100 New

05 Oct

I belong to a writer’s group RWA, Romance Writers of America, and the local Idaho chapter of that group. One of the ways that we encourage each other is to suggest a writing challenge for a month. 100 words per day for 30 days. Simple and easy.

In August, one of our members suggested such a challenge. I signed up. I knew that August would be a busy month, and I hoped this would keep me on track.

In my estimation, I failed miserably.

My family had been a long distance one since February with my husband working out of state. He arrived home shortly before August began and we were just beginning to come to terms with being a family again. My in-laws arrived in town and my father-in-law’s health went downhill and he wound up in the hospital for a week. That hospital was over an hour’s drive away. My sister and her two children came to visit for the entire month and the cousins decided they HAD to play together every day. Two very close friends came for extended visits from out of town. School started at the end of August and school supplies as well as clothes for my growing daughters had to be bought.

I got up diligently for the first ten days at six to write. After that I waved the white flag and told myself on some days to simply breathe. I didn’t write 2000 words that month.

But my chapter mates did. Some while dealing with as much of that “life stuff” if not a lot more than myself.

Less than a month later our own wonderful Mary Vine suggested another 100 NEW challenge.

I pondered. I dithered. I agreed.

At the same time, the monthly edition of the Romance Writers Report, the monthly RWA magazine, arrived in the mail. This month a large section is dedicated to balance in a writer’s life, challenging oneself and setting goals.

It reminded me again of the entire point of the 100 NEW words per day goal. Even if we can’t always meet them at one point, we keep trying. It’s what we do as writers.

The goal is not to merely challenge ourselves, but to help start and maintain a habit of writing that we can carve out of our day to day lives. To remind us that as solitary as writing is, we are not alone. To take that empty page and turn it into something doable. To break down that 100,000 word goal into something manageable. To take our novel and give it a place to start.

Because that is what we want to do. Despite, or sometimes because of, what happens in our lives, we want to write. To put our stories down on paper, and give them voices. We are the gardeners, the dreamers, and the authors of our books.

And we all have to start somewhere. Where do you start? How do you create?


Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Idaho


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17 responses to “100 New

  1. Janis McCurry

    October 5, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    I always start in my head. While I’m at home, work, at the movies. When I’m driving, walking, washing dishes. Before a word hits the page, I’m writing in my head. I rewrite how I want the words to go down many times in my head before I actually type them in the document. I’ve been told I write fairly clean, perhaps because of my brain work. Perhaps because fellow writers are very kind. πŸ™‚

    • Meredith Conner

      October 5, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      Or perhaps because you’re just so good Janis! πŸ™‚

  2. Liz Fredericks

    October 5, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    I’ll start by saying there’s so much to love about this post. ‘I pondered. I dithered. I agreed.’ or ‘. . . . gardeners, dreamers, authors’ . It’s not only 100 new words, but how daily practice hones our work. Janis is correct about those words skittering around in our heads before they even hit the paper. I’ve been remiss during the last few days letting life get in the way of writing rather than spark same. Very motivational, Meredith!! Thank you

    • Meredith Conner

      October 5, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      Life happens. Stuff happens. Sometimes you can’t do it all and have to focus on other things that are more important. Health issues, family issues, etc. . . . The wonderful thing about the 100 NEW challenge is that even if you can’t do it one time, there will be another and another and another when you can. πŸ™‚

  3. Peggy Staggs

    October 5, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    I have to get everything down on paper. If I don’t, those little sparks tend to drift off like naughty fireflies. I’m always grabbing a pen and writing something down. Snatches of dialogue, odd expressions, and anything that hits me. Slips of paper occupy the most interesting places in my house. When I rediscover them I think, β€œOh, that’s a good idea.” And off goes the story.

    • Meredith Conner

      October 5, 2011 at 11:47 AM

      Stickies are my BFFs. I have them all over my computer, in the kitchen drawer and the extra sticky ones for my car. When I’ve misplaced one and run into again, I’m just like you Peggy, it’s like I’ve run into a friend I haven’t seen in ages and off we go πŸ™‚

  4. Amanda Bonilla

    October 5, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    I love the 100 word challenge. Knowing that my chapter mates will be posting their progress each day really motivates me to plant my butt in the chair and get some wordage in!

    • Meredith Conner

      October 5, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      It’s nice isn’t it? It’s also nice to know that we’re not alone. The big picture narrows into a comfortable size.

  5. ramblingsfromtheleft

    October 5, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Meredith, you keep challenging yourself and believe in what you do. Along with all the responsibilities of everything else in your life, this will make you “complete.” Great post and wonderful inspiration … thanks πŸ™‚

    • Meredith Conner

      October 5, 2011 at 7:22 PM

      Thank you. There are times when everything can seem too much. And times when we can break it down into 100 words per day and make it work.

  6. Clarissa Southwick

    October 5, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Great post, Meredith. I think we all feel this way. There are days when it seems like we just can’t get a moment to write. I love first drafts and fly right through them, but I wish somebody would come up with a NEW for revisions. I think revisions are hard because you’re constantly having to backpedal. You never get that satisfaction of being able to count how much you’ve done.

    • Meredith Conner

      October 5, 2011 at 7:25 PM

      That’s true Clarissa. 100 new words can add up to 100, 000, but changing and editing 100 words here or there may not seem like much. That’s why I really enjoyed Mary’s challenge for October – she isn’t counting new but all of those hard, fought for edits as well.

  7. Mary Vine

    October 5, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    I couldn’t wait to read this blog post as soon as I saw it listed on my email account! NEW/100 is a major reason I finished my last book, and it looks like it will help me finish my current wip. Thanks for the post, Meredith.

    • Meredith Conner

      October 5, 2011 at 7:28 PM

      Thank you Mary! I wouldn’t have written this post without you! I couldn’t write what I wanted to in August. Things have changed now and I am very hopeful for October – I’ve a deadline set for myself of Oct 19 to finish my WIP and 100 NEW is going to get me there!!

  8. Lynn Mapp

    October 5, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    I start when I go to bed. I’ll think about the scene I need to write while I drift off to sleep. When everything is working correctly, the necessary elements will come together.

  9. Meredith Conner

    October 6, 2011 at 7:20 AM

    That’s how I put myself to bed every night too Lynn πŸ™‚


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