Thursday, July 25, 2013

Two Events That Will Make August Awesome

by Stephanie Morrill

Stephanie writes young adult contemporary novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series (Revell) and The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet (Playlist). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website.

With August a week away, my mind has turned toward questions like, "What have I accomplished in July? What do I want to do better?"

Something I stumbled upon in July was the concept of 30 Day Challenges. I found the article on a marketing resource I particularly like, but that article was inspired by a TED talk given by Matt Cutts of Google. The video is only a few minutes and really worthwhile, but basically he talks about how he's learned to try new things and add new behaviors to his life by giving himself 30 day challenges. He gives NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) as an example of a challenge he's undertaken, but he's done a lot of different things.

I love the simplicity of this idea, and I've been thinking about it more as August approaches. For many of us, August is a month of transition. In a few weeks, I'll start walking my daughter up to her kindergarten class every morning. Routines will be changing, and it can be easy for writing to get shuffled out of the way.

We've put a few things in place this month to help you keep writing from being something you intend to do to something you actually do during the school year. First up is:

The Go Teen Writers Virtual Writing Retreat



This will be done over an email loop so we'll exclude as few people as possible If you have an email address and you're 11 or older, you'll be welcome to join us for a weekend of community, word wars, encouragement, weirdness, and plain ol' fun.

After the retreat, the loop will remain open, and it'll be a way for you to communicate with each other during the Go Teen Writers 100 for 100 Writing Challenge (Take three!)



Thanks to the suggestion from the lovely Sarah Faulkner, we've purposefully coordinated the challenge and adjusted the rules so that those who are wanting to participate in both the 100 for 100 and National Novel Writing Month will be able to do so.

I haven't set up the email loop yet, but when I do, I'll provide directions on how to sign up.

I'm still trying to figure out what my 30 Day Challenge for August will be. Do you have ideas for 30 Day challenges for yourself?

49 comments:

  1. Ideas for a challenge...actually write. Ah..haha. Ha. (Just kidding.) I can't wait for this virtual writing retreat! It sounds so. so. awesome. The last 100x100 was really good for me! Got me writing SO much, where I usually slack off after finishing a book. Coincidently, just finished a rewrite-turned-Draft #2 of one of my 100x100 books!! YAY. XD

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    1. Congrats! Boybots. I'm excited to read it, Cait.

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  2. I'm so excited for this writing retreat! It sounds awesome! As for my 30-day challenge...probably editing. :P I'd like to have my novella completely edited and finished before school starts.

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  3. Hmm. An email loop is interesting. Is there a way to hide our addresses so that it is simply a name?
    -Shaneene

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    1. BCC. The 'B' stands for 'blind', and no one sees anything besides a name. Which is super cool. :D

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    2. I'll set it up through Yahoo Groups, so no one will see your address until you email the group. And it'll be a closed group, so only GTWers that I've approved can join.

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  4. I cannot wait for the writing retreat! I just hope that I'll actually be home. :) The email loop sounds super cool!. I can't wait to see how it works out! What rules did you change for the 100 for 100 for the NanoWriMoers? I'm curious. :)

    -Abby

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    1. Previously one of the 100 for 100 guidelines was that you did 100 words on the same project for 100 days. Of course this prevented people from doing Nano (or they had to double up projects/jump ship) because Nano rules are that you don't start writing the book until November 1st. So Sarah asked if we could make an exception that you can change projects if it's your Nano novel.

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  5. For me, I think my 30 day challenge will probably be for me to keep writing every day. I have a tendency to, after a NaNo event, take anywhere from a week to a month off of writing, especially if I have something to edit. (Which I will, since I need to get back to work on reworking Danger in the Tower.) I might do something else, though; I'm not sure.

    I can't wait for the writing retreat or the 100 for 100 challenge. The writing retreat sounds really fun (I hope my parents will let me do it!) and this'll be my first 100 for 100 challenge.

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  6. Eeep! can't wait! And now I actually have a novel to write for the 100 for 100! :)

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  7. Woo hoo!! SO excited for the writing retreat and the next 100-4-100 challenge! :D

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  8. I'm so excited for both events! Can't wait!

