Monday, August 31, 2009

I Got By With a Little Help From My Friends

Today marks the end of the "Write For Fifteen Minutes A Day" Challenge. August 31. I gave myself a pat on the back, a congratulatory handshake, and a hard High Five. I did it. I wrote every day this month for at least 15 minutes. I'm proud of some of my writing, but other days I coughed up something just so I could say I did it. On those days, I tried to keep some sage advice from my friend, Jennifer Brown, the author of Hate List, due to be released tomorrow. Her advice was something along the lines of, "As long as you realize and accept that most of what you write will be crap, then you'll be just fine." Gotta love Jen!

Laurie Halse Anderson gave us our last writing prompt this morning. She simply asked, "What worked for you this month?" What worked for me was that I committed myself to the challenge on August 1 with a determination to see this through to the end. But I didn't just commit to it mentally. I said it out loud to people. I wrote about it on my blog. I posted it on my Facebook page a few times. Surprisingly, a few people paid attention and held me accountable for my words, both spoken and written.

Jennifer Brown told me that she bookmarked my blog. Well, the pressure was on from the start! If Jen could pound out thousands of words daily and get a novel published, I could certainly write for 15 minutes each day. To not do so would make me, well, a weenie. Or a bigger weenie than I already am.

Kelly M. was my BFF in junior high and most of high school before she moved out of state. I hadn't talked to her in years, and we reconnected on Facebook. She isn't an FB crackhead, but when she did check in she took time to ask me how the writing was going. Wow.

I met Val T. when I taught middle school in Pennsylvania. She is one of the few people I've stayed in touch with since I've moved back. We understand each other well, especially when it comes to the topics of motherhood, struggling learners, books, and politics. She began reading my blog recently and has been encouraging me to keep it up.

Before taking on this challenge, I had forgotten how far a little spark of encouragement can take a person. I'm a little sad and a tad scared that the challenge is over. Laurie's quotes, advice, and prompts provided motivation, especially on days when I couldn't think of a thing to write about or when I didn't feel like writing. I feel somewhat like a painter who peers down from her scaffolding only to discover that it has collapsed beneath her. My choices are to hang on for dear life and hope for the best, or to fall far and fast.

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