Posted On October 6, 2010 by Print This Post

The Priority of a Writing Habit

Today, we’re facing a tough subject head-on. If we’re writers, why is it SO DARN hard to sit our hind-ends in the chair and…you know…write?? Lack of talent? I don’t think so. Laziness? Puhleeze. If so, we’d all be lounging in our PJs eating Godiva chocolates. Fear? Hmm…now we may be getting somewhere. Whatever the reason, we have to get over it because writers write, right? Amy Atwell’s GIAM group also runs a 100×100 loop where writers commit to writing at least 100 words each day (yes, Sundays too) for 100 days. One of my favorite and most inspiring women is the moderator of the 100×100 loop. So please welcome Jo Anne Banker as she talks about making your writing habit a priority!

First, I’d like to thank Kelsey (and Adrienne and Tracey) for Romance University, a wonderful resource for the writing community.  I’m honored to be here today and to offer my opinion (and Lord knows I have a few) on the habit of writing.

At lunch after a chapter meeting several years ago, a multi-published author imparted to me the value of writing every day and the wisdom of developing the habit.  Consensus is that a habit can be developed in three months.  I believe three months forms the groundwork, but how one nurtures that habit is an individual choice.  I accepted a personal challenge that day, the 100X100.  The ground rules of 100X100 are to write at least 100 new words a day on one’s current WIP for 100 consecutive days.  Miss a day and start over at Day One.

This method doesn’t work for everyone.  Some folks write in creative bursts, spill their souls and their guts onto the page in word dumps that are beautifully written.  Book in a Week, Book in a Month, NaNoWriMo.  Push hard enough and fast enough for your internal editor to shut down and allow your muse the freedom to create.  I can only be jealous.  My muse is lazy.  She likes to work when I’m asleep.  So 100X100 works for me.  I’m still a slow writer, but now I’m steady writer, too.

When I first began my writing journey, I heard one catch phrase over and over again regarding any future success as a writer.  “Keep your butt in the chair.”  But, that’s what we do, right?  We park our buns, hands on keyboard, and produce exciting and moving prose.  Except it’s not always easy.  As I traveled the writing path, I found out a few things: how much I didn’t know about story and craft, how subjective agent and editor opinions are, and how many excellent writers never sell a book.  I got rejections, lost confidence, second guessed my work, and discovered that making a decent living writing fiction was tough.

Words don’t flow onto the page for me. I have to think, “grok” my characters and feel what they feel.  Black moments are opening a vein, bleeding into the computer.  In the process, I leave some private part of myself there for the world to judge. It became harder and harder to ‘keep my butt in the chair.’  This was serious stuff.  I needed time to focus on story, connect with my characters and my muse.  So I searched for three and four hour blocks of time to write.  It rarely happened.  I’d write a chapter one weekend, but not write again for weeks.  Life happened.  I got a divorce, cared for my mother, ran a business, had surgeries, enjoyed my family, and had a social life.  My writing continually got shuffled to the end of the line.  Does any part of this sound familiar?

Hence the 100X100 challenge.  Sounds easy enough.  It wasn’t (for me anyway), until I made writing a priority.  It came ahead of emails, phone conversations with friends, and a long list of other time sucks I could easily place in my path.  I’ve started the challenge several times, finished it some of those times, but I’ve also missed a day and started over.  In the process, I learned valuable lessons.

I learned that morning writing works for me.  Partially because I have a bookkeeping service in my home, and after 9:00 AM five days a week, two employees show up, the phone rings, and delivery folks traipse in and out.  And partially because my muse is active while I sleep, so when I awaken, there exists within me a wonderful transformation of energy and ideas, ready for the page.  Some folks are more creative in the PM.  We all have our personal process.

I learned that I could write in fifteen-minute blocks and achieve.  I learned that writing everyday kept me in my story, with my characters.  They whispered to me about their feelings, and how they wanted to express them on the page.  I found that if I committed to 100 words (not much, only about ten lines), I did more.  I’d write 200 or 300 or 500.  And those words and pages added up.  Even if exhausted, I’d take fifteen minutes, write that 100, thinking I’d written tripe.  Often, I found the words were not only decent, but I’d also turned a necessary corner in plot or my characters had led me in a new or interesting direction.

