Want to join my writing challenge?

Last month I gave the keynote speech at the New England SCBWI Conference. There were 550 people in the room. Most have them have written to me in the last couple of weeks (thank you very much – they have been sweet and much appreciated notes) commenting on what I had to say.

The most frequent topic is the challenge I issued: to write for at least 15 minutes a day for 21 days. Some people loved it, others struggled.

With summer coming, I thought I’d issue it again:

Can you commit to write for at least fifteen minutes every day from July 1st – July 21st?

Let know if you want to join by leaving a note in the comment section. You can comment anonymously, if you want. If there is enough interest, I will focus my blog posts in July on writing stuff.

What do you think? Want to play?

122 Replies to “Want to join my writing challenge?”

  1. I’m one of those people who attended your lecture, attempted your challenge, and then successfully flubbed my first attempt. I completed…um, two days of writing for 15 minutes. Pathetic. For the record, I also cannot take daily vitamins with any consistency, although I’ve been trying to do so for nearly 25 years.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I do have three NaNoWriMo “novels” completed. So! I feel that I might sign up for your challenge again (despite its coinciding with my 30th birthday bash.)

  2. Any kind of writing.

    This challenge has a different motivation than NANOWRIMO. This is about developing good writing habits – a daily writing habit. So there is no goal number of words, or attempts to complete a project.

    It’s a little Zen – simply show up daily and focus.

  3. 15 minutes only? That doesn’t seem like enough. But I want to join in!

    Ps. Do you remember we took a picture together at Hickerbee’s, one with your camera and one with my phone? Well, whoever took the picture with my phone took a 4 second video, rather than a picture. Is there anyway I can get the picture you took if I leave my e-mail?

  4. *raises hand*

    Ooh, me! Fifteen minutes a day sounds like a fun way to stretch the old writing portion of my brain.

  5. It’s summer and I have nothing else to do. And I’ll be writing anyway, so… IN! 🙂
    good luck to everyone who’s doing it! 😀

  6. Cool! count me in – even though there’s an outside chance I’ll be moving that month. I can use the distraction and excuse to write – not to mention the push to write!


  7. I was at that speech, and was amused that your challenge exactly matched my New Year’s resolution this year. There have been occasional days when I’ve had to decide that an LJ entry or a well-thought-out email counts as writing, but there have been at least as many days when I’ve done plenty more than fifteen minutes of legit novel writing. It’s a good commitment to make!

  8. This sounds perfect. I’ll be done school by then, finally (if I’m not, well, I won’t be alive to do much writing anyway!), so it will be good for me. I’ve done (and won) NaNoWriMo three times which tells me the discipline helps. Awesome idea.

    Now, to remember . . .

  9. Robins Mating Lady at NESCBWI

    I’m about to finish Twisted and thought I’d check out your website, clicked through to your blogs and saw your entry for today. Why is this significant? I’m the “robins mating” lady you might remember signing a book for at the NESCBWI conference . . . if you remember that, you might remember I’m big into listening to the universe. The fact that I log in tonight for the first time ever and see the message you’ve logged today rings loud and clear. The universe speaks yet again! Thank you for being the unwitting voice of it! I’d better listen and take the challenge in July. – Cindi (not sure how to use these new-fangled blog sites and hope I’m doing it right!)

  10. Re: Robins Mating Lady at NESCBWI

    Three cheers for the robins and the clever universe!

    What did you think of TWISTED?

  11. Re: Robins Mating Lady at NESCBWI

    LOVING IT! I’ve got 25 pages to go and I’m anxious to see how it all works out. Intense gun scene . . . I remember what you said about it during your interview with Melissa Stewart. I’ve got to get back to Fever 1793 after this one (I put it down to start Twisted). Liking that one, too! (I gotta do more of this journal/blog stuff!)

  12. I’m In

    I think this would be a lot of fun, especially since I aim to get a lot of writing done this summer, and this will keep me motivated. Tips are always wonderful, too.
    🙂 Caitlin from Cali

  13. I want to play

    I’m delurking and I want to play. Yes I can commit to 15 minutes per day for 3 weeks. Sounds like a well-organized plan.

  14. I missed two days from the last challenge, and am trying to continue my new habit. It’s easier now. I look forward to writing and I’ve accomplished more in the past few weeks than I thought possible, especially since most days I ended up writing more than 15 min. I’m up for the next challenge as that will be a busy time for me. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement!

  15. Challenge

    Totally in. Need the daily soul charge. Too many times I get two days behind and am all grumps. Need the daily guru healing.


  16. I’d like to try. The class I’ve been taking this semester on Teaching Writing really encourages daily writing as the most important thing to becoming a better writer, and when I do write daily I find I’m more adventurous because i run out of “safe” topics. Writing daily is something i need to do to be the best teacher I can.

    and writing tips from one of my favorite authors sure won’t hurt 🙂

  17. i will play, but will go ahead and do it in may, because may is a slow month for me. the rest of the summer will be consumed in projects, and i wouldnt trust myself to remember to set aside 15 devoted minutes…

  18. I will join. I’m writing a novel for my thesis…rough draft must be finished by September. Knowing other people are writing is always helpful.

  19. Yep!

    I’ll commit…I definitely need to anyway, if I’m going to finish my next book by the end of summer! My new little peanut (he’s 2 months old today!) has been making writing hard.

    And Hi, Laurie! Long time no talk! I’m excited…not only did I have a baby this year, my first book is coming out in August (and you’re daughter liked it, according to her blog). 🙂

    Kimberly Pauley — kim@yabookscentral.com

  20. Count me in. With all the distractions of summer, this will be a great way for me to see if I can manage the garden, having the BD (beloved daughter) home for the summer, and keep the writing in motion.

