Huzzah, it’s time to submit!

Greetings, writers! The link to submit your story to the judges is finally open. Submit HERE.

Please note that there’s NO RUSH. The submission deadline is Sunday, May 29, so you still have a several more days to make your story as good as it can be.

(P. S. Don’t forget to keep helping your fellow writer in the Spring Contest workshop!

The Secret to Having the Most Productive Writing Year Ever

This guest post is by Kevin Kaiser. Kevin has helped authors reach over twenty million fans worldwide and make a living from doing what they love. Visit him at 1KTrueFans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@1KTrueFans).

Why are some writers five, ten, or twenty times more productive than everyone else? Like superhumans, they somehow juggle the chainsaws of everyday life, yet still manage to consistently finish book after book while others struggle.

most productive writing year ever

Is there a method to their success that you can use to have your most productive writing year ever? Yes, and it’s much simpler than you think.

1. First, You Have to Own It: You Are A Writer

Recently, I asked the writers that I mentor online what is stopping them from realizing their creative goals. The responses were raw, and I could relate to every one of them:

“I’m not confident that my work is good enough.”

“I feel like a fraud.”

“I’m afraid no one is going to like it.”

“I just don’t feel like I’m a writer.”

I don’t feel like I’m a writer. Okay, hit pause for a second because this is the number one indicator of whether or not you’ll be successful as a writer.

Belief.

Neuroscience proved long ago that belief is the core driver of the reality we experience. Like Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or can’t—you’re right.”

And whether or not you believe you’re a writer—you’re right. At this very moment, your belief is either propelling you or sabotaging you.

Here’s the truth that you have permission to full embrace: If you write, you are a writer. Period. The act of putting words down, no matter how good, bad or ugly, is the only requirement.

But you have to own it before anyone else will.

Over a decade of working in publishing I’ve come to know mega-bestsellers that have sold hundreds of millions. They all started from scratch, writing in their spare time, and many have told me that they “turned pro” when they started calling themselves a writer.

The real secret is that they turned pro long before they got a book deal. They called themselves a writer, owned it, and never turned back.

2. Set Insanely Specific Goals

Belief isn’t enough. It’s worthless, in fact, until we take action. What we do ultimately proves what we believe, which is why you must eliminate all ambiguity about what you want to accomplish.

It’s not enough to say, “I want to write every day.” Or even, “I want to write a book this year.” Those are aspirations, not goals.

An Insanely Specific Goal is,

“I will have a 90,000 word novel completed by 11: 00 P.M. on December 31. To make that happen I will write 500 words per day, from 9:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M., for 180 consecutive days.”

There is a defined, measurable outcome: 90,000 words.

There is a specific deadline: 11:00 P.M. on December 31.

The Big Goal is broken down into small, repeatable actions: 500 words per day, written between 9-11 PM for 180 consecutive days.

There’s no hiding with this kind of goal setting. You know exactly what you’re aiming for, what you need to do every day to reach the end, and whether or not you were successful.

3. But Keep It Realistic, Too.

Our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs. NaNoWriMo is a great example of that. On average only 14% of those who begin actually finish. Having unrealistic goals is just as debilitating as having no goal at all. Nothing drains vital creative energy like discouragement.

When I began my first novel my daily writing goal was 2,000 words. At the time, I was working a full-time job that had nothing to do with writing, I had family commitments, and there never seemed to be enough time.

My 2,000 words per day pace lasted three days. Three. And then life happened. There were days I was lucky to wring 250 words out of my already tired brain.

The truth is, you don’t have to write 90,000 words. You just have to write 1,000 words 90 times. It’s the “you eat an elephant one bite at a time” model of writing.

If you’ve struggled with completing a project, whether it’s a novel or an article, set the bar low at the start. One page. 250 words. Make it low enough that you can win and experience that brief emotional high of finishing what you set out to create.

Just create something small, every day. Then, as you rack up wins, you’ll find that it’s easier to push beyond the boundary. Soon, you’ll be writing two pages, 500 words, and then a whole book.

4. Measure, measure, measure.

Accountability forces clarity. You can’t hide from the numbers, which is why I began tracking my daily word count years ago and tell other writers to do the same.

If we’re truly committed to growing as writers, we must face the commitments we’ve made to ourselves, otherwise we’re just paying lip service to our dreams.

I created my own simple method for tracking word count, but there are many apps available—like Strides, Lift, and HabitList—with automated reminders to help you stay on track. Whatever the method, the most important thing is to use it to honestly gauge your progress. It’s encouraging to see the cumulative word count add up, trust me.

Do you want to make this your most productive year ever?

It’s all within your reach. The secret to superhuman productivity isn’t a secret at all. It begins with knowing what you want, being crystal clear on how to get it, and then moving toward it. 

PRACTICE

Like Yoda famously said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Reaching our writing goals requires facing the blank page and beginning often before we’re ready. Today, I want you to take action by practicing the following:

  • Choose either to (a) write for fifteen uninterrupted minutes, or (b) write until you hit a specific word count goal (mine is 500 for today).
  • Stake your claim and commit to that goal publicly in the comment section. Which do you choose—A or B?
  • Share your victory. After you’ve completed your work, return and share your work with us. Did having a specific goal help you?

About Guest Blogger

This article is by a guest blogger. Would you like to write for The Write Practice? Check out our guest post guidelines.

