Monday, March 5, 2012


Boot camp for writers is NOT like boot camp for real soldiers. I want to stress this difference right now.

I, Drill Sergeant Mary, do not at any time, have permission to scream DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY, MAGGOT!

Well, let me clarify, I suppose I can type anything I want in here, but what I don’t have is any expectation that you will obey without question.

So I’m going to use Boot Camp Day to URGE you, not order you.

What I want is for every person who signed up for SPEEDBO, if it is possible, to come out at the end with something FINISHED.

This is such a huge divide.

There are so many writers who do not FINISH anything. If you do not FINISH something then to me, you cannot call yourself a serious writer.

I want each of you to look at your work. We’ve been doing SPEEDBO since last Thursday and you’ve made plans and set goals.

But now, stop and just THINK, look at your body of work. ARE YOU FINISHING THINGS. Do you have a single finished book? Do you have four half/finished books? Do you have the first three chapters of fifteen books?

This Boot Camp is me, urging you, if you want to ever be a published author to FINISH.

I want to talk today about how many finished books you have on your computer. When I got my first book published I had TWENTY.

I'm scarier than I look!
You should be FINISHING. You should be stacking those books up. When you finish one, you start another, you do NOT spend four years revising and submitting and contesting a single finished book, or worse yet a single Unfinished book.

What we at Seekerville had in common when we first banded together was that we were all seriously pursuing publication. That is the bond that connects 13 very different women. We were entering contests together and aggressively writing and submitting and contesting and most of all FINISHING our books.

We want you wonderful Seekervillagers to hear from us that we are thrilled when one of you sells a book or finals in a contest or finishes one book and starts another.

Do this.




Tell me how many finished books you’ve got on your computer. The answer should be at least ONE, if not, then ONE is your goal by the end of the month.

Give me a NUMBER

It can be as high as TWENTY, which is sort of like me screaming in your face DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY, MAGGOT!

And if you’re not a writer that’s just fine. We love you all.

Those of you who are writers…..Give me a NUMBER
There are prizes galore during SPEEDBO.
Leave a comment today to get your name in for a 15 page critique--by me--if you aren't CHICKEN.

 And, today is Day 5 of our March Speedbo. Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Comment today for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. ELEVEN!!!!!!!

    And the coffee pot's ready.


  2. Sir, yes Sir! I have ONE, sir!!!!!

    It's just amazing to me that I finished a book.

    Not just a book, the book I set out intending to write just over a year ago.

    And now I have another one half-way to finished, and it will be done BEFORE the end of March.

    I know that looks like a measly total compared to some others, but we're not here to compare, are we? So I'm celebrating my ONE!

    I brought hot chocolate for the rest of the late-nighters - with lots of whipped cream.

  3. One finished and two unfinished.


  5. JAN--Good for you. One with a goal of finishing a second one. THAT IS FANTASTIC!

  6. CANDANCEFAITH are you planning on finishing one of those two books this month????????

    I urge to to GO FOR IT!! Even if you don't get it finished get it pushed further toward finished.

  7. Mary:

    Number 12 is half done. My goal was to finish it during Speedbo, but life has gotten in the way. Seven funerals and two surgeries in the past six months have kept me at a snail's pace.

    But I AM making progress, however slow. Hopefully I can pick up the pace this week.


  8. Am I allowed to count the finished ones that I trashed and shredded in a bout of frustration when I decided I was not going to be a writer anymore?
    Or the ones that exist on files on computers that don't even exist anymore.

    Yes, I am admitting this. *hangs head in shame*
    But ever onward.

  9. Okay Mary... Why don't you just put my name at the top of your blog. THIS IS MEANT FOR CONNIE QUEEN.

    I do have 1 finished ms. (I wished I could write this next part in tiny letters.) I finished it about 14 years ago.

    I have 5 more started in various stages. I entered 2 of the unfinished ms into contests. Right now one of those have 2 requests from editors and 1 agent. It's the one I'm trying to complete in March.

    I need to write about 30k this month to complete it.

  10. MaryC, I have a whole bunch of books on disks that don't have computers anymore.
    I finally threw them away. A whole stack of children's and YA books, plus at least two full length romances that are better forgotten and I can't quite decide but they prove you can do it.
    Whether that counts or not, you CAN do it.

  11. Helen, life DOES get in the way sometimes. I respect that. Good luck with #12 this month!!!!!

  12. CONNIE, I AM talking about you.'re welcome.

  13. Let me add...
    Since last summer I have been doing better.
    During NaNo, I sorta finsihed a very rough draft of one of my books. So much needs to be switched around and worked on that I don't count it. And in Feb. I added several thousand words to my current wip and I have figured out several plot holes. I'm determined to get the rest of my ms on paper.

    I also joined ACFW in January and a local Christian critique group at Lena Dooley's home. I think she was guest on here awhile back.

  14. Um, is finished just completely written or does it have to be polished/send out worthy?

  15. This is the first I've heard of Speedbo. Is it too late to participate?

    In the meantime, I have 5 WIPs on my laptop, & even more in notebooks. Mary, your post really spoke to me because it is hard for me to finish. I don't know if I'm just easily distracted or afraid of the rejection after finally submitting a finished manuscript.

    Still, my dad is the same way so I come by it honestly. I just hope I can break tradition!

  16. I've got one finished - unedited, a bit on the short side, but at least a complete story. :) I'm currently working on the second for Speedbo. I'm grateful for the motivation to get some writing done!


