Monday, June 8, 2015

The Go Teen Writers Summer Writing Challenge and a Giveaway

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 Ellie Sweet books (Birch House Press). You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website including the free novella, Throwing Stones.

While I'm a big fan of goals, in the last few years I've become an even bigger fan of systems. For example, if your goal is to write a book this year, your system is how you plan to get it done. Maybe by getting up an hour before school or your summer job and using that time to write, or by not letting yourself go to bed until you've written 500 words for the day.

I had already been kicking around the idea of having some kind of summer writing challenge on the blog when I received an email from my friend Lydia Howe sharing some exciting news. (She'll talk about her good news in a momentI don't want to spoil it!)

Lydia had a goal. She wanted to get more serious about her writing. And she built a system that has worked remarkably well for her. To celebrate her accomplishments, she's generously giving away Amazon.com gift cards to three lucky commenters.

I'll let her talk about what she's been up to for the last few years, and then I'll be back at the end to share about the writing challenge we're having this summer:



Goals are important, especially when it comes to being an author. It seems like so much of what we do is done in the quietness of our bedrooms/offices/workplace without anyone hanging over our shoulder, prodding us along, and sometimes it’s hard to stay focused. 

Having accountability when working on a goal is important to me. Sometimes when I feel like procrastinating I’ll remind myself that my mom or sister or writing buddy will be asking me how it’s going and that’s normally enough to kick me into gear. 

In September of 2012 Stephanie hosted a challenge on Go Teen Writers to write a hundred words for a hundred days in a row. Since I’d been wanting to get into the habit of writing every day, I made it a goal to complete the challenge. It was a lot of fun having a whole group of people keeping each other accountable and by the time the challenge was over I had developed the habit of writing at least a 100 words on my WIP each day so it wasn’t too hard for me to keep going. 

Looking back I can see how much writing every day has helped me. Sure, not all those words make it to the second draft of my book; in fact there have been times that I’ve thrown the words away as soon as I write them. But taking the time each day to remind myself that I’m a writer and to spend several minutes working on improving my craft is priceless. 

Here are some of the things I do to help ensure I accomplish my writing goals: 
  • I have an alarm on my phone that goes off each night reminding me to write if I haven’t already. 
  • I turn off my internet and silence my phone so I can spend dedicated periods of time on my writing. 
  • I remind myself why I’m writing and that other writers have gone through the same issues that I’m going through. 
  • I take writing very seriously. 
  • I bribe myself and celebrate when I’ve completed a goal. 

Remember that your dreams are important and that you have a huge group of fellow writers here on GTWers who are cheering you on and ready to celebrate with you. This group really helped me get serious about my writing and we’d love to help you, too. 

And now to celebrate!

Yesterday was the 1,000th day in a row that I’ve written at least a 100 words on my WIP. 

1,000 days is a long time. Since I started writing every day I’ve gotten three books published, traveled to three continents, had three birthdays and welcomed four nieces and nephews to my family. I’ve hiked up mountains, gone snorkeling, slept in caves, and moved to a new house. No matter what was going on each day though, I made sure I wrote at least a 100 words. And I’m not sure if I would have ever done it without the help and support of Stephanie and all of you at GTWers. 

I would love to take y’all out for a milkshake to help me celebrate reaching my 1,000th day (that’s what my family did yesterday), but since I can’t do that, I figured I would host a giveaway for y’all! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stephanie here. I'm amazed at what Lydia has accomplished these last thousand days, and I'm also continually touched by her generous heart.

Writing 100 days everyday won't work for everyone, but here at Go Teen Writers we want to encourage you to think of something writing-related that you would like to finish this summer. So we're kicking off a writing challenge, and here's how it will work:

The Go Teen Writers Summer Challenge:

1. You think about something writing-related you want to accomplish between now and Monday, September 7th. (Which is Labor Day in America, and the unofficial end of summer. If it's not summer where you live, no biggie!) It can be a broad goal like, "I want to finish my first draft," or it can be a system like Lydia's, "I want to write 2,000 words every week." 