  • Diane Turner

    As a little girl, I had a series of stepdads, my own dad having left almost as soon as I arrived. Stepdads, even to a 4-year old, seemed to belong to someone else. I always wanted a dad of my very own – one who hadn’t left, abandoned me, and one who would bring me paper dolls and show me off to his friends.
    I imagined dressing up in pink ruffles, with shoes to match and satin bows hoding back my unruly hair, and going with my very own dad to have sweet tea and cookies at the corner bakery. Meet my precious daughter, he would say. Isn’t she beautiful? he would ask and, not waiting for an answer, would relate the grand things for which I was destined.
    I imagined going on a picnic with my very own dad, and when the bees would dive at us and land on our plates and the rims of our cups he would stand up tall, wave his muscled arms, and those insects would leave us alone.
    I imagined going to Catalina Island on a big ship and feeling a little green as the ship rolled, and my very own dad would bring me ginger candy and tell me interesting things about fireflies and race cars, so I would be distracted from the buzz in my stomach.
    I imagined him holding me high over his head, my hair flying wild in the wind, along with my skirt and sash. A ray of sun catches his face, upturned and proud, looking at the creature he’d produced, my own face in that same shard of light, smiling and joyous.
    Ah, but it is just that: imagination. He left, yes, and he never looked back, never gave the girl with the unruly hair another thought.
    I thought one day I would find him, but when I found the time and the inclination, I found my very own dad had died, not years but just one month before.

    • Diane, your words made me stop and think. I sat, staring at my screen, before I could put this comment down. That’s powerful and beautiful and heart-rending. What you just put into the world with your words is the reason people read. They want to be moved and feel. Thank you.

      • Great acknowledgment.

      • Diane Turner

        Kevin, thank you so much. Your kind words mean so much to this fledgling writer.

    • Terence Verma

      Jesus Christ Diane… You have just made me cry for ‘realising’ I had not been the kind of Dad my little girl would have wanted me to be! I was present and yet not there. Thanks for putting me in touch with my core.

      • Terence, that was basically my reaction too.

        • Terence Verma

          Then go Mate, it’s never
          too late. Your lil might have grown to be a big girl, but in her deepest, she
          still believes she’s Daddy’s PRINCESS. Right Diane?

          • Diane Turner

            Absolutely, Terence!

      • Diane Turner

        Thank you so much, Terence, for your kind words. You have made my day!

    • Susan W A

      Dear Diane,

      Stunning. Beautiful. Heart-wrenching and heart-warming at the same time. What charming, captivating images, all the more moving because you express real-life situations that could easily be achieved, and yet there is such a magic about them.

      The emotions this arouses is incredible, thinking about my own childhood, and my own child. Thank you for sharing this intimate insight. You have stirred me to ponder further.

      Kevin’s words, “What you just put into the world with your words is the reason people read” … indeed.

      • Susan W A

        Or…. perhaps that’s part of the answer for all of us … to experience the magic in the mundane.

      • Diane Turner

        Thank you, Susan, for your kind words. You’ve made this girl’s day.

        • Susan W A

          : )

    • ………….This makes me want to go hug my the real dad of my own. Thank you for the very moving words. <3

  • Sandra Nachlinger

    Once again you’ve inspired me! YES, I am a writer. YES, I will set goals, post them on my calendar, and keep track of how I’m doing. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    • Hi Sandra! You are definitely a writer. I just popped into your website and saw some of your work. So apparently you’ve been writing since elementary school. That’s amazing. It’s in your blood.

  • Terence Verma

    What an amazing angle to an already well hashed topic. Many thanks Kevin! As far as choosing which of the two – work for a time or for a no. of words – I’ll go with the time ‘specific’ goal. Reason being that when one isn’t practised, it would require ‘more’ time to write a’ specific’ no. of words and that could get frustrating initially.

  • alreadynotpublished

    I’ll stake my claim but I am at first draft reread and initial edit stage, writing is actually procrastination for me today! So I commit to 3hrs editing today (and linking to this post from my blog 🙂 )

  • Kathy

    I am glad to hear these words, especially to affirm that I am a writer. To this end, I want to commit myself to write for at least fifteen minutes a day on my first draft. It seems I have only designated Tuesday morning to my writing and the rest of the week whizzes by. Now I see that the habit of daily writing will keep me on target to finish by the end of this summer.

    • Hi Kathy! You are a writer and I’m excited for you. Everything comes down to chipping away at it day by day.

  • Thanks. I have written for quite some time. But I have declined in that recently, and I’m trying to get back into the swing of things

    This post has inspired me, and God willing I’ll be able to make the time to fulfill the Great Commandment of “read a lot, write a lot.”

    Today, I wrote a 661-word review of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian on Goodreads. Hope I will be able to do more, both in fiction and nonfiction. I will strive to do that, and this post, like many others, is and will be helpful for me in doing that.

    • Hey Anand, I’m so glad this was helpful. One thing that has helped me “read” more is listening to audiobooks during the in-between moments of my day. A friend of mine named Claire Diaz-Ortiz “read” 150 books last year that way. Give that a try.

  • Lauren Timmins

    I’m going with option A:

    I really wanted to believe that when I went to high school, I would never allow myself to be swept up into all the drama that seems to come with it. I told myself that I would maintain my focus on academics and academics alone. Never would I dream of boys or pay attention to who is dating who. I would never think twice about the rumors.

