The Ups and Downs of a Writing Challenge

Like many others I took part in the Nanowrimo challenge last November. It was my first one, but I completed it on time at 52,000 words and boy was it an exhilarating feeling. I did hope that the 1000 word a day writing challenge would stick with me, but of course life got in the way.

I’ve had a go at Twitter writing challenges under the #1k1hr tag and find those great for belting out 1000 words. Indeed at the last one I managed 1.5k in the hour.

I am now taking part in Sally Quillford’s 80k 80 days challenge #mywyn and I am enjoying this too, apart from last Thursday, when writing my words was like wading through treacle. I thought I would share some of the things that got me going again.

1. Support from Facebook and Twitter friends and comments on my blog.

2. Writing friends’ enthusiasm for my Tanner and Rosie story – they actually want to know what happens next.

3. Writing around the subject – I wrote biographies for Tanner and Rosie.

4. Asking myself searching questions about how I wanted my characters to change on their journey through the book.

5. Thinking myself inside the skin of my characters and writing about how they were feeling at that point in the story.

6. Interviewing my characters – I pretended I was a journalist and wrote out the interviews.

My manuscript now feels back on track and stands at 31,404 words on day 28 of the 80 days. I will do it – I am determined.

Have you any other ideas to share in case I get stuck again? What works for you?

By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels.


  1. Well done you Morton. I have a template of questions I ask my characters which is more or less what you've done. I agree with Catherine – life does tend to trip us up so maybe think of the most unlikely things that could happen and ask what they would do.


  2. Catherine and Flowerpot – Thank you for commenting so quickly! I have a few bombshells planned for poor Rosie and Tanner.

    What is Blogger playing at? Now my followers list has gone missing. Welcome to all new folloers I can't see!

    Grr now I've had to sign in yet again to comment on my own blog. Hope it gets better soon. Mx


  3. You are doing so well with this challenge. You're almost halfway there.

    Lots of Blogger problems at the moment and on some blogs I can only comment as Anonymous, that's if I can comment at all. I know some haven't been able to access their blogs for several days.

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge.

    Teresa 🙂


  4. Hi Morton, it depends on the depth of the writer's block; sometimes what you need is a break, and when you go back you realise what you've written isn't as bad as you thought. Sometimes you just need to write through the pain! Just get words on paper, even if it's rubbish, because bad words can be fixed but a blank page can't. Sometimes I skip ahead to a scene I really want to write, and then I go back and fill in the bit I missed later. You're doing so well, though! Keep going!


  5. Hello to new followers. I seem to have acquired quite a few over the last few days.

    Sarah, Teresa and Serenity – thank you for the comments and encouragement. I didn't stop writing my story, more started to doubt it and whether I could sustain 80,000 words from it. After a tip off from character Rosie, I now know I can and, would you believe it, can visualise a sequel!!!! Mx


  6. I love the Facebook group and Twitter users that know I'm wriitng. I find having that online support is really helpful. Writing can feel quite isolating and without having anyone to bounce off I can find myself slowing down. The Facebook and Twitter groups help push me through that slow phase when needed.

    It sounds as though you have things in place to keep you going.


  7. Hello:) I echo what Rebecca just said – and well done for sustaining your blistering pace. So you probably don't need this but If I get stuck I write (on paper this has to be – with a pencil/pen; no keyboards) in the voice of one of my characters but using my left hand (obviously you would reverse this if you are left-handed in the first place). The wonderful Judy Waite suggested this to me so thank her!


  8. Clare – Blogger seems to be doing comment disappearing acts at the moment, amongst other things.

    Rebecca – Sorry to hear you are having health problems. I'm sure the writing will keep you going. I love the support I've found in social networking too.

    Nas – Thankfully this time I have been able to keep going after a sticky patch.

    Frances – I write most of my words, or at least notes on them, on paper first and then type them up. I agree the brain seems to work differently in this medium. I used to use non-dominant hand work a lot, but had forgotten – thank you for reminding me.

    Let's keep writing. Mx


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