2. If you want, you fill out the form below to declare your goal. For some of us, it's helpful to write it down and share it with someone else. The form will be live for the next week, so you have until next Monday to determine your goal. 

3. If you like, and if you fill out the form, I email you a time or two over the summer to see how your goal is going. 

4. On September 7th, you tell us how you did. We celebrate with you and enter you to win some bookish, writerly prizes. 



83 comments:

  1. My goal for this summer is to finish about 60% or more of my story - slow going though! :P

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    1. Way to go! Slow going is more than nothing at all! :)

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  2. I'm sure I'm not the only one doing this, and I'll probably regret it as soon as I say it (haha!), but my goal is to finish my first draft. It's been slow going lately, but I've already planned to fill up my summer with reading and writing, so hopefully I'll get the proper amount of motivation! I think I'm probably closer to my goal than I think I am, as it seems pretty daunting right now. In order to get that done, I'll have to answer some challenging questions this story keeps asking me before I can move on with certain parts. Pretty sure if I stop overthinking so much I can get them answered. ;D

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    1. I can absolutely relate to that overthinking problem ;)

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    2. Sometimes you really do just have to trust your instincts and push through. I think it's a great goal, Emily :)

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  3. This is really encouraging! Thank you Stephanie and Lydia!

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    1. Aww, you're welcome. I'm glad it is encouraging!

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  4. Official goal: Write 1500 words a week.

    Unofficial goal: Write about a third of my WIP.

    Second unofficial goal: Convince my MC that not everything she says has to be sarcastic.

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    1. Haha I can totally relate to your second unofficial goal. I'm having a difficult time persuading one of my characters about the exact same thing :P

      Deborah

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    2. Yeah, they can be a pain at times...I love having a sarcastic MC, but the world could be ending before her eyes and her only comment would be, "Fantastic." She's a really complex character, and a lot of fun to work with, but I think she should probably say something seriously once in a while....

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    3. Ha! I always tell myself I can fix it in edits :)

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  5. My goal is to reach 50k on my WIP. Well, ideally I'd like to finish my WIP, but COME ON. 50k seems reasonable, and leaves enough time to you know, read and watch Dr. Who. Thanks a lot guys! This is AWESOME.

    Should I stop putting things in caps now? NO.

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    1. I hope you all reach your goals!

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    2. Nice going with your goal. Going reasonable is pretty smart. :)

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  6. My goal is to write in my journal everyday! Also to try to finish and perfect the song I am working on!

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    1. I put my goal as just writing everyday, in hopes I'll develop a more steady habit. It can be anything I want, a story, a journal entry, or even just a word, so long as I don't miss a day:)

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    2. I love the daily writing goals. I'm horrible at keeping a journal!

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    3. I'm already writing daily (figure I might as well hold to ONE of my New Year's resolutions), and it can be tough, but it's worth it. Even fifty words of sarcastic dialogue or a quick journal entry or blog post is fine, just so long as it's something. And it really does help with improving your writing habits; I will probably go on to write every day for a long time. I used to journal every day, but so much for that idea. Now I barely write in it, but I'm still trying to do an entry once in a while.

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  7. Cool post! My goal is to write thirty thousand words. I have time... this shouldn't be impossible... : D

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    1. I have 30k words left as well before I reach my goal, fifty thousand. Don't lose hope! Over ninety days that's only about 350 words, rounding *up*. Let's face it, that's nothing.

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    2. I like your way of thinking, Jonathan!

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  8. This is great!! Congratulations, Lydia!!! And thank you for the giveaway! My writing goal this summer is to finish rewriting my WIP, and work on a Sleeping Beauty retelling for the Rooglewood writing contest. =)

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    1. Thanks, Emily Ann, it's my pleasure! Those look like some pretty big goals. :) (By the way, I bought your book, It Took a War, a little bit ago and look forward to reading it!)

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  9. My goal is to finish my first draft before the end of the summer. Congrats Lydia!!

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    1. Thank you, Abby! And nice goal. :) I'm thinking of having a goal of doing the second draft of my WIP, but I'm not sure yet...

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  10. My goal is to write 300 words in my WIP every day.

