My April Challenge

DaffodilsI follow Kristi Holl’s blog and own 2 of her books, Writer’s First Aid and More Writer’s First Aid. I find her blog and her books inspiring.

For the month of April, Kristi is running two challenges. One is called Writing on Schedule. Inspired by writer Dorothea Brande, this challenge asks you to commit to writing at one particular time every day. This can be tricky, but Kristi believes that it’s worth the effort to make that deadline stick: ‘Persevere! Ignore all the little voices that tell you it doesn’t really matter when you write, or won’t matter if you skip it just this once. Push on doggedly. If you do this, Brande says the “unconscious will suddenly give in charmingly, and begin to write gracefully and well.” From experience, I have to agree.’

The second challenge is called Harnessing the Unconscious. This challenge, also inspired by Brande, requires writing first thing in the morning before the rest of the day intrudes on your mind. Kristi explains, ‘This exercise helps you “train” your unconscious to flow toward writing (instead of something else). As Brande says, “the first step toward being a writer is to hitch your unconscious mind to your writing arm.” This exercise is to help you make that automatic connection so that later you can do this on demand.’

Well, this is definitely the challenge for me. By the time I get to my writing, I’m so fidgety and my brain is so full of to-do lists and other things that I would rather clean the bathroom than look at a screen or my journal. The words ‘flow’ and ‘writing’ have been strangers for quite a while. I really need to find an ‘automatic connection’ that will help me write ‘on demand’ and if that means waking up fifteen minutes earlier every day, I will do that.

If you need a writing challenge for April, one of these two might just be the answer. I’d love some company next month, so let me know if you’re signing up, and we can encourage each other to make these positive changes to our writing lives. I’ll be posting some new writing prompts for April soon, in case you need some inspiration to get the words on the page.

p.s. I reviewed Kristi’s book here

p.p.s A reminder that my book 201 Writing Prompts is on sale at Smashwords, at 50% off the $2.99 price with this code ZA54M until March 31st.

8 thoughts on “My April Challenge

  1. Hi Heather,
    I found your site through your Ravelry account, as I was just (finally) updating my R account today. I was also interested in purchasing your book, but does it come in hardback? I teach English at Northern Michigan University, and I’m always on the lookout for ideas to help my creative writing students with writer’s block… or stumbling.

    I’ve got three blogs (I’m sort of embarrased to say), my teaching blog (, my knitting blog ( and my writing blog (


      • I’ve been trying to write a poem a day (posted on my site) for the NaPoWriMo… and I haven’t made it every day! Two weeks left in the semester until final exams, and I can hardly stay awake sitting in my office! 🙂 Poetry writing takes me completely to the other side of my brain… and it takes work and time to get ‘there’ and back.

        I so admire you for being able to write fiction. And congratulations on your grant from the Ontario Arts Council. Do you have any fiction pieces published or online?

        Hope you’re having a good day. We just got about 9″ of snow here in the UP, and my daughter at Ohio State just had 82 degree weather two days ago!


        • Wow, a poem a day! That certainly is a challenge. I might manage a haiku a day, but that would be my limit. I’m no poet, though I used to love to teach it. I’ve found that the morning writing has made a real difference in how quickly I get into my ‘writing zone’ later in the day. I didn’t think it would really make a difference, but it has. I’ll be blogging about it in the next day or two. Here’s a link to one of the stories I wrote for Kayak magazine: Links to other things that I write are on my website at The weather here is crazy, too. Major ice storm yesterday with power outages and downed trees in the area. My daffodils are ready to go back and hide in their bulbs. If they bloom afer what they’ve been through in the last couple of weeks, it will be a miracle. Here’s another link that I love about the writing process. It’s worth the 20 minutes to watch. I also get the ‘end of semester slump’. My students do their final oral presentations next week. Yay!

          • I just finished reading “New France, New Home,” and the piece just flew by! I truly, truly love it! I’m very glad you included your URL to I don’t think I saw this page before now… and I’m glad I did. I am wondering what you would charge to inform me, in detail, about ghost writing. One of the classes I teach is the senior capstone, and I always have at least one student interested in this – and I know nothing about it.

            Many of my student choose one of my options of creating a website, so I will fill out the form for “Five Tips for Creating Client-Friendly Webcopy.” You are a wealth of information on various writing subjects. I’m completely practical-oriented for writing, aside from the actual creative writing bit, and so your resources are so wonderful.

            I’ve fallen behind on my poem a day, just because it’s the end of the semester and so freaking busy. All I want to do is go home and knit and drink my Guinness!

            Thank you for sharing. 🙂

          • I haven’t done any ghostwriting, though I think I’d enjoy it. Here’s a link to a blog about it by a member of a national writing organization that I belong to that covers a lot of information. The comments and her replies are good, too. She has a lot of other helpful tips on the blog, though it looks like she’s stopped blogging for several months. Her website is! I really like the design.
            Guiness?!! My favourite.

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