    I am happy to say that I have been able to abide by these self-imposed conditions with moderate success so far. I have completed one semester of my Freshman year with no faults in my grades. I was not a total introvert – I joined marching band – but I didn’t abandon my studies to sneak out of the house or anything of that nature. However, I have broken my vow not to go gaga over a boy. I am very disappointed with whatever part of the brain handles that. I can also say my drama avoidance hasn’t succeeded either. There was a soap opera worthy love triangle between me, my best friend, and a boy we befriended. In the end everything turned out all right, but during the whole affair, I was a very unhappy camper. As happy as a camper that went for a hike, sprained an ankle, fell into poison ivy, was stung by a bee, and returned to his camp to find it had been ransacked by a bear.

    Now it’s already time to begin planning my sophomore year. To be honest, I’m scared. I don’t know what I want to do with my future. The only thing I do know about my future is that I want writing to be a part of it. However, I think we all know it takes a long time before one can make a living off of writing. Next year will be my last year of school before I have to start applying to colleges. I’ll learn to drive next year. I might be able to get a job.

    Knowing this, I can’t help but wonder if I should indulge in the more cliche aspects of high school. If I should try and fall in love, commit a small act of rebellion, skip school and do something with my friends. I only have three years. After that, I will be independent. I will have to function like an adult. So, I suppose this is a confession of my fears. I fear that I took my education and my life too seriously. I never played outside as much as I should have. I never saw my friends as much as I should have. I could have done so many things differently. I suppose it’s the realization that we only live once that scares me, because this is it. Graduating high school goes into graduating college, which leads to a job, then marriage, then kids, then their education, then their weddings, their children, and finally the inevitable. I have three years before time starts to run with the wind.

    I’m going to promise myself now that I will do something completely cliche with being a teenager. Even if it hurts in the end, it will be worth it to say that I took a risk and acted like a fool instead of sitting back and watching everyone else act like one. Something to remind me that I can push the future to the side and live more in the now, even if it’s something as trivial as leaving the house to go buy coffee or something all on my own without telling anybody, or putting off homework to see a movie. All I need is something that will eliminate that terrible instance of “should have, would have, could have.”

    • Lauren, wow, you’re a very self-aware teenager. That’s pretty rare. I’ll just say this: all we have Right Now. Most people wait to start living life only to realize later that it was always in front of them. Enjoy it now. Enjoy it always.

    • Susan W A

      Dear Lauren,

      I enjoyed your writing! Your remarkable self-reflection will serve you well in finding YOUR balance, what’s true and right for you.

      Just a note: In addition to the expertise that entrepreneurs like Kevin can provide for options to make money with your writing, remember there are endless possibilities for jobs that will integrate your writing skills. Here’s a quick example. The son of a friend of mine just graduated from college with a degree related to writing. He’s successfully working for an Engineering firm writing their proposals for jobs they’re bidding for. While it won’t be his end-all be-all dream job forever, he is loving being able to put his writing skills to good use, and is learing a lot in the process, not only about his writing, but about working successfully with a team. He blogs on the side. It all adds to the writing experience and can provide fuel for your creative side as well.

      Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your explorations!

      • Wholeheartedly agree with you, Susan. I wish I had learned earlier to trust my intuition. Such good advice.

    • Prince A.

      This sounds like the beginning of an interesting young adult story. I’m intrigued not only by the writing style, but the flow of thoughts. That bit with what kind of happy camper she saw herself as was funny and a nice change of pace. I definitely learned from reading your piece.

  • This is solid, practical advice. I love #1 and only recently have I begun to believe in myself as a writer. I think often we wait for others to give us permission, but this is a mistake. The only permission we need is our own.

    • Well said. I waited too long for permission, and sometimes I catch myself still doing it. Like you said, big mistake. Thanks for reminding me of that. I needed that this morning.

  • I’ve read that tracking your word count is a good idea to stay focused but for some reason, it really hit home after reading your post here, Kevin. I recently became part of Jon Morrow’s Serious Bloggers Only community and he has a series of posts about how to build an effective blog by committing 20 hours a week. I’m in the beginning stages (only have a placeholder at this point) but I have started writing the number of hours I work on my blog in my scheduling calendar. I think I’ll have to track two numbers now–the number of hours I work and the number of words I write. Thanks again, this was a very effective, cut-to-the-case post.

    • Hi Joe, I saw your tweet btw. Thanks for that. One key lesson I’ve through the years is this: It’s not real until it’s scheduled, and if it’s important IT GETS SCHEDULED. The day goes by too fast to not be intentional so I applaud your focus. Don’t lose sight of that, keep taking one more step and you’ll hit your objective.

  • A bit of madness…

    Own it.
    Grab it by the inky nib and slay it.
    Be it. Do it. Say it.
    I am! I am! I am!
    A writer!
    Claim it. Exclaim it.
    Get down and get insane with it.

    Set insane goals.
    Muster determination.
    Dare and drive this proud declaration.
    Date-time… Tick-tock goals
    Word count – Edit – Submit
    SpecificType goals

    Keep it realistic
    (Stop to eat a biscuit ;-))
    Make sure the goals fit
    Your reality
    Your personality
    Believable
    Achievable
    Goals that you can…
    Measure measure measure
    Treasure treasure treasure

    Date-time… Tick-tock
    Don’t let the fire stop
    Word count – Edit – Submit
    Eat another biscuit

    (Well you’ve gotta celebrate right?)

