How to Celebrate a Writing Anniversary

Woo-Hoo, this month is my first year anniversary!

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I’m single, but I still have an anniversary to celebrate. An important one.

How to celebrate? 

Well it wouldn’t be a commemoration without food. Unfortunately, it’s not with that yummy looking cake and fizzy champagne, but with a vegan carrot cake muffin and a huge cup of coffee. 

Because an anniversary is not a one woman or one man show, the observation must include the over 130 participants in the April 2012 “30 day challenge to build and refine writer platforms,” given by Robert Lee Brewer (poet and editor).

An event such as this one is also a good time to reflect and assess the writing challenges of the last year. 
How apropos that first year anniversary gifts are paper because a letter is a perfect way to contemplate last years 30 day challenge.
Some of the tasks during that month are noteworthy because I discovered more about my writer self-and other writers- than I previously knew: my writing strengths and weaknesses, my level of commitment, and I found group support to push on during the long and bumpy road of a writer’s often lonely life.
Who understands that driving need to write whether it’s four in the morning or midnight, in the car waiting for kids, or holed up in your bedroom for a weekend other than fellow writers? Who knows the pang of rejection e-mails or the yin-yang of writing and revising? Only other writers.
But back to the celebratory part. Here are some of the highlights of the challenge:
  • The best task: Set your goals. Create an editorial calendar.
  • The hardest: Think about SEO. Go to Brewers site for that one.
  • The easiest: Join social media site (s) and participate.
  • The surprising: Do a Google search on yourself.
  • The ‘I didn’t do it:’ Pitch a guest blog post. 

Participant writers found their community and pledged to go on after the challenge was over. A year later, over 130 participants continue supporting each other via the Wordsmith Studio website, Facebook page, and other social media sites. 

The challenge to one became a writers community for the many. Now that is dedication and commitment.

Has working on a writing platform helped me? Yes-even when I thought “what does this have to do with writing?”
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You see it’s the discipline of the challenge. The tasks push you towards assignments you don’t want to deal with because of your self-imposed boundaries. 

Every day the new assignment put me in front of a task I feared, some more some less. It forced me to look at what I didn’t want to do. It made me examine, confront, and drill down to the why and find out my truth.

This self confrontation made me assess whether I was being rational or was I  just uncomfortable with the assignment. Hands down it was a comfort issue.

Through self assessment you find out if you want to keep the fear or pull up your big girl/boy chones and charge ahead. 

The great thing about this challenge was that you were not on your own, and it was easier to cross that frontier with others helping you across. (This is extremely important when you get rejection letters in your email box).

The best and most helpful part of the challenge, for me, was to “set goals and establish an editorial calendar.” From those two assignments I learned:

  1. Place “butt in chair.” Write consistently, whether it’s daily or three times a week, one or three hours, or X amount of words. Pick a number.
  2. Post your goals where you can see them. Use a Roadmap. Pay attention to it. Check your progress every week, then bi-weekly. 
  3. Set a time limit on the time sucks (social media). For me it’s write first, party later. Sometimes I can only party for 30 minutes.
  4. Push past the fears. My top two fears? Spending money for a professional edit and sending out query letters. I did both. After revisions and 10 query re-do’s, I received a request for my full manuscript three days after I sent out the final query letter. 
  5. Submit your writing. I wanted to attend a writer’s retreat, but spent the money on the professional edit, and no longer had funds in my budget. I found an organization, A Room Of Her Own (AROHO), that offered writing fellowships. When I received the award I read the letter several times because I couldn’t believe my good fortune.
As in most new relationships this past year has been a time of excitement and romance (with writing). But make no mistake, there’s a lot of hard work in this 30 day challenge

But to the hard worker comes the harvest. And best of all, after one year, I’m still in love. 

Now, please excuse me, as I have some social media sites to visit and I need another cup of coffee. 

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Categories: 30 day writers challenge, A Room of Her Own, Editorial calendar, Encouragement, Fear, Goals, Roadmap to My Dreams, Robert Lee Brewer, Wordsmith Studio, Writing

14 replies

  1. “Place butt in chair”–that's just too awesome. This is so exciting, I'm glad you're having a wonderful year with editing, sending off manuscripts, writing retreats, and fellowships. So great! Best of luck!

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  2. What a great post! Both entertaining and insightful. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments and Happy Anniversary!

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  3. Thank you both for your comments. I feel like they are my anniversary gifts 🙂

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  4. Oh, you are so right about pushing back the fears. You'll have to fill us in on A Room Of Her Own.Congrats on your successful year of pushing through!

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  5. Wow! Fun post! Congrats on the manuscript request, Fellowship (that's huge!),and all your other success!

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  6. AROHO is an awesome non-profit. I'll have to do a post on the that. Thanks.

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  7. Great post, Monica, and lots of accomplishments this past year! Getting an AROHO fellowship is huge, so special congratulations on that and on getting the request for the full. Exciting things are happening.

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  8. Happy anniversary Monica, you have been an inspiration to me for so long, both professionally, and now personally as a writer. You are doing what I dream of, but too scared to try. Keep on sharing your words, they are impactful…they always have been. ~ caro

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  9. really love your introduction! got me reading! and i am very curious about where you got your professional edit. i want to do that, but had no idea where to start and what was a reasonable price. would love to hear from you if you have time! great article!

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  10. Great post! Thanks for breaking down the parts of the challenge and providing insight on how they affected you. I'm glad you were able to push past your fears to receive your well-deserved accolades. Congratulations!

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  11. Thank you so much Caro. Maybe some day soon you'll take the plunge and share your words.Now is the time.

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  12. You know what, I think that'll make another good post. I was hesitant to take the step for the edit, but really was a worth the money. Thank you.

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  13. Great post on several levels. Thank you for sharing your writing journey with us. Congratulations on the fellowship. Best!

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  14. Fear can be so stifling.Thank you both for your kind words.

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