WFMAD Day 2 – Why Not?

Yay! You did it!! Thank you SO MUCH for joining our band of merry scribblers and a special big thanks to everyone who commented here on the official blog, as well as on LJ and FaceBook. It was a thrill to hear how Day One went for you.

Well, how it went for most of you.

Today is traditionally the day I get email from people who heard about the WFMAD challenge late and are bummed they didn’t start on Day One. In keeping with our Pirate Code of Writing, I absolve thee. Start today. Start now. (Well, finish reading the blog entry, then start.)

One of the hardest truths about pursing an artistic dream is that it is wicked hard to make the time that artistic discipline requires.  It doesn’t matter how many how-to books you read, or writers’ blogs you follow, the best way to become a better writer is to write more. Preferably daily. That’s why I am cajoling you guys to do this Every Single Day. It is officially A Big Honking Deal to convince your brain that this is a habit you want to establish.

Read yesterday’s comments and get excited by what your fellow warrior writers wrote about their own paths.

Turn off your phone. Disconnect from the Internet.

Today’s prompt The easiest thing to do in the world is NOT to write. We are our own agents of sabotage and we are quite good at it. Write down all the things that get in the way of your writing time. Start by writing the incidents as a list. When you come across one of your acts of sabotage that is particularly vivid, write it out in detail. Once you have it written as a scene, insert the character of your Muse. How does She react to playing second fiddle to things like shampooing the dog or folding socks or the latest mind-numbing favorite TV show?


66 Replies to “WFMAD Day 2 – Why Not?”

  1. Day 2: Done! I loved getting in touch with the muse. She saw right through my excuses and paved the way for success. August isn’t typically a “get my act together” month, but for 2010, I’m committing to some very healthy habits, including writing for 15 minutes a day. Thanks!

  2. I started yesterday but didn’t get online until today so…, I hope it is okay if we go over the fifteen minute limit, because I did:). I hope to write a novel, about a soldier who falls in love with a native girl in iraq… um, I guess that’s it,oh yeah,I have filled two and a half pages in a composition notebook, so far

  3. I’ll admit – I totally forgot about this yesterday, even though I wrote on Saturday how excited I was! Was definitely guilty of being sidetracked by a TV show…

    This morning, however, I spent most of my subway ride writing! About 30 minutes total, most of that with pen to the page. Did that before I saw this post obviously, so I didn’t get in touch with my muse, but I’m definitely making some progress on my WIP. 30 minutes isn’t a lot of writing time, but I have 30 more minutes’ worth of words than I did yesterday!

  4. I did it yesterday even though I forgot about WFMAD. Whoops! But today, I’m definitely going to write with the prompt. I can think of a million things to sidetrack me from writing. 😛

  5. I did my 15 before 9 AM!
    Yes, the kids got a little wild during those minutes, but it was worth it. You know what this means: I’ll probably write another 15 (or more) come quiet time this afternoon.
    My WIP thanks you.
    I thank you!
    I love reporting to you, the YA Goddess. 😉

  6. You are right. I have probably close to a dozen writing “how to books” and I follow several blogs by authors somehow thinking it will all sink in. The problem though is not that I don’t know how to write, or that I don’t have ideas. The problem is that I don’t have the discipline I let things get in the way. But if I could only write for 15 minutes a day, or at least block out that time and maybe write more I could finish this novel, and complete my character’s story. I’ve had this one character in my mind for five years, at one point I wrote religiously, the words just spilled out onto the page, I didn’t have to be disciplined because it just came to me. When it got harder and didn’t just flow I balked like I do when things get hard. If it doesn’t come to me, if it isn’t easy, is it good? But the truth is the harder it becomes the better it is, it is more thoughtful and better written. And the better I feel about calling myself an author because writing actually feels like work.