    • I love this! You have to turn that into a poster or infographic. I would buy that and hang it on my wall.

      • Susan W A

        Awesome idea!

      • Cool.
        Now you’ve got me thinking. Hmmm… Product development.
        Maybe I will turn it into some sort of poster. It could be my first ever free e-resource download.
        Thanks for the inspiration/suggestion.
        Regards Dawn

    • Susan W A

      Fun!

    • Lauren Timmins

      I want a wall. I want to paint this in huge letters on that wall.

      • Susan W A

        Really cool idea!
        Love how you started with, “I want a wall.”

      • Do it!
        Get the biggest piece of paper or board or an old door from a tip shop or recycling place and go for it. Just the act of ‘doing it’ will inspire you BIG time.

    • I’m writing this on a poster and typing it to my wall. <3

  • Sarah Angel

    I will definitely be doing this. I just saw a picture of my friend’s calendar where they write the word count for the day and I’m going to copy that. Just comparing word counts currently I’m ‘losing’ for not writing anything most days and just waiting for that motivation to hit. I keep reminding myself to just write and not depend on the muse, but here it is. I’m going to go with 500 words a day. I tried to do it once and failed. We’ll see how I do this time.

    • Hey Sarah, one approach I recently took on a project was to write one page per day. That’s roughly 250-300 words. I had set a goal of 1,000 words, but found myself not even coming close…and getting upset along the way, which made it even harder to write.

      So I set the bar low with the One Page. But an interesting thing happened when I did that. The 250 words came much more easily and I found myself sailing past my goal until I wasn’t writing just 250 or 300 words, but 750.

      I just needed to get my mind in a different place.

  • A 900-word short story I wrote, attempting to imitate the style of Hemingway. I wrote a few words of this before, but today I completed it to 900 words:

    The city was abandoned and vacant. The sky was light and mildly azure, looming over the abandoned landscape to lighten it. The ever-hot sun blazed in the sky. It was noon. It was hot. The buildings gleamed from the glow and glare of the sun. There were no signs of life, man or animal. There were no other sounds except the still small rustling of the sun.

    The great massacre emptied the city of all men, women, and children. In three days all their bodies were removed, that emptiness would prevail. Since the town was small, it was an easy job to kill and remove every single human. There was no need for big explosions to cremate and dissolve life. All it took was the efforts of a few costumed rat-scallions to kill, maim, and destroy all the people there.

    The sand swam lightly over the blood that was spilled days ago. No blood, no life. No sounds of singing or crying rang at all. No laughs, no chatter, no yelling. Nothing.

    Some houses remained. Others crumbled from the searing and the wrecking they received. Still others disappeared, leaving not a trace. The sand that swept seeped through the crevices and the openings in each building. The buildings with openings had coverings and small piles of sand that collected around the edges of windows that were no more. The buildings without them lingered there, uninhabited, all alone.

    Then, three men came to the town. They were dressed in white clothes and cream-colored khaki pants. They were scruffy-bearded, and they bore whips and rifles and flasks. One had blonde hair, one had black hair, and one had no hair. They three were on brown horses. They got down, and they walked through the city, peering through the windows and looking at the deserted huts, the deserted houses, the deserted businesses, the deserted saloon, the deserted sheriff’s office, the deserted courthouse, and the deserted town jail.

    They all came back together after scanning through the town. They sat on their horses, eyeing the city with the eyes of pilgrim onlookers who pass by cities on their travels.

    “Jedidiah,” said the bald man, whose face, though aged, lacked the wrinkles of an old man. “It’s time we bring in our inhabitants.”

    “Obadiah,” said Jedidiah, the black-haired one, “I don’t know if we can get any. From what we heard, the city was deserted. Everyone seemed to have left. But, there still seems to be all those objects left by.”

    “That’s because there likely was a massacre. If the people deserted, they’d pack up an’ leave with all their stuff, unless desperate circumstances forced ’em too.”

    “Maybe so, but why isn’t there any trace of such where I see it?”

    “The killers were likely smart,” said Obadiah. He sat upright, facing the city. “Since it’s a small town, they could easily clean it up in just a few days and nobody would find out.”

    “Or maybe a purification, sorta?”

    “What makes you say that, son?”

    “If they wanna just do an average massacre, they woulda just swept through and left the bodies rottin’ here. Howe’er, it seems to me that the killers wanted this town for themselves, or for someone else. So they did the dirty work and washed their hands clean of the blood. After all, without the shedding of blood, there’s no remission of sin.” Jedidiah stopped. He sneered. “And plus, it seems like these inhabitants were just a bunch of heathens, niggers, faggots and niggerfaggots.”

    “Jedidiah, the evil of the sinner does not justify the wrath of madmen to purge ’em. After all, the Lord Himself teaches in His Good book, vengeance is His.”

    “Screw that,” said Jack Norris, the blonde-haired man who came by after strolling through the town. “It is our job on earth, as God wills, to wreak out purification against the scum of the earth. If God really cared about it, He’d come and wipe ’em out and be done with it.”

    The bald man turned over to Jack. He frowned. “Jack Norris, you blonde pretty-boy bitch! Have you no respect for life? Those ‘heathen’ you insult were made in the same image of our God that we were. You’d better get that soon or I’ll knock it into you.”

    “Fine,” said Jack. He laughed at that. “See if I care.” Then he put out his tongue at Obadiah and put it back in.

