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, http://yascribe.blogspot.ca, 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!!!

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Image courtesy of khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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March Madness (i.e., #wipmadness) is almost here!

We’ve reached that time again — our semi-annual dip into insanity. In November it was NaNoWriMo. Now March is almost here and we’re ready (sort of) to tackle March Madness. You’re invited to join the challenge. Whatever your bookish endeavour — reading, writing, blogging or illustrating, etc. — you tell us what you want to achieve in March, then you get busy and start achieving. Each day there’s a blog post to offer encouragement and act as a check-in location where you can report your progress and cheer each other on.

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Author Denise Jaden coordinates us, and today is Goal Setting Day on her blog, so click on over there and let her know your March goals.  They don’t have to be mind-boggling ones. Make them reasonable — ones that you know are attainable but that will push you a little beyond your comfort zone. Then let your public declaration boost your willpower.

There will be loads of encouragement and prizes galore to help provide motivation. In fact, Denise is offering the first prize to someone who comments on her post TODAY. 

We’ll tweet regularly under the hashtag #wipmadness, and bloggers will be posting their encouragement every day of the month. There will be lots of great prizes available to those who check in regularly. Here are the daily check-in locations beginning here on Saturday, March 1st:

It all starts here on Saturday, BUT you need to get yourself over to Denise’s blog TODAY and let her know you’re committed to our mad-dash month of writing (or whatever your pursuit) and make yourself eligible for the very first prize giveaway.

Do it! Go on… don’t over-think it. Just click HERE and spill your plans to Denise. Then we’ll see you back here on Saturday for the kick-off. I guarantee it’ll be worth it.

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Oh, Spring… wherefore art thou?

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Sleet pelts the windows, driven sideways by 50 km per hour gusts of wind. The storm was predicted and will be over by morning, although rain showers will continue. I’m not complaining. We had an unusually dry January and we need this moisture. But… well, yes I suppose I am complaining. Just a wee bit.

Snowdrops and Hellebores are blooming, and some years by this point we’ve already had to mow the lawns. Not this year. This year the grass is sodden, and early shoots are struggling up through uncleared winter debris — orangey brown bits of cedar, hemlock needles and mud-spattered moss. I hesitate to mutter too much, given there are places where folks are still under multiple feet of snow, or a deluge of flood waters, but still….

When springtime hovers just out of reach and the weather is miserable day after day, it can be hard to keep depression from settling in.

Tulips

I know of two friends who received red roses for Valentine’s Day. They’re beautiful, of course, but I don’t think anything is as romantic as having someone know me well enough to bring me a bouquet of cheery tulips. I adore tulips, and they were the perfect spirit brighteners for a blustery February 14th. (And yes, he received a kiss for his thoughtfulness!)

During this in-between-the-seasons time, another way to lift spirits is to put some energy into a project. Many years my hubby would choose the early New Year to paint a room or two. (This month he’s bucking up a tree recently felled, slowly building the pile of next winter’s firewood.) I’m more likely to rearrange furniture or start a new writing project.

This month I’ve already moved the furniture. In ten days I’ll begin the writing.

Every March a group of writers and readers band together under the banner of #MarchMadness. We encourage each other to set and fulfill significant goals, and then cheer each other on. We commit to checking in… every. single. day. all. month. long… and reporting our progress. It’s surprising how much we achieve when guilt stares us in the face. Mind you, it helps that there are prizes offered, too.

Author Denise Jaden coordinates us, but we have seven different hosts this year, one for each day of the week. (I’ll be providing Saturday #MarchMadness postings here.) Earlier this month Denise posted a heads up that “there are some great prizes trickling in – like audiobooks, and high-demand books and even at least one agent critique. Start thinking about what writing/reading/blogging goals you will set for this March, and I’ll be back soon with more details.”

Our goals aren’t necessarily lofty ones. They’re meant to be individualized to meet specific needs. Maybe you’d like to join us this time. As Denise said, start thinking about what goals you’d like to set. There will be more information coming, and on March 1st we’ll all leap into action.

Just think… before we’ve completed #MarchMadness SPRING WILL HAVE ARRIVED! Oh, joy!!! I’ll be happy-dancing! 🙂

As a writer, reader or blogger, might you be tempted to join us for #MarchMadness 2014?

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The first of April brings a fresh writing challenge

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Yes, I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but I don’t have any jokes, pranks or hoaxes to offer. My brain has been chugging along at half speed for a whole month. All through March I took part in ‘March Madness’, challenged to set goals for my writing, and work toward achieving them. I plugged away but didn’t succeed, at least not completely.

I set reasonable goals – in fact, they were rather wimpy compared to those of several other participants – but I let myself get sidetracked with a church history project, a recuperating hubby, various family visits, the arrival of Spring, and a week’s focus on Easter. I’m not using them as excuses because I still had hours available for my writing. I’m just sayin’….

Now that April is here I’d like to grab hold of the sense of renewal that has permeated this past week. On the way home from the Easter church service yesterday my hubby stopped the car so I could take photos of the new spring blossoms. They look the same every year, but every year I marvel anew at the emerging beauty. My senses tingle at the annual reappearance of sweet fragrance and delicate colour after months of bland.

Blossoms 1

Blossoms 2

That’s the feeling I want to experience as I pursue my writing activities this month – a swell of optimism that comes with committing to a fresh start. There are no specific goals for this month, no deadlines or must-do’s, but many things I hope to accomplish by diving in with renewed enthusiasm.

What new challenges does this month bring for you? Anything you’d like to commit to here? What’s on your to-do list?

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IT’S MARCH MADNESS TIME!

 

I wonder if there is such a thing as a literary masochist. There is a group of writers who tweet under the hashtag #wipmadness and spend all of March frantically dredging up words with which to reach writing goals during that span of thirty-one days. It’s something like a spring version of NaNoWriMo. Not only have they done it before, they’re about to do it again.  They’re crazy!

This is where I admit I’m one of them.

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Last March I committed myself to participate in Seekerville’s Speedbo as well as March Madness and I did NaNoWriMo in November. I should have been committed myself, period! It was frazzling! I’m not sure I’m up for it again this year, and yet… and yet….

March Madness

Life doesn’t skid to a stop just because I want to focus on writing my way through a month of days. To meet my oh-so-public goals means eeking out writing moments in between all the other ordinary daily demands. When I stop to think about it, I realize that’s a normal occurrence for most published writers. (If you doubt me, check out Jessica Keller’s guest post yesterday on the Seekerville blog.) If I haven’t the discipline to pursue my own proclaimed goals how can I expect to meet editorial commitments and deadlines if and when my publishing dream becomes a reality?

Talked my way right into that trap, didn’t I?

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So yes, today is the first day of thirty-one where I will settle down to work on specific March Madness goals. I’ve evaluated my resources, however, and decided it isn’t realistic to tackle both #wipmadness and Speedbo this year. I’ll sit in the stands, however, and cheer my fellow Seekervillians onward towards their goals, as I busily keep up with my own scribblings. Each Friday I’ll report here on my success (or lack of it – honesty is an important part of accountability).

Check in at Denise Jaden’s blog today if you also have writing goals to reach and would like to join our determined little band, or just leave a comment if you prefer the role of encourager. That’s an important job, too.

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