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  9. I may actually try to do NaNo this time around. I started it last year, but I didn't really prepare for it, so it fell flat. I may do a 500 for 30 challenge this August. :)

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  10. Ah, so excited! I haven't been on my computer for almost a week and I see this the first time I come back on : ) Sweet! Now, I just have to get through my first real conference...

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    1. Good luck Alyson! I'm sure you'll be fine :)

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    2. Just be your sweet self, Alyson! You'll do great!

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  11. I have no idea what I will do for NaNo. Hopefully my two current works will be finished by Nov. and I can start something new. I'm excited about the retreat!

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  12. Will be away for the retreat :( but can't wait for the next 100 for 100! It was unbelievably helpful last time. Hopefully all my planning for my next WIP will be done by then. I've been sitting on this idea for awhile, and Abby gave me some great ideas yesterday (thanks again!), so I think it will be :)

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    1. Awww! I wish that you could (metaphorically) be at the retreat! And you're welcome! It was tons of fun! I love throwing our random (sometimes strange:P ) ideas.

      -Abby

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  13. Here's hoping Awesome August will get me back on track! :)

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  14. Oh! Thank you for these two awesome writing events, Stephanie! I can't wait to participate in the writing retreat, and the next 100-for-100 will be amazing! Very excited now :)

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  15. Ooh! I can't wait to do 100-4-100 again. I got some good writing in last time. And the writer's retreat sounds like fun, too, and I hope I can take part!

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  16. I'm glad my suggestion was helpful. Stephanie. And I can't wait for more awesome writing time!
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    www.inklinedwriters.blogspot.com

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  17. Lately I haven't been writing much (*hides face in shame*) because I've been at a really difficult stage of writing. I'd started a first draft, but then 30k words in I realised the story would be so much stronger if I started it earlier and changed the order of events. So now I've got a gap that needs filling, and then the rest of the story to write.
    So my challenge for August is to fill that gap by writing every day. I need to get back into the writing habit!

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    1. Good luck! I experienced that first-hand. Well, actually I lost 30k (basically the entire middle) of my novel, so I've been trying to rewrite that. I'm sure you can do it, though.

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  18. Well, my goal for July was to finish my first draft, and then starting in August to plan my next novel (ha. ha)and do some short stories/personal-experience memoirish nonfiction and read up on editing more.

    I think my 30-Day challenge will be to write every day, and to write differently than I normally do at least ten of those days (maybe poetry, nonfiction, different genre, POV). When I was at my writing camp several weeks ago, due to the different prompts, I automatically wrote differently (3rd POV instead of 1st), and I'd like to try to emulate that on my own.

    Thanks for setting this up, Stephanie! I'm so excited for the writing retreat and 100-4-100.
    Also, sorry about the novel-length comment. It happens to the best of us, I suppose. Now, back to that novel I'm so desperately behind on . . . :)

    I'm also working on my contest entry as we speak. It should be good!

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  19. I'd love to do the writing retreat, but it's smack-dab in the middle of GISHWHES, and I don't think I would be able to do both. I cant wait for the latest 100-4-100, though!

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  20. Hi,

    i'm still fairly new to GTW. and i don't know what everything is, such as:

    100 for 100 writing challenge

    30 day challenge

    word wars

    if someone could explain, that would be awesome! ;)

    and i plan on joining in the retreat! i can't wait! just hoping i'll have internet for the whole weekend! ;)

    ~Abrielle Lindsay~
    http://thebooksbooksbookblog.blogspot.com/

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    1. 30 Day Challenges are new to me as well - I explain them in the opening of this post.

      100 for 100 is a writing challenge we do around here where you commit to write 100 words everyday for 100 days. The idea is that with minimal work (10 minutes a day) you wind up with 10,000 words in your manuscript after a couple months. We give away some prizes at the end, and it's a lot of fun.

      Word wars are when you and another writer (or several others) say, "Hey, let's see who can write the most words in the next 30 minutes," or the next hour or however long you want. Then whoever writes the most wins.

