Friday, June 18, 2010

Real Writers Write

Okay, so I went to a keynote address by Mary E. Pearson yesterday afternoon. I heard some great things that really reverberated with me, but the best one was "Real writers write."

Well, crap. I haven't been doing a lot of that recently. But it's okay. I can get back into it. In fact, some dear friends of mine (Suzette Saxton and Nichole Giles) practically held me down and made me pinky swear to write for a certain amount of time. They were like, throwing out "one hour" or "thirty minutes" and I'm all thinking, Can I start with say, one minute? Cuz that's about all I get before I retreat to twitter like we're long-lost friends.

And some of you know my hatred of twitter. So you know I'm really desperate.

In the end, I said fifteen minutes, because that sounded do-able. Until I opened the document. And proceeded to stare.

So whatever. I wrote this blog post instead. Ha!

But here's the pinky challenge for you: how long will you write this weekend? I'm aiming for 15 minutes/day. That sounds like a pathetic amount, but when you've been at zero for days, freak, months, it's pretty high.


So pinky-swear with me. How long will you write each day this weekend? Maybe I'll find motivation in your numbers. I certainly won't want to let any of you down!

Oh! And if you're here for the clue to The League's super-amazing ultra-awesome, super-fabu scavenger hunt, here it is. It's actually TWO clues in one, because the MC's name is mentioned...

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
~Luke 8:17

Oh, oh! Winners of the amazing books for WriteOnCon will be announced on Monday. Have no idea what I'm talking about? Go here. Watch. Conquer. WriteOn!

93 comments:

Julia Karr said...

I'm in, Elana! I'll go you 1 hour a day (and I have a super full weekend planned - but MUST get book 2 done!)

Tabitha Bird said...

!5mins sounds very very doable. I may join you...

salarsenッ said...

Saturday: goal set--2 hours. Sunday may be tougher with Father's Day and all.

Enjoy your weekend.

Kris said...

I've been having the same issue, Elana. I've been compulsively refreshing my browser to see if anyone responds to my querying. Gots to start something new. 15 minutes sounds doable. Good luck!

lynnrush said...

Great post.
Sunday is my writing day for the most part. So, I hope to get a few hours in :-)

Thanks for sharing this post
Happy Friday!!!

Scott said...

I've never been an every day writer. I write when I write, and I don't when I don't. I've learned to accept the ups and downs of my writing. I go through periods of writing every day for months on end, and then there are slow periods where I don't write for days, sometimes weeks at a time. In the end, at least for me, I think it all balances out.

But . . . since I've been in writing mode for the last week or so. I'll see your 15 minutes, and raise you an additional 30 minutes, for 45 minutes each day this weekend!

Jonathon Arntson said...

I use The Practice Room and write for an hour, but most of the time I slack, work on homework, or only write two hundred words. So, this weekend I will spend an hour each day and I will get something down. Fo sho.

Matthew Rush said...

I'm not the type of writer who writes everyday - unless you count blogging, which I don't. Maybe if I was that type of writer I'd be more successful?

Today's guest blogger is Faith Hough.

magolla said...

Don't beat yourself up, Elana. Not every writer writes everyday. You might be a feast or famine type of author, writing nothing for months on end, but then writing 3000-5000 words a day for a month to finish a book. It took me awhile to realize I'm this sort of writer.
I wrote a 55,000 word MG in 19 days during May using only my title and a logline to keep me focused--I didn't have a plot, an outline, or synopsis. It can be done.
Good luck!

Christi Goddard said...

Well, I'm HOPING to get my last chapter written this weekend. We'll see how that works out.

Suzie F. said...

So cool that you got to listen to Mary Pearson. I recently read "The Adoration of Jenna Fox" and loved it.

I've been trying to devote 15 min. a day this past week after 6 weeks of writing nothing. For me it's a psychological thing. If I say 15 minutes, I'll often write longer and feel great. If I say an hour and "only" write for a 1/2 hour I'll feel lousy.

Jess of All Trades said...

Good luck! I can't imagine trying to reboot your brain into writing mode what with blogging, editing, and HURRAH selling your book!

But I know you can do it. Once you step back into your world...I just know it'll feel like home again.

Have fun.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

My goal is to sequester one hour each day. Lofty goal, but I'm stickin' to it.
~ Wendy

Mary Brebner said...

