Tag Archives: competition

The Ideal Writing Pace

19 Jun

Writing is a different experience for everyone. Just check out the #amwriting hashtag on Twitter and you will see authors hitting 50,000 words in two weeks…and in two years.

So how long should it take to write your book?

Stephen King claims to give up on a book if you can’t finish the first draft in three months. Others claim a book is rushed if it doesn’t demand years of your attention. But here’s the deal—

I used to run in Track & Field, and Track & Field taught me something important that I think the writing community could benefit from. (Stick with me for a second, okay?) I competed in races all year long. I thought I knew what the end-goal was in Track & Field… Whoever was fastest was the best. And the fastest girl on our team was a girl I’ll call Darla.

Darla was fast—like super fast—and since I was running long distance for the first time (when I was used to sprinting races), I tried to keep up with her. She was the fastest, after all, and I was able to run at her pace. (Not that I enjoyed it.) One time, while we were running a practice race (and I was majorly struggling), she turned to me and asked why I hadn’t found my own pace. My own pace. This concept blew my mind. I never considered how fast I “wanted” to run or what speed I was comfortable running. No way! I had only considered the start line, the finish line, and nothing in between…you know, because this was a literal race. But this was Track & Field. Your team isn’t judged for each little race, but rather all of your team’s races combined. It was about winning together as a team, not competing against one another, and above all, we were supposed to enjoy the run. (We were in seventh grade, after all, but twelve-year-old Shannon was just as competitive and way-too serious as modern me.)

That being said, I quit Track & Field the next year. Not because I wasn’t fast enough, but because I finally found my pace. And my pace was writing instead of running. Though, I admit running was still my exercise of choice growing up, I learned an important lesson from running that I’ve carried into my writing life.

Finding my own pace is key, not only for my health but also for my happiness.

If that means I write 50,000 words in two weeks, awesome. But it’s also awesome if it takes me two years.

Recently, I’ve been struggling with this. It took me two months to finish my first manuscript of 2017, including a significant amount of editing. Two months. And now I’m halfway through June without a second manuscript. That’s four months on one project. I’ve been working on it twice as long as my previous project, but I’m barely halfway through a first draft. (This is probably the opportune time to mention I’m slightly obsessive about numbers… and I’m a competitive person by nature, so I’ll turn anything into a competition, including competitions with myself. So, sigh…) I feel as if I’ve been writing sooooooo slowly. And I’m struggling with that confession.

As someone who is competitive, I understand how overwhelming seeing others’ word counts can feel. Sometimes, word counts can start to feel more important than feeling good about those words you wrote down. But I try to keep that Track & Field lesson in mind.

We’re in this together. Some of us will write 50,000 words in two weeks, some of us cringe at that idea, but we will all reach the “finish line” together. And the more we enjoy the middle, the better the “race” will feel. Though…I forgot to mention the most important fact about this post. Writing isn’t a race at all. This is a journey. There isn’t a set finish line. There isn’t even a solid start line. (I often can’t tell you when I first got an idea for a specific project, for instance.) But your happiness should matter. If it takes two months or two years, it shouldn’t matter. What matters is how much you enjoyed the writing process.

Find your writing pace, and enjoy your journey.

~SAT

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Writing Competition & Giveaway!

19 Aug
Please like my Facebook page!

Please like my Facebook page!

First: I’m going to be doing my first LIVE radio interview on August 20 at 9:30 a.m. (CDT.) Join us at Back Porch WriterI will also post a link to it afterwards if you’d like to listen to it later.

If you follow me on my Facebook page then you already know that I received three copies of the new edition of Minutes Before Sunset. And I was so excited! (Still am) They are beautiful. The coloring is just as I’d always imagined, front and back, and the wording has been delicately refined. On top of that, there’s only one extra page (because of the changed language) so you don’t have to worry about a much longer or shorter novel. The new edition means so much to me that I haven’t been able to put it down since, which is how I got my idea.

The new edition is on the left; the first edition is on the right. Sorry about the glare!

The new edition is on the left; the first edition is on the right. Sorry about the glare!

It’s already for sale for only $12 through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc. But I wanted to celebrate by giving three SIGNED new editions away to my talented readers. That’s right. Talented–not just lucky. I wanted to do my first giveaway that celebrates the talent of all of the writers I’ve met through this blog. So if you write–you’re eligible, and there’s more to win than just Minutes Before Sunset.

Check it out:

Now, this is a different kind of a writing challenge: I don’t want an entire story. I don’t want a single line. What I am looking for is an excerpt (no longer than 10 pages) and I want to see beautiful prose. There’s only one twist.

Do you have favorite quotes from a novel–those words that just stuck out from the page and made you think? I want to see that. I want to be reading along and see a life lesson hanging on the sentence but blending in to the descriptions. (You’re even welcome to bold it.)