    The sand swam light across the hoofs of the steeds. The horses neighed and rose to the air. The sun brightened on the faces of the three men. The three men backed away and rode from the town and into the canvas that was behind them before.

    As they traveled through the desert, they stopped small times and drank the water they had. Then they continued. And stopped. And continued. And stopped. And continued. The routine continued on and on until the sun set and the red gleamed throughout the sky as the earth moved away from the ball of fire and paved way for the ball of white to shine through the coming black sky. The three men stopped to gaze upon the sunset as the heat winded down, their eyes transfixed in awe of the gleaming crimson that spread and permeated the sky, mixing with the shades of blue that remained.

    It was very good, and it cheered them very much

    • Susan W A

      I can really feel your process of creating an intriguing tale. There were a variety of phrases I enjoyed, for example: the earth moved away from the ball of fire and paved way for the ball of white to shine through the coming black sky.”

      Your dedication to developing your craft is apparent. Thanks for sharing.

    • The descriptions are awe-inspiring. Just the first paragraph had me salivating and it gave the perfect aura and setting that you wanted. Every part of the story was very descriptive and mystic but I kind of got bored in the middle where I still wasn’t sure about the purpose. When you introduced the 3 men I was wooshed right back in! The dialogue between Jedidiah and Obedidah was informative and very respectful. So when Jack Norris arrives and the language gets crude I was abit thrown off of my horse. It seemed very un-tuned to the story and the setting. I wasn’t able to guess if it was set in the past or in the future, and I think that lent a certain charm to the story.

      • Thanks for the comments. I wrote this as a brief vignette that sought to be based off the style of Hemingway. It wasn’t a real short story in the sense that there is a beginning, middle, and end.

        However, as one commenter noted, the vignette did have an interesting story. Thanks for your comments. 🙂

        Btw, this was sort of set of in either the past or present.

  • Susan W A

    “I’m a writer.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “I mean I’m a writer.”
    “Like books or magazine articles?”
    “No.”
    “Then what?”
    “I write for myself.”
    “Oh, you want to be a writer.”
    “I am a writer.”
    “Okay. “
    “What does it mean to you if I say I’m a writer?”
    “It means you’ve actually published something. Or you have a blog. Or at least you’re really good and people want to read your stuff. Or you’re close to finishing a short story. Or you’ve submitted an article to a magazine, even if it was rejected. Or at least you have a job where you produce large works of writing. Or you’re super creative and writing is your deep passion. Or you’ve known all your life you’ve wanted to write. Or you journal every day. Or you know a lot about famous authors and have read all the classics and then some. Or if I give you a topic, you can create something right now. Or … I don’t know … whatever a “real” writer does.”
    “I am a real writer. And I write for myself. And I rummage around in my head for ideas. And when I want to support a friend or send a birthday greeting or celebrate a marriage or birth or honor a loved one who has passed, my first thought is to write a poem for them. And I sift through synonyms to dig up novel ways to put my thoughts on paper. And I love to disentangle grammar, and break the rules, too, in order to invent a rhythm or a surprise. And I observe … the light through a tree on a foggy day … the smells in a bakery or on a walk through nature … the giggles and skip skip skipping of little kiddos … because the sounds and smells and images of life bring forth words, if you let them. And those words bring forth emotions. The words, the words, the remarkable, awe-inspiring phrasing and brand new combinations of words that I find, maybe in Bradbury, maybe in a dear friend’s handwritten letter, maybe in my journal (which, from the gaps in the entry dates, you’d never guess was a term meaning “daily”). And I read and re-read those words. And I care about expressing myself sublimely; whether I accomplish that completely or partially, it’s the seeking which nourishes. And I take part in an incredible process called thewritepractice. And you know what? There I meet and am inspired by writers, writers, writers in every single post. And you know what else? Those who have a lifetime of experience and those who’ve just started, are given the same message, the realization that each of us can claim as our own, the avowal, “I am a writer.”

    • Totally!
      Great use of internal dialoguing.
      Keep going.

      • Susan W A

        Thanks, Dawn. Your use of the phrase “internal dialoguing” helped me pay attention to the technique.

    • I love this.

      • Susan W A

        thank you!! so do I .

        : )

    • I’m still fighting with just accepting “I am a writer.” But this and the article are both a great help! <3 Thank you very much.

      • Susan W A

        Your comment means a LOT to me. Thank you.

        Have fun with it. Practice saying it out loud; “I’m a writer.” Imagine who you’re saying it to.

        Add your own, “And I … ” statement.
        What are you doing when you most feel like a writer?
        Please share those thoughts with me. I’d love to hear.

        You know from Kevin’s post that you’re not alone!
        I’m fairly new to creative writing and I haven’t yet said to anyone, but myself, “I’m a writer.” It’s fun thinking about when that will first happen.

        • Thanks you. Saying that out loud did help “I am a writer and I will write 500 per day!” I feel most like a writer when I’m actually writing and I think that I’m actually writing something good. I’m not a new writer I’ve been writing for a long time but I’m still in the basics. Sometimes that just kills.

  • Alison D.

    Thank you for this! After not writing throughout my recent pregnancy and the newborn period, I had started to wonder if I ever was a “real” writer or just a poser. Recent weeks have seen me returning to the page, however, and it feels so good. Even crafting email newsletters is satisfying. Your post gave me just the boost I needed to say once again, “Yes, I am a writer!” and to step up my game by committing to write for 15 minutes every day, rather than in fits and starts. Immediately after reading your post on Thursday night, I hung up a fresh calendar and set some stickers nearby. For every day I write 15 minutes, I give myself a heart sticker. I love it.