That's so funny--I just posted about not writing, too. But I'm determined to get back into it consistently so, I'm aiming for 30 min a day this weekend and 1 hr next week.

Good luck to everyone here!

Palindrome said...

I am exhausted by my day job during the week so I don't even try to write anymore then. Saturday is my day. I usually spend from 1 to 6 hours writing. I think that makes up for the week.

I would try to do 15 minutes a day but who am I kidding? Daily? Bah! It sounds like a good and easy goal but no.

You should check out my Tuesday Turn-On when you're looking for something to write on or about. And yes, I'm pimping. $$

Candyland said...

I will do 15 minutes too. Pinky swearzzz.
(Does blog writing count,lol?)

Mary said...

I am so IN!


Maribeth
Giggles and Guns

Linda Kage said...

I'm shooting for five minutes. That way, if, UH I mean WHEN, I go over that time limit, I'll feel all important and stuff.

VR Barkowski said...

Okay, fifteen minutes. I'm in. I assume this doesn't include Twitter, blogging or the church newsletter??? Okay I don't write for the church newsletter, but if I did?

Rachele Alpine said...

I consider blogging writing...or at least an excuse when I don't write some days ("but I blogged...that counts, right?"). In my head, it works! I am working on my second novel and didn't have a lot of time to type during the crazy school year, so I wrote in notebooks whenever I had time. Now that it's summer, I have three notebooks to transcribe. It's a bigger task than I thought it would be!

Rachele Alpine said...

I consider blogging writing...or at least an excuse when I don't write some days ("but I blogged...that counts, right?"). In my head, it works! I am working on my second novel and didn't have a lot of time to type during the crazy school year, so I wrote in notebooks whenever I had time. Now that it's summer, I have three notebooks to transcribe. It's a bigger task than I thought it would be!

Jaydee Morgan said...

It's rare to find a complete hour for uninterrupted writing time..though that's what I like to put in during a day. However, it's more like six ten-minute intervals.

Melody Authoress said...

Wow, how did I not hear about that contest! But I'm entered now... :)

I wish I could tell you a time limit, but time limits are counter-productive for me because I would just sit. And stare. For an hour.

So I have a word limit every day. 2000 words. It's hard. But I basically strap myself to the desk chair and don't get up until 2000 words is complete. (That's when the majority of my tweets go out; because I'm sitting. And stuck.)

I'm not sure how many words are equivalent to 15 minutes. It depends on how much writer's block you're enduring. But yes, GO WRITE! :) You'll be very glad you did!

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

I will try for an hour tomorrow. Does commenting on blogs count? Heck yea, lol!

Christine Fonseca said...

YES!@ Real writers WRITE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Well, I can't motivate you there. I actually promised myself to take a BREAK from writing (just to come back to it fresh) that's the stage I am in at the moment before more revisions.

Anywho...it was nice to finally meet you yesterday at the conference! Can't wait for today. Mary Kole speaking, etc!

Sara B. Larson said...

Well, 15 minutes I could definitely do! Maybe I'll even up it to 30. ;)

Carol Kilgore said...

Fifteen is doable. Make yourself write for five minimum and do three sessions if you must.

I heard somewhere that it takes a minimum of 20 minutes to get into the "zone." So if you can build up to 20, maybe that's the magic number for you.

Kay said...

I've set a goal for the summer for two hours a day--but I've taken weekends off. Somedays it's closer to one hour than two, but knowing I have committed to write every day helps. I also found a group at The Practice Room that helps. I can't log in for chat and support unless I've done some writing. I guess I could, but I'd feel guilty--and they give me lots of praise and support for meeting my goals. Good luck!
I definitely can relate to the procrastinating. I'm finding such good resources on the web, and I want to write more onmy blogs, but that doesn't make progress on my first novel.

Liza said...

I will write for as long as it takes to get from 49,874 words, to 50,000. Anything beyond that is, as they say, gravy.

Taffy said...

How about one page a day? I pinky swear to write/edit one page a day.

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, I am so with you! Finished my last picture book over a month ago, and haven't been able to get a good idea for a new one!!! I have brainstormed for hours, but done NO writing.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I intend to pour about six hours into writing and research this weekend.
And I sent an email to WriteOnCon offering assistance wherever!

stickynotestories said...

