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Monday, February 28, 2011


If you’ve been looking for a challenge to get your writing in gear, you’ve come to the right place! Through the month of March we will be cheering each other on to meet challenging goals with our writing.

Also, this year we've decided to open up the challenge to Readers, Bloggers, and Illustrators. Anyone who wants to challenge themselves regarding books and win prizes for it!

Today is goal-setting day! (But if you don't make it here on the first day, not to worry. Feel free to add your writing goals here any time during the month of March).

March Madness officially begins tomorrow, and this is how it will work.

1. You set a goal here (anything writing, reading, blogging, or otherwise book related). It can be as small and simple of a goal as turning off your Internet while you write during the month of March. Or it can be as large as writing or revising an entire book.
2. You check in daily (Mon.-Fri.) at our check-in points. Let us know how you're doing with your goal. Share your victories and struggles. Encourage others. The key is support and camaraderie.
3. We give you prizes just for stopping by and letting us know how you're doing and for encouraging others!

Sounds easy and fun, right?! The following will be the check-in points for the month of March. We plan to have check-in posts up and running by 9AM PST (noon EST) each day.

Mondays, come right on back here to visit yours truly -
Tuesdays, my fab critique partner, Shana Silver, will host the check-in -
Wednesdays, my good writer friend, Angelina Hansen, who lives closer to me than any other writer will host -
Thursdays, another good writer friend and conference buddy, Shari Green, will host  -
Fridays, we'll show you that boys write too! I know, hard to believe, but true. Craig is also an awesome crit partner of mine! -

The prizes! We have some truly awesome prizes up for grabs this year! If you've followed my blog, you know about My Bookshelf Giveaways. I'll be opening up two of my bookshelves for people to choose something from throughout the month, starting today! I'll be giving away a book from my shelves to one person who checks in here with their goals within the next 24 hours!

Some other goodies that are up for grabs (these are in no particular order and have been donated by my generous co-bloggers for this event!):

A book of your choice (up to $15)  from The Book Depository! (for international winners, as long as they ship to your country)
An ARC of REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly! (US only)
A fifty-page manuscript critique! (again, open to international winners!)
A hardcover copy of RADIANT SHADOWS by Melissa Marr!(US only)
An ARC of THE EXILED QUEEN by Cinda Williams Chima (US only)
A $20 Barnes & Noble gift card!
A copy of DELIRIUM (ARC) by Lauren Oliver! (Canada/US only)

And we MAY still add more prizes along the way!

Here are my goals for the month of March: Get up half an hour earlier and write first thing each day. Turn off the Internet for morning writing. Finish my revision of FINDING HOPE (I'm about 10 chapters in right now) and send it off to critique partners. Write a synopsis for the book. Complete my next revision for my editor on APPETITE FOR BEAUTY. 


Don't forget to leave your goal(s) in the comments below, and head on over to tomorrow for your first check-in! Remember, the more you check-in and encourage others, the better chance you have of winning some great prizes!


  1. Sooo excited about this, Denise! MY goal for March is 20K new words on my new YA WIP. I'll be somewhere in the 8K range after today, so that will put me into the midlands!

    Thanks for hosting this! Looking forward to checking in.

  2. Very excited! I'm trying to complete the 1st draft of my YA WIP. I'm a little stuck, so I plan on rearranging the order of the 1st half so that I can complete the second half. Thanks for motivating me! :)

  3. Glad to join all of you! I'm hoping to get a first draft down in March for my new YA. But even half the draft would be great.

  4. I'm with Kiperoo - 20K new words on my YA WIP - as of this am I'm at about 10.5K so I'm shooting for 30K by end of March

  5. Thanks for opening this up to bloggers!

    My goals are here - Manga Maniac Cafe

    I have a lot to get done!

  6. This is awesome! I am planning to revise my YA manuscript and I can def. use this boost to get it done. Thanks!

  7. I'm in! I vow to work on my YA novel daily (any word count is fine, as long as it's daily) and to read daily as well. Good luck to each of you!

  8. Hooray for March Madness! My goal is to get back to my YA historical fiction WIP. It's slow going, so a reasonable goal is 10,000 words in March. Best wishes everyone!