A couple of years ago, Amy Atwell, creator of the WritingGIAM loops, asked if I was interested in monitoring a 100X100 loop within her circle of networking groups.  I needed to get back to a daily habit, and was happy to participate.  Because every private group can develop rules to fit their needs, and because new words are only part of the process, we expanded the basics.  We defined our criteria as 100 new words or 30 minutes of editing per day on a “production of work aimed at a contract for sale,” whether for a short story, novella or novel.  We included revisions, synopses, queries or submission letters – even research, character studies and plot idea outlines.  What doesn’t count for us?  Blogging, journaling, critiquing, judging for contests, classes, and meeting exercises.

There is an intrinsic value in a group environment.  There’s something special about sharing goals and achievements with other like-minded souls.  If a fellow writer makes it through a particularly trying day, it’s nice to give or get an ‘attagirl.’  If life gets in the way – and it does – and you miss a day, it’s nice to have other folks who understand, and can support you and help you get started again.

This is a personal challenge.  And Day One is my favorite day.  Day One is a day filled with new possibilities, new beginnings and new adventures.  And it can be the start of a worthwhile habit.

***

RU crew, do you maintain a daily writing habit? Why or why not? Jo Anne will pop in on and off today to answer questions so please feel free to ask questions and make comments!

Also – you’ll make Kelsey’s little heart pitter-patter with joy if you come by Friday to chat with her about your favorite writing craft books. She’ll provide a list of the RU faves (a list she wishes she’d have three years ago!) and draw for a book giveaway.

Jo Anne’s Bio:

Jo Anne Banker writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction.  When life gets tough, Jo Anne draws strength, escape, encouragement, and entertainment from the stories of others.  She hopes to do the same with her stories.

Jo Anne is a member of Romance Writer’s of America, is a former board member of West Houston RWA and Northwest Houston RWA, and is a member of Houston Bay Area RWA.  Her stories have won or finaled in several contests, including: 2007 Maggie Winner, SOMEONE ELSE’S CHILD; 2008 Launching A Star finalist, THIS CHILD IS MINE; 2009 Orange Rose and Emily finalist, THIS CHILD IS MINE; and 2010 TARA finalist, LOST AND FOUND.

Jo Anne lives in Houston, Texas in the eclectic Montrose area with her two pampered cats.  She enjoys the theatre, good books, good friends and family.

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Discussion

72 Responses to “The Priority of a Writing Habit”

  1. Hi Jo Anne!

    Welcome to RU. As a member of the GIAM100 group, I know firsthand your dedication to this process. You’ve been such an inspiration to those of us on the loop. You keep us motivated by not only your own determination, but with your constant encouragement.

    On a personal level, you’ve had to work through some pretty scary stuff. Even then, you made writing a priority.

    My writing hat’s off to you. I can’t wait to meet you and give you the biggest hug.

    Tracey

    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | October 6, 2010, 5:21 am
    • Hey, Tracey ~

      I’m happy to be here at RU. You’re the 100X100 inspiration, lady! I think today is Day 280 for you? Great job, and great writing habit! Non-writers think it’s a walk in the park. Ha! We know the truth of it. 🙂

      Here’s a big cyber hug, and I hope we get a real one soon.

      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 7:17 am
      • It’s definitely not a walk in the park. Like Carrie, there were plenty of days where I would have preferred to just chill out.

        No matter how tired I am when I start, I always feel better when I’m done. Kinda like brushing your teeth at night. LOL

        Posted by TraceyDevlyn | October 6, 2010, 7:58 pm
  2. Morning Jo Anne!

    I’m on a 100X100 group as well, and it works. There are times when I just want to go to bed and forget about it, but I don’t want to start over! I’m on day 84 at the moment, and plugging right along. Morning works best for me as well, but sometimes it has to be the last thing after work….and then I struggle.

    Thanks for your group and other groups like them, it keeps us in focus!

    =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | October 6, 2010, 8:23 am
    • I’m with you, Carrie ~ if I wait until after work, I’m so brain dead, it’s really hard to grunt those words out. But by the time you’re at day 84, you’re not giving it up. 😉

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 10:40 am
  3. 😉 I’m going to try this as I work through The Artist’s Way with some fellow online writers!! Great blog, JoAnne!!!!!!!

    Posted by Tessy | October 6, 2010, 8:30 am
    • Tessy, I love Julia Cameron. I sort of went from journaling in the morning to writing in the morning, cause writing about my characters was more interesting than writing about my own life. 😛

      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 10:43 am
  4. Great post Jo Anne! I’m one of those people that let fear control my writing habits, but being around wonderful people like yourself has made me more determined to be a consistent writer.

