Thursday, September 06, 2007

30-Day Challenge

By Nichole Giles

Remember that great idea you had last year? The one that came to you in the middle of the night and was so brilliant you were certain it would become a bestseller as soon as you wrote it? What happened to that story?

If you’re me, that story is still sitting—in the prewriting stage—on the pages of a notebook. You may have taken the time to enter all the ideas to a document on your computer, but there it stays, still waiting for you to find the time to write it.

I have a lot of great ideas, but no matter how hard I try, it seems like I never have quite enough time to get them all written. The life of a mother is always busy, but a lot of authors are mothers who somehow find the time to make their deadlines.

Last week I was pondering the why of this. Why, for instance, is it possible for a mother of six to crank out four books a year—all while her baby drinks a bottle on her lap? And why am I barely able to finish two full rough drafts in that same amount of time while my kids are all in school?

I don’t know for sure, but I’m thinking the answer comes down to one word. Deadline. The mother with the baby has a deadline, and I don’t. Or didn’t. The solution is simple. I need a deadline too.

As I pondered all this, I happened to pick up a copy of Chris Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.” His solution sounded not only simple, but also challenging and fun. Chris Baty is the founder of the National Novel Writing Month—which commences every November, and challenges participants to write 50,000 words in 30 days. The problem is, November is a rotten month for me. So, as I read it, I decided to take the challenge in September.

I picked an idea and ran with it. The good news is, over the weekend I was able to pass up the 10,000-word mark. The bad news—well, I’m too busy to worry about that. I’ll let you know at the end of the month.

Anyone else up for a challenge?


Keith Fisher said...

good idea but the problem is that September already started. I'm not going to start another new project. I think I'm going to set deadlines for my editing. may-be I'll be able to submit three books at the same time (seperatly of course.)

Nichole Giles said...

Great idea, Keith. You submit those books!


Stephanie Humphreys said...

I love NaNoWriMo. November is a bad month for me since I make most of my Christmas gifts, but I took up the challenge anyway last year. And I did it. By the end of November I had finished the first draft of my first novel. I am looking forward to doing it again this year. Gotta love deadlines.

Nichole Giles said...

Yes, Stephanie, I have decided a deadline is the perfect remedy for me.

Good for you that you did it last year. Good luck this November, I'll be cheering you on.