I pinky swear that I will write at least one page a day this weekend (including Friday) - however long that takes (and it's been taking so long recently). A page in my writing folder shouldn't be that hard, I keep telling myself, but a sticky note is so much easier to fill...

JEM said...

Oh Elana, you know my sloth too well. Okay, I'm in for one hour each day. Gah, it's like you want me to take this SERIOUSLY or something.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I plan to devote several hours to writing. Really!

Anna said...

Ugh, I'm with you. Writing has seemed impossible recently. Okay, I'm in for at least a half hour. We can do it!

Paul Greci said...

I read an S.E. Hinton interview a few years ago. For one of her books, don't remember which one, she wrote two pages a day.

Shari Green said...

An hour a day for me. :)

We can do it, Elana!

Janna Qualman said...

I want to be a real writer!

One to two hours, each day this weekend. *offers pinky*

Go!

Jo Schaffer said...

I can match your 15. Geez. I need to get the magic back. Querying kills it a bit. (=

Krispy said...

I'm with you! 15 min/day sounds do-able and probably is all I can manage with this weekend being so packed!

Peggy said...

Hehehe. I totally relate.

15 minutes a day isn't so doable for me--- it takes me that long to get in my character's head and figure out what to write! I'm going to say two hours in one single day, at least once a week. Hopefully more, but I'm shooting for at least that much.

Erinn said...

I have a novel I need to finish by next week... so I will be spending ANY free time I have writing. Probably at least four hours and 8 hours on Monday, 8 hours on Tuesday and until I'm done on Wednesday.

Tere Kirkland said...

I'm trying to polish my manuscript before I resub it to an agent, so I won't be doing any real writing until that is out of my hair for a few weeks.

I've never held with the belief that one MUST write every day to be considered a WRITER. Some days I need a break from staring at a computer screen since that's what I do all day at work. And just because I'm not writing, doesn't mean I'm not thinking about what's going on with my story in my head and plotting away like a madman.

I know if I force myself to sit down and write, the resulting prose is not always pretty.

Do what feels right for you.

Have a great weekend!

Horserider said...

I go for word count more than I do time. Because if I try to set myself down to write for a certain amount of time, I find myself glancing at the clock every few seconds wondering how time could possibly be going any slower than normal.

My goal is to write at least 1k both days, but I'm not sure if it'll happen. I'm jumping back and forth between revising a novel I recently pulled out of the trunk and writing on a new one.

Theresa Milstein said...

Tomorrow's really packed. Can I get back to you?

What counts? Does editing count or does it have to be brand new and rough as gravel?

Good for you for getting back to writing.

School ends on Wednesday. I plan to make everyday of summer vacation count.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Pinky swear, I will write at least four hours each day (although some of that may be revising). If nothing distracts me I'm going for eight each day! I am determined to finish this manuscript soon. And that's that.

And, hey, several people now have written novels on twitter (like the amazing Kathleen Duey!) or cell phones. You could write a sentence a day and be right on track. Although, this WriteOnCon biz is gonna take just a bit of your time. I posted about it--you guys are too awesome.

Maria Zannini said...

Now I feel guilty. LOL!

Okay, twist my arm. You, you, arm-twister you.

I have some edits to do, but I will definitely spend one hour a day on new words for a different book.

And to prove it, I'm emailing you a picture of my computer monitor.

Sorry I don't know how to add the image in comments. :(

Lisa_Gibson said...

I solemnly pinky swear to write for an hour each day this weekend. THEN, (here's the biggie, ready...) I have six days off next week, so I solemnly swear to write for one hour each of those days as well! Wow! I should be getting close to done then. Woo hoo!

Tess said...

I'm in round 2 of edits now and have a deadline, so for me I'm trying to write (er, re write) 2 hours/day. It's been way tough cuz the hubby keeps going off to scout camps (two in a row now) and the kids are hanging all over me.

So, it has mostly taken place from 11pm-1am. I'm a tired girl over here.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'll commit to 15 minutes a day. I'd love to write more but just got a call that a friend will be in town. Tell me when the lazy days of summer are coming. I so need it.

Jill Kemerer said...

What is it about starting that's so hard?? You can do 15 minutes. I know you will.