    Brandie

    Posted by Brandie Nickerson | October 6, 2010, 8:31 am
    • Brandie, you have a wonderful sense of story. I guess I’d screwed up so badly by the time I was 21 (and paid the dues for it), I figured there was much left for me to be afraid of. And I’ve been making a happy fool of myself reaching for life ever since. And I have no regrets.

      You go for it, girl! Am I going to see you at critique group tonight? With pages? 😀

      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 10:48 am
  5. Words of wisdom, Jo Anne! But you made me feel guilty about reading this blog before writing. Oops!

    Posted by Dotti Enderle | October 6, 2010, 8:37 am
    • I’m not convinced, Dotti. You were born to write stories, and I love them. So I’m not taking you away from them too long. 😉 Good to see you here…

      Later,
      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 10:50 am
  6. Hi JoAnne!

    I’m glad you found a way that works for you.

    The weird light fom my computer screen often makes me go blank, and writing is very…very…slow…

    So, I take my spiral notebook with me on errands, I think about my story on the way, then scribble several pages into the notebook in the car. This gets me drastically faster results than sitting in my chair at home. I just have to make sure I type each block into my document soon, before the amount of scribbling becomes overwhelming. (I have very bad handwriting.)

    Rhonda

    Posted by Query Fairy | October 6, 2010, 9:14 am
    • I do the same thing Rhonda…and have the WORST handwriting! I keep a notebook by the bed too…most of the time what I’ve written is brilliant, of course…unfortunately I just can’t read it! =)

      carrie

      Posted by Carrie Spencer | October 6, 2010, 10:01 am
    • Rhonda ~ we all do it differently. You’re in good company. Susan Wiggs writes every first draft longhand in spiral notebooks. And I have several friends who do better that way. What’s important is that we find what works for us. Sounds like you’re doing great! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 10:52 am
  7. I’m working to develop a writing habit. I wasted a lot of years thinking that I could squeeze in writing whenever I found a moment and still move my writing forward. Because I never found a moment, or if I did, I did other things with that moment — reading, watching TV, relaxing…anything but writing.

    So I finally figured out that if I were going to be serious about writing, I had to seriously write. Every day, or most days. I now strive to work on my novel wip Mon – Fri, and my freelance stuff on the weekends. Both tend to ooze into the others scheduled time, but that’s okay because I don’t let it take over. I remember what I’m supposed to be doing, jot down a few notes for the other, and get back to business.

    The most important thing I found, which Jo Anne pointed out, is that I stay with my characters and my plot. I never return to the page cold because I haven’t been gone long enough for the writing fire to go out.

    Posted by PatriciaW | October 6, 2010, 9:36 am
    • Sounds like you’ve found your balance, Patricia. And I agree, the biggest advantage I’ve gleaned from writing everyday, no matter how few words, it that it keeps us with our characters and in our story. Once we’ve visited them for the day, they’re with us – and don’t mind telling us what’s what in their story. Good for you!

      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 10:56 am
  8. I once heard (or read) someone say that being a writer meant having homework for the rest of your life, and that pretty much sums it up. Have to do the homework. I admit I’m on a break right now, but I started that first 100X100 with Jo Anne–started a novel on Day 1 and finished on Day 440. Longhand in spiral notebooks, so it took several more months to transcribe and edit. I haven’t sold it yet, but it has placed in several contests. Then I did another stretch to finish a novel I had started years earlier. Now I need to get back to work on the new one. One hundred word bites do keep the feeling of homework at bay, at least a bit. I still write in notebooks, usually with my cat in my lap.

    Posted by Kay Hudson | October 6, 2010, 9:43 am
    • Kay has the same schedule that I do, because we work together in my bookkeeping service, and we belong to many of the same writing groups, but she tops my busy schedule with a commute of 1 1/2 to 2 hrs a day from her home to our office. She’s amazing and an excellent writer. She’s at computers all day (like so many of us), so on her sofa with her cat in her lap is when her muse is willing to come out to play. Kay and I developed our daily habit at the same time, so taking a break works. We both know we won’t go too long without writing now.

      Thanks for coming, Kay. I’m sorry we’ve locked up your computer. 🙁

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 11:06 am
  9. Great post, Jo Anne!!

