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Monday, March 14, 2011

MARCH MADNESS Check-In Day 14!

I'm thrilled to hear of all the great progress going on! Aside from the comments, I've received several emails telling me of more personal victories or areas people really didn't think they could overcome. I'm blown away and terribly thankful that this has been so helpful for so many people!

One participant told me that March Madness was so helpful for her last year that she wanted to give something back this year. Aside from all the wonderful prizes we have up for grabs already, Joan Stradling is offering a custom-made bookmark to one random winner (open internationally!) who participates throughout March Madness. She can make it with almost any color or charm of your choosing, and she sent me a few sample pictures, including her own bookmark she made for LOSING FAITH!

Aren't they gorgeous?! If you didn't already have enough reason to remember to check-in, now you do!

Onto this week's progress....

If you're anything like me, when inspiration starts to warble, you find a new path of inspiration...possibly somewhere else.

I've been plodding along on my WIP, generally doing well and moving ahead, and I don't know if it's the Week Two Blues or what, but lately I've just been feeling a little bored. I don't think it means my book is no good. In fact, I don't think it has anything at all to do with this book. I think it's just part of being a consistent and committed writer.

The part that makes this stage even more difficult--and please tell me if I'm alone here--is that right at the point I'm feeling ho-hum about my current work, two other amazingly brilliant ideas have hit me square in the face.

I don't think this is unusual. In fact I've checked back through emails I've written to friends, and this same thing has happened to me many times before. I'm proud to say that so far the new bright shiny thing has not come in and stolen away all of my writing mojo. I don't let it. And neither should you. You see, every new story will seem bright and shiny and wonderful at its conception, but every story idea will also come with its own set of struggles and pitfalls. If you jump from one work to another just because the new thing looks better at the time, I hate to break it to you, but you may never finish anything that way.

I'm trying a unique approach this time. I really do want to let my excitement for one of my new story idea have wings and carry me for a little bit, so what I'm going to do is reward myself for working on my current work in progress, my goal for March Madness, by allowing myself a quick brainstorming session at the end of my work each day.

I'll let you know how it goes, but so far over the weekend this plan has been working well. I've been choosing names for my New Bright Story Idea, which is always a lot of fun for me.

How about you? Do you get bombarded with something new and enticing when you're trying to push through on a goal? How do you handle it?

Oh yes! I want to give away another book from my shelves to one random winner who has been checking in this week. This week's winner (pick something and email me your choice to d (at) denisejaden (dot) com ) is...

Jennifer Pickrell!!!

And here are your current choices...
(Click on pictures to enlarge.) And I hope to stock it up with a few more books for next week.

Don't forget to tell my about your progress on your goals below, and head on over to Shana Silver's blog for tomorrow's check-in!


  1. Hi Denise. Sometimes I have that same problem, but I know better than to do anything with new ideas, anyway. My brain needs time to preheat, so I have places where I write my new ideas down, and then let them simmer for awhile. Sometimes I come up with a great stew, other times I reduce it down to a sticky, yucky paste. What I find is that if I jump right into a new idea, I've got lots of spice, but not enough substance.

    As for me, this weekend was a real washout. I wrote a little, but mostly I just watched the news and felt depressed. Better today, though, and now I'm back on track and writing away!

    I've got the munchies all of the sudden.

  2. Denise,

    Thank you for this awesome opportunity. I have been trudging along. I have found it difficult to make the progress that I have wanted to make, but I am still moving forward. I have a tendency to reach for the moon so that I land among the stars. Or at least among the stars in my head, which are often much lower than the ones in the real universe. ;)

    I am comforted to find that I am not the only one to have a new idea jump in and interrupt my current WIP. I feel sometimes that this new idea is so much better that I have indeed given up on the original. I am learning to tame this impulse.

    Plodding on,

  3. Holy Pi Day, I won!

    ^Wow, I'm nerdy. But I blame the family members who were gleefully wishing Happy Pi Day to all. Otherwise I wouldn't have known.

    I'll study the pics this evening after work and send you an email. What an awesome way to start off the Monday after the time change!

    I must confess, I didn't do much this weekend other than soak up the nice weather. I finished reading a book and started another, which means I'm on four of eight for the month.

    This week I'm personalizing 10 query letters so I can send out my first batch query is being critiqued, so when I get that feedback, I'll tweak the letters as needed. Then I'll send out and go into a panic and check my email fifty times an hour. Oh how fun :)

  4. I've been sort of doing the same thing with using brainstorming as a reward (though it's mostly done now and ready to be written). I've been writing snippets of scenes here and there as they come to me (mostly in notebooks at work while I'm in meetings....SHHHH!!!) but that's kind of cool.

