Friday, August 31, 2007

I Challenge You To A...Duel

Okay, not really a duel, rather a challenge. But, I Challenge You To A...Challenge just didn't sound right.

(Disclaimer: I took a muscle relaxant for my back and it's left me a little loopy, so if I go off on a strange tangent, disregard for your own sanity.)

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

I'm going to do something unusual. I'm going to start off with some quotes I want you to read:

"There's no perfect time to write. There's only now." Barbara Kingsolver

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Jack London

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

Feeling inspired yet? Ready to write the next NYT Bestseller?

Not quite??? Read on.

My CP, Joan, did something interesting this week. She challenged me to a writing challenge. 1000 words a day for 100 days (I added the 100 days part). The logic is this: At 1000 words per day (roughly 4 pgs per day if you figure 250 words/pg), in just about 3 1/3 months, you could have a 100,000-word completed manuscript. (Or at the very least, a finished rough draft.) Now, this is nothing new. Writing challenges are out there tempting us all the time. National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo), 70 Days of Sweat, etc. I've been invited to join many. And I always refuse. So what's different about this one? One word: Accountability.

Because the challenge came from my CP, I can't shirk out of posting my word count total for the day. There's no anonymity. I know at the end of the day she's going to say, "How'd you do?" and I'm going to have to come up with an answer. It doesn't hurt that I am a very competitive person when it comes to something like this with someone I know. It also doesn't hurt that I'm remotivated as of late to finish the book from hell and move on to the new idea that has me so excited I can barely sit still.

I posted this challenge on my blog and asked if there were any other writers out there interested in joining us. I got a few bites. In fact, Lexi Connor (a writer and teacher) told her students what we were doing and challenged them to something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale - 50 words in 50 days. Several took the challenge. So just for fun, I'm going to turn it over to each of you. I'm challenging you to join us. A 100-Day Challenge, if you will.

Here's how it works. I want you to ask yourself this: What would I like to accomplish in 100 days? And How am I going to go about reaching that goal? Maybe you want to write a complete rough draft. What's your target word-count? How many words per day should you write to reach that word count goal (for me it's 1000-words per day, for you it might be less or more). Maybe you want to complete a novella or write x-# of proposals, etc. Shape the challenge into something you know is attainable and then set your daily goal. One hundred days from a starting date of next Tuesday (Sept. 4th) gives us a completion date of (if I did my math right) December 13th. Plenty of time before the holiday rush to keep you from being stressed. Just imagine what you could get done in 100 days if you put your mind to it!!! The possibilities are endless.

If you're up for this challenge, I'd like you to post your goals and your target word count/day in the comment section. At the end of each day, I'll try to post a short blog asking everyone involved to give us their word count totals for that day. If you commit to this, we're going to be watching you and encouraging you, so don't think you can slide into the shadows and we'll forget you're there. ;) And because I believe in positive reinforcement....our chapter Christmas party will be happening just about the time this challenge is over. For those of you who participate and stick with it all the way to the end, I'll have a special surprise for you at the party.

So who's game? Who's up for a challenge????


Elisabeth Naughton said...

Okay, I'll go first to get the ball rolling.

In 100 days I want to:

1. Finish the WIP from hell (I'm currently 7 scenes from finishing), polish and send to my agent.

2. Incorporate CP edits into BTS, polish one more time and send to my agent.

3. Write synopsis for Vanished, polish first three chapters. Send to agent.

4. Write proposal for Marked (working title).

5. Write proposal for Proof Positive (working title).

To do this, I'm going to commit to writing 1000-words per day. If I accomplish all these goals before the end of the challenge, I'll continue writing the rough draft of whichever proposal I choose.

As you can see, I'm breaking my goals up. I'm not trying to finish a rough draft in the hundred days because I have too many individual goals to do so. You can shape your challenge into whatever you want to reach your goals.

Don't be shy...join us. Who's next?

Paty Jager said...

Me! Me! I'm next!
In 100 days I want to:
1. get book signings set up
2. Get a proposal for a class at Nationals together and sent.
3. Get a rough draft of "Miner in Petticoats" finished or close to finished.

And I will commit to an average of 1000 words a day. (and that's with going to AK in October for a week).

Karen Duvall said...