    As an alumni of 100×100, I know how those 100 word add up over time. And, like you, I found what seemed like crap when I wrote it, often turned out to be pretty good (or fixable) when re-read. You’ve inspired me to start another 100×100 this very day!

    Posted by Lark | October 6, 2010, 9:52 am
    • Wow, I’ve inspired you, Lark? One of the sharpest, smartest, and most hard working women I know? I’m very pleased. Are you working on a new one now? Day One is a very good day, honey ~ get back to it! 😛

      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 11:08 am
  10. I tried 100×100 and fell apart on Day 10, I think. It left me with such a miserable sense of failure to start over on Day 1. Tried it twice more and failed within a week each, so I just put that technique in my “Well, that was interesting” file. I know my CP gets a push from Write or Die software (where your words disappear if a certain period of time goes by without you typing something) but that sounds too punishing for me; I don’t need my hard won words taken from me!

    What works for me (same as exercising, sadly) is I have to answer to someone. Whether it’s getting pages done for a CP or, at present, a PI who is helping me authenticate my character. The thought of showing up to either of them saying “sorry, never got my butt in the chair” is what kicks me into getting my butt in the chair! I figure when I get published and have deadlines it’ll literally be the best thing for me!

    Posted by Sarah Andre | October 6, 2010, 9:54 am
    • Hey, Sarah ~ so you’re saying guilt works for you? 😈 No need, lady. You are such a generous soul, always willing to help your CPs, your chapter, and your chapter mates. Starting the challenge over doesn’t bother me so much. I know it’s impossible for life not to butt in, so I take it in stride, even if I just forget one day. I figure Day One gets me into another cycle of creating the habit. But we all do it our way, and if accountability works for you, then good for you!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 11:30 am
  11. Hey Jo Anne,

    Now I’m inspired. I used to write like my fingers were on fire — fast, but not that well. This past year I’ve really let life get in my way and can’t seem to pick up the habit again. How do I join a 100/100 group? Maybe if I believe someone knows if I’m staring out the window instead of writing I’ll pull myself together and start trying again.

    Posted by Jody | October 6, 2010, 10:03 am
    • Writing is hard, Jody, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Even those who have stories that simply pour from their head onto the page have to edit and revise and shape their stories. I think that’s why the 100X100 works for me. Like Kay said earlier, it keeps our constant homework manageable. 😐

      There is something about group energy and reporting in every day that helps. It’s good to see other folks struggling with the same issues we have. There are many 100 word loops out there. The one I’m on now is a member only perk for another group. I think one of our members has an open loop. I’ll try to find the info for you. Or ask other writers you know. You might want to start your own. 😀 And remember, Day One is a very good day, no matter how many times you do it!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 12:08 pm
  12. Great post, Jo Anne! I participated in that original group our friend Jes started and the biggest benefit for me was creating a daily writing habit. Back then, I was traveling 70% of the time, so there were many evenings I struggled to eek out those 100 words. But when I reached the 100th day it was a huge accomplishment, and I really started to believe I might sell one day. It’s funny, I still write primarily in the evenings with my noise cancellation headphones cranking out the latest purchase from iTunes -all habits I developed while jetting city to city and country to country. 😀

    Posted by Vicky Dreiling | October 6, 2010, 10:19 am
    • Hey, Vicky ~ thanks for stopping by. And yes, I remember your impossible travel schedule the year we joined Jes in our first 100 days!! And it worked. Bleary eyed at midnite, knowing you had a 4 pm wake up call to catch a flight, but you still got ’em done. Now you’re using that daily habit to make contract deadlines. It’s a very nice thing.

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 12:12 pm
  13. Hi Jo Anne. Welcome to RU. It’s such fun having you here because you always inspire me to get to work! LOL.

    Kelsey and I just talked about this topic yesterday. I find my best writing time is right after lunch. That allows me the morning to take care of the day to day tasks on my desk and clear them from my head. Some days those tasks could easily go until after lunch but I’ve had to learn to force myself to let them wait. For the most part, it works for me and I’m able to focus on my writing.

    I also tried NaNo last year and I learned a lot about my writing. I did complete the 50,000 words but wound up having to edit much of it out. What I learned (and am thankful for) is that kind of intensive writing just doesn’t work for me. I need to think it through and then put it on paper. After I finished NaNo, it wound up taking me longer to complete the book because of all the editing.

