02 May

Writing Challenges as Mindful Writing

Posted in Mindful Writing, Process, Story A Day

Writing challenges are a great way to practice mindful writing.  I’ve talked about mindful writing in the past, and the idea is to be fully present in your writing and in the moment.  The question is, how do you do that when you’re doing a challenge?  If you’re pushing to write a whole novel in a month or a different story every day, you don’t have time to be mindful, you just have to cram in as much writing as you can.  Right?  Believe it or not, challenges like StoryADay and NaNoWriMo are actually great exercises in mindful writing.

Here’s why:

1.  You have to practice.  When you do a challenge like this, you’re reinforcing the daily practice of writing.  You’re showing up at the page every day and that’s the first step of mindful writing.

2.  You have to be present.  If you’re writing a story every day or trying to finish a novel, you can’t allow yourself to be distracted by other ideas or projects.  You need to focus all your energy on the project at hand.  This is great practice for mindful writing because if a new and sparkly idea comes up, you have to practice setting it aside so you can work on the current story.

3.  You have to bounce back.  If you miss a day or slip up during the challenge, you have to bounce back and keep writing.  You don’t have time to mope or beat yourself up for “failing” the challenge; you just have to write the next story.  This forces you to set aside those judging thoughts and go back to writing.

Remember: Mindful writing is about being fully present in that moment and in that writing project.  That means noticing when your inner critic is trying to barge in and letting those thoughts go.  It also means bringing yourself back to that project when your thoughts or ideas start to wander.

Are there any challenges you’re facing in your writing?  Is there a way you can use the experience to practice mindful writing?


01 May

Story A Day

Posted in DIY MFA, Story A Day, Writing Challenge

I was recently interviewed by Julie Duffy of StoryADay and the interview is posted at StoryADay.org.  Squee!  Please check it out and share your thoughts so Julie gets lots of comments on it!

As we embark on our Writing Marathon today, I wanted to mention StoryADay, which is an awesome challenge that starts… today!

StoryADay is sort of like the short story version of NaNoWriMo, except instead of writing a novel in one month, it’s all about short stories.  The idea is you write and finish one short story every day for the month of May.  Julie’s set up a fantastic site where you can connect with other writers doing the challenge and post stories as you write them.  I did StoryADay last year and it was great fun.  Didn’t win, but that’s not really the point… the point of the challenge is to rekindle that love for writing and it definitely did that.

So if any of you are wondering what to do after your DIY MFA time in April, I recommend checking out StoryADay and trying out the challenge.


12 Jun


Posted in Story A Day

This weekend, the Story A Day community is celebrating StoryFest.  Come check out some of the stories written during the Story A Day challenge.

I’d also like to extend major kudos to all the writers who completed a story a day.  Write on!

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19 May

Story A Day Challenge Weekly Update: Part 3

Posted in Story A Day, Writing Challenge

Getting back into my story a day routine has been more challenging than I anticipated.  Just as writing often leads more writing, not-writing simply perpetuates the not-writing cycle.  Last week I wrote an update about the things that help me get my daily writing done.  Today I will discuss the things that are not helpful.

In order to protect my daily writing, I will not…

  • …allow one false start to sabotage the rest of the writing day or week.
  • …gripe or complain about writing.  I’m doing what I love; there is nothing to complain about.
  • …rationalize or make excuses for not writing.  Excuses take up energy that could be poured onto the page.
  • …procrastinate.

And if I do have a bad writing day I will…

  • …acknowledge and move on.  I will not mentally flog myself until every ounce of creativity has been beaten from my brain.

After all, the point of this challenge is to jump-start my writing and in that regard, I’ve already made some progress.

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