    • You’re welcome, Alison. I think that’s the key–you keep returning to it and putting words down. THAT is what makes you a writer.

  • Evie Scott

    Thank you for sharing.
    I started a novel over Christmas, and have so far managed to write between 1,500-2,500 words a day and it is moving at a great pace. I just need to ignore the little voice in the back of my head, saying I’m not good enough!

    • Evie, you’re killing it! 1,500-2,500 words/day. That’s amazing.

  • I chose B. I’m going with 500. Although I only hit 297. I’m hoping to reach 500 with a later session.

    This is part of a story I’m working on.

    “Mum, how long have you been planning this?”

    “I have no idea what you mean,”

    The oven screeched as the spatially hammered into it; splashing droplets of water in every direction. “MOTHER!”

    Suh Min ignored her daughter and headed towards the dining room. “Hurry up with the food. I’ve a long day ahead of me.”

    “Stop playing with her life! This is not a game!”

    Suh Min sighed softly her hand reaching out to grab the entryway, her fingers curling with suppressed rage. “If this was a game I would gladly give up. Since it’s not I don’t plan on tucking in my tail and running like a coward.”

    Ryu flinched, “If wanting peace is cowardly then so be it.”

    “It is when you leave in the middle of a battle.”

    “This is not about me!” Ruy shouted. “Your blood lust will eat her!”

    “Bloodlust?,” Suh Hin’s mused, her face breaking into a cruel grin, her body pumping her blood at thunderous rate. “I have no problem being the villain, but don’t kid yourself. It’s nothing but revenge driving that girl. And I’d be stupid not to use that to me advantage.”

    “She’s not a chess piece!”

    “She is when I tell her to be.”

    “How can you-”

    “Enugh!” Suh MIn growled, her temper getting the better of her. “You didn’t want this life, you left. This doesn’t give you the right to criticize me or others. I won’t have you smudge her bravery by your pathetic cowardice!”

    Walking away, Suh Min took deliberate steps towards the garage. Her body ached with the urge to free her frustration. Something she couldn’t afford. Not now, not ever. And being near her daughter called too deeply to her rage then anything. Which wasn’t good at all. Not one bit.

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  • Prince A.

    This was what I needed to read. I definitely have had those moments when I didn’t feel like a writer and that has actually kept me away from posting or getting more involved. in groups Now, I am proclaiming myself as a writer and remembering my past accomplishments, which is making me really happy. I’m happy that this is where my comeback on this site begins.

    I chose (B) with 500 words as my amount, but I wanted to finish the story so it’s double that number:

    After the last bell rung, I decided to stay after class to ask that a correction be made to my test. My friend Andrew and I always check each other’s work for my own inquisition. I do it to see if I got something wrong so that I can see what the right answer should’ve been. I think Andrew does it in the spirit of competition. If his numerous jerseys were not an indication of his rival seeking nature, he also had crazy amounts of trophies on his shelf at his house for all the sports I’ve ever heard of, for a few sports overseas and one that has to be illegal to play in the U.S.

    Aside from sports, Andrew struggles with schoolwork from time to time. I blame it on Coach Rufus, the toughest coach in the history of middle schools everywhere. I think the school lockers turned green due to the smell of his tobacco chewing breath. Somehow, his chain-smoking habits in the teachers parking lot doesn’t hinder his loud roars that violently echo throughout our small town of almost 1000. Maybe the mayor thinks of him as a tourist attraction, or the mayor could fear him like the entire spineless faculty. Not one of the teachers park near his rust bucket red bug that has a sunflower giving you the finger. A girl told me it was Coach Rufus’s wife’s car, but what sane woman would marry a buzz cut redneck like him?

    Despite the fact that Coach Rufus is especially tough on Andrew, Andrew still thinks well of Coach Toby. Toby is short of tobacco. A guy in my class gave the coach this nickname. It’s a name we use so we wouldn’t get in trouble if we wanted to talk about the coach. I have to say, it does shed some fear of my chest. It’s not like I don’t like the coach, but I know to keep my distance from him. Andrew on the other hand thrives in such intense atmosphere. Even with his forever dirt stained clothes and ripped jeans that result from the harsh training he gets, he smiles in the face of all those crazy things.

    Andrew’s competitive nature definitely shows its disgustingly happy face whenever he gets a question right and I get it wrong. Even though I clearly beat him in the total score, he sees a right answer as a victory dancing moment. Today when he was gloating through
    the aisles of the creaky, paint-chipped desks, I saw that we answered one question the same, but his was marked right and mine was marked wrong. My question was obviously marked wrong by mistake. Right?

    Here at my desk I stood as everyone was heading home for the day. I told Andrew that I had to ask Mr. Middles something that confused me about the test. I didn’t tell him the truth about the mistake and I’m not sure why. Maybe I was secretly competitive too. At
    least I am when it came to my grades.

    To be honest, grades were my only thing. If I don’t have my academic achievements to focus on, my mind will begin to focus on all the things that are wrong with me. I dressed very routinely because I didn’t have many clothes. One time, I was humiliated as this one jerk says, “Today is Tuesday, but you accidentally wore your Thursday outfit.” Along with that sad picture is the audio of my cracking voice, but it still doesn’t distract from the craters of acne that invaded my face this year. I could even feel my teeth slowly shifting, screaming to me, “We need braces!” I think anyone would agree that I needed my good grades. They were my scholarship to help me leave this forsaken place.

