Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day One

That’s right folks; today is the official start of my 15 Minutes A Day Writing Challenge.

The rules are simple. In fact, they aren’t even rules. They’re more like guidelines, the Pirate Code of Writing.

1. Commit to write for 15 minutes a day for the entire month of July.
2. Just do it.

Seriously. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to sign up anywhere, or meet minimum word count goals or complete a whole freaking novel in 30 days.

Just. Write. Every Day.
15 Minutes.

I’ll give a topic a day for anyone who is feeling stuck. Today’s topic: Why I want to develop better writing habits. If that sounds too much like school work, then tackle this one: describe the perfect picnic.

I would love it if you guys checked in with me by posting in the comments section (feel free to be anonymous if that’s more comfortable). Tell me where you wrote today or for how long, or what you were working on. Tell me what kind of resistance thoughts cropped up as you were writing, or trying to start writing. Tell me what it felt like when the 15 minutes were up.

I’ll be checking in every day, too. I’m working on my new historical this month, so you’ll get to see how that’s going for me. I suspect I’ll be posting blog entries more than once a day. (I’ll start with the ALA posts this afternoon – AFTER my writing time.)

Turn off your internet connection, let the answering machine pick up the phone. Take your notebook and walk into a park. Put a sign on the door and tell your family they will be OK for fifteen minutes. Hide in the bathroom if you have to.

Ready…..Set…. Scribble!

55 Replies to “Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day One”

  1. writing challenge

    I just completed my fifteen minutes. Actually it was more like 30 minutes because I couldn’t stop at 15 minutes. The character in my head was talking and I didn’t want to stop her.
    I am writing on my laptop while I am sitting at my desk. I did have trouble deciding whether to work on a story that I am tinkering with or start something new. I became stuck trying to think of something new so I went to the piece that I have been working on over the summer. I am making an attempt at a novel and I know that I have a long rode ahead of me- drafts, revisions, finding someone to publish it, and wondering if it will ever be worth publishing. It sounds funny to tell someone (other than my husband) that I am working on a novel. Don’t expect this thing to be on the bookshelves anytime soon.

  2. I got my first 15 in. Yay! Thanks Laurie!! I thought I would put it off until tonight (after doing freelance work all day) then realized I’d be much happier spending the day being able to say, I did it! 🙂

    Good luck to everyone else!


  3. I ended up doing 30 also – almost a thousand words added to my new work in progress. I wanted to get it out of the way also – procrastination is my downfall. I wrote on my Alphasmart and then transferred the text to a file in my computer, while listening to the soundtrack from Hairspray. Odd musical choice considering my main character in the WIP is a rock and roll junkie in love with a hot older guitar player, but hey, it worked!

    Thanks for the challenge, Laurie!

  4. I’m in. My plan for July was anyway to write 1000 words per day, to finish the first draft of my WIP. I’ve already written an hour today (I’m a really slow writer).

  5. I have a deadline for my mystery/horror series online anyway

    I’m trying to give Crowell (the main character), a love interest who runs an antique store who happens to buy an antique chair with a ghost attached. Naturally she can’t sell it like that so Crowell tries to find out how to get rid of the ghost. (all within a 7,000 word limit)

    At least that’s where I am so far…
    This challenge will help me focus

  6. This is a great idea! I’m definitely in. I did a journal-y type thing today, just talking about the way I write and how I want to change some of my less disciplined areas– actually finishing things, for instance. Heh.

  7. did it!

    Thanks for the reminder. I read your blog and then opened up the file for Chapter Two of my WIP. I wrote for about 25 minutes through there was a break in there due to over-consumption of caffeine first thing this morning. I need to develop this habit, and I hope the next weeks help me. Writing in a hotel room will more than likely be esier than writing in my usual spot as there are a few more distractions at home.

  8. 52 minutes of ‘prospecting’ in the John Wayne airport. I would’ve written more but the guy next to me is eating a Big Mac and he smacks his lips. Now I’m fascinated by the site of a woman using a Blackberry with the precision and dexterity of a Japanese welding robot.

  9. Did my first 15 minutes today! Decided to brainstorm/freewrite on a new picture book/easy reader idea. Thanks for the incentive, Laurie. I really need this challenge!

  10. I just wrote my 15 minutes now…I worked on an on-going “book” I have been writing for a while. It’s a young adult, historical fiction, magical type book, I guess you would say 😉
    I got about 5 paragraphs written 🙂

  11. Good grief, I can’t believe the excuses and pessimism my brain is throwing at me as I try to make this teeny tiny commitment. Yes, I’ll do it! If anything, it will be a good exercise in razzing the negative part of my brain!

    Thanks for the idea, this is nice.

  12. Did you find the ONE OUTLET in that whole airport?

    Sorry we didn’t a chance to hang out. You’ll have lots of free time at ALAN, right?

  13. Write down all of the excuses your brain is throwing at you. That will take at least 15 minutes and it counts.

  14. Yay! I did it too. I kept having those bad writer thoughts. Finally told myself to “shaddupalreadyandjustdoooit!” Worked like a charm.

  15. Well, I started writing at 3:35 this afternoon, and I set my phone alarm to go off after 15 minutes so I’d know when I could stop. I had figured, though, that once I got started, it’d be tough to stop, and that’s exactly what happened. Once my alarm went off, I was amazed at how quickly 15 minutes went by!

    I started writing a fanfic, which I sort of feel bad about doing – I guess I feel like I should be writing “real” fiction, i.e., original fiction – but for the past year or so, it’s fanfiction that seems to spark original fic ideas in my mind.

    A question for you, and my apologies if you’ve answered this previously or on your website: Do you ever listen to music while writing? I almost always do, not necessarily to help me write, but just because I love music, and I tend to have music playing in the background for most of my day. What do you think about music during writing?