Not only will you win a free signed copy of the new edition of Minutes Before Sunset, but you (and your book/websites) will be featured on ShannonAThompson.com in an upcoming future post, which we will discuss over email, so it won’t be spoiled for everyone else!

Okay. So one last time:

  1. Pick out an excerpt of your writing–no more than 10 pages. Also include genre and brief synopsis.
  2. Bold your life lesson line (or a quote you think readers will attach themselves to)
  3. Send it to shannonathompson@aol.com with the subject “Giveaway” before August 26. 

I will announce the winners on September 2, and, hopefully, have that post up the next time (as well as your prizes shipped to you.)

So what are you waiting for? Email me with those delightful entries! I accept all genres 😀

~SAT

Announced posts to look forward to:

August 21: Back Porch Writer (Radio Interview)

August 22: A Matter of Resistance: Release Party!

August 26: Competition Closes

September 2: Winners

September 25: One Year Anniversary

TV Time: King of the Nerds

7 Mar

Four P.M. Update: My Twitter hit 1,000 likes too :]

Noon Update: My Facebook Author Page hit 100 likes! I am spinning in circles of happiness. Thank you for the consistent support. I appreciate you all as much as I appreciate my morning coffee (something I cannot live without.) Have a wonderful day! 

Okay. So I know tonight is the finale, so I’m a little late (super late?) bringing this television series into my nerdy light, but I HAD to. My biggest excuse is the fact that TBS just got the GO for season 2. And, yes, you can now apply to compete yourself.

King of the Nerds tests the intellect and varies capabilities of eleven “nerds” (such as a game designer, neurologist, and a NASA employee) as they compete for $100,000 and to be crowned as they sit on the Throne of Games. (Yes. Pun intended.) All of the nerdy action takes place at Nerdvana, and the contestants are hilarious. Even better, there isn’t as much useless drama as you may find on other reality shows (which I, personally, can’t stand about reality television.) Nerds seem to understand what matter, including when emotions get out of hand. 00097787-608003

The show comes on TBS on Thursdays, 10/9c. It’s hosted by Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong, both actors are known for their characters in the comedy series, Revenge of the Nerds.

Tonight, I’m really rooting for Ivan to win (mainly because he painted himself red, stood on stilts, gave himself horns, and waved a flaming sword around in the “create your own fantasy world competition.)5cd6f791f96ebcc80870087bbc4dbca7

If you haven’t checked this show out, it’s a new (and definitely a celebration) show about being a “nerd.” If you’re anything like me (definitely nerdy) this show is a wonderful reminder of why being “nerdy” isn’t a bad thing; it’s a great thing! Watch what it’s about, and maybe you’ll forward to season 2 like I am! Click here to visit the show’s home page.

~SAT

P.S. Thank you for the all congratulations! I’m really excited. I will surely keep you all updated, but I have to clarify that November Snow is already available as paperback (through Amazon) because I got a few questions regarding that.  I also got my first submissions for the cover for Minutes Before Sunset, and I’m working hard to get everything ready!

In other news, an aspiring author, the lovely Lee Paige, wrote a very touching piece about my blog, and I wanted to share it, because it’s a perfect example of how my followers help move me forward (and how I strive to help others move forward.) I want us to achieve our dreams together, and it seems that Lee Paige is a great example of how that dream is happening! Click here to read her piece.

My Author Page is 10 away from hitting 100 followers; it'd make me spin in circles of happiness if I could hit that mark. I may even record it.

My Author Page is 10 away from hitting 100 followers; it’d make me spin in circles of happiness if I could hit that mark. I may even record it. 😀

Publishing News: Barnes & Noble: Paperback

4 Mar

On February 28th, I received a letter from Barnes & Noble! I’m excited to announce that you all (Yes, YOU ALL) requested my novel through their retailer enough that they will soon offer November Snow as a paperback. I couldn’t be more grateful and excited to continue following the dream! So I truly thank you. I would’ve thanked you on Thursday, but I already had posts up, and I didn’t want to post over them, especially Writing Tips: Involve Your Readers, because that contest is how I’m saying thank you. I guess this means I’ll have to find another contest to thank all of you with!

If you follow my Author Facebook page, then you’ve already read this news and seen this photo:

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That creepy shadow behind me is, not only one of my biggest supporters, but he my father. :]

We had a great time going over the paperwork, (Who knew paperwork could be so much fun?), and I’ll keep you all informed as things move forward.

The most recent news is always found here :D I will like your Facebook page as well. Just send me a message!

The most recent news is always found here 😀 I will like your Facebook page as well. Just send me a message!

Again, thank you for all of your support! I couldn’t do this without you.

~SAT

P.S. I’m loving these questions & covers I’m receiving for Minutes Before Sunset. It’s going to be great :]

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