WFMAD Day 8 – accountability


You made it through the first week!

Most of you.

If you were able to write at least 15 minutes a day for the last week then HUZZAH!! What (if anything) felt different about this past week’s writing?

If you stumbled, then I will pat the back of your hand, brew you a cup of tea and murmur soothing sounds. It’s OK. I understand. That’s why we do this project in the first place, because we all fumble and stumble a lot when it comes to our writing.

If you don’t want to be soothed and find yourself wishing I was more of a drill sergeant, then brace yourself. The following paragraph is for you and you only:

Stop whining and write. Get off your ass and write. Turn off the television and write. Take all the time you use to complain about not-writing and write. Just do the damn thing already!

(I don’t like yelling. Can I stop now, please? And I have the overwhelming urge to make you some tea. Do you take sugar or honey?)

In the Comments yesterday, Jeni asked “Do you ever revise one project and work on a new one at the same time?”

I always have at least two projects going, often more. There is always the Number One Priority Project, but I find it’s helpful to be doing research or scribbling notes on something different at the same time. Jane Yolen once told me she always has many projects going at once and she doesn’t decide what she’s going to work on until she sits down at her desk in the morning and figures out what kind of mood she’s in.

And then there is the difference between writer-projects and author-projects. Right now these are my writer-projects:

  1. Draft of new YA
  2. Research for next historical
  3. Research for next non-fiction picture book
  4. Notes for next series book
  5. play with ideas for fictional picture book

These are my author projects:

  1. Continue generating new website content
  2. Prepare presentations for book tour
  3. Daily blogging for WFMAD

Pretty much every author I know could generate a similar list, if you asked them.


“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!” Ray Bradbury


Turn off the phone and step away from the Internet. And the television. And, and, and…

Today’s prompt:

Write 25 one-sentence descriptions of books that you want to write. You heard me; 25.

If there is still time in your 15 minutes when you are done with the list (or you want to write longer!), expand on the five projects that are the most exciting OR terrifying. Actually, the terrifying ones would be more interesting.


27 Replies to “WFMAD Day 8 – accountability”

  1. I’m going to be a little annoying here. You spelled sergeant wrong and you forgot to put the Y on every. I just like to pay attention to things like that. Everyone hates me for it but it’s what I know.

  2. Thanks, Adelaide! The post’s title was Accountability, so it was very appropriate to hold Laurie accountable! Changes made!

  3. Sorry about the misspellings – I’m on the road this morning with primitive Internet. Laurie

  4. Daunted at first, especially since I’ve been up since 5 a.m. waiting for the Day 8 prompt to be posted before I had to leave for work. Finally! It pops up. I read it.
    I want to lie down and take a nap.
    But, I don’t.
    Don’t. Think. About. It. – I remind myself. Just. JUMP!
    Timer set for 20 minutes, which I keep changing to add five more minutes and then another five minutes, until . . .
    VOILA!! 25 one sentence story ideas.
    Maybe when I get home, I will close my eyes and point at one and then . . .
    Write. Write. Write.

    (Oh, I could have listed more than 25 but I would have been late to work at the toy store. Maybe, I will get more ideas from my day spent there.)
    Thanks, Laurie!! Have a great day!

  5. Couldn’t write yesterday because, well, life happened. Lots of family time! Not even 15 for writing, which I thought was near impossible. Not going to beat myself up over it. I enjoyed our family too much. Today is different. Today quiet has return to our house and I’m at my lap top ready to write.

    Thanks for the daily prodding, Laurie.

  6. What was different about this past week’s writing? Lack of guilt. Grad school seemed like the only “me” time I was allowed. Before WFMAD? Kids; special needs, one of them. Home; never-ending chores. Reading; review blogging’s an escape. But one non-fiction and a recent fiction premise have been haunting my thoughts. Know what? I’m allowed at 15 minutes for myself. And what’s more “myself” than putting thoughts on paper? And guess what, I surprised myself with more than 25 ideas (fiction and non-fiction)! Huzzah indeed.

    Now, where’s that cup of tea?

  7. Thank you! That rocked my world! I thought I didn’t have any really good ideas but without all the self censoring I came up with 29.

  8. Still hanging in…been working on my revisions more than the prompts. BUT I am writing! Aiming to do the prompts all this week along with the revisions. Your prompts are so helpful and fun – Thank you. 🙂 Lisa

  9. It has been going well for me so far (but I only have four days under my belt because I came to WFMAD a little late!). I really loved what you wrote here: “Jane Yolen once told me she always has many projects going at once and she doesn’t decide what she’s going to work on until she sits down at her desk in the morning and figures out what kind of mood she’s in.”

    That has always been my dilemma, my inability to decide what I want to work on. I always feel like I need to first give up thinking about my other ideas to focus on one for a long period of time. Up until now, I hadn’t seen any authors who say they work on more than one novel at a time.

    So thank you, thank you! I have Yolen’s Take Joy book – I just saw it on one of my shelves the other day, tucked back and out of sight. This is synchronicity indeed – I think it’s time for a re-read!

  10. Last night, as I was falling asleep, I had this “aha” thought about my WIP. In the dark, I grabbed my notebook to scrawl a note. This is how this past week has helped me by opening other ways of thinking through an idea.
    Wrote my 25 thing to write about and was surprised what showed up. A list to consider and perhaps to start researching a few of them.
    As always, thanks.
    Off to work on the WIP.

  11. I took about teen minutes to do my journal writing before checking on here. So, I went ahead at wrote the twenty-five sentences–the first time I’ve done an actual assignment this year.
    Wow, it was fun!
    Now what do I do with it?
    Really, I think it will keep me busy the rest of my life.