  7. Thank you, Laurie!!

    In the moment, I am sitting on my porch swing, ready to start day two of My Fifteen minutes with Laurie. My husband stands at the kitchen door and asks me “What are you doing?” “Busy,” I say. “Can’t talk now.” Behind the screen door, he stares at me, munching pretzels. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
    Where has the silence gone?
    Our sheltie sighs, and then picks up his ratty looking squirrel, which now resembles a large, plush, elongated cat hair ball. He shakes it back and forth. Moves closer to me and then plops the stinky thing in my lap. Rests his head on my knees and looks at me with doe-like, please-play-with-me eyes.
    This is when the guilt trickles in. I imagine their thoughts, their frustrations with having a writer in the house.
    Waiting Husband wonders if I will ever hold a conversation with him again. Begging Dog wonders if I will ever play catch with him again. Wilting Flowers wonder if I will remember to water them. Not to forget Crumpled Laundry, Dirty Dishes, and Dusty Floor.
    Thank goodness, the phone is off the hook.
    My fingers no longer move as quickly as I would like them to. I type. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! (I hope we are almost out of pretzels.)
    I stare at Merlin. He stares back. I look away. Type. And . . .
    An act of sabotage flits by me: a yellow and black monarch butterfly. I want to stop writing, run for my camera, and fiddle with the timer to make it go off now.
    I don’t.
    But I want to.
    I keep my butt in the swing with my face pulled as far away from stinky squirrel as possible, refusing to make eye contact with the dog again.
    Type, I tell myself. Keep typing.
    What must be a very large bee approaches. The volume of buzzing increases. A green hummingbird whizzes over my head.
    Another butterfly catches my eye. I have been waiting and waiting for their arrival, even blogging about this last week.
    Alas . . . I will wait longer.
    I type, knowing for certain that the butterflies will return, and that I will have the joy of writing for the rest of my life.

  8. That was fun…I went well over my 15 minutes as I was so wrapped up in the conversation between myself and my muse. She is fiesty – much like me. Very honest and kept telling me the way it is. Thank goodness! This is one writing to be saved for further writing after the challenge has finished. LOL I like the different prompts so far – so want to leave my challenge minutes to try more prompts. Thanks for opening up the conversation!

  9. I’m hiding in the closet and can hear my muse stomping around the house. See before today, it was easy letting her fester in the green armchair by the window. She could look at the birds outside and I could attend to those all important chores like vacuuming and dusting. When she shot me dirty looks, I took a shower.
    But not today, OH no not today. I took up the prompt and started the list. One particular reason stood out – “don’t have any ideas” – and she jumped from the chair and screamed WHAT!?! In 5 minutes she spewed out every little thing that had been running around my head while mopping the floor. Frankly her energy was a bit frightening so that’s why I’m currently surrounded by musty winter coats. She’s stopped ranting but I know she’s out there – the floor boards are creaking just on the other side of this door. It’s exhausting hiding from her. I think I’ll just curl up on the floor and make a pillow from this old cashmere sweater that reminds me of a cream colored cat who wanders in from the cold and promptly eats the grilled cheese sandwich sitting on the counter…a grilled Swiss cheese sandwich, long and stringy… and the cat ends up playing with it more than eating it…
    I hear a whisper outside the door.

  10. A friend started this as a challenge for us on another writing website, so I’m here to say that there’s about seven or eight of us who may not show up here.

    I’m glad for this challenge. I’m a college student trying to avoid loans by working at McDonalds; who has time to write? Not me, for the last month (if I do one more 40-hour week I will SCREAM), and I’m terribly rusty.

    So, thanks.

  11. Well…today hit some snags to begin with. My computer decided to disagree with me, froze, I got irritated, and I had to shut it down.

    Thankfully this reminded me of the massive writing binder hidden under the pile of binders in my room. I picked it up, blared my Ipod with my inspirational song for today, and wrote for a good twenty minutes. A front-and-back filled page later, I write this comment to say that sometimes technology isn’t the greatest thing on the face of the planet. In fact, it’s 99% of the time it’s what holding us all back.

    Thanks Laurie for helping me understand this concept 🙂

    My inspirational song today?
    “Attack” by 30 Seconds to Mars
    It’s a good song metaphorically about freedom. Fills me with power to free myself through writing.
    Happy Writing Everyone!

