Why a Writing Challenge is Important (Secrets Within…)

May 27, 2016 at 9:06 am (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems, Writing)

So, last you heard from me was–gosh–over two months ago on March 20th. (I’d link it but it was a pretty small post and you know how to find it if you really do want to read it.) Anyhoozles, you are due an update, probably treats and booze too, but we’ll start with the update.

My 30 Days of Write Challenge for March? I did not accomplish a sentence a day for 30 of the 31 days, so one might argue that the challenge was a fail. However, I accomplished something much greater (two things, perhaps) so I call the challenge a great big bucket of win. This leads us to Outcome #1:

A writing challenge is what you make it, so don’t let the rules tell you otherwise or make you feel awful about how you finished.

Here’s what happened to me.

I was motoring along, doing my sentence (plus) a day, when something wonderful happened. I was driving to work, listening to the soundtrack to my book when another book popped into my head. This is one I’ve been working on for a while and it’s been vexing me. I’m thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close–got a strong, fierce heroine but my hero needed that one little something to put him in the neighborhood of the woman he was supposed to end up with. Well, something about the other book’s soundtrack and, what I truly and firmly believe is the writing muscle I’d been flexing during the challenge, came together to bop me on the head like Tinkerbell’s wand to say, “This is what your hero needs to be.”

Ka-blam. Pow. Holy shit. Cue fireworks. I had it. I had it!

This is where the writing challenged diverged in the yellow wood and I, I took the path less edited. Or needing to be edited, I guess, but yeah–I honored Tinkerbell’s bonk on the head and started editing the other book, knowing I was putting my sentence-a-day book on the back burner. But you know what? That’s okay, and it leads us to Outcome #2:

A writing challenge is what you make it, so if you need to leave or alter your original plan, it’s okay to do.

So the editing was going awesomely–I tore through the first quarter of my book by the end of March (so hell yeah, I’m calling my March challenge won and done!) and I was feeling great. But then something beautiful happened again and yes, dear reader, I’m calling this a direct result of the challenge, that writing muscle I’d been flexing–no matter how small–on a daily basis.

I’ve had this other book (don’t we all have about seventy kabillion ideas floating in our heads at any one time?) that I’ve been letting stew deep in the fecund writing stew of my brain. I had a soundtrack and oh damn did I have the characters in my head (and they’re so awesome together. {swoons}) and I had some crucial scenes but it wasn’t ready yet.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?

Ka-blam. Pow. Holy shit. Cue fireworks. Tinkerbell’s wand hit me again, gave me a plot point that just tied it all together with a neat little bow. And I started writing this story and it has been flowing so deliciously. I think I’m around 35K right now and am just loving the hell out of it.

So that’s where I’ve been for the past 2 months–editing and writing like a fiend, swimming with the tide my writing challenge started way back on March 1st. That book I started then? Yeah, it’s still in there, building and growing in the back of my head, and I know it’s going to have its moment like this current one did. It’s my process and I am Ned Flanders okily-dokily with it. Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise, this tide is going to carry me through the summer and into the fall. And if I need some help somewhere in there, well you can bet I’m going to get another 30 Days of Write started, give me the boost I need to get back where I need to be.

Yawp.DSC01733

Advertisements

Permalink 3 Comments

One Sentence Has Never Meant So Much

March 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems, Writing)

So, here I am at Day 20 for my 30 Days of Write challenge. I just wrote my official sentence (two of them, actually) for today, so I can tell you with swear-on-a-stack-of-bibles truth tDSC02190hat I am meeting my challenge. I haven’t even used my cheat day yet, though some days have been verrrrrrry close.

A sentence a day has been more difficult than I thought, but it’s also been more rewarding. I’ll talk about it more when I’m done and have had a little bit of time to reflect on my 30 Days of Write, but for now I can tell you this: it’s been amazing. Doing a sentence every day forces you to think about your story more than usual, because you have this once-a-day goal chained to your brain. Sure, it’s a tiny goal, but the effects are huge. The sentence is the pebble, but the ripples are the payoff.

