Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Friday, January 08, 2016

Writing Challenge 2016

Before the new year started, I wasn’t sure if I’d be writing again, but I sure hoped that I would be. I HAD hoped to start work on revising a novel with another writer (a collaborative project) but we’re not ready to go there yet. Eventually, I started to have a strong feeling I’d be writing a novel on January 1st.

That actually happened. In fact, the novel I started writing – not revising – is one I’d had an idea for for several months before 2016 even got here. The novel is based on true events. At first, I was going to write an article about about something I had come across in my research. Then I decided to write a nonfiction book about it. Like an expose. (Yeah, that reporter in me will never die!) But then, I started to think maybe it would be best to write a novel based on this thing. Maybe I could show just how bad this thing is if I wrote about a fictional person going through it. That might work better. Once I decided to go in this direction, I started having bits and pieces of the story come together. I carried those pieces around in my head for a while there, working on it in the “workshop in my mind.” I let that idea grow and take shape.

Then, on January 1st, I sat down and started writing it.

But this particular novel is being written just a little bit differently than my other novels. In the past, I’ve come across the Stephen King quote to write a page a day, and then at the end of the year, you’ll have a novel. I saw that quote so often that I finally folded my arms and said, “Challenge accepted.”  I could easily write a novel over the course of 12 months. I could easily write a page a day. No prob, Bob! I have actually written a novel in one week, in one month, and even 3 months. So, 12 months? Easy. I could do that! But I wanted to ACTUALLY do that! I wanna be able to say “been there, done that” after the year is over with and I see that quote again.

So, that’s what I’m doing with this novel. I am taking it one page at a time, a day at a time. And so far, it is working out really well.

That is my first Writing Challenge of 2016.

And I have a second one.

Another piece of writerly advice I have come across is to write a short story every week for one year. I thought that was a neat challenge! I have had a ton of ideas for short stories but never actually wrote them. Some ideas I trashed because I thought they were too “unrealistic” to write.

Well, guess what? Today I finished writing that “unrealistic” short story idea. I actually turned that idea into a story. It was not the exact same thing as the original story idea – the ending took an interesting twist that surprised me – but I made it WORK! I wrote it! And it’s done!

I started this second Writing Challenge on Monday, the 4th. I wanted this to run from a Monday-Friday type of thing. So I started on Monday and I finished it today (Friday). Woo-hoo! I am really psyched about it and I think the story turned out pretty well. I am just so glad I wrote it. Yay! I challenged myself to write a short story in a week (well, 5 days) and I did! AWESOME! Here again, I’ve written short stories in one day, so that’s not a HUGE deal for me. But it was a challenge that I set myself to and I was able to do it. Now to plan for the next short story I’ll be writing next week!

So, I have two Writing Challenges for 2016: Write a page of a novel every day of the year (or until it’s done) and write a short story for every week of the year. So far, so good! I hope I can complete them both by the time December 31st rolls around.

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  • At 3:07 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    I'm very excited for you! It's fun to try different things and enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something new! Good luck with this! :)

  • At 1:59 PM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thank you. And thank you for commenting! I am enjoying these challenges. I just started writing the third short story that I am working on for this week and I am on Chapter Seven of the novel. So far, so good! I like challenging myself, especially with the writing, and I look forward to seeing how this turns out.


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