  12. Laurie, thanks so much for encouraging and hosting WFAD! I wrote for about 20 minutes yesterday and it felt like a huge sigh of relief. Yesterday’s writing was a much-needed, long overdue journal entry about the death of my beloved cat last December. It felt wonderful to sit and write about it with the perspective of many months behind me and a new kitty lying at my feet. I’m not sure if I’ll spend the month just with my journal or if I’ll pull out the novel and give it some time. Whatever I do, it will be with gratitude for your inspiration. Cheers!

  13. I just wrote for a little over fifteen minutes, Laurie!

    I cannot tell you how much I love your blog posts. Thank you for them. Also I’ve loved your videos that you posted back in the spring. It’s reat to see you and hear your voice. It makes me really miss you!!

    I continued writing about my character today….I want to know about the day she was taken from the free world…when she became literally contrlled by one person.

    I really love the Muse.

  14. After fifteen minutes of writing, twenty is easy. It’s just getting started that’s the pits.
    Today a short scene about head lice just popped into my 1930s historical MG novel. Of course, I don’t want to stop after just 15 minutes.

    Thanks for the encouragement to write.

  15. The reason why not writing is the easiest thing is that not writing keeps the secrets hidden, keeps the thinker from being outed, keeps the emotions buried, and keeps the laughter stifled. So not writing is easy because not writing allows me to remain just as I am, which is mostly quite comfortably ignorant.

    The risk in writing is to come face to face with myself, the parts that demand rapt attention, the places of brilliance and determination, the inescapable tenacity that demands answers to every question and solutions to every problem. The risk in writing is that I might have to actually get into action about the truth I’ve denied. The risk in writing is that I begin to see things as they really are. Such vision requires me to forgive where I’ve been judgmental and to be soft where I’ve been hard.

    The risk in writing is that I have swung wide the door and laid forth a welcome mat for criticism, the most biting of which is born in the grey space between my own two ears.

    Who gets credit for this idea:”The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing” ? That is the reason why not to write–to be excused from living your own life, because it is the writers who create thought.

    Let the ink and blood flow!


  16. I planned on writing to the day’s prompt, but before I got to it, one muse spoke: a twitter question to which I spent at least 30 minutes responding (How should I start collaborating with other classrooms?) It helped me sort through my own thinking while helping a twitter friend. Thanks

  17. Moving on with day 2. I took a break from studying to stay on track for the challenge. It was such an enjoyable change of pace. Right now I am embracing that my novel is a work in progress and at this point – just for me. If I think too much about what others will think as they read it, my hands hover over my keyboard. Now that I am letting go, knowing that I can always go back and revise away, my thoughts are coming much easier.

  18. Yesterday I wrote in the car. (Don’t worry, I wasn’t the one driving.) We were heading towards the city and we kept passing apple orchards and blueberry fields. I wrote about how from a distance you could see little spots of red on the trees and the excitement of how there will soon be new apples.
    Today I wrote about a dream a had last night. It was like a historical fiction tale meets blue jeans and my odd subconscious. I woke up questioning the ethics and etiquette of asking the queen (who’s husband has just died) to support your marriage so you can assume the thrown with someone you like, rather than someone being chosen for you.

  19. I don’t think I commented yesterday(was very distraught over not knowing where my writing journal ran off to). So I broke out the new one and wrote for 15 last night about losing the journal.
    Today, I found the journal which I want to fill all the pages before using the new one.I sat down to write. Ways that I avoid writing? Let me count the ways. By napping in the backyard swing, listening to birds chirp. By finding a treat to make and the biggest avoidance technique? Thinking I need to check my email on my phone. So phone off, no computerm and write away. Two haiku today. Thanks for the challenge.

  20. WHY not write? Well, because it is way more tempting to sit around, check the laundry, text a friend, check Facebook, read a bit, water the flowers. But then you sit down to write. You start and you realize that 15 minutes is nothing at all and you could write forever. That is until the kids need something, or the phone rings, or you get a ding from an email, and all those things that at once were your chosen distractions become your nemesis.

