WFMAD Day 1 – I doubledog dare you!


::runs around like a madwoman and scares dog::

Got your writing tool of choice warmed up and ready? Have you told your family that the only time they can interrupt your WFMAD writing is in case of fire or arterial bleeding? Have you turned off all your phones?

Many of you participated last year. While you are limbering up your fingers and stretching your minds, allow me to review the rules for our first-timers.

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 August.
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. This. Month.
15 Minutes.

::TANGENT ALERT:: Why am I doing this? Because writing is hard. Because life is complicated. Because so many people want to write, but they allow the complications of life to get in the way because the thought of actually living the writing dreaming can be scary. Because I love projects like NaNoWriMo, but I know that the goal of writing a novel in a month is unrealistic for many people. Because I know that we all have fifteen minutes a day that we waste (with the possible exception of new parents and authors on deadline).

Because we are all connected and we are all facing the same struggles.

This is not the time for editing or outlining. Just keep your pen, pencil, crayon, or fingers on the keyboard moving for 15 minutes. You can use the entire time to write "I don’t know what to write and LHA is crazy" the whole time if you want.

I’ll give a prompt a day for anyone who is feeling stuck. But you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.

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.

(LEGAL STUFF: These prompts, like all my blog entries, are my material and, thus, under my copyright. You have permission to reproduce them for classroom use only. Yes, you may link to these posts.)

OK, that’s enough blathering.


Today’s reward: Of course you deserve a reward! Decide what it should be before you start writing, then give it to yourself as soon as you are done.

Today’s advice:
Don’t judge, criticize, or edit what you’re writing this month. Right now, we’re concentrating on getting the words down on the page. You can do this. You can absolutely do this.


Today’s prompt: Write down the last dream you had. Was it boring? Then write down the last memorable dream you had. Can’t remember your dreams? Then write down the last memorable dream that you heard about. Focus on feeling the emotional state of the dream. When you reach the end of the decription, keep writing, Make the dream come alive for fifteen minutes.


53 Replies to “WFMAD Day 1 – I doubledog dare you!”

  1. Yes!

    I will do this! I will!

    Today, is it okay if I write the dream of a character in my current story? I’m up to that point, and her dreams make a lot more sense than my own.

    I promise not to write ‘I don’t know what to write and LHA is crazy’.

  2. Writng challenge

    Thank you for the challenge! I feel such a sloth as a writing teacher that I seldom write for myself. I WILL do this!!!

  3. I just finished my fifteen minutes – I used it to work on a story I started about two weeks ago. I was a bit stuck on this story but I found that when I was forced to write the ideas began to flow and now I have some new ideas for it!

  4. I’m in. I normally write much longer than fifteen minutes a day with the exception of Fridays when I don’t write at all. But for the purpose of the exercise I’ll write for fifteen minutes on Fridays as well.

  5. OK, I’m in

    Here we go. Turning off phone. Closing all windows except Word. I can do this. I used to do this. I can do it again. Yup, I can.

  6. 15 minutes went fast

    I wrote in my dining room, on paper, with coffee. I like the physical-ness of holding the pen & the feel of the paper. I figured if I wrote my recurring dream down, it might just come true, because its not a nightmare. I might one day join live journal. Thank you & I look forward to the next 29 days.

  7. I’m in! Lately, I’ve been writing longer than that when I sit down to write. It feels nice. I’m going to concentrate on the “write everyday” portion in particular. 🙂 Thanks!

  8. I Am Sooo In!

    I want to write, really! I really, really want to be able to put pen to paper, or pixels to screen, whatever, and have the words just flow out effortlessly. Or at least flow.
    This is my chance.
    I am soooo ready to start.
    On your mark…get set…GO!

    OceanGal aka Meg

  9. I’m in! I’ll start as soon as I get home from work tonight. I’ve been neglecting my writing a lot lately so this is perfect for me! 🙂
    ( And it is a good way to get warmed up for NaNoWriMO!)

  10. Laurie – you are awesome! I’m in the middle of a first draft and you know what the middle is like.

    I’m in and opening the document right now!

