Jen's Blog

#Chiwords Writing Challenge

Friday, July 11, 2014

This summer I will... finish my first draft, rewrite chapter 17, publish a new novella, edit the final draft, and finish my book!!!

Sound familiar?

This is the mantra I say to myself all winter long. I'm a goal setter, but the problem is, I really like to set future goals. When June rolled around I had high hopes for long lazy days of writing, revising, and finishing this novel-in-progress by Labor Day. So what does my summer really look like?

Let's see... I've traveled to four cities in four weeks, finished a freelance job, worked my regular job, shuttled our 3 year old to camps, pools, playdates, beaches, and dental appointments. I forgot my wedding anniversary, performed in Live Lit shows, ignored my laundry, and somehow through all of it I've managed to hammer out a scene or two.

Needless to say, I'm behind on my writing schedule.

I'm sure you have a similar list of writing goals and daily distractions this summer. No matter what the season, real life always gets in the way of the fantasy life we're trying so hard to create on our computers. So, should I just make a batch of margaritas and throw in the towel?

The answer is yes – to the margaritas. Then sit down, take a deep breath (or a big gulp) and go back to your writing basics:

1. Keep your goals realistic. Let's face it: summer is a very busy time. Between all the travel, parties, work, and family commitments many of us find we have less time than ever to write in the summer. But instead of setting your WIP aside, tailor your goals to smaller ones that you can meet. Am I really going to finish my entire novel this summer? No, but I can finish the third draft and that’s a huge step in the right direction.
2. Set strict writing times. "I'm planning to write tonight." vs. "Tonight, I will write 1,000 words between 9 and 10 pm." Which goal do you think will be met? Setting specific times and word goals will help you move further along. Only have thirty minutes a day to write? Make the most of it.
3. Make yourself accountable. Writing can often be a lonely job and having someone there to check in and cheer you on can make a big difference. Find a writing buddy and send each other your weekly or monthly goals. Or better yet, meet up to do your writing together.

Need a cheerleader tonight? Join the Chicago-North RWA and Windy City summer writing challenge! I'm thrilled to be hosting tonight's 1k/1hr challenge from 9-10 pm. How does it work? Here are all the details to get you in the loop:

Every Friday from 9-10 pm, we’ll have a 1k/1hr challenge. Check in any time from 8:45 – 9 pm by tweeting @chicagonorthrwa and using the hashtag #Chiwords. Afterwards, check in from 10 – 10:15pm to report on how you did and cheer on your fellow writers. These Friday events will be sponsored by our authors, so everyone who checks in will be entered to win a prize from that sponsor. Tonight I'll be giving away two copies of my latest e-book A Deal with Lord Devlin.

And don't forget to drop in over the weekend for more prizes! We'll be checking at 9 am Saturday and check out at 9pm Sunday (again, by sending a tweet to @chicagonorthrwa with the hashtag #chiwords) with reports on how many words you wrote, when you got the best work done, and what helped inspire/motivate you that weekend.