Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Countdown: A Procrastinator's Motivation

Well, I've set an idiotic goal for myself. And now I'm telling people about the goal, so there's no backing out. I've decided I want to enter my YA romance in the RWA Golden Heart Contest this year. Thing is, I only have about 5K words into it right now, at 6:53 am on August 21st. And entries open in exactly one month.

I've entered the figures on my dollar-store calculator: 2,166.66 words a day for the next 30 days.

Here are the Cons: I work full time. I have a family. I will probably need to eat and sleep at some point. We're also moving in the next month. The finished product will not have a whole lot of time for editing before I enter it.

Here are the Pros: I've cleared it with my boss to use my work computer at lunch to write. I already know how my story is going to go. I have the most awesome critique partner on the planet who said, "Go for it, and send me chapters as you finish them and I will edit/critique and get them back to you quickly." My husband has agreed to give me as much writing time as humanly possible.

So, can this be done? Any tips on how to do it?

I will post weekly to update work count progress.


  1. OMG, Anna! YES! you can do it! I know you're juggling a lot of projects but if you come up with a schedule (and you post it on your fridge and your computer) it becomes real. I'm very visual so I need to see it in order to do it. You have two major advantages: your husband will help you out (this is VERY important) and you have someone who's willing to critique your work. 2166 words a day is a feasible plan as these 2166 can be written at different times of day. Go for it!

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  3. Of course you can do it! I did about 92k in about 40 days. :) Now I get the fun of revising. And of course, while GH may open in am month, no one says your entry has to be there on day one. Entries don't close, if I remember correctly, until somewhere mid November.

    I managed it by writing before work, at lunch, occasionally when things were quiet 'during' work, and a lot of nights after my shrimp went down. A couple of 20k+ word counts didn't hurt either. It was the idea of having a specific deadline (8/15 for me, and I finally nailed down a usable starting point 7/5) that helped the most though.

    I'll be cheering you on, just the same! While I edit my own entry. ::snicker:: It's not competition for you though, since it's para-rom.

  4. Good luck. I think setting a really challenging goal is better than setting an easy goal. The most important thing is that you've got all your support systems in place.

    I think you'll be doing yourself a favor if you set your goal to get the revisions done so you can submit by the end of the contest date. Too many people rush through the writing process and don't leave enough time for revision to really polish the work.

    It sounds like a great goal. Good luck with everything.

  5. Thanks for the support, ladies. Tory--92k in forty days??? You are my hero!

    Husband is already back-tracking on his promise though. This may not be do-able if he does that.

    Melissa, the reason I want to get it close to Sept 21st is because I believe the YA category fills up quickly in that contest. It's basically first come first serve basis to fill the entry slots. At the same time though, turning in rough draft quality work won't do either. I need to find that elusive balance that will get me to the finals.

    Thanks for the tip Claudia. If I do that, my goal will be come real to, ahem, other members of the household as well!

  6. Heh - I love a challenge. I had an opportunity to s/w Christine Feehan a couple months ago at RomCon here in Denver and she says she writes four books a year. I think that includes all editing/etc of her own (not editor's edits) for each in that 3-month period. It took almost a month once I tried to come up with a plot/hero before things gelled. I'd like to get to 3 books a year.

    You can do it!