  11. Thank-you

    Thank-you for your inspiration.
    I promised myself to write every day.

  12. This sounds awesome! I have really limited writing time so challenges like NaNoWriMo have not been an option for me. This, on the other hand is perfect! I accept your challenge with much excitment!

  13. I am in.

    I am struggling with revisions, but I am excited to take on this challenge. I reread my notes from a speech you gave at last year’s New England SCBWI conference. The energy is brewing in my writing room.
    I tap into this energy and allow myself to let go. Even if the words are wild across the page. At least they are my words.
    Thank-you, thank-you!!!

  14. Okay! I finished! And my sister’s chihuahua puppy was a lot of help with her constant staring. She knew I might get lazy, so she watched me until I finished.

  15. SUCH a great idea. I’ve had a new story floating around in my head for the last month or so. This would be a great chance to start getting some scenes down on paper. ♥

  16. Day One

    Thank you for the challenge! I set the timer in the kitchen for 15 minutes and 20 seconds–I needed the extra time to get back to my office. I DID it. I wrote about my dreams last night. The timer went off and I was still writing. This is HUGE for me! Yippee! I am looking forward to tomorrow’s prompt! Thank you for being such an inspiration to everyone!

  17. Oh yes!

    I am so in! This is the prodding that I definitely needed!

    Jen (jpetroroy)

  18. Where I wrote today: In the town library, while waiting for someone, anyone, to show up for a poetry workshop I was doing. I had 20 minutes before two people showed up, a mom and teen-aged son, we talked a while, they looked at the exhibit, and then we all wrote poetry for 45 minutes.

    Even on a sunny summer afternoon, a rarity for this summer, it was terrific fun.

  19. That is a great idea! I moved recently and have been overwhelmed with tasks related to our move, unpacking, trying to get our old house fixed up and sold, and dealing with 3 kids including a 2-year-old all day in the summer, so I haven’t written in months. Just two days ago, I decided I had to get back to it, and stole away to a cafe for an hour, but was too hyped up with multiple ideas to get anything done. 15 minutes a day is completely doable, though, and it’s something I’m able to ask my family to help me ensure I get. Thanks for the idea and the inspiration!

  20. Inspired by your “June 60th” post, I wrote an “August 0th” 15-minutes’ (or so) worth last night. It was entirely journal-entry-ish, which may or may not persist through the month, but it was 15 minutes of ink flowing from my Bic onto paper, and it felt good. Thanks! I’m looking forward to my second 15 minutes tonight. 🙂

  21. What is it about writing that makes it so easy in your head–there are so many good lines, so many perfectly crafted images–and so hard when you face the darn screen? I ended up doing about 20-25 minutes, split up unfortunately, but geez, it was harder than it should have been!

  22. *deep breath*

    Okay, I’m going to try this. I will be revising, but all my revisions right now involve writing whole new scenes, so I hope that “counts”. I need *something* to get me jumpstarted after a summer of distracting distractions, so here and now, I’m saying that even if I’m still sick, even when work is making me nuts, even when I’m at SCBWI in Los Angeles, I am going to write 15 minutes a day.

    Which leaves me…3.75 hours to get started, or I’ll have lost the challenge before I even begin.

  23. I set the alarm on my phone for 15 minutes, and scribbled in my brand new, hot pink notebook with a purple fine point pen. I wrote about why I’m afraid to write, then I wrote the emotional bits I remember about last night’s dream. I was surprised how quickly the alarm sounded, and wrote a little bit longer.

    I was sitting on my bed with one of the cats for company, by the way. I’m thinking I need to spend my day off power-cleaning my office so I can reclaim it if only for quality writing space.

    I can do this!

  24. I am totally doing this challenge this year. 😀 I have a several-years-dormant fiction writing project I’ve been meaning to get back to work on, and I think this is a good way to get myself back in the habit. Managed to write for about 40 minutes tonight and got about 800 words done, which is more than I’ve added in, oh, nearly four years. So, yay. Thanks for posting this!