  9. My goal is to write at least a page of my WIP a day. Annnnnnnnnnnnd GO!

  10. Hey, you know what I need in my writing life? MORE PRESSURE!

    I'll sign up. 20,000 words in my WIP, a YA future/dystopian called Children of Peace. I think it's about 7,000 words now.


  11. I plan on reading at least 8 books or more:
    -2 books a week

    I also want to plan my next YA project by focusing on a specific aspect each week:
    -week1: plot
    -week 2: characters
    -week 3: setting
    -week4: subplots

  12. Thanks for doing this, Denise. Here are my March goals, scattered as usual.

    - Edit all submitted chapters of the formative assessment book (not fiction, but it has to be done!)

    - Revise The Ice Castle following feedback from editor.

    - Outline plot for Lexicon book #3

    - At least 15 blog posts.

  13. One of the best parts of living on the West Coast is that I get to wake up to so much excitement already brewing on here! I'm SO EXCITED to see you all here, and I'm thrilled that we have some bloggers and readers along with us too!

    There are some hefty goals in here! Congratulations, everybody, for pushing yourselves!!

  14. YAY for March Madness!! My goal is to revise at least a chapter a day of my YA.

    If I get finished early (28 chapters in the book), I'll either revise some more or start a new novel. =)

  15. Okay. I'm in.

    My goal:

    Write/revise for one hour every single weekday in March. I'm working on my consistency, which is as far away from consistent as you can get.

    So you'd all better keep me in line. I need a consistent taskmaster. (He he, pun totally intended.) ;)

  16. I'm rewriting one book and I'd like to write at least another 10k on another book. Thanks for the madness :)

  17. Great motivator!

    My overall goal is to rewrite a YA so that it's in good enough shape to send to my agent. That means:

    - finish current draft (60 pgs left)
    - share chapters with CPs
    - do a cover-2-cover polish

    Also, I plan to stay off the net from 9am-1pm every weekday. (This goal will be the hardest!)


  18. This sounds fun, I'm in!

    My WIP is pretty much done (back from betas and all that jazz), so it's time for agent research. I want to polish my query, find 10 names, and start sending out.

    As for reading, I'm going to try for eight books this month.

    Of course, my goals depend entirely on me actually getting up when my alarm goes off. That's my first goal :)

  19. After a conference this weekend, one of my critique buddies gave me a deadline for finishing and polishing my (6th, ugh) rewrite of my YA novel. June 1! So I need to write at least 20,000 words in March to get on the right track to accomplishing this. I'm working from a full scene-by-scene outline for the first time ever, and the drafting has been a lot less plodding this time than in the past.

    Thanks for the challenge!

  20. Great goals everyone! And what a great turn out!!!

    My goal is to complete the revision (second draft) of my YA WIP to get it critique partner ready. I have 2/3 left to revise.

    Ideally I'd like to revise a chapter per day but the feasibility of that will depend on how extensive of revisions each chapter needs.

  21. Hey, great challenge! I'm excited to develop better reading and blogging habits. I've actually got the reading part down pat, it's the timely blogging i need to work on. Here are my goals for the month
    1. Read at least 8 books.
    2. Complete the Rachel K. Vincent Shifters Reading Challenge.
    3. Write the review for whatever books I read the same day I finish the book! This doesn't necessarily mean I'll post the review he same day, but writing it immediately will help
    4. Read at least 2 dystopian books for Dystopia Challenge being hosted by Bookish Ardour.

    Looking forward to check-ins!

    Molly from

  22. Ooh, this looks like so much fun!

    Okay, my personal March goal-
    Finish revision of chapters 11-22 on my most polished ms.

    Tomorrow, I have six solid hours all to myself. Should be able to spend them all with Chapter 11 and a cup of coffee!

  23. Yay! I love challenges! I hope I can remember to check in every day (I don't have internet at home, so I have to do it at work).

    Anyway, I have two goals.
    1) Finish my revision of one book (about four chapters to go)
    2) Finish the draft of another (about 40k more words)

    I'm so excited! :)

  24. I'm in for writing 20K over the course of the month.

  25. I want to be ready to send my first query letter April 1st. (Ooh, maybe April 2nd.) So for me that means revising based on some beta comments that should be incoming in the next week or two, finishing up final polishing of my MG manuscript, perfecting the query letter and finishing up agent research.

