Thoughts on the End of the Writing Challenge

End of the day in my favourite place
End of the day in my favourite place

Today marks the last day of my early morning writing challenge. And now I face the ‘what next?’ question.

Did writing every morning make a difference in the rest of my writing for the day? Yes, it did.  I really believe that, later in the day when I got down to doing my other writing work, having written in the morning did make it easier to focus and find the words I needed. I was encouraged by what my other group-mates were doing, too. Some were adding daily to their WIP. That was a big incentive for me, who was doing very little on that front. The early morning writing helped me sort out why. It gave me a place to think about the project as a whole and to find some positive self-talk about what I was doing, had done and would do. It gave me a place to make plans and think ahead. For that alone, the daily writing was worth it.

I often get caught up in a short-term to-do list because there just isn’t time to think out a little further into the future. The gift of that early morning writing time has helped me look ahead at what I want to do with my most recently published book and given me the patience to get more of my ducks in a row before I start marketing in earnest. The book is a fantasy for grades 5/6 and I want to finish a teacher’s guide and get my website organized before I try to interest people in the project. A lot of home-schoolers visit my book website. I want to have everything they need to teach my book ready for them. I’m thinking of branching out into Pinterest, too, because that’s where they share the free stuff that’s on my book site. (If you have any advice about using Pinterest, I’d love to hear it.)

So what next? What next means continuing to do my daily morning writing. It’s been too valuable to put aside now. I’m hoping that one or two others in my group feel the same, because checking in with other writers really helps keep me going.

So thanks Kristi Holl for launching this month of writing accountability. I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did! (Check out Kristi’s books, too. Writer’s First Aid and More Writer’s First Aid at

May’s writing prompts will be posted tomorrow!

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.

Writing Prompts

It felt really good to finally finish the draft of my story, in spite of all the delaying tactics. It’s been set aside for a week or so and now I’m in editing mode. Yay! And not a moment too soon since it’s due on January 15th.

I decided to give myself a treat for the new year to keep me inspired for 2012–a copy of Writer’s First Aid by Kristi Holl. I enjoyed Kristi’s second instalment, More Writer’s First Aid so much, that I thought I would get the first one, too. The book is still en route, but I’ll post a review as soon as I’ve read it.

I’ve been creating writing prompts for The Writer subscriber’s website since July and have enjoyed reading the various responses to them. They’re such fun to write, that I thought I’d create some just for this post. Hope they give you a creative boost into the new year. For more prompts, check out

1. Use one, a few, or all of the following words in a story or poem: tree, calendar, photograph, link, ribbon

2. Brainstorm around the word ice-cream. Write a poem or an opening paragraph with the images you see.

3. Think of all the meanings, expressions and words that use the word “run.” Here are some examples: silent running, run (in pantihose), the run around, running in circles, run for your life, end run, in the long run, runny nose, rum runner … Play with these and any others you can think of until one of them leads you to a story or poem.

4. Use one, a few, or all of these words in a story or poem: window, sheet, key, mark, drop

5. Think of the longest trip you have ever taken. What are your best memories of that trip? Write them down and share them with the people you travelled with, or illustrate your memories with photos from the trip and save them in  a special travel diary on your computer or in a binder just for you.

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