I admire you goal-setters, I do! I suck at it so I hesitate to even try.

In 100 days I want to have a rough draft finished of my WIP. It's called "Cursed" and is mighty appropriate for a variety of reasons.

You're such a multi-tasker, Eli! I hope all is going well with the book your agent is submitting. It's such a waiting game, but at least you're keeping yourself busy in the mean time.

Paty, have fun with those signings! Glad it's you and not me. 8^) And good luck with the Nationals proposal. What's the workshop going to be?

Paty Jager said...

I'm hoping to put something together on Characterization, but first I need to look at the stuff from Reno and If Eli, Alice, or Lisa could look through the classes from Dallas and let me know if there was an overabundance of Characterization classes, then I may need to switch wheels. So if someone has an idea of a class that they haven't seen and they think I'm capable of speaking about, let me know.

Alice Sharpe said...

I'm jumping on the bandwagon. I can't do the 1,000 words a day as that isn't how I write, but here are my goals for the next 100 days:

1. I, too, will put together a workshop idea for the national conference. Whether anyone will take me up on it, who knows. I've asked a friend to do it with me, so we'll see, and I'm not sure what it will be about. You idea sounds good, Paty.

2. If the proposals I am working on do not sell, then I will work on different ones. I have an idea or two or maybe three or five. Should be something in there. If they do sell, I will make whatever deadline I agree to. These seems like silly things to announce as I wouldn't think of not meeting a deadline in a timely manner. Sometimes I need a week to step back, but not much more than that.

3. I will take care of myself during his time so as not to get worn down and frazzled and as per my blog earlier this week, I will keep trying to find the fun and hopefully something a little unexpected for both me and my reader.

4. I'll do two booksignings for the October book. Ack. One will be at our conference, I'll arrange another at a book store. Maybe two or three if I can bring myself to do it!

5. I will figure out how to update my website and start blogging on it. Harlequin encourages this and I enjoy writing them, so it's silly not to do it.

6. I was going to add that I will organize my desk, etc... but that's just silly talk.

I know this isn't the 1,000 word a day thing, Eli, but I need days I don't even think about writing and since being motivated to write when I have a book in progress isn't an issue, I'll tackle the things that are harder for me like promotion and keeping myself energized.

Fun blog, glad you enjoyed your football game (I looked at your other blog!)

Alice Sharpe said...

Eli, I should have added that I think it's wonderful that you have taken this challenge and are using it to reinvigorate yourself. I can't wait to hear what your new idea is about!

Lisa Pulliam said...

Great idea, Eli! Count me in :) Now to decide on the goal(s)...hmmm...

1) Finish a damn book. Specifically, complete a solid rough draft of my WIP. I only have about a dozen pages and I'm shooting for 90-95k words. So that's about 900 words/day.
2) Develop an idea for the next book in the series - just a few paragraphs and really general overview.
3) Develop 1-2 other book ideas outside of the series in the same general format.

Then I'll have some options after finishing the rough draft of this book. This will be great! We can doooooo eeeeeeeeet (said in Rob Schneider impression from the movie Water Boy).

Alice Sharpe said...


Oh, you clever, clever fiend!!!!!

There I am writing away, it's getting late, I need to stop but I got such a late start due to family obligations, etc... I'll start again tomorrow. I do a quick word count, just for the heck of it. 635 words.

Now, wait. I am not in this silly challenge of yours. I stated my goals. Not words per day. I don't have to.....

I keep writing until I get to 1, 224 words. Yep. The challenge sank into my little brain and lodged itself there and now I am on the train, too. So, baby, I will meet your challenge.

1, 000 words a day for 100 days. Four hundred pages.

You sneaky woman.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Woohoo, Paty! I'm impressed with your promotional/workshop goal. Can't wait to hear what you come up with.

What's your target word count for Miner in Petticoats?

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Thanks, Karen. ;)

Yes, it is a waiting game. August is especially slow in NY, but hopefully things will pick up now before the holidays. I've stopped thinking about the one that's out there and am trying to get these other books done so they can be out there too (wouldn't want the first to feel lonely or anything like that. LOL)

How far into the WIP are you? While you aren't joining us with word counts/day, I'm going to hold you to getting the rough draft done in the 100 days, so expect to be asked periodically how far you are and what's happening with it. ;)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Hm, Paty. I'd have to look through the Naitonals handout book to answer that question. I know I have it somewhere. I'll get back to you on the characterization classes.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Alice, glad to see you're joining us! Very lofty goals to accomplish between now and the middle of December. And I'm excited to hear about your Nationals workshop proposal, so be sure to share.