    Mr. Middles sat at his desk looking over his new pile of assignments. Finally, this was my chance to set things right with the world. As I was walking up to his desk, I couldn’t help but feel kind of sad for him. He had no wedding ring, I think he had no kids and he looked so content grading those papers. That’s all he had in his life. I could only ever picture him with a stack of papers before him. Summers must be rough because if he doesn’t wear a shower cap, that hair grease is going to burn right through his papers.

    Out of the handful of the teachers we had, Mr. Middles were one of the few to wear a suit for work. Unlike the others, his suits always made him look like a cubicle employee more than anything else. This was his first year teaching at the school, but aside from not really liking his strict grading style, he looked like a fair person.

    “Um,” I said to make some informal noise to get Mr. Middles’ attention. “I have a question about the test.”

    He looked up at me with curiosity and concern. I pointed out the conflict in the grading and explained the same-answers-marked-differently issue. I made sure not to use Andrew’s name just in case we were both wrong, but I was sure we were right. Mr. Middles’ face had a calm smile that showed he finally understood the situation. I felt pretty good because he gave the look of the kind of teacher who would make a quick correction and send me home before my favorite cartoon came on TV.

    He removed his black square-framed reading glasses. “Blake, sometimes in life, you have people who are lucky and get by and you have others who aren’t. This time, you just weren’t lucky enough.”

    My mind could not comprehend what he was telling me. My eyes were the roundest they’ve ever been. It’s moments like these that I wish I had a glass cup in my
    hand so that when the shocking news comes, I could drop it unknowingly and the
    shattering glass fragments would release me out of this frozen state.

    I began to feel the sweat from my forehead, but it was not the cause of fear or nervousness of the situation. It was the cause of the high temperature radiator that sat on the desk. I remember this as the reason I never came up to Mr. Middles’ desk. Who would need to have a radiator on their desk at full blast when the whole school is well heated? The answer came to me in an instant. Someone with a cold soul would need it. This realization helped me collect my thoughts and get in control of my feelings. Forms of anger always helped me think more clearly.

    “So, are you going to correct my grade?” I talked with a stern look mimicking the
    superheroes I watched that had become serious about taking down their foe.

    “No,” he said.

    I’m sure there was more explanation after his decline to correct his mistake, but all I could hear was his refusal to acknowledge he was wrong. I had a teacher who was out to get me. Just like in the movies! The more I thought about his explanations, the more pissed off I got at how unfair he was being. He was standing in the way of my ticket out of this small town.

    “I don’t like you,” I interrupted him in his explanations of the unfair world in which we live. Before I knew it, those were the words that slipped through my lips and I was happy that I said it.

    Mr. Middles face became surprise to the words I uttered in confidence. I think it stuck to his ears more than the normal adolescent rebellions he hears all his days at this school. With my test in hand, I made my way out of the classroom, all the while thinking if there was a time to compete against something, this was the time. I wouldn’t just win this fight. I had set out to destroy the competition.

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  • Prince A.

    I chose (B) (edited):

    After the last bell rung, I decided to stay after class to ask that a correction be
    made to my test. My friend Andrew and I always check each other’s work for my inquisition. I do it to see if I got something wrong so that I can see what the right answer
    should’ve been. I think Andrew does it in the spirit of competition. If his
    numerous jerseys were not an indication of his rival seeking nature, he also
    had crazy amounts of trophies on his shelf at his house for all the sports I’ve
    ever heard of, for a few sports overseas and one that has to be illegal to play
    in the U.S.

    Aside from sports, Andrew struggles with schoolwork from time to time. I blame it on Coach Rufus, the toughest coach of all middle schools. I think the school lockers turned green due to the smell of his tobacco chewing breath. Somehow, his chain-smoking habits in the teachers parking lot doesn’t hinder his loud roars that violently echo
    throughout our small town of almost 1000. Maybe the mayor thinks of him as a tourist attraction, or the mayor could fear him like the entire spineless faculty. Not one of the teachers park near his rust bucket red bug that has a sunflower giving you the finger. A girl told me it was Coach Rufus’s wife’s car, but what sane woman would marry a buzz cut
    redneck like him?

    Despite the fact that he is especially tough on Andrew, Andrew still thinks well of Coach Toby. Toby is short for tobacco. A guy in my class gave the coach this nickname. It’s an
    inside joke that couldn’t get anyone in trouble if we wanted to talk about the coach.
    I have to say, it does shed some fear off my chest. It’s not like I don’t like
    the coach, but I know to keep my distance from him. Andrew on the other hand
    thrives in such intense atmosphere. Even with his forever dirt stained clothes
    and ripped jeans that result from the harsh training he gets, he smiles in the
    face of all those crazy things.

    Andrew’s competitive nature definitely shows its disgustingly happy face whenever he gets a question right and I get it wrong. Even though I clearly beat him in the total score, he sees a right answer as a victory dancing moment. Today when he was gloating through
    the aisles of creaky, paint-chipped desks, I saw that we answered one question
    the same, but his was marked right and mine was marked wrong. My answer was
    obviously marked wrong by mistake. Right?