    All that said, I think every writer should at least try some kind of goal oriented writing challenge because, even though it may not work for them, they’ll quickly figure out what does work. Which is exactly what happened for me. Thank you, NaNo!

    Thanks for being with us, Jo Anne!

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | October 6, 2010, 10:24 am
    • Hey, Adrienne,

      Isn’t it amazing how our writing styles vary? Just like our voices and our stories. I know the concept of NaNo – to get past our internal editor and simply let the story flow – but like you, my story sloshes, rather than flows. And like you, if I try it, my clean up process takes more time than if I think about what’s happening to my characters, and what reactions they might have to a given situation. How would one character handle it differently from another? Or from me? And I’m big on GMC. If I don’t understand why my character is doing what he/she is doing, I’ll have them on a cattle drive in the middle of current day downtown Houston. (Or something equally as silly.)

      But we had to learn that it didn’t work for us, which helped us learn what does work for us. And as much as NaNo doesn’t work for us, I know so many folks who’ll have an idea strike, knock that 50,000 words out in November, and spend 3 or 4 months fleshing out the story – and have a winner.

      It’s a wonderfully strange world we live in. 😀 Thanks for having me here, Adrienne. What a fun opportunity to share ideas!!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 12:25 pm
  14. Jo Anne,

    What an inspirational blog! You have encouraged me to strive for 100 words a day without the punishment of starting over when I miss a day. Since my muse suffers from manic depression and eats Godiva, I play to her strengths and forgive the rest.

    On a personal note, you are a real, live, wonderful character I wish I could re-create on the written page. You are adored!

    Elizabeth Simmons

    Posted by Elizabeth Simmons | October 6, 2010, 10:30 am
  15. Hi, Jo Anne!
    I just had an email from a fan asking me what I do when I get writer’s block. I tend to run away from the computer, but, when you have a deadline and money on the line, you can’t do that. So I let myself just free-write and write garbage. I think that’s what holds most of us up. We think we have to put the right story down, the first time. That it has to hold together from the get-go. I can’t tell you how many pages or whole chapters I’ve deleted. Sometimes I can cut and paste bits and pieces from them, sometimes they just go. But I keep moving forward.

    I have a friend who is newly retired and finally pursuing her dream of writing. She queried and got a request for a partial. The editor mentioned a deadline. This newbie thought it was carved in stone and if she didn’t get this detailed synopsis and outline in by then, she’d miss the boat. I didn’t let her know otherwise. Deadlines motivate us. But before I was published, I couldn’t hold to my own self-imposed deadlines. My critique group, though, made me bring a chapter a week. That worked. So having a stick, or a carrot, to promote productivity helps. We all know what the carrot is, that elusive contract. I wrote and submitted for almost fifteen years before I got my first one. And changed genres three times before I got a semblance of success.

    We all have to figure out what works for us. But as Oprah would say, one thing I know for sure: If writing is your passion, you’ll figure out a way to stick with it.

    Posted by Gerry Bartlett | October 6, 2010, 10:30 am
    • Hi, Gerry!

      What a sound bit of advice this is! You’ve tackled it every way there is, lady, and now have your very successful “Real Vampires Have Curves” series to show for it. Fun and cute and sexy! I’d say you’ve found ‘voice’ in Glory!

      I agree with writing forward. Edits are necessary, but they’re hard for me. But if you keep putting words on the page, you write through difficult situations, and the lightbulb switch gets flipped – and there you go, straight toward the end of a story. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping in to say hello, Gerry!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 12:42 pm
  16. Hi Joanne!
    It is so important to write each day. I find if I take a few days off it’s that much harder to get back into the routine and takes that much longer for me to get back into the story. I, too, get the best writing done first thing in the morning. I do my best editing and revising at night. I’m a member of GIAMx4 but have never tried the 100×100. Maybe I will. Thanks for your post and happy writing!

    Posted by Wendy Marcus | October 6, 2010, 10:31 am
    • Hi, Wendy ~ it’s good to see you here. That’s what the 100X100 is all about. Writing every day. If I let it go too many days, I have to read the last two chapters to find the emotional thread that’s tugging on my characters. I like it better when they stay with me. At the end of my writing time each day, I’ll put a few lines in ( ) to remind me what my character wants to see, think, feel, do next.