    Anyway, I'm VERY proud of myself that I managed to get through 4 chapters last week. One chapter was spread throughout the entire weekdays in small spurts, the other 3 were over the course of the weekend. The last chapter I worked on was a doozy and took up most of my time.

    I tried really hard to be productive because I doubt I'll have much time at all this week or next and I especially won't have any time on weekends for the rest of March.

    But yay on progress so far!

    Also, I want to hear about your new book idea. Email me!!! And, um, you may be getting these 4 revised chapters soon!!!

  5. Congrats to Jennifer!

    And love your idea of permission to brainstorm after working on the WIP!! PTB--going to use that for the big pov switch over 'cause yeah there are a buncha shiny's in my braing right now :P

    Enjoy your March Madness Monday everyone and thanks for keeping us going Denise!

  6. Oh this is so me and so me now! I had a hiatus last week for a job related thing & missed 5 writing days - eek! But I'm still close to where I should be at a little over 8k out of my 20k goal with the 15th tomorrow.

    But - I've been daydreaming about the NEXT thing. And I can't because once I finish this WIP - I MUST go back and revise my 2 other ms. Ugh, no fun.

  7. Plodding is the word! But I hit a small run on Saturday so I did indulge in a small victory dance. Other people at the café wondered if I was stuck in a When Harry Met Sally time warp or something, but that's okay.

    I, too, have had that brainblast moment and wondered if a minor point should become a larger one, so I'll take your advice and allow myself to brainstorm a little. Thanks for the inspiration—everyone!

    Hang in there Craig. :)

  8. I've had that problem before, where everyone else's ideas seem so much better than mine when I'm at "that point" in a story. But I find that if I just keep moving forward, I find the magic in my own story again.

    Saturday's progress was just okay, but I really made up for it yesterday--wrote early in the morning and late at night, too, thanks to the time change (still not used to it). Looking forward to returning to my manuscript during lunch. Cheering for all of you!

  9. Denise,
    I'll be purchasing your book, Losing Faith, ASAP. And I'll be changing the title of my WIP because it's the same title! I plan to learn a lot from your book in creating my story which will fit into the Christian marketplace. Your book trailer is amazing. Drew me right in and made my heart gasp.

  10. Rainy Monday and I'm ready to open the WIP. Houseguests this weekend so we ate a lot of food, played games and watched movies. I've had a dry spell in the shiny new idea department which is actually quite nice since they came like machine gun fire at me last year. Choosing which one to work on was tough, but I'm content with the current WIP.

    Have a fab day everyone. I'll check back in later to see how everyone's doing.

  11. i had a good weekend. writing was mostly for clients, but i set up a critique exchange with a very old friend who's a marvelous writer and there's a deadline, which is so nice to know when to expect that feedback.

    i also SCORED a whole bunch of great middle great books at Goodwill and worked some more on notes for my next WIP.

  12. I'm so glad I'm not alone! Thanks for the camaraderie, everybody (and being honest!)

    Rachel - I'm SO SORRY! Honestly, I've had that happen, when a published book comes out before mine has sold with so many similarities I have to make changes. I understand! But I still really hope you enjoy LOSING FAITH!!

    Just got home from my travels and must play catch up today, but congrats to everyone on making good choices and all the progress! Yay!!!

  13. I am plodding along. No great shiny ideas popping into my head, but I'd be happy to write them on a post-it if they did!

  14. I'm plowing forward with polishing my ms and incorporating feedback from CPs. I've gotten to the stage where I can barely stand to look at my pages anymore, which I take as a sign that it's just about ready to send along to my agent.

  15. Yeah, I have to confess that my Shiny New Idea wouldn't get out of my head as March began, so instead of continuing with the WIP I had intended for the month, I went ahead with said SNI, and so far I'm glad I did. I really like the WIP I was planning to work on, but sometimes a SNI doesn't let go, and I figured the beginning of a writing challenge was a good time to listen to it. But yeah, unfortunately this means I have THREE instead of TWO novels in various states of progress.

    I'm still on track for my 20K goal (hit 12K today), but I might ironically have a hard time working this coming weekend since I'll be at a novel retreat (working on my WIP #2). I should have enough days otherwise to push through though, so I am going to try my best!

    Continued good luck to all!

  16. My goal is to revise a chapter a day. Since my writing time is Monday-Thursday, and I'm moving into revising chapter ten today, I'm right on schedule(even though I haven't remembered to check in each time).

    Hopefully I can stay on track (or get ahead). =)

  17. Congrats to the winner. :)
    I haven't been successful with my plotting lately... :(
    but that's no reason to quit. This week I'm going to try and see if I could get anything done about my settings. I would be happy with getting as far as half-way through the plot.

