Summer Writing – #SoATW & #Chiwords

Posted Jun 13 2014, 7:30 am

Hi – Summer is hard for me as a writer. Kids are home and it’s hard to keep my regular routine. However, deadlines don’t go away and I have books to write. Last summer was the first time I had to write a book under deadline. My friends, Erica O’Rourke and Clara Kensie came up with the idea of Summer of All the Words (#SoATW) because they too have kids and summer is hard. The concept was simple: writers meet on Twitter every night from 10-11 pm CST and write. We check in and cheer each other on. For me, it was a huge success. #SoATW was how I wrote Catch Your Breath (which releases 7/3 — a few more weeks).

This year, I am participating with #SoATW again, but my RWA chapter, Chicago-North RWA, and our sister chapter, Windy City, are sponsoring another writing event: #Chiwords Here’s the premise:

Every Friday from 9-10 pm, we’ll have a 1k/1hr challenge. Check in any time from 8:45 – 9 pm by Tweeting @chicagonorthrwa and using the hashtag #chiwords,and then hang out from 10 – 10:15 to report on how you did. These Friday events will be sponsored by our authors, so everyone who checks in will be entered to win a prize from that sponsor.

In addition, every weekend, we will check in at 9 am Saturday and check out at 9 pm Sunday (again, by sending a Tweet to @chicagonorthrwa with the hashtag #chiwords) with reports on how many words you wrote, when you got the best work done, what helped inspire/motivate you that weekend. There will be prizes all summer long!

This week, I’m the sponsor for #Chiwords. I will be logging on to write Friday night and when we’re finished, I’ll be giving away a copy or two of my O’Leary books. If you’re a writer, stop by. It’s a great way to get words on the page and make progress.

As I said, deadlines don’t go away even when life interrupts. Although O’Learys #5 — Just a Taste (Liam’s book)–is with my editor, I need to write the next book, which won’t come out until next summer. Maggie O’Leary is the next and final book of the series. For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about Maggie and what her book will be.

I’m not a plotter. I don’t outline my books, but I do spend quite a bit of time thinking and developing the characters. I have collages with pictures of how I imagine the characters. I have a playlist of songs that I listen to all the time, even when I’m not writing. Then, I do a whole lot of procrastinating.

The thing is, I hate starting a new book. Looking at a blank page with nothing on it is a bit nerve racking. There’s always the fear — What if I can’t do it again? 

Plus, 90,000 words is A LOT to write. Especially when you’re looking at a blank page with zero words on it. 

But, I had to start. So Wednesday night, with Summer of All the Words, I forced myself to start. In that hour, I managed to get the first 1,500 words of Maggie’s book. 90,000 is still a lot to write, but not nearly as scary when you have some down.

How do you motivate yourself to start (or continue) writing when life makes it easy to procrastinate?

Join me tonight at 9 on Twitter if you need to get words on the page. Follow me @SSchroeder_ or follow the hashtag #Chiwords

Hope to see you tonight!

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