Sunday, August 01, 2010

july writing challenge recap

Well, that didn't go as planned. If you recall, my July Writing Challenge read as follows:
  • Write 500 words OR revise for 30 minutes, six days a week. 
  • Submit one formerly unsubmitted piece to 5 different journals. 
  • Find one contest to enter. 
  • Finish a draft of something new. It doesn't have to be a good draft. First drafts rarely are.
And here's how I did:
  • Six days a week would have come out to 25 days total. Days I actually wrote or edited? 13. I could blame it on the new puppy, which was unexpected, unplanned for, and has certainly chewed up a lot of my time (not to mention my socks, my chair, and anything else he can get his teeth on) but even before we got Calvin I was starting to slip. I'm annoyed that I can't seem to make writing a priority, and am resolved to try again, again. FAIL.
  • While I didn't submit anything this month, I DID heavily revise a piece so much so that I now consider it submission worthy. We'll call this one HALFSIES.
  • I am going to enter the Third Annual Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose. The deadline is August 31st, and I am close to finishing my submission. WIN!
  • I finished a new draft. I wasn't great, but it wasn't awful, which is more than I can say for some other first drafts. WIN!
Overall, not terrible, but not great. It does seem tangible goals work better for me, such as "finish one draft" or "submit to one contest," rather than "write whatever for this amount of time." And really, it's the product I'm after, the tangible work that I can then submit, revise, and submit again. I will keep this in mind as I craft my goals for August, which I'll post this week. Here's a hint - they will involve MFA applications. Yes, it's that time of the year again, which means we're going to need a lot of gin.

Did you join in the writing challenge, or have a challenge of your own? How did it go? Any tips on how I can make mine go better this time around?


  1. I think writing for 13 days is a huge accomplishment. AND two wins!


  2. At this point, having a moment of peace to even sit here and write this comment is a challenge for me, so I count this as a WIN! Which means I'm pretty much blown away by how much you manage to accomplish in just a month's time. Way to go!

  3. Writing is a tricky art so I think you did fantastically in July! I joined you and managed to accomplish all of my writing goals for the month, except the one that I crossed off the list after the first week because of other issues (including co-author collaboration or lack thereof). I'm planning on posting my writing goals for this month on Tuesday.

    In the meantime, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you for the MFA applications and hoping you have the necessary quantities of gin.

  4. Thanks, friends! I guess I didn't too badly this month, and Calvin is at least a partly legitimate excuse. Onward to August!

  5. I got to your blog from one of your comments on Yes and Yes. I like you blog title and subtitle. :) I also like that you have writing goals. Don't get discouraged.

  6. I wish I found your blog DURING July so I could have tried this challenge! I think I still will though.

  7. You know, I have writing goals for the *whole year* on my blog, and what do you know, they're pretty hard to stick to. I like your idea of monthly goals so much I might just adopt it for myself!

    Where do you get calls for submissions for writing? I'm thinking the prose equivalent of Art Deadlines List.

  8. Jaclyn - there is a website called Duotrope that has tons of journals in their database. Mostly I just troll the websites of journals I've heard of or admire and check out their guidelines. I wrote a pretty long post about submitting to journals - you can read it here:

    And I definitely recommend monthly goals. Planning a year at once would be hard for me, since so much can change in such a short amount of time!