      Come on over from 4X and give us a try – Tracey’s there and we work her tail off. 😈 Lots of nice supportive folks. If you miss a day, you simply start over, and with plenty of us who’ve been there/done that helping you back on the horse, eh – I mean the computer. 😉

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 12:52 pm
  17. It works for me! I’m on my second round of 100 and now I can’t NOT write even if stuff happens and it does. 😛

    Posted by Carolyn J Coles | October 6, 2010, 10:46 am
    • Ain’t it the truth, Carolyn? Writing becomes part of those life happenings, rather than something that comes last. I love hearing this.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 12:54 pm
  18. Hi Jo Anne.
    Wonderful information. If you’re serious, writing has to be a priority, a habit, something you do everyday. I agree totally.

    Recently I returned home from a long stay in the hospital and getting back into my old routine was difficult. It was kind of like mind over matter. How bad did I want to met my deadline which had been extended twice? So it was butt in chair whether I wanted to or not. It took a week or so and I was back into a routine. It took sheer will power.

    Love the post.
    Linda

    Posted by Linda Warren | October 6, 2010, 10:48 am
    • You, my darling, Linda, are inspiration personified. To finally come home after that interminable hospital stint, weak, muscles screaming at you when you did your necessary daily exercises – all of the adjustments to daily life – it would have been so easy to let it go. But I read a blog that you wrote one time – you said, “Writing stories saved my life.” It gave you the drive to keep moving forward, even when moving hurt! And you’ve done it again! You’re the best, lady. I’m looking forward to your next Super!!

      Thanks for being here!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 1:00 pm
  19. You know me — I’m a great believer in 100×100 and getting right up there on the second round. I’m not trailing clouds of glory, but I write (or edit, revise, and growl at the keyboard) every single day. It’s been wonderful discipline for me.

    And such a splendid explanation and analysis from you! Particularly at a time when I would be sorely tempted to plant myself, feet up, on the couch and tell everybody I was just going to take it a little easy . . .

    Posted by Beppie Harrison | October 6, 2010, 11:26 am
    • Hell, Beppie – you leave me in glory cloud dust. Have you put that submission in the mail yet? Discipline! Yep, it’s necessary. Both of us would be out playing if we didn’t make it a priority to write each day. Write first, play later.

      Thanks for your kind words on the post. Believe me, lady – I make plenty of time to do the sofa/recliner thing. Work hard, play hard, relax totally. Life is very, very good!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 1:08 pm
  20. Great words to live by, Jo Anne. As you know, I am a great believer in writing daily, even if it’s just a measly little 100 words. I believe I’m on Day 380 following this principle and trying not to fall off…but if I do, oh, well. Just get back on and start at Day 1.
    Thanks for the inspiration, my friend.
    ~June

    Posted by June Faver | October 6, 2010, 11:47 am
    • Hey, June ~ thanks for stopping by. Yep, you’ve got the writer’s discipline down. With a busy job like yours, you have to snatch those few minutes a day to get the 100 done. And you make it happen. 🙂

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 1:10 pm
  21. Jo Anne –

    Sorry I’m a little late to your already rockin’ writing habit party! We’ll blame it on Pacific time and a jaunt to the grocery store, shall we?

    I’ll ‘fess up and say I’ve started the 100×100 challenge twice in my writing career, and I’ve “failed” both times. I don’t know if that means it doesn’t work for my process or I haven’t stuck with it long enough to make it a habit. I’m definitely not opposed to trying it again. Maybe I need to take a closer look at what “counts” as 100 words. I think what gets me is that I think it always has to be new writing on a manuscript.

    As many others have said, you’re such an inspiration to the GIAMers (and a whole lotta other people, I’m sure). May I say you look smashing in red, and I’d really love to share a Star Pizza with you when I’m back in Texas next summer!

    Kels

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | October 6, 2010, 12:13 pm
    • Hey, Kels ~ welcome to the party. There is no failure in the 100X100, just another beautiful Day One. (I really like those Day Ones.) You’ve had a pretty amazing schedule the last couple of years, lady. When you’re living overseas, and traveling because you have an opportunity to see/do something different, the computer can’t always go along for the ride. When you’re driving cross-country in a move with your son (and hubby’s still overseas), sometimes the 100 doesn’t make it into your day. Maybe it’s not your process, maybe you just need to wait until life settles a bit. Running Romance University along with Tracey and Adrienne is a time consuming little chore. And we appreciate it.