  26. I want to finish a novella I started last month and get it in shape for my critique partners.

    I also need to do more preparation work for the sequel to a book currently on submission, just in case it sells. ;)

  27. This is such a great idea! I am stuck somewhere in the middle of my YA WIP. My goal is to power through to the end, even it if means leaving holes that I'll have to come back to later. I'm going for 10,000 - 15,000 words.

    To add to the challenge, I'll be out of town for a week in mid-March and doubt I'll get much writing done. But I'm game to give this a try!

  28. This is perfect timing. My goal is to turn off the internet while I'm writing and to write at least eight hours a week. I will get through this last revision of my novel and have a query ready to go on March 31.

    Looking forward to cheering each other on!

  29. Woo yay! I've been thinking a lot about my writing goals lately.

    GOALS: Right now I'm working on a split-POV novel and one goal for this month is to rewrite the story that happens in one POV (Zooey's story). I'm thinking this will hopefully end up about 30k words, but it could be as low as 22k realistically. My second goal is to keep a daily word count log and write 10,000 words a week. This is a big goal for me as most writing days I tend to get about 1000 words, but not much more.

    so excited!!

  30. There’s so much I’d like to do and there’s so much I don’t do because I’m a lazy tart. But even so, whatever happens and whatever doesn’t, in March I’m gonna:
    1. Keep the schedule of my blog (5 posts a week)
    2. Research my historic novel about Northern Ireland and come up with an outline of 5 notebook-pages
    3. Go to at least to one writers’ meeting
    4. Continue my lovely novel about 4 friends because I just love those characters – 15 notebook-pages a week
    5. Keep reading, commenting, enjoying the craic and having fun every day

    Go Madders! (Cause we can even create stupid words if we want!)

  31. I'm in! I'm determined to finish my draft this month and I swear I'll write first thing in the a.m.!

  32. Here I come, Denise... dragging my heels a little, but determined to participate.

    I have two projects on the go (revising one novel and beginning work on another) but completing both will take more than a month. Realistically, I think my March Madness goal should be to complete the revision. It was a shaky first draft so requires significant work. To that I'll add reading and creating a review for one book received today from its publisher for that purpose.

    Those may not seem like ambitious goals, but I'll be happy if I can meet them.

  33. Yay! This is just what I needed!

    I'm wondering if it would be totally ridiculous to try to be done with my revision by the end of March? I'm moving sooo sloooowly. But this might light a fire under my butt. So I'm using that as my goal.

  34. Thanks for organizing this! Community always helps when trying to set habits and reach goals. My goal feels small compared to what others are doing, but I really want to set a better writing habit, also I'm trying to participate in the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers blog.

    My writing goals for March:
    1. write a slice of life story every day (at least 20 minutes of writing minimum)
    2. find a story to tell

  35. The goals this month :


    1) Finish switching my middle grade novel to third person
    2) Take a peek at my YA novel, rewrite the first chapters into third see what I think
    3)research then query five agents for latest picture book
    4)read and comment on the blogs I follow, carry on building readership for Oh MG YA Canada

    Work on the above 3 days/nights per week

    1) two books per week (at least) to booktalk to my bookclub kids (middle grade and teen)

    Read everyday

    1) reading and commenting on blogs daily
    2) posting daily writing reads
    3)promoting Oh MG YA Canada interviews, giveaways-past and present.

    Have to work the above everyday.

    Need to organize this a bit better but it is a start! Thanks for getting us going, Denise, good luck with your goals and same to everyone participating!



  36. Here it is, in print, in public:
    1. Thumbnails for the full ms of my graphic novel
    2. Pencils for the first 30 pages of same
    3. Two iPad book reviews each week

    The toughest thing will be checking in daily, but books are great motivators.

  37. This sounds like a lot of fun!
    My goal is to write 5 days a week, 1,000 words a sitting to get to
    20K in my current WIP.

