It's almost time for NaNoWriMo.  Many affectionately call it “NaNo,” for short.  “Nano” is also short for “mind-numbingly short” as in nanosecond, and “really, really, ridiculously small,” as in nanoparticles.

In the spirit of all things nano, I've got a challenge for you.  It's the Non-NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge (try typing that ten times at top speed…).

Write for one hour, uninterrupted.  No distractions, no breaks, no excuses.  In one hour, write something start to finish. 

In linear time, that's sixty minutes, 3,600 seconds, or 3.6E+12 nanoseconds.  In the non linear, sacred time we covered two weeks ago, the exact volume of time will depend on how you use it.

Ready at the keyboard?

Photo by Ming Thein

Photo by Ming Thein

Ah, but the starting gun hasn't fired!  Hang on, let's put down a little context on our fresh new track first.

Goal Horizon

First, if you haven't done so yet, read my post on sacred time for writers.  It'll give you a different perspective on what you can do in one hour.

Second, choose your hour.  Yes, you get to choose when to hit that ‘start' button.  Otherwise, it wouldn't really be fair, would it, if I arbitrarily set the time.  Some of you would be just waking up, peeling your cheek off the keyboard from the night before, while others would have already had their morning jet fuel and would be ready to take off.  (Hint: make the hour within your stretch of sacred time)

Third, choose your coordinates.  As they say, location, location, location.  (p.s. Make sure it's far, far away from distractions, family & loved ones who mean well, and people who tap their feet, pencils, or other objects sans cesse.  Also see fourth step below.)

Fourth: Lock down that wi-fi.  Change your password to your email and walk away.  Tether your browser to your dog and leave them both at home.  Read: NO DISTRACTIONS!

Identify. Focus. Write.

Now that you're all set with the externalities, choose your poison.  That is, what are you going to write?

  • Are you in the middle of a novel or a memoir?  Then pick a scene you need to finish, or a chapter, or a stretch of dialogue.
  • Are you working on a short story, an essay, or an article?  Try to finish it in that hour, or write a substantial chunk.
  • What about a poem?  Can you write a poem in one hour?
  • If you've already penned your magnum opus and are twirling your hair waiting for one of the Big Five to ring, why not put together that jaw-dropping, we-want-to-sign-you-now pitch.

Whatever it is, pick one thing to write during that one hour, and one thing only.

Why do I ask you to choose instead of suggesting a theme?  Because.  If I ask you to spend an hour writing, that hour is sacred and should be used to advance your work.  (Granted, themed writing exercises have their merit, and we'll do those too–all in due time.)

One More Thing

Oh, there's one more thing.  Little present for you.  For those of you anywhere in or near Northern California, or the means to get here on November 8 – 10: my friends at the Algonkian Writer Conferences have authorized me to give away 5 heavily discounted spots to the “Write to Market” conference in Corte Madera, 20 minutes north of San Francisco.  The 3-day conference is normally $395; this discount will get you in for $195, or, if you're willing to write a review about the event, $95.  SWEET DEAL.

Plus, I'll be there and would love to meet some of you in person.

So, if you're interested, check out the conference web siteschedule, and other details on the site, and email me at info [at] birgitterasine [dot] com.  I'll forward your information on to the conference director and he'll take it from there.  Since there are just 5 of these discounted spots, we can only accept 5 writers.  IMPORTANT: email me by Friday 10/25, that's the deadline to register at the discounted rate.

Husky male voice: Now back to our regularly scheduled writing practice.


Ready?  Go!  Write for one glorious hour, and share the fruits of your labor here in the comments, or just report on the experience.  Was it harder or easier than you thought?  Did you stare at your screen/page/wall for a full fifty percent of your hour?  Were you constantly distracted or did you easily slip into your sacred writing time?  Did you hit on a brilliant idea or produce some of your best writing ever?  We all want to know.  Share your pain as well as your joy!

Birgitte Rasine

Birgitte Rasine is an author, publisher, and entrepreneur. Her published works include Tsunami: Images of Resilience, The Visionary, The Serpent and the Jaguar, Verse in Arabic, and various short stories including the inspiring The Seventh Crane. She has just finished her first novel for young readers. She also runs LUCITA, a design and communications firm with her own publishing imprint, LUCITA Publishing. You can follow Birgitte on Twitter (@birgitte_rasine), Facebook, Google Plus or Pinterest. Definitely sign up for her entertaining eLetter "The Muse"! Or you can just become blissfully lost in her online ocean, er, web site.

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