I can't imagine your editor not buying your proposals. They sound fabuloso to me. ;)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

ROFLMAO, Lisa. I love that Rob Schneider line!!

Okay, 900 words a day for you. I know you can do it. Don't worry about making it perfect. JUST WRITE. Just get it down. You can always go back and edit it later. ;)

Elisabeth Naughton said...

WOOHOO, Alice!!!

I'm THRILLED you're joining us. And you know DOES work. I did the same thing yesterday. Got to about 800 and was ready to quit, then said, "oh for the love of God, I can do 200 more words. Then before I knew it I was close to the end of the scene and kept writing and ended up with 1338. Not a ton over 1000, but every bit you go over pushes you that much closer to reaching your goal ahead of time.

Okay, chickie, I have you on the list!!!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

For all of you Genene's out there (anal-retentive ones...LOL), I did up a little spread sheet to track word counts and page totals for the challenge. If you're meeting your daily goal, it's not a biggie, but it is kind of fun to input your totals for the day and keep a running total of your word counts. If anyone's interested in getting a copy, email me and I'll send it to you.

Genene said...

A spread sheet, Eli? ACK, girl! You might turn into an anal-retentive plotter!

Since I'm focused on finishing my current manuscript, I've not projected out 100 days. The next 45 days, however, I'll be starting the production process for my book coming out in May 2008, finishing several graphics/web jobs (including covers for my 2008 books), finishing a presentation for the Eastside RWA chapter, and sorting out what I'm going to do for promotion for my two books coming out in 2008. I'll also be attending three writing workshops during that 45 days.

Then I want to BREATHE for a moment or two in mid-October before I decide my next writing project and before the holidays hit.

So guess I'm wimping out on the full challenge and going for a partial challenge. :)

Paty Jager said...

The target word count for Miner is 300-350 words. Depending on where the plot and characters take me. ;)

Thanks for looking up the character classes at Nationals. I counted three character classes at Reno. Oh well, I pull the proposal together and see what happens!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Paty, I'm assuming you meant 300-350 PAGES not words????? A 300 word novel would be...interesting. Can you write a 300 word romance novel??? ROFLMAO

Elisabeth Naughton said...

LOL, Genene. You're not wimping out. You've been working steadily the last few months. And you have a lot on your plate coming up.

Good luck on finishing the wip, though! Can't wait to hear the "I'm done" news. ;)

Alice Sharpe said...

Yeah, Paty, I was wondering about that! I know books are getting shorter, but really, that is kind of short!

Paty Jager said...

ROFL!! Yeah, I meant 300-350 pages not words! Sorry to confuse you ladies! I wish I could write something in 300 words! LOL
Shoot, I wish I didn't struggle to get the 350 pages!
But I will say, though I said I wasn't going to start the wip until Tuesday, I started this morning and have my 1000 words for today.

I just couldn't edit one more thing, so I started writing!

Anonymous said...

Hey ya'll, looks like this challenge has really excited all of you! Way to go Eli! :)

I'm begging off. No way am I taking on one more thing right now. My life is insane for this next month, then maybe I'll take the challenge. Once the rain starts and I can go back into hibernation like I do in the winter I'll have more time for writing.

Ah, I love hibernation mode. No more gardening or canning!

We've had our house on the market for the last two weeks and I've had to try and keep up with the house work so we can actually sell. UGH! I hate housework! I wish it would sell fast so I can pack, move, unpack and enjoy winter.

Good luck to all of you with the challenge! Can't wait to see your books on my shelf!

Alice Sharpe said...

Piper -- You're moving? Where?

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Way to go, Paty! I'll post an update today, encouraging everyone to get busy. So get those 1000 words crackin'!!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Come on, Piper. You don't have to make a huge goal. It can be something as simple as 100 words per day. The goal is just to get you writing EVERY day. Trust me when I say it's easier than it sounds, and the accomplishment you feel when you reach your daily goal is super cool.

I'll keep bugging you. ;)