Friday, March 23, 2012

Book In A Week

I'm cleaning out, organizing, sorting, and trying to bring order to my life and my study. I came across this article by Pamela Schiutt from February 1999. I did this challenge once and it worked out rather well. Since I'm having a terrible time sitting myself down to the computer to write, I thought I might try it again and see how productive I can be in a week. Of course, I have to choose a week that isn't already half full, which doesn't happen until after Easter, and then I'll still have to do my shift at the Family History Center and prepare my Laurel lesson, and hope my friend doesn't need a ride to the doctor.
Many of you have already done this, but for those who haven't, this is how it works:
1. You sit yourself down in front of your computer in the morning, or whatever time block you've set aside, and you write. YOU DO NOT GO BACK AND EDIT UNTIL THE WEEK IS UP! Yes, no editing. Your goal is to get your story down on paper (computer). Don't worry that it doesn't get on the page in perfect order. You will be editing.
2. Have your pre-writing done; whether it's a germ of an idea that you want to explore or a detailed outline, know where you are going with the story.
3. Clean your slate for that week. Make no appointments. Alert your family; tell them of your plans and that you're not to be disturbed. Turn off your phone or let the answering machine take messages during the allotted time. If you have household chores that have to be done, you can set a timer. For every hour of writing, do 15 minutes worth of housework while you are plotting the next scene. (You'll be totally amazed at how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes several times a day!)
4. If you're lucky and have no housework or other duties to give yourself a break, then set a timer to go off every hour and take 15 minutes to stretch, do jumping jacks, run in place, run around the block, anything to get the blood circulating.
At the end of your week, if you stuck diligently to the plan (and the computer) you should have your basic story done.
Of all the writers who have done the Book In A Week challenge, they've basically said the same thing. BIAW taught them to turn off the internal editor and to trust their muse. Many participants were amazed by the high quality of their writing. Though they did have to go back and revise, it wasn't as extensive as they'd feared. Some were surprised by the lively voice behind the story, and that it belonged to them! Others were shocked by the page count they racked up.
Whatever your ultimate goal, go for it - and happy writing!

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