Last weekend, April 14 – 17, 2016, I attended the UW Madison Writers’ Institute. As always, I walked away with handouts, tons of ideas, a vast amount of information, and a renewed motivation.

On the way home, I discovered Content Igniter’s “15 Day Blogging Challenge.”

Although the Institute motivated me, the frustration getting home overrode the momentum. Why? So I could be at the airport in Madison with enough time to get through security, I had to miss the last two presenters. Immediately after I used the kiosk to get my boarding pass, my phone rang. An automated voice announced that my flight had been rescheduled for an hour and a half later: 2:30. (Grrr! If that call had come 45 minutes earlier, I could have waited for at least one more presenter.) As I waited for the announcement for my flight, I realized that they were announcing that the one for Charlotte was to board. When I asked about my flight, the attendant told me that it wouldn’t get to Dallas until at least 5:00 and then to Madison around 8:00. I panicked: I had a connecting flight that I would miss. The attendant was super – he changed my flight, and I got on the one to Charlotte to transfer to Nashville.

So, now I was in Nashville, but I had no way to get from the airport to home (some forty miles south). I caught the Red Roof Inn airport shuttle and spent one more night away from home. (I bet you’re wondering why I didn’t have that in my schedule before I left. The plan was that my husband would pick me up at the airport around 6:30, but he didn’t make it home for the weekend as he had a delivery in Omaha. Lesson learned? Always have a back-up plan. The next morning I called Uber and got the one driver who would make the 40 mile trip.)

SO, why am I telling you all this? Because first of all, when I got home the wonderful motivation had drained from me, and second, I am taking part in a blogging challenge. Each day, for fifteen days, I will be given a task to complete and blog about.

YES, I have done this before – without success. Success is a mindset, and if I am going to be successful, I must change my mindset. Hubby helped with that this past weekend. Saturday morning, before he took off to deliver his load in Florida and after I had re-worked a short story and had him read it, he refused to leave until I had submitted it to a contest. Thank you, Hubby.

What is different about this fifteen day challenge? Maybe my frame of mind. Maybe the person emailing me the tasks and expecting me to post it on the group’s social media page and email the link to him. Maybe nothing. I will have to let you know.

SO, as I work through these fifteen days, any and all “trying for an editorial calendar post” will be on hiatus as I work to figure out this thing called writing.

DAY 1:


I NEED to make writing and blogging a priority each, and every, day.

For many of you that sounds easy; just plant your physical being into the chair and start writing or typing. For me, it used to be that easy. That is until I retired from a 34 year career as a high school English department teacher. During those 34 years, I would treasure the 10 minutes I could squeeze out of a day and write; I would treasure the use of writing to put off grading papers; I would treasure the home time I used for writing because I could block out all the frustrations of any given work day.

Now, I am retired. I have, as my husband tells me, all the time in the world. It’s not that easy. This June (2016) I will have been retired for two years. I have nothing that REQUIRES my attention so it can become easy to get absorbed in reading a book (a pleasure that had gotten lost when I was teaching English). After a lifetime of school to get an education and teaching as a career, I sometimes find I miss the structure that the school year gave me.


In my VISION of my future as a writer, I need to come to terms with my new found freedom that affords me time to write.

I need to free myself from the self-doubt I have regarding putting words on a page.

Over the next 3 months, I want to build the readership of my blogs. It is my hope to develop a newsletter for each blog and learn to maintain it.

Over the next 6 months, I want to have fully divided and revised my novel. That gives me a deadline of October 25. Almost two years ago, I thought it was done. I pitched it to two different agents; both told me that my story contained too much and that it would be better if I broke it into a trilogy. Although it is a fictitious story, the main character is realizing how mentally and psychologically abusive her husband is and coming to terms with how to escape the marriage and get on with her life.


How ironic that an article I received in my inbox yesterday gave me some insight as to how to hold myself accountable. Ali Luke’s NUMBER ONE writing tip in “10 Writing Tips You Absolutely Won’t Have Heard Anywhere Else Before” was to “keep an obsessively detailed logbook.” I have taken the cute little notebook, pen included, from the Writers’ Institute and titled it “LOGBOOK.” Now, like a time sheet when I worked retail, I will require myself to make daily entries.

(NOTE: Article continues after picture.)


Instead of sitting with my coffee and watching the morning news until ___ (fill in a generous time), I plan to have my self and my coffee in my writing studio by 8:00 am. (Of course, I do occasionally need to alter that time because of appointments that tend to fall in the morning.)

I need to write in blocks of time: no less than one hour, but no more than three. I need to remember to get up and move, stretch, and eat.

In order to not just sit facing my computer, I need to develop an editorial calendar that I can live with. It needs to include writing for my blogs, working on my novel, writing to a prompt (keeps the imagination working), and revising/editing pieces for contests and publication.

Stay tuned for Day 2’s task.


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