100 Day Book Challenge

by Selma

Boy, was I in for a surprise… Here I was – little insignificant me, listening to podcasts every turn I got when I heard a name that I have come to love.

The Write Practice… the name came to me through the grape vine at the best time of my life. TWP was holding a Contest on one of its forums. Unsure of everything ‘technology’ I searched for a brave picture of myself and opened up to the idea of a Facebook account in order to dip my toes into the Becoming Writers Forum. Ready to claim a miracle, I joined my first Writing Contest.

Dang! I aced it! I got my miracle!

No, I didn’t win the Spring Contest, but I WON big time.

And little insignificant me — wow, I was pleasantly surprised.

After a month of practice Joe Bunting entices me with a wicked idea:

“pssst pssst,” he calls out to me, “why don’t you write the first draft of your book?”

“Nah, not me. I still need more practice,” I say.

“You’ll get 100 consecutive days of practice, with daily guidance and accountability,” he says.

I needed practice, guidance and accountability. “Sign me up,” I say.

Boy, was I in for a bigger surprise.

I had started exploring a story idea in the Writers Workshop, but I hadn’t given my idea purposeful direction. The pre requisite of a premise, synopsis, and outline came as a total shock to me.

Two words stunt me: “What? How?”

I exhale all the hot air that has my stomach in knots. I sit my butt in my chair and I give my little story idea the respect it deserves.

Then dang, I’m transported and amazed at myself at what came out of me for not fighting the exercise. It was my first time doing something like that. It was hard, I tell you, but I. Loved. It.

“Oh, Joe Bunting,” I say elated, “you the man!”

And we hadn’t even began…

Then the introductions begin. I feel like a fake.

“Wow Selma, that sounds soooo exciting. I want to read more,” someone tells me. I blush. I’m in disbelief. I sigh, relieved.

Next moment I start doubting myself.

What if I can’t deliver what I say I will do?

I’m overwhelmed with embarrassment.

I shush the voice in my head long enough to read everyone’s, and I mean everyone’s premise. I feel like a fake again and this time I set my feelings out in front of me for a talk. “Really, who do you think you are?” I reprimand myself huffing and puffing.

I’m sure I’m in the wrong place. I take long breaths.

“Nope — I can’t do it,” I tell them.

“You can do this Selma,” Ruthanne cheers me on. “I’m sure you have a book in you.” I take longer breaths…

More people read my premise. They like it.

“Hmmmm,” I sigh with eyes shut tight, “I guess I’ll try it.” My breathing stabilizes.

I ease into it. I start whipping out 800 words a day. I delve deeper. I find that I like what I’m doing. I try to stay within the confines of my outline but my characters pull me in different directions.

“Wait, wait, don’t go there,” I shout at them. They don’t listen. And my fingers follow my characters’ lead. “What am I, chopped liver?” I complain. They laugh.

And I. Like. It.

“Haha…” I laugh.

And that’s how it goes.

The daily guidance are a godsend.

Though I couldn’t read them religiously everyday, just knowing that they were there was reassuring. I skimmed through them and when my day and my characters allowed it, I would read Joe’s words, or listen to the lessons, and sometimes I would even add my thoughts on the threads — when time allowed.

The weekly check ups by the best administrator ever — priceless!

“Oh my gosh, I’m so busy,” I say to her one day. “I don’t know if I lost my horse or if I just found a rope — hahaha.”

“Your enthusiasm is contagious,” she tells me. I gloat at the thought that Ruthanne is referring to me.

Another time, “I wish you could ‘feel’ how I feel right now,” I say to her.

“I ‘can’. I can ‘feel’ it Selma,” she replies.

And I knew she could feel what I was feeling.

Oh my gosh! The company of the other Writers: Price-less.

These other Writers knew what they were doing. They were at the helm of their stories. They were calling the shots with such grace and dexterity and unbeknownst to them, they were pulling me up; elevating me to such heights with their stories that I started to soar alongside them. And I. Loved. It. It was never just about me. It was always them. They helped me to feel what I was feeling. That wind that I felt under my wings — it came from them. It was incredible.

They contaminated me. I was in good company.

And so it went.

The entire time I felt I was in a different zone. I was. Mentally and physically. I absolutely loved the mental part though it was far from easy. I loved the push. It was exhilarating. I felt invigorated and alive.

There were eyesores: my house and my yard looked forlorn and abandoned. Well, the dishes were washed and so was the laundry. But everything else… sssh!

This was not easy.

But you know what I would do it again. Sssh!

Then in week 12 someone went, “woo hoo, I’m finish.”

“I’m almost there,” I told them. I was gliding with outstretched wings.

On week 14 I came to the part where I got to write The End — I cried! I didn’t want it to end…

Though still in a less than pristine stage, I wrote an entire book in 100 days. The practice, guidance and accountability all contributed to get me there.

I no longer feel insignificant. I have an amazing experience under my belt and I have something huge to show for it. I wrote a book! Yay!

I’m not receiving any royalties for saying this, but the 100 Day Challenge was the oxygen I needed to breathe life into my creative outlet. It lit my candle and kept me focused in something that I didn’t think I could thrive in. It changed me. It made me believe that I had a real story to tell. And amazingly, I was capable enough to stick to the program. I would do it again. I would recommend it wholeheartedly. So if you, yes you dear reader are wondering if you might have something like a 70,000 manuscript in you, the 100 Day Program at The Write Practice is the place to do it. Trust me, you’ll love it.

***

It’s been almost a month since we submitted our last submissions with the prized words ‘The End’ attached. I felt such jubilation then. BUT– But, now I feel a little lost. Where do I go from here?

Yes, I have to work on my rewrite, but how do I begin to do that? It’s only 100 days old. Let me bask in the memory a little bit longer.

(Besides, I need to clean my house and my yard.)

I know that I have to replenish my well; the well I didn’t know I had. I will be at TWP recharging. The rest will happen when the time is right.

From someone fresh out of the amazing experience, here goes: the link to TheWritePractice.com/WriteABook, and do drop me a line if you decide to join the community of amazing cheerleaders. I want to cheer you on.