    Thank you for this “school like” task of WFMAD. I think at times when we have an “assignment” we take things more seriously, and give ourselves the time to do what we want, and at heart, need, to do. I actually started a blog for my 39th year of life…I turn 40 in March…and I committed to writing on it each an every day. It is part journal, part memoir, part just my thoughts at times, on random topics, but making it an assignment has made me follow through. (what a teacher/student/life long learner I am…ack!) I set an attainable goal, and have been at it for 5 months now. WFMAD blends so nicely in with that, and perhaps, gives me the “assignment” that will allow me to stretch even more as a writer.

    So, I want to take the time to thank you, Laurie. I am excited to see what the month of August produces.

  21. Well, as much as I want to write, I’m still terrified. So taking on your challenge to write 15 minutes a day makes me feel seasick with fear. But today I did it (and I didn’t faint or anything), so tomorrow I will show up again. Thank you, Laurie!

  22. That was better than therapy! Thank you so much for the prompt. My muse is totally pissed over my writing avoidance syndrome but at least now we are on speaking terms again. 🙂

  23. If you need to faint or puke, go right ahead. We’ll make sure there is a pillow under your head. You can do this. You want to do this. Welcome to the tribe.

  24. I wave to all 7 or 8 of you!!

    40 hours a week at McDonald’s? You have enough time for 15 minutes a day of writing. I double-dog dare you.

  25. Not sure if I have a muse — I waste time too easily and then rush to do my job of working and paying bills. So, even though I have no thought or knowledge of how to put a story onto paper, I looked at two photos – one of me age five or six sitting on Santa’s lap and the other of a young woman holding a chicken. I wrote about them and about their mothers. Perhaps this was a bit cathartic or maybe it was just an excuse to look again and again at those photos and love them for their stories.

    thanks for starting this.

  26. I’m using my FMAD to learn more about my main character in my new novel. I’m using the worksheets from _Writing the Breakout Novel_ (Donald Maass), and also doing some freewriting. Very productive! Thanks for the kickstart, Laurie!

  27. For the last few days of July, I was SO excited and ready to hop aboard train WFMAD. Then on July 30th I got an ear infection. And strangely enough, it was the anniversary of the day LAST year that I got an ear infection that I let keep me out of last WFMAD. I am trying not to let the pain keep me from writing. I don’t know what it is about my ears that want to keep me out of WFMAD two years in a row!

    But yesterday I spent 15 minutes to hand-write a letter to my niece, and though it wasn’t writing that went into my WIP, I’m counting it! And tonight I’m grabbing my notebook, getting back into my sickbed and writing until the pain (or painkillers) knocks me out. The muse isn’t going to go down so easy this time.

  28. Today I posted at my blog over at livejournal about what my classroom means to me. I’ve been cooking this post for about a week or so, and it felt good to get it out.
    For my “official” fifteen minutes, I brainstormed a list of childhood memories and then freewrote about the time my mom let me stay home from school all by myself (I was about 11 or 12 at the time) to read all day and I caught the oven on fire. Firefighters came and threw my flaming biscuits into the back yard. Not my most shining moment as a baker!

  29. My fifteen minutes stretched into an entire glorious hour. Aah! What an amazing feeling! Of course, I suspect that the guilt monkeys left me alone for so long only because I was writing about them. Everyone loves flattery! The Chief Gorilla and his long-tailed minions thank you for today’s writing prompt, by the way.

    Of course, very little of what I wrote about them is truly flattering. It’s often true that being given a spotlight feels like flattery, when in fact the audience is highly critical. I recognized that their mission is vital, though their methods are self-defeating.

    I must thank you for the prompt, as well. This little personification game is rapidly evolving into a work of short fiction. My Muse is blowing kisses in your direction.

  30. Without this challenge, I would have let my writing go both yesterday and today. Last night I started in on my 15 minutes after everyone else was sent to dreamland. After 25 minutes I felt it’s pull as well.

