Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?



Hello, Go Teen Writers! It's Jill, coming at you from the road. I'm on my way to Reno, Nevada to attend the Realm Makers 5th Anniversary Writers' Conference. I'm teaching the teen track there, and I'm so excited.

I hope you're enjoying the summer panels. We've had a great time with this little project so far. In case you're new to us, this summer we're doing Q & A panels. Throughout the months of June, July, and August, we're posting a question each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We answer that question, then pass it on to you. Please share your answer in the comments so we can all learn from each other.

Today is another deep, life-pondering question that I hope will get you thinking about what drives you. This is an important question to ask your characters, too, so you might give some thought to how each of them might answer this one.





What inspires you to get out of bed each day?


Jill Williamson
Sadly, it’s my To Do list. I’m a work-o-holic. I actually like working. I’ll wake up but still lie in bed, thinking about what I need to do that day. And once my brain gets going, it gets excited, and I’ll head out to my desk to get started.
Now, this does not work on weekdays during the school year. My alarm is what gets me out of bed each day, to wake my children so they can get ready to go. On those days, I sit in the living room with some breakfast and a book, and I read. This is actually a much better way to start my day, though it is always WAY too early for a person like me to be awake.



Shannon Dittemore
The sunshine! Literally. I realize you’re probably asking about my life motivation, but lemme tell you about how I deal with mornings. If it’s gloomy outside when I wake up, I convince myself to climb out of bed by making myself all sorts of promises. I’ll say, “It’s okay. You’re a grown up. You can take the kids to school and then climb right back into bed. No one will stop you.” I’m ridiculous, I know, but it’s truly what gets me through that first hour. By the time I’ve had a cup of coffee and dropped the munchkins off, I’m good to go. I’m awake and ready to write and I laugh at my droopy morning self. If it’s sunny outside, my wake-up routine is much more pleasant and it’s easier to remember that I do, in fact, have important life goals.




Stephanie Morrill

Habit? Coffee? A sense of responsibility? There have been seasons of life (like when I’m really pregnant, or when we were in overwhelming seasons with Connor’s epilepsy) where I’m not exactly eager to do the day, but I really love my life. I love my work and my family.


Now it's your turn. What inspires you to get out of bed each day?


Monday, July 24, 2017

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?


Last week was such a fun time of writing and connection on the blog. I really enjoyed interacting with you, learning more about your stories, and seeing you encourage each other. We have one more word war scheduled for the summer. It'll be August 14-18, so mark your calendars!

Here's today's panel question:



What's your greatest challenge as a writer?




Learning to say no. And I’ve learned how recently and still struggle. Several times now I’ve caught myself saying, “Check in with me later” on something my gut told me to say no to. It’s a psychological thing with me, I know. I like to help people. I like to say yes. I like to seize every opportunity that comes my way. But I am only one person with twenty-four hours in the day like everyone else. I can only do so much. And if I continue to say yes to everything, I will continue to struggle to find the time to write and the time to relax.



The greatest challenge I have is transitioning in and out of my writing sessions. I want to be absolutely present when I’m with my family, and I want to be absolutely present when I’m with my story. It’s hardest when I’m nearing a deadline and, out of necessity, every brain cell is committed to storytelling. This has been an evolution for me and I’ve not quite mastered it.



TIME TO WRITE. I have a nine-year-old, a seven-year-old with epilepsy and incredibly specific dietary needs, an almost-two-year-old, and a husband who I really like spending time with. Creating space in my life to actually write continues to be the hardest part of writing.









How about you guys? What's your biggest writing challenge?


Friday, July 21, 2017

July 2017 Word War: Day Five

Shannon here! And I've come to tell you that the end has come!

Day Five of our July 2017 Word War is here and I hope you take full advantage of it, because I'm so failing this time. My 8yo's been sick and today my mother-in-law comes into town and I totally forgot. While you're all writing away, I'll be scrubbing toilets and praying she gets stuck in traffic.

But you? You knew this day was coming and you're ready to take your story by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. Or at least shovel a bunch of words into the sandbox. Have you heard that quote? The one by Shannon Hale. It's one of my absolute favorite quotes about drafting and I think it applies beautifully to all of you word warriors today.


Isn't it just the best quote about drafting? Especially for those days where you feel like you're just dumping all your thoughts on the page. I love it and hope it provides you with a little inspiration as you push to the finish line of this week's Word War.
What's a word war? 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. Sometimes these are also referred to as "word sprints."

How does it work?

Write as much as you're able to today, and when you're done, leave a comment in this post about how the day went. You can share how many words you wrote, stumbling blocks, a favorite line you wrote, whatever you want!

You can also start mini word wars in the comments section of this blog, or on the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. (If you apply to join, leave me a comment on the blog so I can get you approved.)

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we write. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the war goes on!

How long does it last?
This word war began on Monday and will end tonight. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's never too late to join, and you don't have to participate every day. 

How is your word war going? Share in the comments.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 2017 Word War: Day Four

It's day FOUR of our word war, and I'm still cutting words. On Wednesday I cut 4216. That was a whole chapter and a half.

Ouch.

I'm currently on chapter 14 of 91 chapters. And I'm now at 181,291. (I started at 194,000.)

Not bad. Shockingly, I'm on track for success. I really didn't think I could cut that many words. But I'm set on proving to myself that I can. And the story will be so much tighter and better from having done so.

But still painful.

So set a goal and work hard toward it. If I can do it, so can you!





What's a word war? 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. Sometimes these are also referred to as "word sprints."

How does it work?

Write as much as you're able to today, and when you're done, leave a comment in this post about how the day went. You can share how many words you wrote, stumbling blocks, a favorite line you wrote, whatever you want!

You can also start mini word wars in the comments section of this blog, or on the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. (If you apply to join, leave me a comment on the blog so I can get you approved.)

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we write. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the war goes on!


How long does it last?

This word war began on Monday and will end Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's never too late to join, and you don't have to participate every day. 

How is your word war going? Share in the comments.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

July 2017 Word War: Day Three

Today is day THREE of our word war, and I'm doing it backwards.

What do you mean, Jill?

I'm glad you asked. I am in the middle of a MAJOR rewrite. My editor would like me to cut at least 50,000 words from my 194,000-word story.

That's a lot, huh?

So instead of telling you how many words I wrote each day, I'm posting how many words I cut.

Because I have to cut a lot of words.

On Monday, I cut 2178 words from four chapters, and ended up with three chapters instead. A pretty good day.

On Tuesday, I cut 1121 from two chapters. So I will keep chip-chip-chipping away.

How are all of you doing? Share your progress in the comments below.




What's a word war? 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. Sometimes these are also referred to as "word sprints."

How does it work?

Write as much as you're able to today, and when you're done, leave a comment in this post about how the day went. You can share how many words you wrote, stumbling blocks, a favorite line you wrote, whatever you want!

You can also start mini word wars in the comments section of this blog, or on the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. (If you apply to join, leave me a comment on the blog so I can get you approved.)

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we write. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the war goes on!


How long does it last?

This word war began Monday and will end Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's never too late to join, and you don't have to participate every day. 

If you have time to play, this WILL help you. Join in the fun.