Sunday, November 5, 2006

The 10 Day Challenge

Smoking Status:
Over the past four days I've had a total of 9 cigarettes.
I stopped having my morning 1 or 2 and replaced it with drinking my coffee in my room while doing my millionaire mindwork.Talk about a positive change of habit! I also realized that if I kept up at my current rate, due to the expensive brand I smoke, I would be spending almost $1,000 per year on cigarettes. Now that's enlightening.

Novel Status:
The word count is actually coming down now, due to tightening the manuscript during the final polish. I'm on page 110 of 160 and heading for home...

On the Reading Pile:
After reading the fabulous On Writing by Steven King, I was encouraged to read more fiction. I've been reading an unusual amount of non-fiction over the past few years (unusual for me, that is). I've gone through Freakonomics (recommend), The Tipping Point (recommend), Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (recommend), Screenwriting: the Sequence Approach (recommend for screenwriters), and more.

Madame Bovary - Not my choice. The student I'm tutoring has to write a paper on it, and since I haven't read it in 18 years, I'm reading it again. The writing is lovely, but I find the detail a bit tedious.

Angela's Ashes - Yes, technically it's an autobiography and therefore non-fiction. But it is a narrative story. I may not finish it, though. It's starting to be repetative. Yes, I get that the family is tragically poor and the father drinks all the money away and the kids are sick and starving and living in Limerick sucks... I love the way he writes dialogue. I just feel like I'm wading through mud.

Plus I'm reading a script for a client. (A repeat customer - woo-hoo!)

The 10 Day Challenge - What's it all about?

I do a 10 Day Challenge of some sort 4 or 5 times a year. It's a great way to get started on a project or push through to the end of a project, kill writer's block, and create good habits. It's completely personal. There are no rules except that you have to complete the assignment every day for 10 days IN A ROW. If you miss a day, you have to start over.

Make the challenge something that's doable, winnable and within your control (as they say in The Mastery). If you want to work on a novel, maybe the challenge is to write 3 pages a day, or 2 pages a day, or even 1 page a day. Whatever you can do. In the past, Tod and I challenged each other to write a short script per day for 10 days. Some were dumb. But there are a few that have become my favourite short scripts. The last challenge I wrote 500 words a day on my novel (after I discovered that 5 pages of writing a novel takes a lot longer than 5 pages of writing a screenplay).

It doesn't have to be about writing, either. Or any kind of art. It could be to read a book for 1/2 hour a day. Take a walk every day. Wake up at 6 AM every day. Whatever it is you want to do.

I started my current challenge on Monday. My goal is to query one agent a day for 10 days. I had already queried one agent before I started and I've added three more. I've listed them below with their responses and response times in case you're curious. The response time is taken from the day I sent my query to the final result. Many agents take queries via e-mail now, which speeds up the response time. Works for me!

agent - action/response - result - response time

Kristin Nelson (Nelson Literary Agency) - asked for partial - "not a match" - 10 days

Michelle Andelman (Andrea Brown Literary Agency) - sent partial - "not for her but recommended two other agents and called my writing "lovely" - 2 days

Jen Jaeger (Andrea Brown (as per Michelle's referral)) - sent partial - waiting for response

Amy Tipton (Peter Rubie Literary Agency) - sent query - waiting for response

So, as per my challenge, there will be 7 more names on this list in a week!

Now... are you up for it? Sure you are! Let us know what your 10 day challenge is.

1 comment:

WriterForHire said...

thank you! your 10 day challenge is a great idea. I made my writing students take this on. some made it and others didn't. and the ones who didn't were inspired by the ones who did, so they want an opportunity to do it again. i had one student who wrote a short story PER DAY for 10 days.