Posted by: selenafulton | August 17, 2011

The Challenge

Okay, so I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been busy writing. My latest manuscript.

A few of my fellow authors participated in what we called a Fast Draft Challenge. Each of us set a goal of how many pages we would write per day for fourteen days. We made grand stories on where we would send our Internal Editor.

What is an Internal Editor, you ask? It is the voice that will sometimes keep us on page one if you let it. It is the temptation to write and rewrite a sentence, paragraph, page, scene, etc. until it is perfect, never mind you haven’t gotten past that scene in a week, or longer.

I set what I thought was a modest goal. Ten pages a day. I can do that, right? If I succeeded, I’d have 140 new pages, and finish my manuscript. Here’s what I said about my Internal Editor:

My internal editor is a very pesky woman who sticks to me worse than superglue. But I think I’ll send her to a beach house, with no meowing cats, nobody hoping for supper, soft instrumental music piped through a house with a screened-in porch overlooking the beach. She will take walks on the sand, and at night the moon will be big and round and hang low over the water.

It was kind of fun to imagine this Internal Editor walking along the beach in complete solitude, but it was also liberating. I sat down at my computer…and wrote. I found myself able to forge ahead, even when I knew what I wrote was crap because I had given myself permission to let it go, to surge forward, knowing I could fix it later.

Just write.

At the end of each day, we were accountable to each other. We posted how many pages we wrote. Did I make my goal every day? No. Was I alone in not making my goal every day? No. I only accomplished that feat three out of the twelve days I participated.

I cheated and wrote the ending because I was burned out and couldn’t do it any longer. But I did write every day and that was the purpose of the challenge.

Oh, you want to know how many pages I managed to write in twelve days? Eighty six. Was I sequestered in a locked room for those days? No. I may have been able to send my Internal Editor on a vacation, but life still goes on.

But this challenge taught me something about myself. I don’t necessarily need a muse to write. It taught me a new a discipline. It doesn’t really matter if we accomplish our daily goal so much as it mattered we do something.

This discipline doesn’t only apply to the life of a writer, you can apply it to any goal you want to achieve in your life. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you write a book, one word at a time.

To quote Dory in Finding Nemo …Just keep swimming.

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Responses

  1. I can’t wait for the next one. New story, new characters, new everything. Now to just figure out WHERE to write so no one interrupts me…

    86 pages is pretty durn good, Selena.


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