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    2. Thx!! those sound awesome! 100 for 100, can't wait to do this one!

      thx so much Mrs. Stephanie!

      abrielle lindsay
      http://thebooksbooksbookblog.blogspot.com/

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    3. Sooo, basically, 30 day challenges are challenging yourself to write so much each day?? i can't watch a video becasue our internet is WAY too slow.


      thx
      abrielle lindsay
      http://thebooksbooksbookblog.blogspot.com/

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    4. They're for any kind of life change you want to make. Like he explains how he gave up sugar for 30 days or biked to work for 30 days, stuff like that. The article I linked to applies the 30 Day challenges to marketing, since that's their specialty. I was thinking about writing, since that's mine. But it doesn't have to be just word count, it can be behaviors too. Like getting up an hour early each morning to write or spending 30 minutes reading a writing craft book everyday for 30 days.

      I think of the 30 Day Challenges as being the answer to all those times you say or think, "I wish I did such-and-such more often."

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    5. Ok! Thx! I think I'll do an hour of writing each day! (can't wait!) PLUS the 100 for 100, i might even finish the book!!! ***hands start to shake with that thought!!***

      Thx, Mrs. Stephanie!

      abrielle lindsay
      http://thebooksbooksbookblog.blogspot.com/

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  21. I have a question regarding the writing retreat. I have a daughter who is interested in joining; however, I am hesitant in letting her join. I do NOT want to discourage her in writing or learning new skills, etc. But at the same time, I do not want to "expose" her to any open doors via email. If she joins in, I'm assuming strangers will then have her email address? I would like to assume that everyone joining in is on the up and up and mostly young writers like my daughter, but I also know there are those who may use a place like this to find young people to prey upon. Please advise. THANK YOU! And thank you for encouraging and mentoring young writers!! Blessings! =0) Melinda

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    1. Yes, I I have the same question.

      -meighan

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    2. From Amo Libros:
      Ooh, that's a good point, I hadn't thought of that. You should email Mrs. Morrill (she doesn't usually check comments after the first day or so).

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    3. Sorry I've been delayed in responding. I'm trying to get edits turned in on time, so I'm a bit behind!

      We'll post all the details on the blog soon, but the writing retreat will take place via Yahoo Groups. I completely understand concerns about not wanting to expose yourself or your children to possible predators. I have to approve every member who asks to join the list, and I have the power to boot people should someone somehow sneak in. I take that job very seriously and will guard the list closely. We won't allow adult writers to join, unless they are adults Jill and I know personally who have a heart for teen writers, like our friend writer/editor Roseanna M. White.

      Also, group emails will get sent to the group email address. Which will be something like "GoTeenWriters@yahoo.groups." Your personal email address will only show up if you choose to email the group or if you respond to something.

      Again, there'll be more details coming, but I hope this at least sheds light on our desire to protect the writers who come to the retreat.

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    4. I do appreciate your reply!

      So, if my daughter participates, she will most likely want to email the group or reply to something. If she does that, then the group will see her email and be able to email her outside of the group, right? Hmmm.... wish there were someway to keep her email completely private.

      Thank you for your help.
      Melinda =0)

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    5. I wish there was too. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out a place where we could do that, but I'll keep looking :)

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    6. From Amo Libros:
      Could you set up a secondary email for her? My parents have one for catalogs, Amazon, etc., that isn't their main one and the address is rather ambiguous. That way, if it gets hacked or anything, it's not their "personal" email. You could even set one up under your name, and just let your daughter use it for the retreat, and that way her private email wouldn't be visible to a bunch of people, and you could double check the messages if you felt you needed to.

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  22. Yay! So excited about 100 for 100! Gosh, how I need it right now.

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  23. I am super excited for the 100 by 100 challenge!! It really helps me to get writing :) The retreat sounds fun as well although I don't know how much time I'll be able to spend... Thanks you Ms. Stephanie!

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  24. Sweet! The virtual writing retreat is on my birthday! :D

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  25. This will be my first time participating in 100 for 100, but I am so excited! I'm hoping from this challenge I can finish my current project, Wanderlust. And the weekend 'retreat' sounds awesome as well! I can't wait!

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  26. This is really cool! This is going to be my first time doing the 100 for 100 challenge, and I'm super excited! Now, I just have to think of a an idea...

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  27. Can we write on our actual books? People are talking about "Nano Novels" and "Thinking up new ideas" So... and I'm assuming we need to sign up somewhere? How do we sign up?? I don't want to miss it!!!

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