Tag Archives: author motivation

Just 50 words

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

For months my friend, Jackie, and I had been struggling to find a slice time and significant energy to write between teaching during the day and various commitments in the evening. So we decided to “coach” each other along. Our idea was simple: keep each other motivated by sharing our weekly progress. Since this past November, we have emailed whatever we’ve written that week, knowing that nothing we send is clean or polished. Regardless, we use the opportunity to give each other informal feedback and notes. Some weeks we send 1000+ words, others maybe 200. For me, knowing that she is expecting something in her box by Friday afternoon, and I in mine, keeps me writing each day.

But feelings of motivation can fade and we get worn out, even with the best intentions. One night, Jackie emailed that she was just too tired to write. To which I replied: Try 50 words. And than reward yourself with a whole lot of chocolate. It has become our mantra whenever either of us makes an excuse: Just 50 words.

If you’re still going full throttle, awesome! If your momentum is slowing, do not be discouraged. Give yourself a doable goal, one that feels absolutely surpassable. And if you can find someone who will act as a coach, all the better.

And, of course, there’s no shame in a chocolate reward.


A Side Note on “the Blank”

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

One of my favorite quotes comes from Peter Turchi’s book Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer In it, he writes:

We start with a blank: a world of possibility

I have mentioned this quote before and I wanted to return to this idea as a reminder of the awesome gift we are given as writers. We get to begin with nothing, and fill that space with infinite possibilities. That’s wickedly cool!

So today as you write, I encourage you to think of your story as a journey you’re mapping; allow yourself to write as if you are discovering something for the first time. While you may have a goal for the scene/chapter you’re working on today, keep your mind open to other possible journeys for your character and plot. I confess that some of my favorite plot developments have occurred when I looked at the page as “a blank” and followed the lead of my pen rather than trying to direct it.

Two Days Until Write by Midnight

WriteOwls logo 150 black

The kickoff for Write by Midnight is only two days away, and some great resources to help you on your journey to success are writing logs and project trackers.

Click here for a printable log designed specifically by the WriteOwls for next month’s challenge.  Or, search for the terms “word count tracker” or “writing progress meter” online for some tech-oriented options. There are a variety of apps available, as well, for writing on the go. Try a few tools until you find the one that works best for you.

If you opt for the WriteOwls printable log, record the time of day you wrote (8 p.m. to 8:52 p.m.), where you wrote (desk, carpool line, coffee shop), your goal for that day (300 words, revise a scene, finish outline), your progress toward that goal (wrote 208 words, revised one sentence of a scene, outlined chapter one), and any notes about what did or didn’t work during the writing session.

By using this worksheet, you’ll hopefully see how well you’re incorporating writing into your daily routine, as well as patterns of productivity. You might be surprised how much you get written in the carpool lane or how little you get done at 10 p.m.—or vice versa. Experimenting with writing times and locations can help you discover how writing fits most naturally and effectively into your life.

Go ahead and download the form now, and write out your goal for Feb. 1. Then, at the end of your writing session the first day, assess where you are in your project and set a goal for Feb. 2.

When you complete the Write by Midnight challenge with a regular and sustainable writing schedule, not only will the month of February have been a success, but you’ll be ready to maintain that success into March, April, May and onward.

Getting it done . . .

Alicia Finney

Alicia Finney

The best story idea in the world won’t write itself, and, once you acclimate to the fact that your story is going to change as it fleshes out and hits the page, your next great hurdle is focus.  

No great endeavor of any kind has ever existed without someone first deciding that the thing was important and, second, deciding to do something about it.   But a project as extensive as a book takes a special kind of focus.  It takes endurance.  Runners train differently for endurance than they do for sprints.  You have to maintain your energy, keep yourself going, keep the rhythm of the pace even when you feel tired.  You have to have a reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other Continue reading

A New Year, a New Way of Writing: Write by Midnight



The New Year has barely begun, and it’s brimming with possibilities. As writers, it’s traditional to resolve each year to make writing a priority and finish that first draft, revision or submission. 2017 is no different, except the WriteOwls have created a plan to help us stick to our good intentions to write every day. We invite you to join us as we “Write by Midnight.”

Write by Midnight aims to help you incorporate writing into your days without putting the rest of your life on hold. We, like you, have families to take care of, work deadlines to meet and a myriad of other obligations and extracurricular activities that make us who we are. All of those things inform our writing styles and voices, so the goal of Write by Midnight is to embrace them while we include writing in the mix of our daily routines.

This month, we’ll begin laying a solid groundwork for a year of writing success and then dive in with a write-a-thon for the month of February to turn those goals into a sustainable habit of writing every day–by midnight. We will encourage you to analyze what works for you as a writer, as well as what doesn’t, and then to set your own daily goals. Whether your goal is to write 500 words a day, revise a scene, complete an outline or develop your voice, we invite you to set yourself up for success by creating realistic expectations that push you to become a better, consistently productive writer.

Each Wednesday in the coming weeks, we’ll give you a prompt that will prepare you to hit the ground running when Write by Midnight launches on Feb. 1. We hope our suggestions will get you in the right frame of mind to make progress on your writing project once the write-a-thon begins so you can achieve your goals by the end of the month. With that in mind, here’s your first challenge:

Write by Midnight Challenge #1:

Spend the next week taking stock of how you really spend your time. How long does it take you to do the regular activities that make up your life? If you take a moment to record the minutes you spend commuting, cooking dinner, checking social media or interacting with family, you might be surprised at how much–or little–time certain things take. Noting the flow of your daily schedule might be a time-consuming task this week, but the insights you’ll gain from the effort will allow you to pinpoint time that you might be able to convert to writing time. Could you, for example, DVR a favorite television show, skip the commercials during playback, and spend those gained minutes writing?

New for Write by Midnight

You can plug into Write by Midnight through WriteOwls.com and by following us on Twitter @WriteOwls #writebymidnight for peeks into our progress, shared tips and resources, and daily Write by Midnight inspiration.

We look forward to sharing our journeys with you in the coming days and hope you’ll share your progress with us along the way, too.