  16. If I can make this challenge, then a) my wip will be that much farther along and b) I will know that I can actually work on the YA/children’s works I love while I am meeting all the other writing deadlines in my life and while I am teaching (next week).

    Today I wrote after I got home from a meeting and running errands that–I should have known–took longer than planned. But I did it by not checking email or LJ as soon as I turned the computer on.

    I feel reconnected to my project. Yes!

  17. Re: Not a Loaded Question

    Yes, poetry counts and yes, you have until midnight.

    Step away from the internet and write.

  18. I often listen to music while writing. Each book has its own playlist, but sometimes I just put it on shuffle and listen to whatever comes along. Mozart sometimes follows Ozzy.

    If fanfiction is what you want to write, then that’s what youshould write. Don’t judge it – just put the words down.

  19. I wrote in my journal on the bus on the way to town. I am going to Ireland tomorrow and had a lot of stuff to do and a lot of things on my mind.

  20. I wrote for an agonizing . . . I don’t know how many minutes. Definitely more than fifteen, but broken up into chunks. I haven’t written anything to speak of except for school essays for ages (although I did have fun with one math assignment, of all things!), so getting back into creative headspace was harder than I thought.

    I’m working on an almost brand new YA novel. Accordingly, the characters are equally new and I find writing the first few chapters with new characters is incredibly difficult. Still, I’m determined to get it done and get something new and different (in other words, not so depressing) on paper. We’ll see.

    I think I shall go and try to edit or finish the other WIP I’ve had going since November now.

    Thanks for this motivation!

  21. Re: writing challenge

    Please try not to judge or overwhelm yourself with fears of the work ahead. Just write a little every day. It will get easier.

  22. Slow, fast – it doesn’t matter.

    They never print on the cover how much time it took the author to finish writing the book.

    Take all the time you need.

  23. ok I just finished my first 15. I have no idea what I’m writing or where it’s going, but it’s a start right? 🙂 I am looking forward to this.

  24. It took me an embarrassingly long time to just sit down and write and when I did, the first few minutes were hard. But I kept going and by the time I hit 15 minutes, the words were coming more smoothly and I eventually ended up writing for 40 minutes total.

    As for the project, I started a novel. It’s the first one I’ve attempted in years.

  25. My kids are home with me this week. So, while my youngest was taking a nap, I set my oldest down with a box of crayons and a coloring book, and I got in a whole hour! Woohoo!!

    Hope tomorrow is just as good…[crossing fingers]


  26. Made it the first day!

    I’m Rainchains on Blueboard. Laurie I saw you speak at SCBWI in Poughkepsie last year. I got home tonight after work and then stopping by my parents to take care of them. I still found a half hour to make myself sit down and write 239 words on my fantasy mid grade. I’ve been stalled on it for a few months, worrying about POV and dismayed by several critiques telling me my main character needs more personality to show. I think your challenge may be just what I needed to make myself just go with the flow and let the first draft out without second guessing everything. That’s what revisions are for right? LOL Must get first draft out before worrying about perfection. Thanks again for the jumpstart.

  27. 15 minutes down, 7&½ hours to go. Thank you much for this chance! Now i’m going to change gears by talking exclusively about myself for a paragraph. Viz.:

    I am good at starting things. I am less good at sticking with things. So my goal is to finish some writing this month.

  28. I’m trying for an hour a day just about every day, an hour and a half on Mondays and Fridays, which are less busy. (I anticipate that when I’m traveling next weekend, it’ll just be some brief journaling). Even-numbered days are for composing; odd-numbered days are for revising.

    Cool challenge. I see people inspired by it all over my f-list!

  29. I stopped journaling this fall. And journaling has always been good for me, so that is most of what I will be working on for now, making that a habbit again. I did about 15 minutes tonight in my living room.

  30. Saw a link to your invitation at jbknowles’s site and decided to try it. Yesterday, (Day 1)I finished my easy reader WIP after having put it off forever. Thanks for starting this…it has already helped me, and I expect that with this, I will actually finish the revision of my MG WIP.

  31. i did it.

    i definitely wrote about ice cream trucks for like 30 minutes. haha

  32. decided to try this out, since i’ve been trying to write for ages and haven’t come up with anything even halfway decent. i like a challenge. i tried to write something off a vivid dream i had the other night, and it started out decently but petered out toward the end, like i lost steam as i went along. still, it’s great to keep writing every day and i’ve gotten so lazy that i needed the jump-start. thanks for the idea!

  33. draw for 15 minutes a day?

    Hi Laurie,

    Great challenge! I’m an author/illustrator in the middle of art projects for my portfolio and trying not to procrastinate. Can I join and scribble pictures for 15 minutes a day? I’m doing some writing as well, so some days will be both … and if I want to get done by my deadline, I’ll need to do more than 15 minutes a day.

    I can’t remember if I did any drawing yesterday (I went to the dentist, so I’ve blocked the whole day out), but I more than made up for it today if I didn’t.

    So, can I scribble pictures for the challenge?


  34. ooooh! i like this challenge!

    i’ve been stuck lately and haven’t been able to write anything . . . even my emails are boring. i’m going to use the FMADWC as blog posts. maybe if i get energized about my blog again, then i might actually do some writing on the overwhelming projects i’m scared of right now.

  35. I’m in!

    Thanks for the great challenge — I needed this to get me writing again! I spent time yesterday working on text for a picture book and can’t wait for my 15 minutes tomorrow!

  36. Thank you! I won’t be online while I’m at the LA SCBWI, but I will have my notebook to keep up with the challenge. I’m using my cell phone as a timer with the Rocky theme as an alarm. Gonna Fly Now 😉

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