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    1. Love that! What a great way to build consistency.

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  11. My goal for this summer is to finish the second and third draft of my first completed novel. One that I finished in 2013 and haven't really worked on much.

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  12. Congratulations Lydia! My goal is to finish the next edit of my WIP.

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    1. Thank you, Gemma! I'm thinking of having the same goal as you...

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  13. I did really good from this last 100 for 100 and continued writing everyday. In fact I upped my word count to more than the 100 words a day. But after I finished my novel and a few short stories, I started another novel. This one is taking A LOT of work and effort and mind. I have been slacking and not writing everyday, so I think its time I set another goal for myself. I just need to think what it should be....not too easy, yet possible to complete :)

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    1. Keturah, for me sometimes breaks like that are necessary. I hope this will help you get back in a rhythm!

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  14. Congratulations Lydia!
    The encouragement you guys give is incredible. :) I love such fun ways to stick to goals. The 100/100 challenge is how I really found a groove with writing. So excited to see everyone else meet their goals!

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    1. Thanks, Kelsey! And yes, isn't their encouragement amazing? Finding this blog years ago was really beneficial to my writing!

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    2. I love hearing this, girls, thank you :)

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  15. My goal for the summer is to keep up with my monthly goals, finish Monster in the Castle, and write my first draft of my entry for the Rooglewood Press contest.
    Congratulations, Lydia! 100 words a day x 1000 days = awesome. :D

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    1. Aww, thank you, Sarah.
      Sounds like you've got quite the busy writing summer planned! Thumbs up for that. :)

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  16. My writing goal is to finish the first draft of my novel. I don't know if I'll make it, but I'm going to follow Lydia's example and write 100+ words per day and hope I make it. (-:

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    1. Way to go, Elizabeth Anne! That's exciting to hear. :)

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  17. This post came when I especially needed a nudge in regards to my writing. Thank you so much for sharing, Lydia. It was a blessing. And congratulations!!!!!

    My goals:

    • finish edits of Beauty and the Beast re-telling.
    • write 100+ words each day.
    • complete first draft of a dystopian novel.

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    1. Aww, thank you Annie. I'm glad that it came at the right time. It sounds like you're doing a lot of writing. Way to go with that! I hope this summer is full of wonderful milestones with your writing. :)

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  18. Congrats!!! That's a lot of days!

    I have a similar goal to write every single day (which I've been sticking too since January) but I certainly have a long way to go before it's that long!

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    1. Thank you, Anna! Way to go with writing every day since January! You have to start somewhere and your "somewhere" is already several months back, that's impressive! Keep up the good work. :)

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  19. That's so cool! I'm doing the baby version of what you've done--continuing the 100 for 100 challenge from this past September. So far, I've written 100 words a day since November 11th.

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    1. Madeline, that's amazing! Good for you!

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  20. I hope to finish the first basic editing process of my novella. I made it to 31k and am really hoping to finish it soon! I'm excited to be getting lots of editing done. :) Congrats on writing that much! During Camp NaNo I wrote about 700 words a day. That wasn't too bad for me-I don't think I can do 1,600 for NaNoWriMo though. ;) I do better if I have goals, so I'm just focusing on editing. :D Do you have to enter in the challenge to be entered in the giveaway? Thanks!

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    1. No, you don't. The challenge is separate from Lydia's generous giveaway.

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  21. My goals are to write...... and stop procrastinating.... hopefully 1000 words per week.... on a particular story.

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    1. I like weekly goals, Clare. I've found for this season of life, they offer the grace I need for days when writing just doesn't happen.

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  23. My goal: finish the third draft of the book that I've been taking a break on by the end of September!

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    1. Excellent! It's fun to see that quite a few are working on edits :)

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  25. I'm always hesitant about setting a goal, so I'm starting low: 100 words each day. I always feel motivated to start things and then I slowly stop doing them (I'm sure a lot of you can relate) so I figure that if I start with something that I know I can do, I'll probably end up writing more than that.

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    1. 100 words a day takes surprisingly little time, but the rhythm of it is challenging. I think it's a great goal, Laurel.