  25. It was easily an hour a day of noveling when I was in an MFA program. Then it was “just make sure you write something, anything, every day.” But I’m going to try for the daily 15 on the new novel, with the hope of going over when I can (as I did today). Thanks, LHA; this may be just the jump I need.


    I wrote on my computer, a little before midnight, lying in my bed. I actually wrote a indecipherable sentence down mid-sleep this morning, so I tried to recall the details of the dream that sparked in. What resistance did I meet? Mostly guilty over the fact that I was following the prompt rather than working on a current WIP I’ve been neglecting out of fear for at least a month now. I hit a road block, was filled with doubt, and am now having trouble starting back again. I hope this will help boost my confidence if not my efficiency.

  27. Easy once I get going

    I just finished my WFMAD for today. Just under 700 words. Wow… that rocks! Don’t know if I can do that sort of output each day, but it will be fun to see where it all goes.

    I’m thinking of posting these in my “Nano-LJ”… not sure about that yet. Maybe some will go up and others won’t. The problem is that, at least for this bit today, it’s in the middle of a story that I’m working on… so I don’t know how much sense it will make.

    If I do post the bits, I will probably post a link here.

  28. new

    So, I was just linked to this post from someone’s tweet on twitter, and I have no idea who you are (although I am guessing you are an author) and I haven’t even checked out this entire site yet, but I just wanted to say that this is an awesome idea.
    I tried NaNoWriMo but it was WAY too stressful for me and I gave up. I did complete Maureen Johnson’s BEDA though, (blog every day in april) so maybe I can do this too!
    Am excitedd:)


  29. I’m definitely doing this!

    In fact, I just did. This is so exciting, because it seems much more realistic to me than NaNoWriMo. I’ve tried and failed twice at NaNoWriMo, and I think that’s because I was unable to take things in smaller chunks. I kept seeing this daunting word count and fast-approaching deadline and getting caught up in all the reasons I’d never get it done in time. But 15 minutes a day? That I think I can handle. Thanks for doing this. I can’t wait for the next prompts!!!

  30. Writing in August

    I’m currently working on a big project and I’ve lost my motivation. This is what I needed. I’m a day late joining, but I’ll just write at least 30 min. today to make up for it. Ha Ha Ha.

  31. I’m in. I’ve been trying to get back into writing of any kind that is NOT writing units and lesson plans for school. I started journaling again and hope to move back to creative writing. I so very much miss it. I’ve got my favorite pen and my composition notebook. Next week my husband and I go to Cape Cod for vacation and I am looking forward to sitting on the beach reading and writing. Yipee!

  32. I managed far more than my 15 minutes yesterday. I am not counting my 2 hours spent on today’s Northanger Abbey blog post (it’s August at the Abbey chez moi). I am counting the two-three hours spent on poems for a collaboration about which I am saying no more just yet.

  33. Yep, yep, yep! I did it. And went over. The great thing for me is that by committing to fifteen minutes, it gets me back into the book. That’s all it takes. I might actually finish it before school starts. If not, then surely by the end of August. Thanks for the push.

  34. Coming in late, but wanted to say *thank you* for doing this again! Last year’s posts were very inspiring, and your WFMAD mantra has helped me all year long.

  35. Re: Writng challenge

    I’m in the same boat…a writing teacher who doesn’t write much. This is great. I’m getting a late start, but I’m in too.

  36. Wrote but not exactly according to the rules

    I got an iPhone on the day after finishing my 11th year of teaching the second time around. I taught nearly 10 years before my boys were born and stayed home with them for nearly 20, although I was always involved in tutoring and substituting. The calendar feature on my iPhone encouraged me to write (either one key at a time on the phone or in Outlook on my laptop which would sync with my iPhone), so I kept a running diary of the each day’s events. There were days I missed, and I had to go back and try to remember what had happened. However, I do have an account now of each glorious moment of each day of summer vacation. I just hope that when I get back to the hubub of the school year, I will keep up the journaling. Otherwise, so many memories will be lost. I do have some diaries from years ago starting when I got my first PowerMac with 325mb hard drive! When I go back and reread them, I am so grateful I wrote things down, for the trip back memory lane is precious, and without those entries, the memories would have slipped far, far away.

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