  17. Please don't yell at me ...


    BUT I'm pleased to say that the only unfinished book I have on my computer is the very first book I've ever worked on, my current WIP. I started it 2 years ago, but then I got pregnant with #2 and I'm rather ill during pregnancy. I got back into it about 6 months ago. My goal for Speedbo is to add 20K which will bring the total up to 40K. I've already done 5K! I'm well on target.

    I'm writing YA so I think I won't need heaps more than 40K, at least for draft since I already know of things I need to add in the early chapters.

  18. 7 and I'm working on number 8. 8 is a lucky number, right? Hoping to finish it during Speedbo.

  19. You sounded like me.

    Which is the nicest compliment I can think of right now!


    I couldn't have said it better: Finish the Book.

    Leaving Starbucks blueberry muffins.


  20. Yikes....


    I have 30,000 words on a story that I am changing into a YA and that is what I am working on for SPEEDBO. I'm starting over though, but plan to get a ton of it written during this month. Even though my computer is in the shop for a week. Bleh...

    Doing push ups for penance. :(

  21. Eight!!!

    And I'm cruisin' on number nine during SpeedBo!

  22. Mary--great post--and so true. I had 6 finished novels before I sold. And if you haven't finished a novel yet, go for it--the great news is once you type the words The End--it becomes addicting--and you'll finish more. :)

  23. THREE!

    Starting number four for SpeedBo.

    I hope to have the rough draft completed by the end of March.

  24. Speedbo is getting me to finally put one in the 'puter! I have finished every single article I have started and published plenty. But have I gotten the book in my head out of my head? No! So now is the time.

    I am also thinking to myself, "now for the second book..." so am glad of that reminder to finish the first one, well, FIRST.

    Cinnamon toast, peanut butter toast, and french toast for all.

    Peace, Julie

  25. Never too late..well, I guess technically April 1 is too late.

    To join Speedbo click on the tab at the top of the page (THE SPEEDBO TAB) and follow the instructions, Sharyn.


  26. One completed.

    One well over half completed, which shall be finished by the end of Speedbo.

    With all due respect, Sir, I'm not going to own up to anything else.

  27. I have two books on my computer. But are they ever finished? Even though I have been sending the one out, and am getting close with the second one, I want to continue to edit and edit and edit some more.

    Which is the problem with the Speedbo challenge. Just write and don't edit, I keep telling myself, as I keep plodding along on my third book. Write, write, write.

  28. You scared me, Mary with your fierce writer-warrior call-to-arms. Quaking in my boots now. Here's my stats:

    1 contemporary romance
    1 YA fantasy
    1 MG fantasy
    4 picture books

    and 30+ fanfictions which are book length if that counts...I finished them all :-)

    And now I'm starting another contemporary romance which is trying to become a historical but I'm not letting it but that's likely because I'm reading Siri Mitchell's The Messenger at the same time and it's messing with my brain.

  29. Mary, you said a mouthful, girl. Starting is easy. Finishing is tough. We are tough. We are determined. We are woman, hear us roar! Oops, sorry, Vince and Walt.

    Thanks for the coffee, Helen, and muffins, Ruthy! Off to write.


  30. Wow, a drill sergeant this early in the morning. yikes

    Great going all of you doing Speedbo.

    I have 14 complete manuscripts if you count children stories as well. Some I'm sure will never see the light of day. LOL But as Mary pointed out, they were all learning tools.

    And who knows, they might get dusted off and sent out.

    Its never too late to start Speedbo. Get cracking or the drill sergeant will be merciless. I know this from experience.

  31. Five in about 27mos.

    One will remain in draft form for all eternity.

    Two are polished. One is a sequel to one of those and will likely remain unpolished until the first one sells. One was supposed to be polished by now but that whole narcotics thing got in the way. Working on it this month, too.

    Goal for the month is another rough draft.

    And this, dear friends, is why Mary's 30th book [in 6? 7? years?] is coming out in August.

  32. When I first read you had twenty finished books on your computer—probably a year ago—before you were published, I thought, “Good golly!” PROLIFIC. How can anyone do THAT? Do stories come to you very clearly and… easily?

    Define “books.” Do you mean novel-length books? If that is case, I am already on my fiftieth push-up. I have finished at least five children’s books, and three short stories (novella length of roughly 28,000-30,000 words). Novels are what I want to write (along with picture books), but I am an out of shape writer. Undisciplined even. I treat it as a hobby. That is a dreaded word when you really want it to be a career. FINISHING something this month would be a huge WOW. I’d have to write a lot of words. Here is a question though—if I want to write a full-length historical romance, what should my word count goal be for a rough draft?

    I am very proud of all of you who have finished books, or who are working hard to do so!

    Okay. Enough jib-jab. Back to writing.

    I would love a critique from you, Sergeant Connealy!


  33. Ooo, Mary. There IS a scary side to you,LOL.

    Although at first, I thought it was Tina talking...

    Mary is so right. Finish that book. Write this advice out, tape it to your computer, your bathroom mirror, your Kindle, your nose.

    Finish that book. How in the world are you ever going to submit something that remains a figment in your rather fertile imagination?

    Speedbo is the month you do your ugliest writing in order to type THE END with untold satisfaction.

    Revising and polishing remains for another month. This month just




  34. Kav - tried to email you but can't find an addy... Didn't try too hard, to be honest, but could you shoot me one?

    carolmoncado at gmail dot com

    Thanks, darlin'! :D

  35. Mary. One.

    I have one book on my computer. :) I recently found that I need to revamp it because my heroine needs some work. So, back to the drawing board with the story, because I love it. :)

    LOVE the exhortation to finish. Taking your words to heart, Sgt Mary!