Listen, I recently bought Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit. I'd borrowed it from the library, and I fell in love with it. She offers useful advice on creating an environment conducive to pursuing our art on a daily basis. Check it out!

Valerie Ipson said...

When I saw the title of your blog I thought it was written just for me. I'm trying to finish my novel and am already planning to write in every spare moment I have this weekend. So, no problem, *pinky swear*

Claire Dawn said...

I'll churn out 15 minutes of something. It's been weeks for me. WAY too long.

Lydia Kang said...

Four hours this weekend. I hope!

Melissa said...

Okay, I pinky swear to at least an hour each day. Once the kids are in bed;)

catwoods said...

I pinky swear 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday of original writing on my current wip. That way I can't' totally cheet and blog my way to success.

Did I jsut say that? What's the penalty for failure?

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I'm in. I want to get a few writing hours in tomorrow. :)

Shigune Matsui said...

Ah! A challenge you say? I'll perhaps take you in on that. Perhaps say, erm... using the program Write or Die?

It REALLY helps you along with your wriing... WITH FORCE, OF COURSE!!! I'll perhaps do Normal Mode this time.

Emily Casey said...

I needed a good, swift kick in the pants, so thanks for this. I'm with you on the fifteen minutes. It's enough that I'll feel like I accomplished something when I acheive it, and it's not so much that I'll never get around to it.

Kristi Faith said...

Okay, I'll take your fifteen minutes and up it to 20 for me. I have nothing going on this weekend. :-)

Pinky promised.

Jamie D. said...

So, if I see you on twitter, should I call you out? ;-)

I normally write 1-1/2 hrs per day (except Mondays), but I've got a chapter due "to the public" for a serial novel on Sunday, so tomorrow it will be however long it takes to get that chapter done. Probably several hours. I'll be happy to have your company for 15 min. of that, and cheer you on. :-)

Southpaw said...

I'll pinky swear to one hour each day.

Jessica said...

I was thinking of writing for about 20 minutes, unless I really get going and continue to write a lot longer.

Karen Lange said...

I'm aiming for at least 15 minutes, and unless something comes up, it should be doable. Hoping for more time...always...
Happy weekend,
Karen

Robin McCormack said...

Pinky swear will write one hour Saturday and Sunday. I haven't been writing much lately and really have to get back to it. Hopefully this will get my butt back in gear. Thanks.

Jemi Fraser said...

Okay - 30 minutes one day, 20 minutes the other. Pinky swear!

And now I know I guessed correctly the other day - yay!!!

Melissa said...

I can`t afford to write this weekend - finals and final projects for my classes. BUT! After Wednesday...I`m going crazy! A week and a half with nothing but writing. I`m disconnecting myself from all technology so I can`t get distracted.

Good luck!

Daisy Whitney said...

one to two hours a day for me

Little Ms J said...

I really want to pinky swear. Really. I had promised myself 500 words a day, but that was like... well, two weeks ago.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Well, thanks to a certain (recent) QT blog contest, I'm going to be spending my weekend working on my 3-5 page synopsis. I need to write it before I send in my requested partial. :D

Usually I write several hours on the weekends. I get up at 5 am everyday. But on the weekends, I'm not blogging at that time.

Have a great writing(?) weekend!

Angie said...

Write, Elana! Write, write, write. You can do it! I can only pinky swear that I will finish typing my manuscript this weekend. Hope to get to writing new stuff next week.

Terresa said...

I hope to write for 2 hours Saturday and 2 hours Sunday. Possibly more.

ali said...

You can do your pinky-swear thing if you really want to. But personally, I was thinking I was pretty dang hot for my whole "embrace the nothing" and I think I'm gonna go THAT route for the weekend. I so need to decompress. Plus. Tomorrow . . . CAKE at Library Square! Squee!!

So you do your little pinky-challenge, and on Monday I'll meet your 15 minutes and raise you 45 minutes.

That's right. I said ONE HOUR. On Monday. So there. ♥

Heather said...

Sometimes its just hard to get back in the saddle again. We writers distract easily because we're creative (hey that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). Okay, so down to the challenge. I'm going to up the ante and pinky swear to write at least an hour everyday!

Peggy Shumway said...

