The working out I’m talking about isn’t what you think. I can’t stand exercising 😛
I’m talking about working out the writing muscles.
How does one do that? By working on writing prompts and contests. There was a time where I used to “work out” every week doing a weekly writing challenge over at FaithWriters. Over time I’ve neglected that aspect and I think I’ve been suffering because of it. However, this week, I’ve really been jumping into an “exercise regimen”, thanks to a few blogs having contests.
The first contest is over at Natalie Whipple’s blog, Between Fact and Fiction. Natalie’s not only a talented writer but an artist as well. She’s holding a contest where you have to come up with a story by Thursday, 7:00 PM MST–in 500 words or less–about her latest sketch. She’s giving away some pretty aweseome prizes too; if you place in the top 3, she’ll either critique a work-in-progress or draw a character sketch for you. Simply awesome. 🙂 I’ve got a story mostly done; it’s around 580 words and I’m trying to chop it down. It’s not that great, but it definitely helped me work out a little.
Another contest is being held over at agent Nathan Bransford’s blog, in celebration of his client Jennifer Hubbard’s book, The Secret Year. Again, in 500 words or less, you are challenged to write a diary/journal entry or letter of a teenager, due by Wednesday, 4 PM Pacific. This one for some reason was much easier for me. I used some of my own personal diary entries from high school as inspiration and went from there. The grand prize winner of this contest gets a signed copy of The Secret Year, plus a choice of query critique, partial critique or 10 minute phone conversation with Nathan. Runners up get a signed bookmark for The Secret Year plus a query critique or other agreed upon prize.
And finally, there’s the Chase the Dream contest, held by authors Leigh Michaels and Rachelle Chase. I was alerted to this fantastic contest by Jeannie Lin and Victoria Dixon. For eight weeks (until March 3) authors send in the first 1000 words of their manuscript. Each week they choose a finalist and some to give a mini-critique. The complete rules are here. The best part of this contest is you can enter your entry each week–assuming you don’t win or get chosen for a mini-critique. From March 3-March 10, readers will vote on their favorite entries. The top three will be read and reviewed by agents and editors from the Panel of Experts.
Anyway, all of these contests have helped me work out my writing muscles, making it easier to write my first draft. I’m at 70% complete now after the 2K I wrote yesterday. Here’s hoping that I get even closer today 🙂