    Here at my desk I stood as everyone was heading home for the day. I told Andrew that I had to ask Mr. Middles something that confused me about the test. I didn’t tell him the truth about the mistake and I’m not sure why. Maybe I was secretly competitive too. At
    least I am when it came to my grades.

    Grades were my thing. If I don’t have my academic achievements to
    focus on, my mind will begin to focus on all the things that are wrong with me.
    I dressed very routinely because I didn’t have many clothes. One time, I was
    humiliated as this one jerk says, “Today is Tuesday, but you accidently wore
    your Thursday outfit.”

    Along with that sad picture is the audio of my cracking voice, but it still doesn’t
    distract from the craters of acne that invaded my face this year. I could even
    feel my teeth slowly shifting, screaming to me, “We need braces!” I think
    anyone would agree that I needed my good grades. They were my scholarship to
    help me leave this place.

    Mr. Middles sat at his desk looking over his new pile of assignments. Finally, this
    was my chance to set things right with the world. As I was walking up to his
    desk, I couldn’t help but feel kind of sad for him. He had no wedding ring, I
    think he had no kids and he looked so content grading those papers. That’s all
    he had in his life. I could only ever picture him with a stack of papers before
    him. Summers must be rough because if he doesn’t wear a shower cap, that hair
    grease is going to burn right through those papers.

    Out of the handful of the teachers we had, Mr. Middles were one of the few to wear
    a suit for work. Unlike the others, his suits always made him look like a
    cubicle employee more than anything else. This was his first year teaching at
    the school, but aside from not really liking his strict grading style, he looked
    like a fair person.

    “Um,” I said to make some informal noise to get Mr. Middles’ attention. “I have a
    question about the test.”

    He looked up at me with curiosity and concern. I pointed out the conflict in the
    grading and explained the same-answers-marked-differently issue. I made sure
    not to use Andrew’s name just in case we were both wrong, but I was sure we
    were right. Mr. Middles’ face had a calm smile that showed he finally
    understood the situation. I felt pretty good because he gave the look of the
    kind of teacher who would make a quick correction and send me home before my
    favorite cartoon came on TV.

    He removed his black square-framed reading glasses. “Blake, sometimes in life, you
    have people who are lucky and get by and you have others who aren’t. This time,
    you just weren’t lucky enough.”

    My mind could not comprehend what he was telling me. My eyes were the roundest they’ve ever been. It’s moments like these that I wish I had a glass cup in my hand so
    that when the shocking news comes, I could drop it unknowingly and the
    shattering glass fragments would release me out of this frozen state.

    I began to feel the sweat from my forehead, but it wasn’t the cause of fear or
    nervousness of the situation. It was the cause of the high temperature radiator
    that sat on the desk. I remember this as the reason I never came up to Mr.
    Middles’ desk. Who would need to have a radiator on their desk at full blast
    when the whole school is well heated? The answer came to me in an instant.
    Someone with a cold soul would need it. This realization helped me collect my
    thoughts and get in control of my feelings. Forms of anger always helped me think
    more clearly.

    “So, are you going to correct my grade?” I talked with a stern look mimicking the
    superheroes I watched that had become serious about taking down their foe.

    “No,” he said.

    All I could think was that I had a teacher who was out to get me. Just like in the movies! The more I thought about his explanations, the more pissed off I got at how unfair he was being. He was standing in the way of my ticket out of this small town.

    “I don’t like you,” I interrupted him in his explanations of the unfair world in
    which we live. Before I knew it, those were the words that slipped through my
    lips and I was happy that I said it.

    Mr. Middles face showed the surprise to the words I uttered in confidence. I think it stuck to his ears more than the normal adolescent rebellions he hears all his days at this school. With my test in hand, I made my way out of the classroom all the while thinking if there
    was a time to compete against something, this was the time. I wouldn’t just win
    this fight. I had set out to destroy the competition.

  • Iqra Binte Imran

    The usual Sunday morning it was, she had her brunch and was sitting in the garden with her friends. Listening to the chit chat, aimlessly driven by the hearts who bore interest only in peeling the lives of other people. It was the beginning of frost, the first week of December in Lahore. For most people it is the time of dreams and love. But for her just another day in between the people who she can never understand. While sitting under the sun when the discussion about the latest fashion begin, the only words she heard were “did you see the shoes she wore on the party at Sheikh Sahab’s house? hah a pretty little damsel she think she is”. And she didn’t even realise when she was driffted away into world beyond. Her thoughts took her to the world where she could think the way she wants, she could stand for herself. And she wont have to explain herself. She could sit alone in the garden and ponder and sit there untill she felt the sun warming her skin and soft scent of freshly cut grass where she could walk bare feet and feel the wetness of mud under her feet. Sometimes she felt, she was not made for this world or maybe this era. She was the girl with delicacy of manners who wanted to paint beside her window, looking outside at that tiny black sparrow collecting little twigs. She wanted to read a book every evening with a cup of tea. She wanted to dress like a women in the 18 century would, with curles in her hair and a long frock to carry with laces attached. She wanted to wander in the streets at night alone feel the air seeping through her skin.. But to her dismay she could not. She can not think about this, she has to be what other want her to be. She could not paint. All she has to do was to be involve in the most happening events occurring in the town and be a part of purposeful discussions about other people and their lives. She never realised that when she stood up and started walking towards an un-calling voice in her head. She heard echoes behind her, the muffled sounds calling her or maybe few heads turned at her sudden movement but cared not to explain for the first time. Maybe now she knew where she was going…