      You and Amy A can both start again when life settles a bit for you.

      Thanks for having me here. This is such fun!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 1:16 pm
  22. Hi Jo Anne
    I’m one of the burst writers. I block out the world and tunnel into the story, writing 3,000 to 4,000 words in a day. Last saturday I squeezed in writing between painting my granddaughters room. Headed to starbucks and wrote for three hours, lost track of time until my daughter called me to come back and finish the walls. That said, I do the rewrites in slower blocks, so I am trying to do the major blocks on weekends, and the edits during the week mixed in with my day job, the extra job and life. But you do what works and I’m glad I finally found my rythmn.
    Ruth

    Posted by Ruth | October 6, 2010, 12:20 pm
    • Wow, Ruth ~ As I said in my post, I’m only jealous. Good for you! Sounds like you’ve found your process and your rhythm, and that both are successful for you.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 1:19 pm
  23. Go, Jo Anne!

    Proud of ‘ya – Darlene Wayt

    Posted by Darlene Wayt | October 6, 2010, 12:47 pm
  24. Hi Jo Anne,

    I don’t keep a word count. It feels like I’m grading myself. I work on two projects at a time. I switch back and forth. I don’t get bored with my story and I’m ready with a new idea.

    Works for me.

    Mary Jo Burke

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | October 6, 2010, 12:49 pm
    • Exactly! Works for you. And it sounds like you’ve got it down to a fine art. I can work on two projects, but sometimes changing hats makes me a little dizzy.

      Thanks for being here!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 1:22 pm
  25. Hi! Great post! I write in the evenings and during lunch at work – I need the break but I do get out of the habit sometimes. My goal is 500 words per day minimum and my GIAM group keeps me on track. But, the 100×100 loops sounds intriguing – besides, Beppie is a huge cheerleader for it.

    Thanks! Robin

    Posted by Robin Covington | October 6, 2010, 1:26 pm
  26. Great blog, Jo Anne! When I fall off the habit wagon, you inspire me! 😀

    Posted by Leslie Claire Walker | October 6, 2010, 2:59 pm
  27. Hi, Robin. Glad you stopped by. Beppie is a mainstay of 100X100. We love her and enjoy her. Sounds like you’re workin’ that habit. Lunch and evenings – 500 words a day, that’s great! We have some members who do 100 a day, and a couple who do 2,000 a day, and all points in between. We’re a resource for GIAMers,and there’s something solid about sharing our daily toil. We’d love to see you. 🙂

    Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 3:38 pm
  28. Hello Jo Anne!

    I’m trying to develop better writing habits, and like Carrie, I’m also on day 84 of the 100×100. I didn’t think much of it at first, but the idea of starting over if I missed one day is impetus enough to keep me at it. My problem is I spend a lot of time editing what I wrote the day before. 🙄

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | October 6, 2010, 4:41 pm
    • Hey, Jennifer,

      I do the same thing – I call it writing in waves. I write forward. The next day I take fifteen or twenty minutes to go back over what I wrote the day before, doing clean up and ‘thickening’ the prose, then I ride the wave forward. Spend the next 20 or 30 minutes knocking out a couple of hundred words (more of the weekend). But I don’t go back any further than to the previous day’s words, at least until after my critique group has given their opinion. Even then, I’ll save 2 or 3 weeks in critiques (allowing them to settle), and take a couple of hours on the weekend to make whatever changes I feel will better the story. That’s why we expanded the 100X100 rules to include edits and revisions. We don’t always write forward.

      Some folks will find it better to continue straight ahead – til they get to ‘The End,” then go thru the entire story for edits. I want to make sure I haven’t left out some major plot point or messed up my character’s back-story. Again, our personal process. I think you need to continue your process with an open mind, and find out what works best for you.

      Good luck!
      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 5:58 pm
  29. Jo Anne –

    The RU Crew and I want to say thanks so much for hanging out with us today. And what a fun crowd of folks you brought with you!

    Hugs,
    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | October 6, 2010, 9:56 pm
    • Thank you for having me, Kels. I’m glad some of my friends were able to stop by and say hello. Made for an interesting discussion and a fun day.

      I’ll see y’all somewhere down the road. 😀

      Jo Anne

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 6, 2010, 10:31 pm
  30. Jo Anne,
    I can attest that the Butt in Chair habit is often hard to maintain even for published authors (I swear it gets harder with every book) but there’s so much to be said for creating momentum. Even on the most daunting day, I often tell myself I can at least do 100 words. Very often, that’s all I need to do to get myself moving toward my daily deadline quota.