  36. My post didn't go through! Well anyway, I have 5 completed books on my computer and SpeedBo is number 6. Now back to writing.

  37. Two! Both being considered by editors.

    After years of starting a new story without finishing the last one - I've completed two in one year. I believe Seekerville and ACFW have played a big part in giving me the motivation to finish.

  38. Today's goals toward finishing #6:

    *Fold laundry and put up [because if I don't the hubby will stop being so supportive ;)]
    *Do taxes so they're out of the way
    *Goal of 5K words [but will be happy with anything over 2K]

  39. Could I just stop here and say - WOW Seekervillagers!!! Isn't this something??? Look at all the work in various stages. May would say, "PAWMAZING!!"

    Thanks D.S. Mary.
    current WIP - 1/2 (SpeedBo-ing so that will be remedied shortly... Boing boing boing boing boing boing)

    Helen - and still you remember the coffee. Thank you ma'am.

    To everyone else, we're OFF here and ON to our WIP. Let's go!

    Thanks Mary. *gulp* Yes. Please enter me! It'll make me stronger, right?!

  40. Yay Kav, yay Whitney...

    There are kidlit writers here too.
    Lead the way, Sandra! (Are there other Seekers who write kidlit also? Should I be wiping the egg off my face now?)

  41. Mary giving orders.

    This is the woman to fulfill all pirate dreams!

    Where's the rum, my pretty?

  42. Love the call to action!
    I have SEVEN "The Ends' and my goal is another one by the end of March! Someone else said eight is the lucky number.
    Would love to receive a free critique. That is the one thing those seven stories haven't seen.


  43. If I win the critique from you, Mary, does that mean I need to make sure someone gets shot in the part I send in?

    Because, really, very few people get shot in Amish romances....

    I do have a rather dreadful ex-fiance though :)

  44. Sharyn, mon petite, it is never too late.

    My Seeker friends are most welcoming. And usually they have plenty of coconut cake and a pinch of rum for a thirsty friend who has sailed the seas...

    Perchance you can write m' lasses at and they will add you to the queue. And if you are in need of liquid refreshment, I'm your barista, m'love.

    Your pleasure, ladies?

  45. Sorry Mary! That comment with the cute dog is me!

    Drackler is my son. Cute dog, weird name for a son. Yeah, that's my life.

  46. This is something that's really bothering me. REally. I only have one finished, two in the works. Actively in the works. Many that I'm 'sketching out' characters and plots and arcs on. (Pinterest is great for that!!! So very helpful for this visual writer!!)

    This year's goal is to raise the number of finished mss so my agent has *something* to work with.

  47. Jack, you rascal--I've missed you! I'm down today because I had to cancel my trip to California. Did you bring me something pretty to cheer me up?

  48. I have ten finished (two of those currently on submission). Although I have three additional manuscripts started, I'm using SPEEDBO to finish one (a sequel to one currently on submission). I typed 2,500 words this weekend. Almost at 10k. Must. Get. There.

  49. Woot! Thanks, Sarg! :)

    I have two finished books. I never talk about my first book, but its the one that got me looking into joining a writer's group and attending conferences and so on. "Coming Home" Book 1 in The Chronicles of Logan Creek series. It's laced with so much telling that I'll have to totally rewrite it, but it's a really great story.

    For SpeedBo, I'm working on my third book (book 2 in its series). I'm JUST under 20k at the moment. I don't know if I can write another 60K in this one month or not, but my goal is anywhere between 20K more and "the end". If I have a do-able goal in mind, I'm more likely to surpass it. Weird, I know. But that's how I work. I have a bad habit of setting goals that aren't reasonable and end up giving up completely. But this way, I end up getting more done than I thought possible. Usually. :)

    Go, SpeedBo! :D

  50. PS, I do have a few others I've been playing with. They help me with "writer's block". When I get stuck on my current WIP, I'll pop one of those open and it somehow helps me release. The ms I'm working on now is a difficult one, so I need all the help I can get. But for this month, I'm focused!

  51. CONNIE I'm officially declaring your sort finished very rough draft as a finished book.
    so change your count to ONE. :)
    You go to Lena Nelson Dooley's house? You have someone that close to meet weekly?
    I am so envious. We have a group in the area that gathers and it's so fun but it's not enough.

  52. MELISSA Completely written counts. Yes, you need to polish, though.

  53. SHARYN, someone already told you but, YES, join at any time....YAY

  54. AMBER S, a bit on the short side, you know....Heartsong Presents romances are 45k and LIs are 55k. How short are you of those numbers?

  55. HELEN W, those babies slow a person down don't they? Around our house we called that 'The Baby Daze'. and just knew that for a while there, nothing else was going to get done.
    That doesn't mean it can't, it just means forgive yourself. (yeesh, I'm TERRIBLE at this Drill Sergeant thing!)

  56. ANNIE RAINS! Seven going on eight? Good for you, girl. I'm totally promoting you. You're a corporal now.

  57. SHERRINDA! You'd better have a finished book to show me at the end of this month. No excuses.

  58. Hey, I've never been here before, what an interesting place! =D I have nine. =D

  59. Speaking of No Excuses, this is something I type to myself at the end of every day.
    I know I need to push. I'm trying to maintain the steady pace (now this sounds like the Army on a forced march, Hmmmm)
    I type NO EXCUSES
    And I mean it. If I have to skip a TV show I want to watch. If I have to stay up late. NO EXCUSES. This manuscript needs to be This Long by the end of the day. NO EXCUSES.

