A Lot Like What Is Needed To Write A Novel…

Since I have been talking about the challenges the last two nights, and I got some great letters today from a few brave souls who are interested, I thought I would go over in general the attitude it takes to do a challenge like these.

First off, you can never consider the writing “work” in any regard. Writing is play, what you come home from work to do. So part of the attitude about these challenges (or just writing in general) is take the word “work” away from it. You do the best you can and release and move on.

Second, you must realize that at times it will be stressful, but in the same way riding a roller coaster at an amusement park is stressful. You get on a roller coaster for fun and the excitement, you do a challenge for the fun and excitement. Yes, there is stress, but it is part of the fun of the creative process if your attitude is right.

Now I am an expert on these sorts of challenge things. I have written 30 stories in 30 days twice in the last year plus. And I wrote and finished four novels in July. I do know what is needed. So beside the first two important attitude adjustments, there are a few other things that I consider important to success.

Thirdly, you must have the attitude that you are going to be writing every day that you can. That means keeping the family informed and pacing the writing, like a distance runner. I call it the “dripping faucet” form of writing. You just keep dripping words until you are done.  Every day you get words done. Some days will be more than others. But almost every day you try to get words done.

Now this third attitude is why many sign up for these challenges, to push themselves to write more. It’s one thing to say you are going to write more, have a great three months of writing this fall. It is another to sign up for a challenge and then either have to send me a short story regularly or check in with me every week on your novel progress. I function as a sort of engine to make sure the faucet keeps dripping.

Fourth, you have to keep your focus down on the day’s words, not on the big picture. I really fought to never think about writing four novels in one month. That was an elephant I would not have been able to eat. But I focused on so many words in a day on the novel I was working on and when I surfaced at the end of the month I had four novels.

Fifth, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be the best you can do at this point in your writing. If you strive for perfect, you will freeze down and never write anything. Writing is an art, an imperfect art as most arts are. You do the best you can, then release and move on. This attitude is the most difficult one early on for writers. A challenge will help get you past that.

Now, of course, the five attitudes above also are important in just writing any story or novel in general. But for a time-limited challenge where you have a desire to get a certain amount of writing completed, they are keys.

One More Thing…

Today I found myself explaining my reasons for doing this challenge and being a first reader even though I will get no money for it. (You are buying two online workshops with the fee. I toss in my reading for free to help is all.)

My first reason was to help writers get things finished. This is often a major issue for writers.

My second reason is to help writers have fun with some novels or short stories.

Third is to set up some deadlines for writers that are a push, but are attainable and that will help a writer get to the next level.

And fourth I wanted to be a cheerleader to help writers through the tough times on a project.

Plus I get to read and enjoy a bunch of stories and novels if people sign up.

A total win for me and I hope for those who sign up a win as well.

So here is the information one more time… (Yes, lots of spots in both challenges.)

SHORT STORY Challenge:

Write thirty short stories in 60 days. You can take the full time or you can write them in a month. Up to you.

— I will charge $600 to be your first reader. If you finish 30 stories in 60 days, you get two online workshops of your choice, a $600 value. (In essence, I will read for free if you do the challenge.)

— If you feel the challenge is not working for you, I will offer you an off-ramp at various points and you can take it and get the two online workshops. So you can try this risk free.

NOVEL Challenge:

Write three novels between October 1st and January 15th. You can take the full time or you can write them quicker. Up to you.

— I will charge $600 to be your first reader. If you finish the three novels in the time, you get two online workshops of your choice, a $600 value. (In essence, I will read for free if you do the challenge.)

— Novels can be any length over 30,000 words and at least half of the first one must be written during the time of the challenge.

— If you feel the challenge is not working for you, I will offer you an off-ramp and you can take it and get the two online workshops. I also will give you two online workshops if a life event comes up and you can’t finish.

My duties as first reader will be this:

I will read your story or novel as a reader, comment as a reader and as an editor some. I will tell you what I liked, what didn’t work for me, and general stuff like that. I WILL NOT COPYEDIT or REWRITE your story or help you plot your story. However, I will tell you if it would work as a novel. (grin)

— Cost is $600. No restrictions. First five signed up for each challenge are in.

So in summary, pay $600 to get me as a first reader for thirty stories or three novels. Start on October 1st.  Short story challenge goes until the end of November, the novel challenge until January 15th. If you get them done, you get two $300 online workshops and my reading for free.

Any questions, feel free to write me or ask in the comments section.