  38. Wow! What great idea. I would love to join evryone. My goal for March is to write one blog post per week, write 2 chapters of my third novel in a travel adveture series, Amanda in England - The Missing Novel and submitt at least one travel article. There - I wrote it down and the whole world can see it so now I have to do it!
    Good Luck to all my fellow writers.
    Darlene Foster

  39. Thanks, Denise. I always love challenging myself!

    Here are my March goals:
    1. Finish mild revisions/polishing of Mom Wars and get it out to a few amazing betas.
    2. Revise at least three picture books.
    3. Work on my next From The Mixed-Up Files post.
    4. Blog at least 2 - 3 times.
    5. Dig into My Sister is NOT Human first round of revisions (and hopefully have time to tackle at least 20 - 40 pages).
    6. Write and revise a synopsis for Mom Wars.
    7. Apply for the SCBWI WIP Grant.
    8. Work in feedback from betas, go back through Mom Wars several times, and hopefully have it ready to submit by the end of the month.

  40. Hi Denise, I heard about *March Madness* via Mindy on FB and I think it's a fantastic idea! I'd love to join in! As a writer/illustrator, here are my publishing goals for March:
    1. Finish 3 first draft PB mss, 2. Finish a painting to sub w/ my poem and submit to a certain mag, 3. Create 3-6 new illos for a "new" portfolio...
    I think those goals (on top of my current work and other commitments) should keep me pretty busy and focused... ;-)! Good luck to everyone!

  41. WOW!!! This is awesome, you guys! I wish I could reply to you each individually, but Blogger doesn't make that terribly easy.

    But let me just say I'm so terribly impressed by all of your goals! I love how specific some of you are - it's given me great ideas for expanding my own goals - and how pretty much everyone on here is reaching for more.

    I believe we'll have a lot of momentum between us this month, friends!

  42. Thanks for organizing this, Denise! I heard about March Madness from Mindy on Facebook and seeing I completely bolo’ed JoNoWriMo this past fall I’m hoping that this will be just the kick in the pants that I need to plunk BIC and write.

    For some reason my writing during 2010 trickled to a handful of short story and poetry revisions with only one new PB manuscript written all year, which is so not like me.

    No, it was not because of a lack of ideas, far from it… my notebook is crammed full of ideas, so much so that it is bursting at the seams. Actually, it was because I procrastinated like mad… I even used housework as an excuse, and that is very strange because dust bunnies are my friends : )

    My March Madness Goals:

    First of all, to keep up with all of my critiques and mail them out on time.

    Next, revise the PB’s that were sent out to be critiqued the last two months, spit-polishing them to a shine.

    And finally, come hell or high water, finish writing the last three chapters of my MG, NED, and then begin at the beginning and give the complete manuscript a thorough shakedown!!

  43. Wow! So many great posts. And here I am, late as always. As the little Belgian detective says, I would be late to my own funeral (though I'm going to try to be as late to that appointment as possible!) I'm excited to be working with such enthusiastic people!

    My goals for MM:

    Word count: My goal is a minimum of 30,000 words, but GOOD words. In the past, when I've written quick first drafts, they've been more shallow than I'd like, and needed a ton of work. For MM, I'm going to write and rework as I go. Even if I have to cut or rework 3/4 of it later.

    Frequency: Write every day. And I'm not talking blogging, emails, plotting here. Every day, with a focus on the novel. These first 7 days are going to be the hardest, as I have a lot going on at work. That will force me to really start out pushing myself, and hopefully give me momentum for the rest of the month.

    Good luck, everyone!!!

  44. Looking forward to see how everyone does.

    As a reader my goal is to catch up on some of the series I have sitting on my TBR shelf.

  45. I am making March about finishing the rewrites on my YA Fantasy WIP, first and foremost. An extra goal will be to do edits on that so that the entire thing is ready to send to my beta group. I am ready to be done.

    My other writing goal will be to write and submit a short story and possibly some poems, too, for a writing contest I just learned I qualify for.

    Finally, my TBR shelf sags under the weight of unread books, and I would also like to chip away at it, but writing is still first.

    Thanks for doing this challenge!

  46. I need to get back on a schedule with my blogs and get my main website up an running after a hacker attack. Anything above and beyond that will be gravy.

  47. I am here because before receiving a link to your blog late last night, I had already decided that March was going to be the month that I was going to do all the things I have been talking about doing for quite sometime now. So for goal setting, I have taken March Madness to a whole new level.

    1) Start those blogs you've only just been talking about.