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  26. Whooo, congratuations, Lydia/Aidyl! So excited for you!

    Honestly, my goal for the summer is simply to write again and enjoy it and keep moving forward. I would love to be able to get halfway through the rewrite I've been trying so hard to do, or to finish the first draft of my dream novel, but right now I would just like to get over this weirdness, whatever it's been, and write again. :) Probably the strangest goal of anyone, but oh well.

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    1. It's a great goal, Amanda :) I've been in a weird place with writing too, so we can be there together!

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  27. My goal is to start writing 100 words a day.
    I've attempted at least 2 of the GTW 100/100 challenges, and every time I always end up missing days and eventually giving up. Writing every day is a habit a really want to have, and I hope I can establish that this summer (even as I travel internationally to visit family and friends in the States.) If I can find a way to write while traveling, I'm sure I'll retain the habit as I start school again in the fall. :)

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  28. I don't have any goals yet, but I should. I'll just see what happens. :)

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  30. Wow! That's an amazing accomplishment, Lydia.
    My goal is to finish writing the rough draft of my current WIP, Liar's Crown; to write all of another rough draft I'm currently calling The Allegro Code during Camp NaNo in July; to enter either Liar's Crown or The Allegro Code in the OYAN contest; and to pick up edits on one of my stories (I'll have six by the end of the summer). It's a lot, but I have no other plans this summer, so I'm going to hope that it will happen. :)

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  31. I want to finish the first draft of my dystopian story about young people who travel the world as spies.
    Congratulations Lydia!

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  32. I have a couple of main writing goals for the summer since I really want to take advantage of my free time.
    1) Finish this draft of my current WIP.
    2) Finish the first draft of my Sleeping Beauty retelling.
    3) Research for my historical fiction novel.
    4) Submit 5 pieces to magazines.
    5) Maintain a consistent schedule for my blog.

    I hope to complete all of those goals by writing 1000 words a day and relying on my awesome writing buddies.

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    1. Oh, and congratulations, Lydia! I can't believe that you've written 100 words every day for 1000 days. That is seriously incredible!

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  33. My writing goal for the summer is to win the July Camp NaNoWriMo. :-P I'm writing my submission for Rooglewood Press's Five Magic Spindles Collection contest. xD

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  34. My writing goals for the summer are to actually write something. Due to my new job, I'm not going to have a ton of tome to write this summer and if I can get something written, I'll be happy. I sort of want to do Camp NaNoWriMo, bit I'm not sure I'm ready to be that ambitious...

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  35. Congratulations to you, Lydia! That is an absolutely amazing accomplishment! ^_^ You are definitely an inspiration to me.
    My goal for this summer is to finish my final draft of my current WIP and enter it into the OYAN contest as well as plan and outline its sequel. :D

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  36. My current writing goal is to finish three short stories by the end of June...not sure what I'm going to do for the rest of the summer after that... :D Super great job, Lydia! ^_^

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  37. Well done Lydia! I'd like to have finished the first draft of Wolf Cry by the end of the Summer, though now I think it'd be best to get a system going.

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  38. CONGRAUTLATIONS LYDIA! Writing for 100 days is hard. *highfive* My goal is to finish the second draft/rewrite of my novella. :) It's been going slow, but maybe I can get it done by Sept 7. :D

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  39. I try and write 500 words every day! If it's a good day I can normally do that in half an hour!

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  40. Wow, congratulations, Lydia! You have really inspired me to try harder.

    And thank you for the challenge. I know it will be immensely helpful to me. My goal is to write 100 words every day on something related to my website. I really need to keep working on that.

    Keep up the good work!
    Esther
    learningresourcedirectory.com

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  41. Wow! 1000 days! That's amazing! My goal is to get my steampunk fantasy edited and submitted to the publishers who requested it. ^ ^

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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  42. My goal is to write a 500 word story each day. Might be hard to get in the groove but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it!

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  43. Okay...guys, my goal was to reach 50k words, but it seems that the story might not be that long. Mrs. Morrill, can I change my goal to finishing my WIP? Cause' otherwise reaching 50k would be pretty hard ;).

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