Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Droughts and Deluges

“Was a long and dark December

From the rooftops I remember

There was snow

White snow”

- “Violet Hill” by Coldplay

Dianne K. Salerni of “In High Spirits” wrote a post entitled, Resolutions and Revelations

The post was a revelation for me. She wrote:

Last year, I joined a number of writers in Resolution 2011 – Write Every Day or Pay. For every day I didn’t write in the year of 2011, I would donate $1 to the charity of my choice.

When I first wrote seriously, I wrote more than I do now. Part of it was because my rough drafts were a BIG mess, so they took me forever-and-a-half to edit them. As time went on, there were a few droughts, but I always found water again. In October 2010, I began working full time AND taking a night class. Then I had a huge drought. I feared the drought would never leave. Would I be like the Anasazi—the author me would disappear forever?

But in 2011 from February to March, I found my groove. I finished in April. I edited. I submitted. At the end of the summer, I began something new. I also began working full time again. Another drought. More doubt. I wrote a trickle in November. I wrote a little stream near the end of December. Work would begin in days. My grad class would begin in a few weeks. Would I ever finish this draft?

Then I read Dianne’s post and decided I had to do something DRASTIC. I belong to a group called “Writers Support 4 U”. I wrote:

Anyone interested in having a writing challenge with me? For any day we don't write, we'll owe $1 to a charity. We see how we do after 3 months and make the total donation at that time. If it's motivated us, we can continue.

A few other writers were up to the challenge. Lydia Kang found the education and literacy

Build On

Ann joined too.

Robyn Campbell joined as well.

Susan Oloier is also part of the group.

Crystal Collier signed up too!

Our group is called “Write On to Build On”.

This is our mission:

This group was founded on 01/10/2012 to motivate us to write. Any day we don't write, we'll owe $1 to the charity Build On. We can check our totals every three months to see how we've done and make our donation. Besides posting here, we should keep a personal account of the days we don't write. Writing a rough draft or editing counts, as does working on short stories, vignettes, and flash fiction. Let's post and make a comment thread of our daily progress at the end of each day.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Bottom of Form

I learned a lot about myself last year. When I present myself with a challenge, I MUST DO IT. When I decided to read 100 books last year, I read more than 100 books. Since I started the group, I’ve been writing up a snowstorm. Only 1 writing-free day. And now those 1-day dry spells will go to a good cause. I have a feeling I won’t have any more droughts.

I’ve become so prolific, when Old Kitty let me know about a Flash Fiction submissions being accepted for an upcoming eBook anthology to raise $ for victims of sexual assault/abuse (One in Four ), I was up for the challenge.

The flash fiction piece needed to be inspired by a song. I chose “Violet Hill” by Coldplay.

More about Caroline Smailes’s challenge is HERE

The authors who will be included in the anthology are HERE

Please visit Old Kitty and wish her hearty congratulations HERE

May your days be filled with a flurry of words!


  1. Oh I just read over at Ann's blog about your group's challenge for the Build On charity! I think it's a wonderful idea - a real writerly motivator and the forfeit goes towards a great cause! How brilliant!! I hope you get many more writers to join!

    Yay for your story for the One in Four anthology!! YAYYAYAYAYAY!! I CANNOT wait to read your story!!

    Take care

  2. YAY Theresa! The droughts will now be few and far between. I am finding this group a God send to be honest. I have written more this past week than I did since I left Ireland last August. Thank you!!!

  3. What a fantastic idea! I am the same way, if I don't give myself a challenge...it seems I don't move forward. Wishing you the best!

  4. Nope. Not gonna join. I give of myself enough to ungrateful people that I don't need to ride myself into the financial ground via a guilt trip because I'm a lazy writer and half the time would rather watch t.v. than work on a story.

  5. Wow, what an awesome idea! I love that. Congratulations on all the progress!

  6. you are always thinking of ways to inspire & support others! awesome goodness!

  7. Congrats! That's fabulous news! :)

    I like external motivators too - NaNo nearly kills me every year, but it works! :)

  8. Thanks for the shout out, Theresa --and good luck with this!

    I hope it works out great for you AND for your charity!

  9. Nothing against your charity, but I hope none of you are forced to contribute and decide to do so because it will be such a fantastic writing year for you.

    Happy Writing!

  10. @ Old Kitty, I hope we get a few writers, but not too many. It's nice having a small group. But if anyone feels it will help them, they are welcome.

    Can't wait to read your Lady Gaga Poker Face inspiration!

    @ Ann, I'm thrilled to hear that. It's definitely got me writing more than I have in a long time! Let's hope it continues for all of us. I think it will.

    @ Tracy Jo, I guess the solution for us is to pile on doable challenges that keep us going. If you're interested, e-mail me on Facebook.