    Keep on the good work everyone. You can all do it.

  18. * Denise, thanks again for your support and your thought-provoking words today As for me, well, I'm trying my best not to dwell too much on new ideas, or else I'll definitely veer off track from my WIP for a few weeks or even months, like I've done before. Although I do feel ho-hum at times, since this is the hundredth revision, I think I'm making some progress. Thank goodness, I still feel strongly about my story. But, sometimes, I get so frustrated because I'm such a slow writer. I got a little bit of writing done on Saturday and met my 1000 word or beyond quota for today. Hope everybody here has a fantastic creative week!

  19. Denise,
    I've been keeping my shiny new idea off to one side. I take it out to play with before falling asleep. When I'm through March and past the end of my current class, I'll let it loose on paper.

    Had a good weekend, got 7 pages of pencils done and scanned, despite working at home (loved one wasn't feeling well).

    Have more to do before morning. Glad to hear that people are still hanging in there and dusting themselves off as needed!


    Weekly Word Count: 1,700
    Daily Word Count: 1,700

    To be fair, a large chunk of this I was able to take almost verbatim from the last draft. That always makes things easier.

    AND YES!!! I have shiny new ideas allll the time. I write them down (or at least I write down the inspiration for them) but then I don't let myself think about them. It's too easy for me to get caught up in planning another book when I still have two to edit and am in the query stage with another. If I don't stay on track I will flail about like a thing that does much flailing.

  21. I wish Pi Day automatically came with pie. Mmm... I'm in one of those unfortunate situations where we are leaving town soon and we have to eat our fridge down to nothing before we go. No cooking pie in case of leftovers!
    I have been failing all over the place with my goals. I wish it wasn't true, but it is. I am going to try to get into another writing book to keep me on top of it.
    I hate not meeting goals!
    And, you are right, the ideas that have nothing to do with THIS story will not help me get it done. I just have to write them down for later.
    I can do this!

  22. Joan, those bookmarks are gorgeous! Thanks for offering one as a prize. :)

    Funny how our brains like to dangle those Shiny New Ideas in front of us right when the going gets tough in our WIP, lol. I usually open a new Word doc, throw down some quick notes so I know I won't forget what's bound to be brilliant (ha!), then get back to work on the WIP.

    This habit is perhaps TOO ingrained, because you know that plan I had to take a break from my WIP and draft something new? yeah, not happening. I can't keep my mind from drifting back to my WIP, so I've gone back to it. (Note to self: revise March Madness goals yet again.)

    I'm starting to feel better, so hopefully I'll be able to focus and get some work done this week.

    Good luck, everyone! Here's to a wonderful week of Madness! :D

  23. I got a little behind on my goals last week when a nasty cold put me out for a few days. But this week has started off with a bang, alreadying having written over 2,000 words last night and today (that's a lot for me). I hope I can keep it up through Friday. Friday is always when I get lazy because I give myself Saturday off and think 'why not one more day?!' Terrible...

  24. I love what you said about the new idea seeming bright and shiny. I have that same problem and have employed a similar concept of "rewarding myself". I like to do mixed media art journaling so I let myself play with the new idea in my journal after writing.

    As for my March Madness goals, I've never been so thrilled to say I spent about 15 min editing my WIP. That would usually be so small but with the new baby its big! An added blessing of new baby slow down is that I am able to look at what I've written with fresh eyes because there is more time between writing and editing. I'm not as close right now.

  25. I'm thrilled to hear of so much great progress! And Melissa, I think 2000 words is a lot for every sane person!

    Unfortunately I came home to find out two family friends had passed away (unrelated). It's very sad - one lady left two young kids behind and her death was very sudden. That, combined with catching up with general life duties meant I didn't get much done today. Tomorrow will be better.

  26. Denise, I'm so sorry to hear the news. It's always such a shock when someone passes on unexpectedly. Very sad. *hugs*

  27. Aw, so sorry about the loss of not one but *two* friends, Denise! How very sad :(... Take good care.

    (BTW, I accomplished some of my writing and tax goals yesterday and today so I'm plugging along...)

    Sending hugs & aloha!

  28. Lately I've been able to not be as tempted. I am so committed to just finishing this dang manuscript that it's all that's driving me at the moment.

    The weekend was a bit slow-paced, but such is the weekend sometimes. However, I tidied up and rewrote the ending to one scene I was struggling with, then spent all of the write-in yesterday working on a love scene. Given that my MC is slightly emotionally stunted (or at least finds it hard admitting her feelings), this was a challenge.

    But it worked out. And then I went onto the next scene, which is a complete rewrite from a scene I wrote in the first draft, and currently unfinished.

    Sorry for your loss.

    - Laura