  60. ONE!
    Number Two is about a third of the way through.

  61. YAY KIRSTEN!!!!!

  62. LINDI someone told me once that most authors publish their SEVENTH novel.

    Which means I'm ... challenged, let's say, cuz it took me twenty. boo

  63. BRIDGETT good for you, girl. Keep writing.

  64. JULIE HILTON STEELE I'm glad you're grabbing hold of SPEEDBO to motivate you. Get'r done.

    (ps, my children run away from me screaming every time I say get'r done. Apparently emulating Larry the Cable Guy doesn't fit their idea of cool)

  65. ROSE, you have ONE? Seriously? As you write your third published book?

    I'm impressed (also crazy jealous, but that's between me and God, I'll deal with it)

  66. CARAG, I have no idea what you mean by 'owning up'.

    I'm pretty frightened now. You have a stack of finished books under the bed that you're made into something so wild you refuse to admit they are there? Perhaps?

  67. CHRIS LOEHMER know my current series is called The Kincaid Brides.
    I suppose I named them after you, huh? :)

    Books are done when they are on the shelves, Chris. I've revised so many books so many times.

    When I finally sold I had THREE three book series written to 90k length, 55k LI length and 45k Heartsong Presents length. And no, I don't count that as NINE books. It's only three, but I was targeting different lines so I'd write and edit and cut until they were the required length, then save them as, for example, Clueless Cowboy HP and CLueless Cowboy LI
    Then I could pitch them to those houses. Every time I went through and edited and cut, those books got better, stronger, more polished.

  68. One, yes, just ONE novel finished but it's 125K, so that's like writing two, right? I'm currently editing it down to size :)

    I also have a 28K novella that I'm polishing, and oodles of short stories. And then there's the incomplete novels... about four other novels started (counting the murder mystery I wrote when I was 14, and three chapters of a novel for a college project, both of which will probably never see daylight).

    My SpeedBo project is to continue one of the started-but-never-completed novels.

    Hope you're having a good day, MARY!

  69. KAV. I scared you? Really? I'm so proud of myself!

    What's MG Fantasy?

  70. CAROL, seriously? 5 in 27 months? You are doing GREAT. You are really building up a back list. Hopefully when you sell that first one, you'll then go on to sell all the rest.

  71. oh wow! I'd LOVE to have a 15 page critique!

    Although I'm not an "official" participant in Speedbo - I want you gals (& guys) know you've inspired me to set aside time and excuses and write!

    I've allocated weekends to that purpose and this past weekend wrote 2975 words in one of my current WIP's!!


  72. WHITNEY when I saw twenty finished books on my computer, I'm talking full length novels. Romances one and all. I had other stuff too, but it's not counted in that number.

    A full length novel like I'm witing now is 80k to 100k words. LIH, that is Love Inspired Historicals are 75k, so that isn't much shorter than the low end of my 80k word books.

    You're writing novella length and there's a market for those, but you should try and get a full length novel on your computer. I'd advise in the 60 - 70k range a range, to me, that is easily cut to 55,000 words for LI or easily lengthened to 80k words for trade length fiction.

  73. Hey, Sergeant Mary!!!
    I have almost finished my 6th book, and it shall be finished by the end of Speedbo!

    But this is not counting the two books I wrote in high school. That would make this my 8th finished book.

    Helen, I am impressed that you have 11 books! You rock.

    And I would actually love to have a critique from Mary, but I won't put myself in the running. Carry on, Sergeant Mary. (Actually, Tina is more of the drill sergeant type--no offense, Tina--but it doesn't fit Mary very well. Sorry, Mary.)

  74. 3!! I'm so THRILLED to be able to say that!
    (By the way, 2 were written in just the last 2 years)

  75. JEANIE T, I understand learning something new and diving back into the book. But, be CAREFUL, you're not doing this over and over are you?
    At some point you've GOT to declare a book done and start a new one. IN fact when I get a book done I tend to set it aside and write a whole nother book, then go back to the earlier one. I've distanced myself from the book enough at that point that I can see it more clearly. I can read what I really wrote, not what I MEANT to write.

  76. JAMIE, YAY on the editors. are you sitting around waiting for those editors right now? You shouldn't be. You should be hard at work on Book #3.

  77. JODI JANZ when you say the books haven't seen a critique, have you ever entered them in a contest? That's a good way to get a critique from a completely impartial person (by that I mean NOT your mother, who thinks you're just brilliant)

  78. DRACKLER, I make an exception for shooting in Amish romances. Grudgingly.

    Perhaps the barn could burn down or a carriage could get hit by an eighteen wheeler.

  79. DRACKLER is JAN?

    This is an interesting twist.

    I hope your dog isn't traumatized by my 18 wheeler plot line.

  80. PATTY are you doing SPEEDBO? Just pick one and go for it.
    All those other ideas are fine. Create a file for the future. But for this month FOCUS! FINISH!

  81. You people are inspiring!

    I have SEVEN finished and just started number 8 for SPEEDBO. Don't plan to finish by the end of March, but hope to get halfway (40,000)!

    Typing THE END is the Best Feeling Ever!

    Go for it!


  82. One. I won't bothering mentioning how many are unfinished. So I'm really excited about using SpeedBo to finish another.

    Mary, you say were busy writing, revising, submitting, contesting, etc. I can see the value of the forward motion in this approach. Did you revise each ms at least once, though? Finished first drafts are important, but seems like giving them a bit more attention than simply typing The End would be worthwhile.

    Glad you've got books submitted, too. Glad you throw those books out into the world and get back to work.

