DAY #15: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

Well, I’ve reached the halfway point of this 30-day writing challenge.  It’s been a really great learning experience for me as a writer.  I can’t believe how much writing I’ve done by just setting aside 15 minutes a day.  (I admit that it generally ends up being closer to 45-60 minutes a day.)  I’ve made more progress on my “prequel” in the last 15 days than I have in the past two decades.  It’s very encouraging.  Every little bit of writing counts!

I’ve always had this idea in my head to write the entire story in chronological progression.  But this challenge has helped me to realize that this is the obstacle that has prevented me from completing a full manuscript.

I’ve always admired J.K. Rowling’s method for writing.  She didn’t write a single sentence until she mapped out the entire Harry Potter series in a 900-page outline.    Since I’m an engineer and a planner, I thought her “plan twice-cut once” method was logical.  Rowling wrote an incredibly complex story.  There were no holes in her story premise.  Thanks to her detailed outline, Rowling left no unanswered questions.  How else does a writer achieve such a feat?  Especially a novice writer?

But I’ve discovered over the past 15 days that her writing method doesn’t work for me.  For years, I’ve tried to outline my full story, but grew bored.  Outlining took the fun out of writing for me.  Then, I tried to write the scenes out sequentially and hit one road block after another.  It finally hit me this week.  I should just write the scenes as they appear to me, even it means jumping all over the place in the story.  A simple solution that should have been obvious to me from the very beginning, but wasn’t until now.

Oh, my God……  I just had a disturbing thought.  Does this mean that I’m actually a closet “pantser” after all?  “Pantser,” as in, writing by the “seat of my pants.”  Yikes!  That’s Karma for you.  I’ve become the very type of writer that I always viewed with skepticism.

So, from here on out, I’ll be jumping around from scene to scene.  I’ll continue to use this blog as my “pantsing” site and write without constraint.  But earlier this week, I also started my “true” author’s blog under my name “Taara Datta Donley.”  I will use that site to organize cohesive chapters based on my scattered progress on “A Writing Mama’s Journal.”  This way, my planning side won’t work itself into a tizzy.  At least my left eye has stopped twitching….

7 thoughts on “DAY #15: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

    • Taara Donley says:

      Oh, don’t be nervous!!! It’s a great experience…. You’ll be amazed at how much you’re capable of writing when you’re done. Do you have an idea for a story that you want to use?


      • Taara Donley says:

        I only did it one time. I used a simple story idea, because I was nervous like you. I mapped out a few scenes ahead of time so that I wouldn’t get stuck. The first two weeks were easy, but there was a lull at about Day 15 for me (like my self-imposed challenge right now!). Fortunately, I wrote more than 1,667 words a day for the first 15 days, so I was ahead of schedule anyway. I did end up completing it, which was a really amazing feeling! The story is garbage, but I reached over 50,000 words, which was my only goal!


      • nicolemazavello says:

        Wow! That’s great.This is one of the reasons why I am doing it. The challenge of writing 50,000 words within 30 days. If you can achieve this then you can do. I mean you can do it anyway but this is like a boost.


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