    Today, was a happy marathon. Only after the time I would usually be snoring, did I take up my pen and write. Both days have brought me ideas for solutions to boring spots in my work in progress. I would have missed them had this challenge not motivated me.

  31. Almost missed it! Tired and late, but remembered to write just as I was going to bed. I feel like I SHOULD be writing in my wip, but I’m still researching scenes (fact-based historical novel) and don’t know what they look like yet. So yesterday I just wrote in my journal for the first time in ages, and tonight I used your prompt and wrote about the things that were conspiring to keep me from writing today. Two days – did it!

  32. I started with the prompt, tonight, and through the writing I learned that one reason why I don’t write is that I expect myself to be a much better writer than I actually am at this point. I wonder why I have such expectations? In any case, these expectations make me overly critical of my writing. I write, delete, revise, start again, and on and on. So, I’m gonna let myself be a novice writer first.

    Who was it that said that a writer has to give him/herself permission to write badly? Was it Fletcher? I’m giving myself permission.

  33. I didn’t quite stick to the prompt today, but in a way I guess I did write about a ‘muse.’ I saw a girl walk into the coffee shop I was writing in yesterday and wished I knew her story. So I decided I needed to write her one. I did that in my 15 minutes today. It’s a little liberating.

    I’m really excited to dedicating 15 mins a day for writing. Now to push myself to do it earlier in the day. This 10 to 10:15pm thing is not gonna stick!

  34. Logged my time today (Day 4 for me – but I just have to be different, don’t I??). The sessions have been very easy/breezy. Really the hardest part is assuming the position – butt in chair.

    Thanks again for making this a group party!

  35. It’s 10:45 p.m., and I sat down to write half an hour ago, and I’m so glad I gave myself that time today — and am looking forward to writing again tomorrow (hopefully at an earlier hour!). I have a shiny new idea that has stuck around for more than a month now, so I’ll be working on that this month. Thank you for the encouragement! Happy writing to everyone.

  36. Wrote for 20 mins yesterday, in between French and meeting with my professor to sort out when I can graduate. Adding to a novel I started 18 months ago. It’s a fiction version of my struggle with bulimia. I had written a lot of it before I read Wintergirls. And then I read Wintergirls and was amazed! And I got a little disheartened because your writing is incredible. But I was also encouraged to keep writing, because my story, like anyone who has had an ED, is completely different.

    Also, why is it, that whenever I’m on uni holidays, and I have all the spare time in the world, I can’t bring myself to write anything? But as soon I go back to university, and I have a HUGE work load, all I want to do is write! It’s rather inconvenient.

  37. I wrote earlier today, but I just got to the prompt a bit ago. I like it so much that I’ll use it tomorrow.
    Today I felt like the fifteen minutes would never end. As soon as they did, I felt the urge to keep going. I did. Wrote bits and pieces, mostly just trying to put words on the page. No big ideas yet. Like the motion of pencil across the page. Cathartic.
    Wonder what tomorrow will bring? Can’t wait to find out!

  38. Normally I don’t mind the interruptions while I’m writing and I can tune out most “kid noise”. However, while pounding away at the keyboard in my “private/semi-private” library (with two doors!), my almost 6 year-old son streaked, naked, across my visual space. In one door and out the other, screaming: “I gotta pee, I gotta pee!” More fodder for my writing?

  39. I’m so disappointed in myself–I was so excited to try out this prompt and then I forgot to do it before I went bed last night! Maybe I will do this prompt this morning and the new one later today. For someone who doesn’t consciously make an effort to practice writing everyday (I simply write a lot of random things daily), this project is definitely a challenge but it will be huge help. Thanks again!

  40. Cleaning, grading, earning a living, kids, dogs, spouse, friends, TV, radio, weather, etc. It all gets in the way of my writing time. But I managed to carve out another 15 minutes on day 2.

  41. for a while it has been my dream to write. i just havent really known how to start. this is excactly what i need. thanks

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