  12. Is it too late to start? I was at the beach last week and totally, blissfully disconnected.

    I am joining WFMAD right now!

    Wait, where’s my pencil?


  13. Week 1 went better (and faster!) than expected. I did my writing at night, in the basement. Usually it feels dark and/or lonely there. This time it didn’t. I’m very happy about that. Also, thanks again for doing WFMAD. 🙂

  14. Dear Laurie,
    I used to write all the time. My friends used to love my stories. And my teachers. And my dad. But even with all this support, my feelings of inadequacy got in my way. I stopped writing. I haven’t touched pen to paper until this last week. My friends told me about this challenge and hoped I would consider doing it.
    Well, I did it and I must say just how glad I am I did. You wouldn’t believe what simple joy I got from forming letters on the page. I felt a small, contented smile break out on my face and I had one of those shining moments. The ones where you know you will be ok. I had buried myself in this sand and it felt like I’d never get out. Your words were not unlike a wave, bringing a rush of fresh air and knocking the weighty sand off me. I feel new. Like I can write again.
    So I thank you for the time you are taking to encourage and connect with your fans.
    ~Christal Michelle
    Oh and thank you for signing my book.

  15. Great prompt today! don’t think I checked in with a comment yesterday (and maybe now the day before either), but I’m on track.

    I have a string of 7 or 8 days of writing at least a 1/2 hour (one day was 45 minutes followed by a 20 minute day, though). Progress is being made!

    Forge on, fellow WFMADers!

  16. Usually I post a comment immediately after writing for fifteen minutes (my response to the daily prompt). My comments are typed without thinking. Raw. Raw. Raw.
    But today I wanted to say hi! to all the other writers committed to this challenge.

    Back in my porch swing (after a long day at the toy store), I quickly read what I scribbled this morning: my twenty five sentences. I smiled and laughed and saw possibilities in the ideas. Even though, I don’t remember writing half of what I wrote, which is typical for me.

    I find comfort in reading everyone’s responses, and I am rooting each of you in this challenge. We are all training for a marathon with Laurie cheering us on at the finish line, jumping and screaming and waving a flag, which reminds us to scribble . . . scribble . . . scribble . . .
    So with the first week behind us, I say hello to everyone and Happy Writing!
    Hugs and thanks to our generous leader, Laurie!

  17. I missed doing yesterday’s prompt so I did two today. I actually enjoyed describing the grave site, though I started out by complaining how I didn’t want to do it and it was going to end up being a bunch of crap. The list is harder than I thought.

  18. Week one made me feel power like I’ve never felt before. It made me realize that I can truly do something if I stick my mind to it and promise myself to do it everyday, even if that means waking up twenty minutes early than normal. It made me feel empowered and propelled everyday when I could look back at the progress I made in fifteen minutes with no phones, television, or internet to distract me.

    I feel like I am a runner who just completed her first marathon. 😀

  19. The list proved harder to do than I thought it would be. Maybe I burned out all my creative brain cells for the day re-writing a chapter in one of my WIPs.

  20. good lord! I did the prompt today and it was HRAD! “If have any time left…” Are you kidding? I spent 45 minutes and only came up with 23 projects. Sigh. This has to be a bad sign.

  21. Ahh…that’s some lovely long list, steaming hot and smelling all hen-and rooster-ish!

    Your prompt, Laurie, was the most fun I’ve had at failure yet! Seriously! I’ve got this crazy smirk all over my face for the apparent pointlessness of that particular exercise.

    Now, lest you think I’m oozing with sarcasm, let me clarify. I’ve been so bound by my TWO ideas and so obedient to them that I haven’t given my mind the gift of freedom to wander and wonder. The list I just made is going to be perfect for tinder…but it has scratched an itch in my brain that I didn’t know was there. I adore my stupid list! It was such a stre-e-e-tch to even generate it that I couldn’t even formulate each idea into a sentence. I’m sitting here just inwardly laughing at my atrophied creativity. It just won’t know what hit it. I’m sooo gonna have to start packing my idea journal around with me everywhere I go now! How exciting is that?! I’m all giddy with anticipation!

    New thought…maybe I need to find some of those bathtub soap crayons to keep in the shower. I do my best thinking there! Anyone know where to find those little gems?

  22. We sell those crayons at the toy store where I work: Alex is the company that makes them. (They are great. I’ve tested them with my granddaughter.) But don’t buy the cheaper versions as they don’t work as well.

  23. I am with you, Betsy. I love reading everyone’s comments and watching this online writing group grow. I love the analogy to a marathon! Happy writing.

  24. I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to address my comment. I really appreciate your thoughts and insight. I’m going to forge ahead with my daily writing on the new project and will invest in Post-it notes to help map out the new changes I need to make in a separate manuscript. There is the feeling of, “Wow, I wish I were done revising this story already!” — but also, the knowledge that once I get through this next round of revision, I can truly say I’ve given this story my best effort.

  25. I easily swept to #19. Then the going slowed down. But I made it to 25. And they are ALL ideas I want to pursue. Thanks for making me do this. Then I added my list of writer ideas. I call this the business of being a writer. Today(Day 9) I have been working on those.
    Becky Hall

  26. I didn’t make it to 25. I think it is because I don’t do well with the drill sergeant attitude and I tend to have senior moments more often when under pressure. But I did come up with 9 1/2! Then too, my mind keeps going back to the Pablo Picasso prompt. Just maybe there is a book there.

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