    Thanks so much for sharing! Great post!

    Posted by Colleen Thompson | October 7, 2010, 7:32 am
    • Colleen, with your current deadline looming, I didn’t expect to see you here. But yes, sometimes the energy of that first 100 morphs into the 2,500 you need for that day. We’ll chat when the smoke clears for you, lady. Good luck!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 7, 2010, 7:36 am
  31. Hi, Jo Anne,
    I’m like you: get the slow-to-flow words down and edit like mad to make the process look easy. The 100 by 100 strategy is a great pump primer and you’re a great motivator.

    Posted by Pat O'Dea Rosen | October 7, 2010, 9:09 am
    • Hi, Pat ~

      Yep, and for women of a certain age (like me), it takes a little longer to prime the pump. 😉 But we get our words on the page. Which paid off for you this year with your Golden Heart WIN! Congratulations! I’m so looking forward to seeing you in print soon.

      Thanks for stopping by…

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 7, 2010, 10:47 am
  32. After I read the newspaper and pet the cats, I get a cup of coffee and head back to the computer. That’s it. Habit–and avoidance as well. After all, I could head toward the kitchen to wipe down the counters but–as much as that tempts me–I am so disciplined that I don’t! Not all of my time at the desk is constructive, but I write at least 100 words a day unless there’s a huge emergency.

    I also believe we have to allow ourselves not to write some days–and starting over from day one is a small enough consequence.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    Jane

    Posted by Jane Myers Perrine | October 7, 2010, 11:34 am
    • Hey, Jane ~ Good to hear from you! I agree on all points. You are disciplined, indeed, to avoid those kitchen counters, and it shows. 🙂 Hence the lovely inspirational fiction you produce. Also, I think that once the writing habit kicks in, it is important to take a day or two off. When we’re too tired, or having too much fun, we should allow ourselves time. That’s why I’m so fond of Day One, which don’t intimidate me anymore. But one must still be aware to return to Day One. I see folks who let a day go into a week, then a month without writing. That I try to avoid.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jane!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 7, 2010, 12:43 pm
  33. Wise words from a wise woman. I love the idea of 100 words for three months no matter what or start over. I also love how you’ve learned when you’re most productive. I think the more we do this writing thing, the more we figure out how to adapt it to our own personality, skills, and deficiencies. Thanks for a fabulous article, my sweet friend! Now, isn’t it about time we headed over to Richmond for some of that fabulous Central American food???

    Posted by Kathleen Y'Barbo | October 7, 2010, 4:27 pm
    • Hey, Kath ~ Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m Mr Envy when it comes to you, lady – oh wonder woman who does most of her books by the Book in a Month method. :mrgreen: But such is life. And yeah, we definitely need a gabfest, cause I’m thinkin’ you have a fun new man in your life to tell me about. 😉 So yep, El Pueblito and margaritas, here we come!!

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 7, 2010, 5:03 pm
  34. Jo Anne,

    So many times I’ve wished I could just plug a USB drive into my ear (or maybe my nose?) so that I could just transfer the story onto the screen!

    Since that’s not possible, I usually resort to a rewards system. 10 minutes of Internet time for each five pages written. Or a Starbucks mocha for ten pages.

    When things get really desperate on deadline, I’ve been known to abandon my family and go park in my Tahoe to write. I park in a parking lot under a shady tree, and climb into the back seat with my netbook! No lie. We do what we must. But that option only works in the cooler months.

    By the way – gorgeous photo!!!

    Posted by Kim Lenox | October 7, 2010, 5:44 pm
    • Kim–

      I love your rewards system!

      Tracey

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 7, 2010, 8:06 pm
    • Kim ~ you are so funny, lady! I can see you parking the Tahoe, opening the windows and crawling into the back seat. (This week’s weather would be perfect for it!) 😎 Like Tracey, I really like your reward system. 10 pages & I get a Starbucks. Good plan! One of my employees (37 year old guy) took that picture in my back yard, then got his sister (who is a professional) to photoshop it for me to change the background (and she added lip gloss). Bless his heart – he made it so easy for me. Thanks for stopping by…..

      Posted by Jo Anne | October 7, 2010, 10:18 pm

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