March Madness: Taking a deep breath…

There is a moment, a thin slice of time just before something momentous is about to happen, when everything becomes still. It’s as though the world has taken a collective breath… waiting. I’m sure it happened as the hatch opened on the Apollo 11 to let Neil Armstrong out onto the surface of the moon, but I’m equally sure less history-making events have caused a similar response, though on a smaller scale.

  • Teetering at the outermost edge of the high diving board.
  • Listening for a baby’s first breath in the delivery room.
  • Watching the morning sun as it begins to break over the horizon.
  • Waiting for the hanging drip to drop from a melting blob of ice.

Icy Branches

I get a similar feeling every time I prepare to hit the ‘send’ key to whisk a query or submission into cyberspace. It happens the night before I begin NaNoWriMo every November, too. It’s easy to say, “Sure, count me in” when the event is weeks away. Faced with that last no-turning-back moment, however, I always have to take a deep breath to steady myself before I’m able to make the leap.

Today it’s all about jumping into March Madness. If you haven’t heard about it, or would like to join us, check out the details on Denise Jaden‘s post. (She’s our co-ordinator and Boss Lady.) This is my fifth year participating, and I know it’s all good.

My goal is attainable, but even if it isn’t, any progress I make will be useful. There’s no reason to feel hesitant. I have a fresh notebook on my desk; a new file has been titled and saved on the computer; the few notes (very few) I made about this new novel have been read and re-read. A fresh stock of Diet Coke fills half a shelf in the refrigerator. I’m ready… and yet I’m not. I never feel quite ready at this final moment. A whole litany of excuses rise up to taunt me. Fortunately I know there’s also a whole #wipmadness community that’s been holding its own collective breath, and is waiting to jump into this month of writing (or reading or illustrating… whatever you’ve committed to) with me.

Do you have trouble making a start on big projects, or are you one who starts with enthusiasm but perhaps has trouble staying the course? Together we CAN do this and accomplish our goals. March Madness here we come!

Let us know how you feel about leaping into the madness today, and then tomorrow be sure to head over to Angelina Hansen’s blog,, for Sunday’s check-in, and let us know how your first day went.

So here we are. We’ve arrived at the brink. Let’s link arms and race in together. ONE, TWO, THREE… GO!!!


Image courtesy of khunaspix /


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Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

37 thoughts on “March Madness: Taking a deep breath…

  1. I feel as nervous as I do for Nanowrimo—and I’ve only participated in Nano 2012/2013. This is my first foray for March Madness, and I’m wondering if I have enough wine and chocolate for emergencies!
    I’ve done my first hundred words for the morning and I’m heading off to work now. When I return, my goal is 1900 more words for the day.
    Have a great day everyone!


    1. Welcome aboard, Writingkat! Wine and chocolate are good fuel, but it’s the self-discipline that will get the job done. You’ve made a good start this morning. We’ll be looking tomorrow to see if you accomplished the remaining 1900 words. 🙂

  2. I am nervous…balancing two things all month, blogging and writing. Wondering if I took on too much, or maybe it more I really, really want to do both justice and worry about going back and forth between the two.

    Might I add…you write such great posts, Carol! Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Deb, but flattery won’t get me to look the other way if you slack off this month. (HeeHee!!) But I’ll bet your desire to succeed will keep you on track. You can do it!

    1. Yes, Sandra, unlike NaNoWriMo, we set our own goals for the month. And it can involve any bookish-related activity — reading, writing, blogging, illustrating, etc. We dedicate March to pushing ahead with a project instead of procrastinating… stretching ourselves a little beyond the comfort zone to get things done.

  3. I took this first day of March off to enjoy the rain from inside the house and to get caught up and organized after a whirlwind trip to NY last week. I have many writerly things to do (including tomorrow’s blogpost), but the treat will be opening a WIP I haven’t touched in over a year. One of my favorites. That’s my March Madness excitement. Enjoy the day, Mad Wipsters!