My dad just suffered a stroke, and my writing will have to wait for a few weeks. I'm moving him home with me.

I know you probably have a billion, but I've left you an award on my blog.

Nichole Giles said...

Yeah, well, if Suzette hadn't made me pinky swear, I wouldn't have written at all this week. So. Freaking. Busy.

But she did, and I did write, and so yes, I hereby pinky swear *holds out pinky* to write for at least half an hour each day--but aiming for an hour--this weekend. This is in addition to working on a wedding cake.

I will not sleep, but I will write. Or at least stare at the screen indefinitely. Whatever.

It was fun to hang out with you on Thursday!

Amy Tate said...

Elana, I write in my personal journal every day for at least fifteen minutes. Does that count?

WritingNut said...

So I made an oath to write ALL weekend... but I am currently blog hopping... *shifty eyes*.....

I'm going back to it momentarily... pinky swear!

Jan Markley said...

I'm trying for three hours each day of the weekend - total sasquatch weekend. But it is kinda sunny outside ...

Lisa K. said...

My bare minimum for this weekend is 30 minutes a day but I really would like to put in a much larger chunk of time tomorrow if I can since I'm supposed to be participating in a novel-in-a-month challenge this month and I'm falling behind on account of having to push forward with the contest I'm in. But that's a good reason to have less time writing, so I can't complain. :-)

Good luck with your own writing!

Donna Hole said...

I'm sorry. I have a blog fest to attend to - does that count if I have to spend several minutes tidying it up to fit the criteria?

And then I have a couple projects I promised to read and critique for other writers. That's writing, yes? Critiques takes loads of time and energy. And blog fests, don't forget. Comments are required, and comments are writing, Right? Constructive, well thought out comments?

And, I have the critiques to do for my writers group, due by Friday next, and a re-write an ezine requested on a short story.

Writing? Real writing? Not revising, editing, critiquing? Yeah, thats gonna happen.

Uh, am I complaining? Sheesh no. I'm in seventh heaven. I just need to juggle some time to do it all. And write for 15 minutes a day. But once I start writing on my novels, I just don't want to do anything else.

I've been looking over my completed WIP lately, and wondering if I'm really a writer, so the loss of the 15 minutes isn't so bad.

You, Elena, need to get right back in there and produce another best seller. We're all counting on you!

.........dhole

Alison Stevens said...

Hmm. Considering that my weekend is nearly over, I'll pinky swear to write at least 30 minutes a day over the coming week.

Need something to get you started? Try the creativity challenge.

Katie said...

I so needed to read this! thanks E!!! 15 minutes sounds like a good place to start for me too :)

Lisa and Laura said...

We are on hiatus this weekend! After a grueling few months we've finally finished the first draft of LIAR SOCIETY 2. Now we await line edits on the first book and we're taking a little breather until they arrive. Hopefully next week!

Happy writing, E!

Jennie Englund said...

I hear you, sista!

Until recently, I didn't love revising. But then I told myself, "Hey, wait. You're not coming up with something from nothing? You're tweaking something that's already there!"

Now, creating something from nothing, THAT's tricky!

Good luck.! Any second, an amazing story will pop into your heart.

cleemckenzie said...

Okay, I'm in. I wrote twenty minutes last week. (Pathetic!) Next week I'm gluing this butt to that chair and going for 2, no, 3 . . . make that 4 hours. I don't care what else should or has to be done. It ain't getting done next week.

prashant said...

Good luck with your own writing!
Banner Advertising Network India

Lynda Young said...

I never set myself an amount of time to write simply because I'm a master starer. I can stare for 15mins or an hour. I has da skillz.

And so I set myself a writing goal instead. Weekday writing minimum is 1000 words. Weekend writing goal minimum is 500.

Angela said...

Hey, you wrote the blog post. That's writing, it counts!

marypearson said...

We all have our bouts where we can't write, but glad to hear that you are back to it. Every 10 minute snatch of writing time counts! And very glad to hear you got a little push at the conference : )

~Mary

lisanowak said...

Even though I didn't comment before the weekend, I've been thinking about this post and I did some work each day on my writing. I'm in a planning stage at the moment, so it's not like I'm sitting down at the computer a lot, but I'm making progress.

See Elana's recent blog posts

Recent Posts Widget