Yawp.

http://www.PamelaCayne.com

Permalink 2 Comments

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

March 9, 2016 at 8:00 am (Creativity, FAFW)

WebcoverToday is March 9th, 2016 and exactly one year ago today, my first book was released. It’s been a tremendous, wonderful journey and I can’t wait for my next step, my next book, and more than anything, I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

To all of you who have purchased THE FIGHTER AND THE FALLEN WOMAN or tweeted it or blogged about it or reviewed it or celebrated with me or did some spectacular thing worthy of a super-hug, I thank you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to my 30 Days of Write. It’s getting time to kick it into a higher gear. YAWP!!!

Permalink 2 Comments

30 Days of Write: Days 2-5

March 6, 2016 at 10:07 am (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Writing)

DSC_0004All I’m thinking right now is I’m a freaking genius. I set up this writing challenge so one sentence a day is a win (see? genius!) and so far, I am winning. Almost took my pass day yesterday but nope–got 3 sentences written. The box on March 5th gets marked with a big green check. Hooray!

And where I could hang my head and mumble about how sick I’ve been and how work was an extra helping of suck on Friday and all kinds of excuses, I’m not. This challenge is about more than that singular daily sentence, always was. It’s about getting back into the mode of writing, the constant brain-churning of characters and plot and arc and beats and themes and everything else that makes up a good story, and it’s working!

  • My 7 or so sentences on Day 2 brought me a single line of description for my antagonist and, if I may say so, it is perfect.
  • My 3 sentences on Day 5 wrapped up my first scene. The final sentence, the one that sets everything and ties my hero and heroine together in ways they cannot even begin to comprehend just makes me giddy, this-would-never-be-just-a-kiss giddy.
  • And to get into writing mode, I’ve been listening to my Michael Hauge lectures over and over again. Though I’ve been keeping the current story in mind, something about listening to them yesterday gave me a few great tweaks for the one I’m about to start editing (code name: Bedlam) which is going to make it so much stronger!

So, you see, the writing is about more than single-story quantity; it’s absolutely about quality across all of my writing, from my current story to editing to even my blog posts. I could scrap my 30 Days challenge now and I’d be very comfortable declaring myself a winner, but I’m not going to. Just think–if I’ve made this much progress in 5 days, what can I do in thirty?

Yawp!

Permalink 2 Comments

30 Days of Write: March 2016 edition

March 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm (30 Days of Write, Creativity, Writing)

First of all, thank you to everybody who voted for me in the #Swoonies2016. I did not make it out of the first round, but it was a total blast being nominated and, knowing Tessa Dare is in the finals? Well, this historical romance writer’s heart is happy and full.

Now, on to business. As you can tell from the title of this blog post, I’m setting up a writing challenge for myself. I’m coming off a nasty respiratory infection, have a epic shit-ton of things to do in March and need another thing on my to-do list like…well, like I need another thing on my to-do list. But I’m going to do it anyway.

Why?

Because I need to. I have to. The idea of a 30 Days of Write challenge (yes, I have one excuse day–we’ll get to that later) is a heavy weight, but I. Have. To.

I know me. Once I get a pace going, I’m damn near unstoppable, the USS Pamela Cayne, but the trick is getting that pace going. I’ve blogged about this before–the whole ‘getting a bicycle‘ going, and it’s still truth. But I’ve got this book…I’ve had this book for a while, all set up and ready to go, but then something happened about 2-3 weeks ago.

It changed.

I was doing some light noodling on it and with one “I wonder if…” turned this book on its fucking ear. It exploded–all kinds of crunchy goodness explosions. Plot points opened before me like I was Hermione with a wand, chemistry sizzled and popped like water thrown on hot oil, choirs of dark and twisty romance angels SANG.

But I have to get going on it, get past this sludge I fell into with my nasty infection and Tons of Other Things. And, it makes me think of one of my favorite philosophies–if it scares the shit out of you, that means you absolutely, positively should write it. I absolutely, positively do not have the time to start a writing challenge, but you can bet your sweet bippy I’m going to do it anyway.

All I have to do is write a sentence a day. 30 sentences and I will have conquered the March 2016 edition of 30 Days of Write. But I know me, if not today, then pretty damn soon I’m going to be writing much more than a sentence. Just like I know my competitive side won’t let me take that day off–30 Days of Write will turn into 31 Days of Fuck Yeah.

