My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Working Out

The working out I’m talking about isn’t what you think. I can’t stand exercising πŸ˜›

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. πŸ™‚ 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,Β Β 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)Β 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.Β  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 πŸ™‚

Comments on: "Working Out" (15)

  1. Wow, lots of contests to think about. Good luck with them. Congrats on hitting the 70% mark. I’m hoping to hit that point in my revisions today.

  2. Every single one of those contests sound amazing! Thank you so much for the links. πŸ™‚

  3. I hope I have time to enter all of these contests!

    You should try to shoot for 80% today!

    • Um, that means I need to write like almost 10K today. πŸ˜› I am far too A.D.D. for that. I think the most I’ve written in a day was close to 4K.

  4. I’m so bad at entering contests. Security issues. good luck on getting your book finished.

  5. Yay for working out those writing muscles! I’m trying to do a bit of that myself by forcing myself to write short stories in unfamiliar genres. It’s a challenge, and I’ve only just begun. πŸ˜›

    Hmm…maybe I should start looking for more contests, too. Those are a good challenge as well, and I sort of miss the weekly challenges at FW that we used to do.

  6. I sent in something to Nathan Bransford’s contest… but I doubt very much that anything will come of it. After all, he’s got what–300+ entries already? It was fun remembering what I worried about five years ago, though.

    Chase the Dream sounds good… or it would if I was focusing on my romance instead of my young adult. πŸ™‚

    • Oh I know mine won’t amount to anything πŸ˜› I read a few before and after mine and they were infinitely better.

      I pretty much read some of my old journal entries for inspiration and then combined them into something slightly readable πŸ˜› But what I wrote was in essence, all of what my journals comprised of for two years.

      Yes, I was that boy-obsessed and pathetic. πŸ˜›

  7. Corra McFeydon said:

    I need to do more of these writing sprints. I definitely agree they’ll boost your writing. I’ve done a couple droubbles (200 word stories) which are a great challenge because you have to fit so much into so little space.

    I find poetry my preferred writing sprint – and I generally don’t show folks. Ha! I’ll never make it as a shy writer. πŸ™‚

    All the best,

  8. Dara, I’m so glad you stumbled on my site! Yay- I love meeting new people! You have a lovely place here.

    Thanks for all the contest news. That last one sounded like my cup of tea! I’m heading over to check it out. Thanks!

  9. It’s great to see you flexing your writing muscles. I’m always amazed at writers who can do writing challenges and free reads and spin stories for a new call for submissions. I have such a one track mind.

    Good luck in those contests!

  10. Yay contests as motivators! Hahaha. As you probably know from reading my last blog post, I’m doing the same thing, and you’re absolutely right: It really helps get those muscles going!

    I’d love to read your entries if you wanted to post them here. πŸ™‚

    • Sure. I’ll post them later on πŸ™‚ Both are significantly lacking, especially the one for Natalie’s contest. It’s hard to write a good story in 500 words!

  11. Thanks for sharing these links. I might enter the Chase the Dream competition.

  12. Good point Dara — writing prompts and contests are smart ways to get writing exercise!!!

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