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.

mm 2014 wordle

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.

~

wipmadness borders badge

~  ~  ~

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.

.

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?

.

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.

~  ~  ~

Are you focused on the future or fixated on the past?

Storms don’t last forever, and neither do vacations. If you’ve read my earlier posts this week (here and here) you’ll know I’ve been away all week, but today it was time to return home.

As we sailed away from Vancouver Island the sky was reminiscent of the two storms we had experienced. Hurricane-force winds on Monday eventually died down to gale-force ones on Wednesday. In between, there was driving rain, sleet and snow, and even a few tantalizingly brief peeks of blue sky. On the whole, it wasn’t pretty! Thankfully, our daughter‘s home suffered nothing more damaging than fifteen hours without electricity.

Today we happened to choose seats in the ferry’s stern lounge, so had a view of the glowering clouds as we left the Island behind. By the time we reached the mainland the sky was clearing with the promise of a better weekend. Those storms that had so recently consumed our attention became a distant memory.

Now that we’ve reached mid-March and I reflect on my writing progress over the past two weeks, I know how easy it would be to let myself get fixated on what I didn’t get done. While I managed to revise twenty-four chapters, after the first couple days I made absolutely no progress on my current w.i.p. No new words at all in two weeks. None.

Right now is when I need a good lecture! I need to tell myself to walk away from the stern — stop looking back at where I’ve been. Instead, I should get myself up to the bow and focus on my destination.

Today is the mid-point of March. I still have two full weeks in which to create those new words. Are you with me? Let’s get at ’em!

Have the past two weeks been productive ones for you? What’s your goal for the next two? Where do you want to be on March 31st?

~

 
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.”

[Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV]

~  ~  ~

A Monday Admission

“There are times when nothing goes as planned…” Does that sound like an echo? Yes, I started my last post with the same words. Unfortunately this sentence doesn’t end as the previous one did, because I didn’t get my writing done. I had great intentions of visiting friends and family during the days, and catching up on my writing each night, as I’ve often done in the past. But it didn’t happen, although I haven’t exactly been standing around gathering moss. (Sorry… I needed an excuse to share this photo.) 🙂

So my Monday check-in becomes a Monday admission: the grand total of my weekend’s writing was the revision of only a half chapter. I’m hanging my head in shame. I’m contrite, but at least I’m honest. These last few days I’ve travelled, visited, and taken photos of various scenes along the way.

Today’s highlight was beachcombing, and thanks to the sharp eyes of my much-experienced “beach bum” daughter and her son, with help from my husband, there are even treasures to show for it.

So, while I’ll dutifully check in today with my March Madness and Seekerville Speedbo friends, and admit to no writing, I’m not counting this weekend as a total creative loss. Indeed, it’s been a time of re-creation and refreshment and I don’t doubt eventually my writing will benefit.

(That’s my explanation. Don’t you dare ridicule it!)

How about the rest of you? When your writing gets derailed (and I don’t doubt it occasionally does) do you count it as wasted time and get discouraged? What gets you back on track? 

~

Teetering on the Writer’s Brink


(Click photo to enlarge)

Teetering on the brink. It’s a cliché, but apt, because I’m getting ready to fall head first into March. I’m gonna be swamped; I just know it! But sometimes taking a deep breath and leaping is what it takes to get somewhere, and I definitely need to be somewhere other than where I am.

I’ve been complaining to anyone who’ll listen that my current w.i.p. is lagging. Of course the complaining isn’t doing anything to help. What I need is a burst of enthusiasm – something to get my BIC (butt in chair) and keep it there. I’ve reluctantly decided accountability might be what it takes.

So, beginning tomorrow I’ve committed to participate in two very public, wild writing endeavours:

 

Seekerville Speed Book, aka Speedbo, is, in Glynna Kaye’s words, an opportunity to fully focus on that new story idea or current Work in Progress (WIP). It’s a chance to join your fellow ‘Friends of Seekerville’ (both pubbed and unpubbed) in an energizing month of fun, hard work and productivity.”

 

The other, March Madness, is Denise Jaden’s challenge: If you have a writing project you’re ready to start, or a work in progress you’re ready to finish, come and join the fun. Accountability is our main aim and the more support we have, the easier it will be to sail on through the month of March, bouncing along on each others successes.” In addition to cheering us on toward our writing goals, Denise has arranged for daily check-in sites and prizes to be won.

Care to join me? I’ll be here on my usual schedule, although I probably won’t make it around to other blogs quite as often while I’m scrambling to gather my novelling words. But if your output needs a little boost, you’re welcome to join in either or both endeavours, by signing in at the appropriate website — just click on the logos above to get there — today.

Or, for something less formal, check in here throughout the month and let me know how your writing is going. I’m a good listener. 🙂

Either way, I’m determined March is going to be my month to take the leap and make it past the wasteland and back into the verdant land of productivity again. Beginning tomorrow morning I’m adopting author Robert Dugoni’s battle cry: This day we write!” (By the way, if you need a powerful shot of motivation, click on the link and scroll down to hear Robert’s audio clip.)

 ~  ~  ~

Of Red Mittens and March Madness

The lull after the closing ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics was temporary. Less than two weeks later we welcomed the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and out came the red and white flags and our red mittens again.

We’re told that the audience for the Paralympics drew an international audience that set records for both winter and summer games thanks to the fact that organizers were the first to jointly promote the Olympic and Paralympic Games together. A record number of gold medals were achieved in both. Of the Paralympians, VanOC CEO John Furlong said, “You have been remarkable ambassadors of the human spirit.” It’s been a wonderful experience to follow the extraordinary accomplishments. The final curtain came down on all this athleticism at last night’s closing ceremony. The 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be held in Sochi, Russia. Then I’ll be glued to my television once again, but it won’t be the same. The 2010 Games have been spectacular.

In other accomplishments unrelated and incomparable to the Olympics, I mentioned at the beginning of the month that I was accepting Denise Jaden’s invitation to join in March Madness – a month-long endeavour to reach individual writing goals. My goal was to revise at least one chapter of my novel each day for a minimum of five days a week. On day #22 of the month I have completed 33 of the 36 chapters! That wouldn’t be a remarkable achievement for everyone, of course, but it is for me. I’m delighted with the progress so I’m bragging a bit. You’ll allow me this tiny bit of celebrating, won’t you? I promise to get back in the traces tomorrow. There are still three chapters to go and they require some major re-writing. I’m keeping my red mittens out as inspiration.

My March Madness

Remember NaNoWriMo — that month-long obsession with writing throughout November? Guess what? Denise Jaden has invited writers to join her for a similar project, March Madnessand I succumbed. Yikes!!

Despite all my revision attempts this past year I haven’t been happy with one of my older manuscripts. March Madness will provide the opportunity for one last (I really want it to be the last) concentrated effort aimed at readying it for submission. I committed to the goal of revising a minimum of one chapter a day, five days a week during March.

There’s motivation and accountability in joining a group endeavour so if you need a little of that to prod you toward some personalized writing goals, mosey on over to Denise’s blog and see what she’s offering.

.

Any unattained goals or roadblocks you’d like to admit to while you’re here? Owning up is the first step toward overcoming, so come on, let’s hear it.