  21. *nods head*

    most definately. i’ve been bugging myself to write for a while and this challenge will be great for me! I’m in~!

  22. I want to take the challenge-count me in!

    My name is Amy Downs. I am currently working towards my MA in English Language Arts at the University of Central Florida. Through my summer course, I was recently introduced to your book Speak and really enjoyed it. My enjoyment stemmed less from the subject matter (probably due to my age, although I can remember my teenage angst in all its horrid technicolor), but more from an envy of the strong voice, great pace and character integrity you demonstrated. The book felt effortless to me as a reader, and yet I believe that it takes much work to assemble a text that “feels” effortless. As a recovering bibliophile, with the credit card receipts and Border Rewards card to prove it, I recognize the “it” factor that I enjoy reading, but am intimidated as heck to try and find it for myself as a writer. Thus, I would like to take the writing challenge. I have resisted the effort so far to really try and write and have found lots of excuses including an ex-husband, work, reading, thyroid illness, caring for my father, etc. to avoid the task. I keep telling myself someday or later, but I also now feel Father Time breathing down my neck. I feel like a non-traditional student since I am almost 39 and haven’t felt successful in a “career” yet; many jobs, but I have felt like one of Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters cramming the glass career into my life on fluctuating financial needs and geographical positioning; including a stint in Syracuse, out by Camillus, where I found myself in tears the first time I went to open my trunk at the grocery store and it was frozen shut—funny now, not then. I would really love a steady career that allows for personal satisfaction, purpose, random acts of kindness and mortgage payments, LOL! I finally have the time to write and find that the blank page intimidates me more than I realized. It was easier to believe that I was too tired or busy, then to face that I might be scared! It was a comfort to read that you had amassed your own pile of rejects and seven completed books before an agent would deign to have coffee with you. As a people-pleaser personality, I struggle internally with why is it easier for me to accept the criticism, rather than the praise? As the senior yearbook editor in high school, I always attempted to coax and cajole my staff with promises that if they just started to write—rather than a polar bear lost in a snowstorm—the blank page would quickly allow them to switch into edit mode rather than writer, which most found much less intimidating. Now, I find that I haven’t had the gumption to follow my own advice. Well, my verbose penchant has taken hold; here I have filled almost a full page and I wonder why I won’t write for just 15 minutes a day! Suffice to say that I enjoyed your book very much, was shocked at YA subject matter, and want to embrace the challenge to at least attempt to write to fulfill my own dream. The greatest disappointments for me in life have always been the regret of what I failed to attempt due to anxiety or fear. I also want to have a career as an English teacher and cringe at the hypocrisy if I am unwilling to write as I would request from my students. So, count me in. I’m not trying to write the next great American novel or win a Pulitzer; I just want personal pride that I didn’t let a case of the chickens keep me from preventing additional regret. If you do get a big enough response to open a blog, I will check back for tips and encouragement from others—hopefully I can find it again. Suffice to say, I am not a leisure-time computer user, I enjoy the tactile sense of curling up with my books, but to stay up with the world and prepare students for the global future, I know that I too must adapt to the online environment. Well, thanks for letting me put my two cents in, well more like a quarter, and while I do not “know” you, I appreciated both the honesty in your book and willingness to share personal details with your Web site. Based on the brief comments I read on the site, it seems like many others have found resonance with your work. Kudos and thanks…who knows, maybe one day I will be able to look at my completed manuscript and remember that it all started with 15 minutes a day! Thanks, Amy akdowns@hotmail.com

  23. Challenge Accepted

    I will most definitely accept that challenge!

    Sara Searchefield

  24. oh, yes!

    I would LOVE writing ideas if you would share… what a GREAT idea! Not only will I commit to writing 15 minutes a day… or, rather 15 minutes that isn’t emailing, blogging or list-writing, which flows without pause… I will get my kids writing 15 minutes a day, too! I bought them all really cool journals for this summer (all four) and they get to participate in something their Mom is totally addicted to… LET’S WRITE!!!!

  25. This is a great challenge, and I intend to rise to it! I’m changing careers and becoming a teacher, but I still want to hold on to my writing and stay focused on all aspects of reading/writing. Please please please post your tips, motivations, and suggestions!

  26. the challenge

    I see alot of my friends from the BlueBoards here. I’m sure I can stick to this even if I have to give up BlueBoarding for the month. I’m in. Rainchains (I don’t have a livejournal name and I better not sign up for one, it will be one more distraction to my writing)

  27. Writing Challenge

    Count me in! I’m three chapters short of finishing a MG fantasy first draft.

  28. Writing Challenge

    I am in. I am Skarecrow, one of the Blue Boarders…Thanks for the challenge, Laurie….

  29. If journaling about writing counts, I’m definitely in! I’m still researching and doing character studies for my next YA. When I saw you in Philly last Sept, things were chaotic…they’re even worse now, but I’ve got to dive into writing–just for my own sanity! Thanks for the challenge..I’m motivated, now!

  30. challenge

    This sounds like fun. I will write 15 minutes a day in July.

    From Georgia

  31. I’m in…

    I already spend hours a day doing this… but having someone else to account to (besides my husband and kids) will be the incentive I need to not play yet another round of FATE

  32. I’m in

    I began yesterday and have been tracking progress on Verla Kay. Thanks for the challenge!

  33. I’m in. Although I already missed July 2, which I will feel guilty about all month, despite writing for over 2 hours a day since then… Thanks for making all of us accountable:)

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