me. Five consecutive weeks of writing first -- who me? Hell, yes. I'm celebrating with a homemade omelette made wit tomato, roasted garlic, onion and real Vermont sharp cheddar cheese. I've purposely avoided looking at word count and focused exclusively on that first forty-five minutes of just writing. Progress is something to evaluate afterwards. This has been great!

  9. Stephen,
    I'm so glad you said that. For me time just works better than word count -- especially now when I'm revising.

    Jack - thanks for getting back on the wagon. And Karen, we all have those weeks when family stuff overhwhelms -- it's great that you were so productive this week.

    I admit I didn't write yesterday, and I'm not too sure I'll be able to today because I'm headed to the vineyard for an overnight.

  10. I managed to bungle my way through the week despite a family crisis or three. I'd "preloaded" my own blog so I didn't have to shift focus to write and post. I stayed away from twitter. In fact, I missed the #fridayreads meme and will have to make up for it this week.

    As to writing...*sigh* Ms. Editor 2.0 had surgery so she sent me the galley proofs on my novella, which I made and sent on to the copy editor to finalize. I'm stuck on my WIP but one of my posts last week was on writer's block so I'm going to take my own advice and jump ahead a couple of scenes (as that's what keeps playing in my imagination) and then being the puzzler I am sometimes, I'll fit them back into the MS when the time comes.

    I'm going to start treating the internet like an office water cooler. The few times I worked in a structured environment, I had a morning break, lunch break, afternoon break, and then quitting time. The internet will become my water cooler visits at break time, if that makes sense?

    Until then, I'm off for dim sum with Lawyer Guy and his office mate. MmmmMmmmm good. This afternoon, I'm going to get a scene sketched out and if I'm lucky, I'll figure out why I'm stuck at the moment and I'll be able to move forward.

    Later, gators.

  11. SO lovely to catch up with you all..such nice people...sigh.

    Doin' fine. Keeping on keeping on. Going back to it NOW.


  12. Not a great week for me in terms of word count on the WIP- though I did write a wonderful little scene that ties a lot of things together, and while brief in verbiage, is quite nice in terms of character, motivation, etc.

    This was a really rocky week in terms of Real Life Intrusion- I was out of the house a lot, but took care of a lot of pressing issues, and I think Ive cleared this following week for steady writing. (knocks wood)

    I did do some kind of writing even if it wasn't on the WIP before e-mail/Internet- mostly I did a lot of journaling- which helps me tremendously to clear my head, but also gives me new ideas- the above mentioned scene spring from a journal entry. I benefit from doing some writing each day that is not "professional"

    But on the professional note- I had a great week- attended a couple of writing/book events, had some actual face time with some actual writers- always a good thing, and was approached about doing a book talk in June on Women mystery writers which is very exciting, and just several things like that, which put the week in the "plus" category. Also did some book reviews and guest blogging.

    On the negative side, my e-mail box is crammed full, and I have Face-book friends who are saying, "Where are you?"

  13. That bad news: Didn't do as well as I had hoped on the challenge.

    The good news: I discovered why. I'm taking two online classes and it took me three weeks to realize that's why I check the Internet first, for my lessons.

    Now I have to define a way to keep taking online classes but do my writing first.

    On the up side, I have six short stories out to markets and six more ready for a final reading and rewrite. I hope to have them finished before the six weeks is up. Then I have a few 'new ideas' notes to look at and develop into short stories.

    I can't tell you how much this challenge has helped and taught me about my writing schedule.

  14. Short story again...and I need to write on my little blog. My schedule at work has been kind, mostly going in at 12 or 1pm so I don't have to get up in the middle of the night to write. Today I needed to work on something for my job...not a project looked forward to, but necessary. Tonight however is chat time with my daughter,including my trip to Portland this coming Friday so we can attend a weekend writing retreat together. I'm looking forward to the clean Oregon air and the spurt of inspiration that always comes from being in the city that is so important to my little book as well as the company of people who love to teach and talk writing :o)

  15. Silver - I think that's the perfect way to look at the Internet -- as a water cooler break.

    That, or sometimes I just think of it as the enemy.

    Kelly, that sounds like a great week to me.

    Maryann and Pat -- I'm jealous. I wish I could write a short story.

  16. I had a great writing week, coming up on the finish of a first draft. At times over the last five weeks I've felt like I'm grinding my wheels, but aiming for that minimum 45 minutes generally brought me out of the rut.

    Some days better than others, the key for me is to stick with it, and don't look back (at least on this first draft).

  17. Less successful this week. Afraid I'm caught up in the important causes of others. Since Madison appears daily in national and international news, you probably have heard of the new governor who appears to have DICTATOR stamped on his birth certificate. Yes, Jungle Reds IS a nice group of people! Thanks to all of you providing a refuge this week. But it was something Julia said that helped me the most when referring to her husband's making it easy for her to "sit in a room and talk to my imaginary friends on my laptop." I realized my happy childhood (yes, it was!) was full of encouragement in imaginative play. Thinking about writing from Julia's view made the words just fly off my fingers! Thank you, Julia.

  18. For Ann Oxford-
    Theres quite a few of us, writers and others, in KY cheering on the protesters in Wisconsin. You're in our thoughts!

  19. I just sent that "anonymous" message- I don't know why I keep doing that on this site!

  20. I am so sorry it keeps going to Anonymous- if it does again, I just wanted to say that Kelly Saderholm sends wishes and support to Ann Oxford.