  84. I had FIVE finished manuscripts on my computer when I sold my first novel.

    Mary, you are an inspiration (and a cautionary tale) for all of us! :D :D :D

  85. LINNETTE having a method that is your own is fine. All writers have their own tricks and head games they play to get into the right mood.

    Except me. I'm obsessive compulsive. It's getting me to STOP writing that is the trick.

    If you weren't finishing books then it'd be different but you are and those other books are growing, too.

  86. ERICA! Have you tried to sell those five books?

    How fun would that be to get MONEY for books just sitting there!

  87. hmmm. I have 2 freshly completed tales. And 7 awaiting re-editing for indie publishing. As well as a number that are in various stages of completion.

    Thanks for a reality check Drill Sargent Mary! For me it was a good thing to take a look at what's hanging around.

  88. Ok, Mary, I have one down and one in progress, ok two in progress. There is no one I would like more to critique me than you!

  89. PATRICIAW, I do got through them right after they're done. As I've been writing them I've been changing things and making notes at the top fo the manuscript.

    An example of a note to myself:
    I named the father GAVIN on page 121work that in once in a while earlier in the book.

    I have all this bits of knowlegde that get created as I write and I need to go through and smooth the book out. I know I said the baby was 9 months old but am I consistant throughout...stuff like that.
    The hero in Bk#2 is hyperactive, never stops pacing. Did I have him act like that in book #1?

    If there is an action scene or a comedy scene I'll do a TON of revising on those because they just don't seem to spring to life the first time. I've GOT to write them badly and fix them. So say, the opening of a book, which I try to always have as an action scene, is often rewritten ten times before I'm satisfied with it.
    I can feel myself wound up tight when I'm writing them and when I get that feeling I start to hope I've got it right.
    It keeps getting better, too.

  90. SUSAN ANN MASON, SEVEN? Fantastic.
    Think of all the books among us. What a body of work!

  91. Ach, my pretties!

    Methinks the newbies are wonderin' what to make of a pirate barista...

    And so, I wait, with no orders.

    But I'm a big believer in finishing what you start, hence the Black Pearl is MINE...

    I'm making Mary a hot chocolate... with whipped cream. And a sprinkling of shaved Ghirardelli...

    Because Mary is that special.

  92. SusieSheehey -- 2 books in two years, that is impressive. and a third on the way. Keep it up.

  93. Pam T, you ought to sign up. With a weekend word count like that you'll be a great addition to our

    What fun!

  94. hahahah, inspiring and cautionary tale, Erica. (you so nailed her).

  95. STEPHANIE, 125,000 words, huh? That is at LEAST two books. I'm glad you're buckling down on new work. Then go back and edit the 125k.

  96. 110 Speedbo Participants right now.

    Suzie, Lindi, Sharyn, Pam T.

    Why haven't you joined Speedbo?

    Drill Sgt scared you, huh??

  97. MARIA HAMMARBLAD--NINE finished books? WOW! I'm just amazed at how many books are been finished. I should stop being a drill sergeant now because all of you are doing terrific work and don't need me nagging you.

    Do I have to give back the cool whistle?

  98. I have one finished book and will have a second by the end of March. or else!!!
    I have a half finished book I shelved when I realized contemporary wasn't as much fun for me.
    I want a good body of work in storage when I finally get agented.
    And I am NOT too chicken for a critique, please count me in.

  99. JACK, I am dying for that hot chocolate. You are a GENIUS. You ought to write a book.

  100. lizzie star, you don't need ME to push you to write. You're doing great, but thanks for joining in the party. :)

  101. Hey there authorkathyeberley. I'd like to get back to Minneapolis just to see you and Bev again.

    Good luck on book #2, keep at it.

  102. NANCY, I love the attitude. I WILL have another one finished by the end of March.

    I want all of you to be there when we cross the FINISH line together and type THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!

  103. Oops. Forgot to leave my email for the critique.

    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

  104. OK - I'm taking the challenge and no, Tina I'm not afraid of the Drill Sargent LOL!

    My time is allocated to weekends only (although I might sneak in an hour or 2 elsewhere) and my goal is to simply get back into writing - (not editing something that is contracted or already written).

    It's been a LONG 2 1/2 years since my husband's death and I finally feel I am not only ready but emotionally capable to do this!

    Prayers appreciated.


  105. Ah, Pam, I have a hot chocolate as well for you, m'pretty.

    Loss is ever difficult, regardless of realm or century.

    With whipped cream.

    And the Ghirardelli. If Mary will unhand the bag of chocolate.

    I am here for you, ladies. The sea's a mite rough this day, and I'm stayin' ashore.

  106. Third time's a charm. And this is the third time I've tried to post here.

    I have 0 completed MSs to date. One partial, and several great ideas, but none finished.

    A situation I must remedy, according to Sgt. Mary. To that end, I have (as of today, in fact) committed to spend 2 hours a day on writing.

    2 hours isn't much, but with finishing the moving in (and since DH says it's too much), it's what I can swing right now.

    Is it a coincidence that this post shows up the day after I had this conversation with my husband? I don't think so.

    Since I am a creature almost completely lacking in discipline, I'm gonna need lots of accountability help.

    I'm not doing SpeedBo. Good Luck to all who are.

    And I don't need a Mary crit right now, though that sounds completely awesome.

  107. Two that I'm admitting to.

    A few others are so far "under the bed" they shall remain if I ever move.


  108. [Thank you, Kav, for emailing me :D. I shall reply [again!] shortly!]

    Do we have to say we want to be in the running for a Mary crit?