    1. Hi, Angelina. NY??? Lucky you! There will probably be a few Wipsters wishing they could be in your shoes about now. 😉 Enjoy your day off as well as getting into that favourite WIP and we’ll look forward seeing what you’ve accomplished tomorrow.

  4. Good morning – I’m working on blogposts this month. I have piles of paper and binders and my plan is to go through these old notes and get things written/organized. My goal this month is to write anything for 3 hours on weekdays and not on weekends unless I need to catch up. I have a blog at which contains mostly family-early Prairie type stories and one at which are posts from a ghost town in northern Manitoba. Some of the material is editing and some is new writing. I’ll later compile the writing into an ebook. Hopefully I can develop the habit of writing every morning and clean out some of my messes.

    1. Sounds like you have lots to keep you busy, Linda. I try to get ahead with my blog posts, but it doesn’t often happen. (I’ve had Monday’s scheduled for a few days — part of Denise Jaden’s blog tour for her new book — but that’s unusual for me.) Finding a time that you can dedicate to writing and establishing a daily habit is a huge step toward reaching your goals. Good luck!

  5. Well, today I feel mostly frazzled, since we’re driving three hours to a Mardi Gras party and staying overnight, and I still have cooking to do, BUT…

    In general, I’m excited! I have a four-day at-home solo writing retreat planned for this Monday through Thursday so I can take some time to set some long-term goals. I’ve felt pretty adrift the last two months after meeting my last deadline. It’s time to find some direction! I’ve cleared my desk of all immediate business tasks so I can really focus.

    I’m also doing March Madness because I have a new book releasing a month from today, and if I don’t set writing goals now and hold myself accountable, I’ll get too caught up in all the new-release excitement and won’t get anything done.

    Thanks for hosting the check in!

    1. Taking in a Mardi Gras party is a unique way to celebrate the kickoff of March Madness! LOL! But I love that you’re planning a solo writing retreat to get focused. Go, go, go!!!

  6. I’m super excited! Mostly because I had a phone call with my agent yesterday and we discussed the revision she wants before we go out on submission! My first time! The revision she wants is pretty straightforward – it shouldn’t take me more than a week. But it will take some extra oomph from me b/c husband’s work schedule will leave me with less kid-free time than usual next week + my freelance work is heavy right now. But today, husband has taken the children out and I am diving in!

    1. That is indeed exciting, Joy! There’s lots of motivation to get that revision done. And what a good husband you have! Getting our families on board to help free up writing time is such a great bonus. Happy diving! 🙂

  7. Applause for all of you. I’m an abysmal failure at NaNoWriMo and anything to do with consistency and follow through. I’ll be cheering you all on, even as I simply try to get my office moved and reorganized. Were this April Foolishness rather than March Madness, I’d be tempted to try it. Brava to you all.

    1. Judith, you shouldn’t let yourself be defeated without even trying, but I can’t knock your commitment to getting your office moved. That can be a big accomplishment all by itself!

  8. I think I’ve prepared myself enough by writing out the plot lines and getting myself psyched up that I’m ready to go. Last year I did March Madness with my sister, we didn’t know about the whole community thing, and I did great. This year, I’m hoping it will be the same and yet knowing it probably won’t. My baby is growing out of her naps so I won’t have that set time anymore where I did last year. But I’m hopeful and excited nonetheless.
    Oh, and I have a shirt I wear when I write. It’s like not washing your socks before a baseball game, (except I wash my shirt), For some reason, when I wear it, the scenes come as fast as I can write them.
    I’m excited to have found this community to be apart of!

    1. Welcome to the madness, Stacy. Having a little one under foot makes dedicated writing time more of a challenge, but if you’re determined I’m sure you’ll find ways to compensate. I love your idea of a writing shirt. I have a talisman on hand — a little carved bear figure given to me by a friend when I first started writing. He’s meant to catch my attention when I’m slacking off, and says, “… and you’re not writing because…?”