    2) Work on writing. All those stories deserve a home on paper. At least get the ideas down, then pick one and WORK on it.

    3) Keep in touch with those family members you've been promising to send letters and pictures to.

    SO if I am not to late, these are my goals for the month. April is Script Frenzy, then the hounds will be let loose. See you at the check in.

  48. Okay...I'm in! Let's see...

    1. write at least 20k words (and hope to finish)
    2. dance on the edge of my sanity with fun people (even if they do exist only in my head...)
    3. stay inspired by all these awesome people!

    Thanks for giving us a great kick in the pants! Love it!

  49. My goal is to catch up on all of the books that have been collecting dust on my TBR shelf

  50. I love motivational contests! My goal for March is to get through at least 30 pages of revision on my WIP and read at least 6 YA books.

    Good luck everyone!

  51. Isabella Louise AndersonMarch 1, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    My goal is to write at least 5,000 words a day AND to have my book finished my March 18th, my 30th birthday!

  52. Let's goals are to:
    -Finalize revisions to send to agent
    -write 20k of my ghostwriting series
    -settle on idea for next book

  53. A goal as small as turn off my internet for a WHOLE month??? You might as well tell me to stop fueling up in the morning with my Jack Daniels! Quick pass me the bottle! I feel dizzy... swirling, swirling. no internet.... my heart is pounding... make it stop... AHHHHHH!

  54. I just read about March Madness over on Shana's blog so I'm a day late for goal setting, but still jumping on in.

    My March goal is to write the remaining scenes leading up to the first black moment in my WIP.

  55. Awesome! This is just what I need to finish several projects.

    1. Finish first draft of romantic paranorma.
    2. Finish second draft of YA fantasy.
    3. Last read of historical MG before subbing.
    4. Polish queries.
    5. Research agents.
    6. Toss old note papers in the trash and start new ones.

    7. Brainstorm a new novel that is begging to be written.
    8. Send out new PB subs
    9. Write a new picture book.
    10. Buy some chocolate, a candle and turn up the music.

  56. It's so nice to have a kick in the pants like this.

    My goals are:
    1. Write a synopsis and 1200 words for my new novel and submit it to a contest whose deadline is this month.
    2. Write 5K per week on my current WIP.
    3. Continue to blog about free stuff for writers every day.


  57. OH man, I'm a little late but so excited to have some accountability in getting back into the writing habit and meet some new writing friends!

    My goals will have to be a bit more fluid than I like because I am currently overdue with baby #5 but I'm still game to try.

    1. Read and review one book.

    2. Sit and write on my current WIP a minimum of 2 days a week (oh it feels so small).

    3. Complete and submit 1500 wds from my current WIP to a contest due March 9

  58. My goal is to complete an outline for new picture book and finish one new piece for my illustration portfolio'

  59. My goal is to add 10,000 words to my YA WIP and to work my way towards outlining and trying out writing a picture book.
    I have a little over 20k on my YA WIP right now, but I'm stalling out a little bit. Part of it is making the storyline credible and part of it is my complete lack of description, etc.
    I can do this!
    Thanks for presenting the challenge!

  60. Yay goals! And goals with prizes! A few friends and I get together weekly for our Goal-Makers group and keep each other on task--only with us, instead of prizes, our main instigator is punishment: if you don't meet your goals, you have to buy everyone else a book (or In-N-Out). So I guess if you make all your goals and someone else doesn't, there *is* a prize...but having to pay cash money for being lazy is NO FUN and keeps me on task.

    So sign me up! I love accountability!

    My goal (singular; allegedly doable):

    Finish this revision/rewrite and have my WIP ready to let people read by April 1st. Real people. People with eyes.

  61. Sorry I am late! I just found out about this. Wow, boy did I need this. My life is slowly pushing over my writing and I have been trying to get back in the swing of things. My March goal is to do research on my new YA novel, write an outline and get 10,000 words written! I hope I haven't put too much on my plate! As I am sure many others are but my goal must be balanced with juggling my family responsibilities. I better get started, I have some catching up to do. So good luck to all.


  62. How can it be March 4 already!!! Zoot! I much catch up... My goal is to do at least one post on my blog every day and to settle on ONE story idea, not the three in my head, outline, and write. Maybe 5,000 words?