    That's a bit scary I think. But sure. Why not? If I win, it'll give Mary a chance to call me avocado again ;).

    I haven't done any laundry yet but I do have my taxes tentatively figured. There's a couple of things I need to get my hands on, but I have estimated numbers in there and they look pretty good. I'm shuddering a bit at how much I spent on writing last year and how little [read: none] I have to show for it [monetarily anyway].

    Of course, meeting Seekers and Seeker friends in person makes it all worth it ;).

    And now to do some laundry because I have about 30 minutes before leaving to get DS and if I get the laundry done before then, I can focus on the words this afternoon... Yep. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

  109. FOURTEEN Books finished

    and several halves that I continue to work on.

    Two have been published and three in my Shadows Series come out this year and next.

    Honestly Sir,

    I haven't written as much as I should have. But I had to go out of town on my anniversary. And managed to get back logged with some editing.

    No Sir, not on my own stories, on some I have to finish for the house I edit for.

    Please, Sir don't come kick my hiney,

    I really have been trying to get some more word numbers on the count.

    kicking heels together and shooting out arm now... oh wait... you're not that dictator. Are you?


    i suppose I could always use some critiquing or new books or a pen or a housekeeper or... a million bucks... well... it could happen.

    saluting now.

  110. Gulp.

    I've already disobeyed Sargent Mary. I spent just about 4 years editing my very first novel.

    Thankfully I got SMARTER.

    And now I've 4 1/2 novels!!

    Kind of makes me excited to see that number growing. ;)

  111. I have 9! Plus two I'm working on now. Plus several proposals that were never bought or written.

    I can't believe there are already 111 comments!! I'll never catch up! LOL

  112. I'm applauding all who have finished manuscripts!!!! YAY!!!!

    Cheering on those who are working to finish their first completed story.

    Keep can do it!

    SpeedBo works.

    Don't get discouraged.

    You will succeed!!!!

    Yay, Seekerville!

    I'm bringing fresh fruit and bagel sandwiches for lunch. Grab some food and keep typing.

  113. Like Lindi, I had written 6 completed manuscripts before I published.

  114. :D Thanks, Mary!

    BTW, I'm up to 1309 so far today! :D

  115. One finished contemporary, one unfinished contemporary, one unfinished historical (western). And like Kav, I have several book-length fanfiction stories. I figured up one time that all of that writing works out to about 10 novel-length stories.

    The bad thing is, I wrote that first one in less than a year, then spent a year revising it only to have it rejected. Now I'm in writing limbo - you know, where you're almost AFRAID to commit to writing?

    Talk about somebody that needs to drop and give you twenty! That would be me. :)

  116. Joining Helen W. and Andrea strong in saying, "NONE."

    But I'm using SPEEDBO to get to "The End" on my WIP! There are two other unfinished books on my PC with a few chapters in them, and about 10 or 12 story ideas I scribbled into word docs.

    Now that I've read through the comments (so addicting), I'll dive back into the ms and get my word count in for the day.

    Wonderfully motivational post, Mary! Thanks!

  117. Okay, I'm scared to look at the comments!!!

    But here I am, dropping and giving you.... THREE!

    *cough cough*

    I'm going, I'm going! I just didn't get the 'stop revising part' for a while. My first finished novel I revised and submitted for a year. UGH. Wasted time. Who publishes their first ovel anyway??

    So, then I heard you should keep going (on SEEKERVILLE!) and wrote another, and another (one contracted and another under review).

    I have 3 half-finished... But my GOAL for Seekerville is to get a clear idea of my next book. I'm 3 chaps in and am writing the synopsis. I suppose I could finish, but I wold have to give up SLEEP.

  118. Fourteen!

    I'm not doing Speedbo, but my goal is to finish plotting book 15 and finish writing a synopsis by the end of the month.

    (Oh, and please don't enter me for the critique. I just won one recently from Seekerville - which was awesome by the way - and I'd love for someone else to win it.)


  119. OOOh, KAV! I love YA and MG fiction!

    Have you ever tried to enter those or query? There's such a great market for JFIC now. And a need!

  120. Just out of curiosity (had nothing to do with procrastination) I counted the number of fanfiction stories I've written over the years - 36! The longest was 25K words, most were 15K.

    All westerns.

  121. Mary, I promise I'm not working my book to death. :) I wrote 60K of it during NaNo, and then life interrupted before I could finish it. I finally finished it in mid-Feb, and had a couple of authors look it over. They gave some excellent suggestions for making my heroine a stronger character.....which will affect the story structure. So, I'm re-working her and making good changes to the overall story. I promise, Sgt Mary, that I will not revise it to death. :) My goal is to be done with writing it and revisions within five months. :)

    Other ideas are percolating in my mind, so I'll be ready to go with one of them this summer. :)

    I'm not doing SpeedBo, but if you're willing, I'd love to be put in the drawing for a critique. If women's fiction with a love story thread qualifies. Thanks for challenging me to not get stuck!

  122. Well then, I have FOUR "finished"

    #1 was half-way polished and realized it was not my voice/genre and shelved.

    #2 is polished!!!! Going out on rounds after SpeedBo

    #3 was two chapters away from polished when an agent I was referred to pointed out a flaw in an arc and suggested I write a different book - shelved for now.

    #4 rough draft done

    #5 SpeedBoing it's way into existence!!!!