  9. Since I’ve taken a break from writing since Nano (just creatively drained, I think!) I’m reviewing my WIP before plunging back into it. Halfway through the reading and can already feel some things percolating!

    1. A break is often a good thing, especially if it gives you time to recoup some enthusiasm for a project. Glad to hear there’s something other than coffee percolating in your house. 😉

  10. I love jumping into new writing challenges! They keep me honest, on track, and accountable. My goals for this month center around revising my NaNo project from 2012, a NA Romantic Mystery. Today, I’m working on title ideas since the ms only has a study name. Looking forward to the month and getting some serious work done.

    Onward, Wipsters. 😉

  11. Hi, Candilynn. My new WIP still only has a working title. I had a file called ‘Madness MS’. Before long I had written the murder scene and I changed the title to ‘Murder_Madness MS’. Now I seem to be referring to it as my ‘M&M’! Ha! At some point a proper title will emerge, but I won’t really care until it’s finished. Happy writing!

  12. When starting on a big project, I’m excited, but I admit my excitement is often tempered with trepidation. That trepidation (self-doubt? WIP-doubt?) makes it hard to start new projects, but once I’m well into something, I’ve got great perseverance! (Being stubborn has served me well when it comes to finishing projects, lol.) So, assuming I can get over the just-start-it hurdle today, I’m excited about reaching my March Madness goal!

    1. That self-doubt ogre must be related to the other writer’s enemy, the inner critic! Hope you’ve scrambled over the hurdle and will soon be on a smooth course toward that goal. 🙂

  13. Hello, Lovely People.

    I wouldn’t say I’m jumping into the Madness. I think I’ve been wading in it for some time now. The #wipmadness family ensures I’m always doing something creative with my time.

    This month is no different. And for added flair–because the list of goals I’ve declared isn’t masochistic enough–I’m in the process of moving. The next few weeks are going to be challenging in all aspects of my life.

    I think the biggest leap for me this month will be the new place and a new sanctuary for me to unleash my creativity.

    Here’s to a wonderful March Madness!



    1. I can’t imagine trying to get packed and moved while keeping up with my writing but you always seem to have unlimited energy for your pursuits. You’re an example to any of us who are finding it hard to face everyday obstacles. Best of luck with the moving AND your writing goals, Tonette.

  14. I’m both overwhelmed and excited. I’m doing revisions instead of drafting, but this is when the real work starts for me. Here goes nothing. 🙂

    1. I like revisions. That’s when you get to bring out the best from a rough draft and see what it can become. But yes, it’s a lot of work. Looking forward to sharing the journey with you! Good luck!

  15. Thanks so much for hosting our first check-in, Carol! I love all the inspirational words. I was on the road yesterday, signing books, giving workshops, driving through snow. I had high hopes of trying to work on a chapter, but alas, it didn’t happen. But today I am home and plan to open my WIP right after this!

    1. Hi, Denise. Thank YOU for coordinating us again! It sounds like you had a very full weekend. No wonder you didn’t have time to get any work done on your WIP. I’m sure you’ll manage to make up for lost time as the week gets underway, although you’ll also be dealing with the blog tour for your newest release. Best of luck!

  16. Hi…well my blog had a disappearing act (replaced by AOL News???) and I haven’t a clue :/ But I finally got back into WordPress for a rewrite…and now, apparently, I’m using Wp to comment here…H E L P! Got some “freewriting” done yesterday too and will probably do more tonight, then read another Chap of PEN ON FIRE. A wonderful book by the way. (Oh…no snow today 🙂

    1. Oh, my! What a frustrating start for you! At least you got some freewriting and reading done, and I see you did eventually get a post up — the day wasn’t a complete loss. Hopefully things will go smoother from now on.

  17. Apologies for the very late check-in, Carol. I got off to a late start because of commitments and other such things. But I’m raring to go now! 🙂

    1. I can’t resist the cliche, “Better late than never!” (Can it really be a cliche when it’s true?) Weekends are often a difficult time to start a project like this, but I’m sure you’ll get caught up now that you’re ready to start.

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