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The Writerland Challenge: Week One Check-in

Okay, Challengers! It’s time to check in! How did the first week of your Writerland Challenge go? I want to quote the wonderful Martha Borst, from whom I took a seminar a few years ago. Martha is wonderful, and her book, Your Survival Strategies Are Killing You, covers everything in her seminar if you want to pick it up. Martha likes to say, “Look at your results. That’s what you’re committed to.” In other words, if your books are getting written, you’re committed to writing. If your garden looks beautiful, you’re committed to gardening. If you’re kids are happy and healthy, you’re committed to parenting. What are YOU committed to?

Setting a goal that challenges you to push yourself requires sacrifice. You can’t go about your day the way you usually do and still get that book draft or book revision or book proposal done by the end of the month. You have to give some things up. For me, it helps to know that it’s only temporary. I tell myself, “In December you can watch all the TV you want@” TV is always the first thing I give up—my measly two hours a week of Dexter and The Walking Dead. After that comes sleep, time with my kids, and outings with my husband and friends. It’s not easy. But nothing worth doing is easy.

As for my own check-in, I, uh, will be checking in later in comments. I was out sick for two days with the flu and decided my body really needed the rest more than it needed to write. So I kept up with my goal for the first five days, then faltered, and today I plan to get back on track. I think it’s important to keep plowing ahead instead of beating ourselves up about the days we missed. So today I will plow.

How about you? How did your week go? Did you achieve your weekly goal? What did you have to sacrifice to make that happen? What were some of your obstacles?

17 comments to The Writerland Challenge: Week One Check-in

  • I think I did. That is, I kept at rewriting my first chapter, and I edited 8. That was good. I'm pretty easy (hee hee)– I like a challenge and I find I really respond to it in writing.

    This next week the goal changes for me. I want to rewrite (again) my first chapter to better accomplish what it needs accomplishing. AND edit the next 8 chapters.

    • meghancward

      Congrats, Sierra! You did great! And good luck again this week.

      I find that every time I set any kind of tough goal for myself (be it training for a half marathon or writing a book proposal), I get sick. I almost need to factor a couple of sick days into my goals from now on.

      • Funny you mention. I just got sick–right as I changed the goal again (by necessity) to completely rewrite in a new POV. That was coming–I was trying to hide from it, but there was no way in the end. It has to be done, and I'm so much happier for it.

        • meghancward

          Ugh! I hope you feel better soon. I've met a lot of sick parents this week, so it's not just us. I've been taking Nyquil every day to get some sleep, and that's been helping.

  • Kristan

    I think it's totally fair to falter when you're sick. Gotta take care of yourself first!

    Also, thank you for this reminder:

    "Setting a goal that challenges you to push yourself requires sacrifice. You can’t go about your day the way you usually do and still get that book draft or book revision or book proposal done by the end of the month. You have to give some things up."

    I needed that.

    • meghancward

      You're welcome for the reminder, Kristan! I'm still sick, but trying to keep up with my modest 300 wpd writing goal.

  • Just barely met my novel revision goal this week – working on a picture book dummy that had a deadline, also – but did it. THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield helped me along – I was showing it to a colleague, and re-reading only a few pages gave me the push I needed. If you don't know the book, I call it the writer's HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. It's about how a million different reasons for not writing get in the way, and it's all resistance. Great book.

    • meghancward

      Thanks for letting us know about that book, Carol. I will definitely check it out! Resistance seems to be every writer's biggest obstacle.

  • KLM

    I did pretty well this week, with the exception of Election Day, since all my kids were home. But even then I managed to eke out a few words.

    I've pretty much given up everything in my life. I write and take care of kids. That's it. (Occasionally I talk to my husband, of course 😉 It's been that way long enough now that I don't remember my life before, which makes it easier.

    • meghancward

      Oh, you're more disciplined than I am, Kristen! I still try to exercise and clean out the basement and all kinds of other non-writing activities, and there just isn't enough time. And congrats on meeting your goal this week! Well done! See you this Thursday for Week Two Checkin.

  • Melina

    Thanks Meghan! I met my editing goal of inputting all the edits from my writing group. It has meant going to a coffee shop on my lunch break instead of the gym.

    This week will be more difficult because it requires going back to write the scenes – I have a list- that need to be added into the draft of the manuscript. Writing of course takes a whole different mindset than editing so it requires a whole different set of excuses, like I need two uninterrupted hours, perfect coffee, and satin sheets. I can easily become the writing prima dona!

    But I am not going to let that happen, am I?

    • meghancward

      Melina, the book Carol mentioned in her comment above sounds like something you (and I, and every writer I know) could use! The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (great title, too). Congrats on making your goal last week, and good luck this week with writing scenes. You can do it!

  • Maia

    Ugh, I got sick, too. I've been teaching at an elementary school and waiting tables at night so between the two, I am probably exposed to an exorbitant number of cold and flu bugs. I'm writing today from bed with tea and tissues.

    I did get a (very) rough draft of my chapter done, but I haven't sent out three pieces as I'd planned. So this week I will redraft that chapter and send out those three pieces plus two more.

    I struggle with not beating myself up and getting discouraged when I fall short of a goal. I want to be able to recognize the headway I've made and calmly press on without getting stressed and consequently sick. So here's my "plowing ahead" inspirational Chinese proverb: Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.

    Congratulations to everyone on their hard work.

    • meghancward

      Great proverb, Maia! I am bad about not beating myself up, too. I HATED that I missed my goal twice last week when I had the flu. I wanted to make up for it by doing a triple word count the third day but knew that I'd be intimidated and not make my goal at all if I tried that, so I stuck to my 300 wpd goal. Let's give ourselves a break and keep writing! And congrats on getting a rough draft of your chapter done!

  • Hey Meghan et al – I'm halfway to my goal for the week – revised one chapter, but still need to finish revisions to the book proposal. But it's only Friday morning so I still have time. I am frustrated with my seeming inability to desist from Twitter and FB for more than 30 minutes at a time, if I'd exercised more self control I think I could have aced this week's goals. That may in fact be my goal for next week – conquer the yawning need to check in with my social graph so much. If I do the words will probably follow.

    Keep up the good work everyone! Don't DM me!

    • meghancward

      Wait, Nancy, check in is every Thursday, not Saturday night, but congrats on making it at least halfway (maybe all the way?) to your goal. I use Mac Freedom to stay off the Internet when I'm writing. Without it, I'd never get anything done. And if you HAVE to be online for research, there's also Antisocial by the same guy who created MacFreedom. It blocks you from social media sites but not every other site.

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