  123. Woo-hoo! 2483 words today! Go SpeedBo!

    Now for some lunch and Garrison time before I hit the page again. :D

  124. Wait, didn't Julie publish her first novel? There's hope! Well, not for me... But still, hope!

  125. Last child graduated last May (homeschooled) so I'm working on finishing my first novel. However, I am making progress. Oh, this is my first time doing Speedbo too!

  126. I'm trying to take you seriously, Mary, but after 20 yrs of real military service, I can honestly say you're too soft to do this job. Heh.

    So my goal was to finish my 20k novella and move on to my next challenge, but I'm at 20330 and it's not done yet! Will have to snip, snip during revisions, but at least I'm getting it down.

    BTW - I have some inspiring words that I read somewhere - maybe even here at Seekerville a long time ago. It's about goal setting...

    There's a reason why The Left Behind Series chronicles the tribulations of earth, not the big party in Heaven. Jim Adam

  127. I have ONE completed NF manuscript. Plus (and I THINK this counts) I have a completed Tween biblical fiction devotional book (one devotion for each week of the year) - though I cowrote this one with the dear Jennifer Slattery.

    One in progress :)

  128. LOVED this post!

    Finished books - two completely finished. WIPs –I have about 10 that are half-finished and concepts/partial chapters for another dozen or so. Ideas aren’t the issue – finding time to write is!

    Drill Sergeant Mary, I can’t finish my WIP, but I will finish at least 3 chapters. If not, I'll drop and give you twenty! ;-)

    Hey MaryC - I have some books like that too. Maybe it's good that we can't access them now. LOL!

  129. FOUR!!!!

    This Speedbo makes five, and I am about 11k in. Thanks for the kick in the butt!!!


  130. Coming out of lurkdom to cheer you all on! I am not writing anything new. Only working on edits of two manuscripts. My goal this month is to get them both completely done.

  131. Technically, I have five. Though I'm not sure I want to claim the first three as being mine. The next two aren't so bad though, especially since one of them got published.

    Call me crazy, but I have no trouble finishing my novels. I get more hung up over a novel I'm not allowed to finish. I have one of those, what should have been a wonderful story about a "kind of" French priest who gets forced into marrying a pregnant pickpocket.

    I was told I couldn't have a priest be the hero. Sigh. And I'm still upset I didn't get to finish that one.

  132. Mary, if I had to do even a single pushup I'd be in big trouble! But I'm happy to report, "Yes, m'am... there are four completed books on my computer, m'am." Granted, two will eternally collect dust, and the future of another one is iffy. Who knows, they may all turn out to be 'learning experiences' (isn't that the polite terminology for creating garbage?) but there are too many stories kicking around in my head to ever stop writing them.

    My speedbo effort yesterday was minimal, but I do have a couple more chapter revisions to gloat over. I think it's time for one of Helen's mugs of coffee now, and then I'll get back to work.

  133. Getting here late today--too many irons in the fire.

    But you got me curious, Mary. I counted up about 20 different COMPLETED book manuscripts since I started seriously working toward this goal in the mid-'80s.

    Of those, 14 were COMPLETE before I made my first sale.

    I now have 8 COMPLETE books ms. either published or contracted (or almost contracted).

    And FYI, the first 12 books remain unsold, and most of them probably never will find a publisher.

    See, EVERY book is a learning experience, which is why you need to finish them.

    Obviously, I had a lot of learning to do!

  134. MARY:

    How many of your first 20 books are published, now?

  135. Four finished, one I've been working on during SpeedBo is now at 7,500 words away from finished, one in at 30,000 and one at 10,000, but my focus has been on getting that 7,500 wrapped up this week! Will report when that happens. Then on to the 30,000 to see what kind of a dent I can make before the end of SpeedBo.

    Twenty books, Mary? That's fantastic. How many are published now? Thanks for the inspiration!

  136. LINNETTE of those twenty books ten are published now and an eleventh that was partially done is now a novella...that was the Christmas ebook A Home for Christmas, I wrote in a collection with Robin Lee Hatcher.
    I have about five more romantic suspense novels in the vein of Ten Plagues, if you remember that one. By Mary Nealy? That have never sold I'd love to see them in print some day.

  137. I've got two completed manuscripts that no longer exist. One is in printed pages and another vanished somehow, both were badly written, so when you Seekervillagers talk of books that are forever going to collect dust, I understand that.
    BUT I think there's a difference between a badly written book and a bad story.
    The two stories I wrote, I loved. I told them badly and they're not fixable, but I still have those stories in my head and someday I may turn my attention to them and tell them with (hopefully) much increased skills.
    So don't necessarily disparage badly written books, because you're getting better and you may be able to go, start from the beginning and tell those stories someday.

  138. I'm reading through all the comments and I'm just ... HONORED to be in this community with all you hard working writers.

    So much progress, so much dedication. And when you do have excuses??? That are fantastic.

  139. Another 226 for a total of 2709 so far today. I have to go for now...

  140. Wow, Mary! That's great! I think I'm finally realizing that I need to just keep writing and worry less about getting published in a hurry. :)

    As to the Mary Nealy books, I need to look those up and add them to my wish list. :D

  141. Well, I am at 2000 words added today plus a lot of thinking when I was away from the computer. More importantly, I am encouraged.

    See you tomorrow after I write some more!

    Peace, Julie

  142. 8 completed books, one more started, another in the thought process. That enough to keep me off KP duty? Still gotta read In Too Deep - SOON before I go crazy wondering what happens. Maybe when I get caught up on my Speedbo goals:)

  143. Definitely, KC!! Yay for kidlit. : )

    MARY, thanks a bunch! I will aim for 70,000 for my rough draft. : )


  144. I guess I forgot to leave a number...

    I have 6 completed manuscripts, however, like others, I'm not sure I should be counting the first 3... no 4... um ... 5.