Join me if you’d like–I’m hoping to be talking about this on Facebook and Twitter, so if it’s one sentence a day, one photo posted online, one line of knitting on your scarf that’s taunting you, join me. Let’s see where we are on March 31st.

Okay, got two tortured and flawed characters who need to fall in love, got JT’s “Drink You Away” blasting on the iPod, got the best cheerleader in the world in my corner. Time to write.

never_give_up_never_surrender[1]

 

 

 

Permalink 2 Comments

Sliding into the finish–NaNoWriMo

November 30, 2015 at 6:14 pm (Authors, Creativity, Random Thoughts, Writing)

It’s November 30th. To many of you, that means you’re finishing NaNoWriMo, be it popping some celebratory beverage because you’ve already hit 50,000 words, or you’re still sprinting like a mother-fucker, aiming for that magic number anytime before 11:59 p.m. tonight. I am cheering you all on, if you wrote one word, or 50,001. More importantly, YOU should be cheering yourself, even if you didn’t get one of these:

nano-2015-winner-badge-large-square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s why–you wrote. No, I’m serious–you wrote. That is something not everybody can or will do, and the fact that you sat down and wrote–one word or 50,001–means you deserve cheers, little certificates of awesomeness and every high-five in the world, so celebrate your writing no matter what your final word count is. And, I want to leave you with one final sentiment I read today (and sorry I didn’t get the author, because this is gold)–if you hit your goal, if you didn’t, keep writing. Your words don’t know what month it is.

Permalink Leave a Comment

What Does *Your* Independence Day Look Like?

July 4, 2014 at 10:35 am (Creativity, Random Thoughts)

It’s the 4th of July and in the states, that means it’s Independence Day, the day our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring our new nation’s independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. I celebrate with the rest of my country and eat hot dogs and watch fireworks, thinking of what this day really means. To many, they would say Freedom.

Okay.

Here’s what I am adding to today. While watching your town’s parade or listening to a Sousa march, or even while at work or spending a Friday night watching your favorite movie if you’re not into celebrating or in a different country, I challenge you all to do this: Declare your freedom.

That’s right. State your independence loud and clear–say you’re not going to be victim to self-doubt, that you will finish that story, that you can do it.

Declare to the world that You Are A Great Writer. Write it down. Scream it out loud. Embroider it on a pillow. Just believe it. Because you are.

Happy Independence Day. ashes_to_ashes_s3_e8_12

Permalink 5 Comments

Wisdom of Bull Durham: Respect the Streak

June 27, 2014 at 8:47 am (Creativity, Random Thoughts, Writing)

I caImagen’t help it. Every time I think or hear the phrase “Respect the streak.” I think of Bull Durham. (Side note: Bull Durham has many life lessons, and I’m sure I’ll address them in the future, but for today, we’re going to stick with what to do with a streak.)

For those of you who have not seen Bull Durham (judgement withheld) or have forgotten this part of it, Crash (Kevin Costner) and Annie (Susan Sarandon) are having a fight about Crash’s mentoring of Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), specifically as it relates to Annie and Nuke’s sexual relationship. This is the gist of that fight:

Image Crash: I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak.

Annie: Oh fine.

Crash: You know why? Because they don’t – -they don’t happen very often.

Annie: Right.

Crash: If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you are! And you should know that!

 

Wise words, Crash. Wise words, indeed. But why I’m bringing this up today is this–I’m on a streak. It started last Friday, so out of the blue I still can’t believe it. Now, part of the wisdom of Respecting the Streak, is a bit of superstition. If you believe you’re writing well for whatever reason, then you are! What I mean by that is I’m not going to say anything more about the streak, because I believe that talking too much about it drains it of its juju and I want to keep on drinking this particular glass of juju. May it never empty.

Respect the streak, people.

Permalink 2 Comments

Inspiration

July 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm (Creativity)

I don’t know that’s it’s necessarily a secret that I’m a So You Think You Can Dance junkie. (I’ve even got a book that was incredibly inspired by this piece.) But yeah, it’s pretty and beautiful and I find new music and it’s so damn fulfilling to my creative well. Case in point–this clip below? That’s how I want to write.

And yes, I’m rocking quite the girl-crush on Sonya Tayeh–why do you ask?

Permalink Leave a Comment