    @ Michael, I certainly don't want to interfere with your laziness.

    @ Meredith, thank you. I appreciate it.

    @ Tara, thanks! That's sweet of you to say.

    @ The Golden Eagle, so far so good.

    @ Jemi, I can't do NaNo. I don't want to write in a crunch--I want to write consistently. NaNo seems like such a good support system, so I felt a little left out. This new group is perfect for my aim. (And you people who can write a novel in 30 days are amazing!)

    @ Dianne, your idea was brilliant. I needed to give you a shout out! Thank you because it's made such a huge difference already for me.

    @ Carol, good way to put it! So far I'm down a dollar. I hope whatever I owe after a few months is modest.

  11. Yay!!!!!!!!!!! I love Write On to Build On. It's fabulous! And I know I'll write something almost every day. Mojo is back and it's all due to our group. :-) (((hugs)))

  12. It's certainly a great challenge for those who need that extra push. At the moment I've not found it difficult to write every day (having said that, I hope I haven't jinxed myself, lol). I discovered a couple of years ago how brilliant it is to write every day, even if all I can manage is a few hundred words.

  13. Theresa, I am soooo grateful to you for starting this group. Seriously, I can shove writing to the very bottom of my to-do list every day, but I'm miserable when I do. This has created a spark for me and my writing. Thank you!

  14. I love this group! What a great way to inspire us, on good writing days and bad!

  15. What a great idea you had! I'm glad it is working for you.

  16. I wish I could give more money to charity, but I don't have enough to give regular donations, unfortunately. I do try to help homeless people by buying food for them sometimes as well as the weekly newspapers that they sell.

    I like how you compared not writing to a drought; I think that's a very accurate metaphor. It's amazing how much a drought can affect us, because we become very aware of how much we need writing in order to enrich our lives.

  17. Theresa, that is a great idea. With writing, if I have a big project to do, I find I treat it like work and can switch off and get it done. It is the lack of deadlines that make me have droughts.
    Congrats on the story, I love that song:)

  18. I read about this on Lydia's blog. I think it's a fantastic idea, everybody wins :-)

  19. What a FANTASTIC idea! And yay for Caroline's anthology.

    I like the thought of a flurry of snow.

  20. I think this is a great idea. May your days be filled with a flurry of words as well! :)

  21. I've been following your convo on this on the FB group----AWESOME SAUCE!! I think it's a great idea--good luck!

  22. There are always droughts and deluges. That's the way it goes. ;)

    I always have several things going at once. So when my interest in one (temporarily) flags, I work on the other.

  23. That's awesome - good for you! Keep up the writing! A challenge works for me, too, but I'm usually okay with writing every day. I'm currently changing the POV of a MG novel and I've written every day. It feels good!

  24. Sounds like a great idea! Challenges are always good. They help to get the
    motivation going!
    Good Luck!

  25. Our writing does move forward when we find a way to motivate ourselves. Wonderful way to contribute when you don't do what you should.

  26. That is an awesome way to motivate yourself to write! And even more awesome that when you miss days, you're still helping someone out!

  27. @ Robyn, I'm so glad you joined. And I'm THRILLED your mojo is back! It's great keeping in touch each day to see how our writing is going (or not going).

    @ Lynda, you're two years ahead of me. Each time I write again after a drought, I wonder why I took so long. I hope to never have a big period without writing again.

    @ Susan, that's exactly what I used to do. And when I'd return, I'd get this fear that I wouldn't remember how to write. Writing is too important for us to stick at the bottom of the pile!

    @ Lydia, I think it's helpful for good and bad days too. And I love the mission of the charity you found.

    @ Belle, thank you!

    @ Neurotic Workaholic, being an adjunct and writing a dissertation is NOT the time to join a group like this. But when you finish and you'd like to join then, let me know.

    @ Brigid, I feel the same way. If we were paid authors with deadlines, there'd be no luxury for droughts. Maybe a few mini dry spells...

    @ Sarah, I loved Lydias post. Yes, it's a win-win!

    @ Talli, instead of a flood, I figured snow was more apt for this time of year. Besides, fits better with my quote. Gotta tie it all together.

  28. I think this is one of the best ideas I've heard to keep one writing.

    A flurry of snow. How lovely!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

  29. This is a fabulous idea and it is so win-win!!!
    Good for you, ladies!

    I took December off and still need to get into a good writing groove. Perhaps I should motivate with something like this!

  30. Hi Theresa .. the reasons and cause are excellent .. well done - Write On to Build On .. good for everyone joining up.

    Sounds like we might be getting some white stuff this weekend ..

    Have an excellent year - with lots of writing - you achieve so much - it's great .. cheers Hilary

  31. Fantastic idea Theresa. Addressing two issues at once.

  32. @ Karen, thank you. I begin school again on Monday, so I hope this keeps me going through the readings and assignments.

    @ Christina, if you're interested, you are welcome to join us. Let me know!

    @ LR, you are a good writing balancer. When I'm in the groove, I can juggle different writing tasks. Then there are too many times I do nothing. I hope that's over!

    @ Vicki, changing POV in a whole manuscript isn't an easy feat. Good luck!

    @ Anne, I can't believe how much it's energize me. I've been reading less. But I read over 100 books last year, so I think I can slide a little in favor of writing.

    @ JL Campbell, thanks. I feel good about it either way.

    @ Rachel, I've written all but one day since we started. Now I know I'm helping those days writing just can't happen. Hopefully there won't be too many of those days!

    @ Ann, thanks. I'm so glad Dianne Salerni shared it!

    @ Kelly, you are welcome to join us anytime!

    @ Hilary, it was like I jinxed us with this post. We got snow on Monday night. We're supposed to get a little today and some on Saturday. Winter is here!

    @ Slamdunk, I am addressing two issues at once! 'Bout time!

  33. Aloha Theresa,

    Good luck with your writing and all the challenges you've given yourself.

    I found you via the '80s Tumble 4 ya BlogFest and wanted to let you know you have a new follower:)

  34. HI Theresa! I saw this on FB when you first posted it. I wanted to join because I think it is a great idea! I should join but you know at this point why I can't. Like I said to Ann, when the grass settles a bit in my world, I certainly would like to join Write On to Build On. All the best to everybody who signed up!!!! :)

  35. Are we counting the weekends? I never write on weekends unless the family is gone and I'm home alone.

  36. I think it would be a very big adjustment if I started working full time. I'd have to adjust to that before getting into a writing groove.

  37. I'm afraid that if I were to join the group I would feel guilty for writing and not giving to charity! I'm kidding. I think it's a great idea, and it's fantastic how prolific you have been in the midst of all the madness.

  38. What a fantastic way to motivate yourself! I'm so glad this is inspiring you. Happy writing in 2012!!

  39. What a great idea! I'm inspired by Writers Support 4 U. And ever since joining ROW80 last year and doing the current round as well, I've been writing more consistently.

  40. Wow, what an awesome idea! I love that. Congratulations on a great idea!

  41. this is so awesome--I love it! both the charity and the goal. I'd commit, but I'd have to front $30. I know I cant get back to the cave for at least a month... but I'm coming! best to you all! <3

  42. What a wonderful idea - I hope this cures your droughts forever!

  43. Sounds like a great challenge.

    Isn't it odd that although we like writing we still need a push to get us going now and then?

  44. Awesome idea, Theresa! A very good way to keep motivated!

  45. Motivation works, doesn't it? Congrats on finding the way and keeping up the writing steam.

  46. Wow! I love the idea of donating to charity each day that you don't write. You're doing something good regardless; either helping someone in need, or improving your craft. That's awesome!

  47. wow! what a super awesome idea! Either way, everybody wins. Now how does one sign up for this?


  48. @ Glynis, thanks!

    @ Mark, aloha to you. Thanks for finding me. It's going to be a fun blogfest!

    @ Len, you have a lot going on. I don't think you need that kind of pressure. If some things stabilize, please join us. You're always welcome!

    @ Sharon, we are going to count the weekends. You're nicer to your family than I am. The weekends are the only time I might get more than 30 minutes at a time to write!

    @ Laura, I was much more prolific before I started working full time. Actually, I was even more prolific when I hadn't discovered blogging!

    @ Missed Periods, thank you. The madness has gotten (madder? madnesser?) since my class began on Monday.

    @ Medeia, I've been so impressed with your progress. I guess checking it consistently with other writers makes a huge difference for some of us.

    @ Nas, thank you.

    @ LTM, let us know when you're ready. We'd love to have you!

    @ Susan, thanks. I hope so too!

    @ Patsy, so true. I guess it's work. We have to pull from our mental reserves. And then there are all those negative things we tell ourselves about our writing. It's exhausting!

    @ Romance Book Haven, thank you!

    @ Cleemckenzie, thanks. It's been over two weeks and I'm still keeping it up.

    @ Shelley, thank you! So far they've only gotten $1 from me. I'm being generous with my writing, but stingy with my giving!

    @ Nutschell, are you on Facebook? The group is there. If you are and you friend me, I can invite you.

  49. I was just talking to my boyfriend about this last week - I'm kind of doing this on my own with the charities I've decided to give to this year. LOVE this idea!

    (On an unrelated note - Theresa, why are you responding to comments in the comments? You know most of us will never see them? Top 3 Things Well-Meaning Bloggers Do That Drive Readers Nuts)