    It's just that I started in 2005 without knowing anything except that I was a storyteller. And as I learned the craft, I realized even my storytelling skills weren't great. ugh.

  145. Naomi, I think the priest wouldn't be a good romantic hero if you wanted any kissing. Ew.

    BUT there are plenty of types who take tertiary vows, meaning they take temporary vows, over and over, without ever making solemn vows, whicha are for life.

    So, I think a 'monk' who is a 3rd degree type (Franciscans do this still) would be great and not set off the 'breaking vows' alarm. They even lived in the monasteries and convents, but now usually just live in small community houses.

    Don't let anybody tell you what you can't write! Maybe you're ahead of your time and we'll all be reading monk romances instead of Amish fiction next!

  146. Counting books we've written reminded me of something. I may not be published (yet) but there is a book written by me in a library! In 6th grade we chiseled on stone... I mean we wrote books, designed the covers and they were put in the school library.

    Can I add that to my list?

  147. I'm at a measly 600ish words for the day. Was hoping for many more and still hope to get at least 1400 more before bedtime.

    But a couple hours ago it hit me like a 2x4 that today would have been Mom's 66th birthday. Sat and stewed for a bit while pecking out a word here and there as I'm in the head of a mom who gave up her baby years earlier and is about to meet her for the first time.

    Then I went and bought a cake mix and frosting and eggs [because I didn't have any] and am getting ready to make a birthday cake.

    Hopefully, tomorrow will be better... Really want to be at 20K [prefer 25K] by Friday...

  148. Anita Mae, we all started not knowing anything.
    Well, except Ruthy. She thinks she knows EVERYTHING.

  149. Jamie, I think YES, that does count.

  150. Even if you told me to drop and give you twenty, I couldn't. Sit-ups, maybe. Push-ups, not gonna happen.

    I've finished 4 books. Three I've run through crit groups. One I wrote during Nano. Kinda scared to go back and look at it.

    Now, I'm working on my fifth book. It's a romantic suspense. Now, I better get back to writing so you don't have to start yelling.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    Jackie L.

  151. Woo hoo. If I can frighten the Drill Sgt then maybe I should give some thought to changing genres. Move over Stephen King.

    Since I like your idea of the wild thing under my bed, I shall not explain my meaning when I respectfully declined "to own up" to anything other than the 2 books mentioned in my earlier post. But what you said about having 15 stories of 3 chapters each hit home. My new motto is finish...finish...finish.

    I came back to the comments this evening after realizing I'd forgotten to ask you to throw my name in the hat for the critique. From what I've been reading, everyone says it can make a huge difference. I shall keep my fingers crossed--when not typing my SPEEDBO story, of course.

    Thanks for the opportunity and for the motivation.


  152. Connealy, what I'm thinking right now will NOT be written here...

    EXPECT AN E-MAIL!!!! ;)

    Hey, no one made as many stupid mistakes as me. I've owned that honor for years.

    Books written... 13 when I was published. Love Inspired bought 3 of those and there are still six of the remaining ten waiting to be marketed. The other four are REALLY BAD. Do not doubt me on that.

    The newest seven have been freshly written as new Love Inspired stories, which is wonderful because my first book (Winter's End) released in March of 2010 and that means I've FOOLED them into adding seven more books since then.


  153. I'm late to the party but had to stop in for my daily pep talk. I have two finished books. My third is roughly outlined. That's what I'm fleshing out during Speedbo . . . I admire all you faster writers. You inspire me to keep on going :)

  154. Oh no!! I'm really late visiting today (but it's because I've been WRITING--I promise!). Hope that doesn't mean I have to do spine won't let me*sigh*. Anyway, thank you for this encouragement today, Sgt. Mary! My answer for your question is 4 (I have 4 finished manuscripts--although they all could use some polishing). Please enter me for the critique! Blessings, Patti Jo

  155. Oh wow! Look at those beautiful numbers!!!
    I'm late to the party, Mary - but I have Four.
    Two will never see the light of day - but they're finished.

  156. And lots unfinished...but I'm working on them.
    I have four I'm currently finishing.
    1 is 3 chapters from the end. So then I'll have five, but technically 3.

    One is 5 chapters from the end.

    One I'm working on for Speedbo.

  157. /Pops in and gives Pepper a big hug/

    Made it to 1033 for the day and I'm happy with that given that the date hadn't registered with me and caught me off guard. Plus I gave a haircut [read: buzzed it] to a very wiggly 4yo.

    I've got cake in honor of my mom's birthday. Especially for Ruthy, but anyone else can have some too :).

    11445/month :)

    And off to read some more Julie before going to bed.

  158. I would have posted sooner but I've been enjoying reading all of the posts. Look at all those finished manuscripts ... It sounds like the beginnings of an impressive library.

    Books finished -- two contemporaries I haven't looked at in two years or more. Two historicals ... Texerns as I think of them because they're westerns that take place in Texas. Speedbo will help me finish the third Texern.

    Today was some editing ( I know,I know) and 7 new pages I am super pleased with.

    Wishing one and all good writing tomorrow!

    Nancy C

  159. Okay, I have 3 manuscripts. I am finishing 1 on SpeedBo this month!

  160. I am so glad I'm a reader & NOT a writer. So, go on get writing already!!!

  161. 1 finished and self=published. 1 finished and being reviewed by a writer/friend.

  162. Three and will finish four next week! WooHoo!!!

  163. I'm totally clipping this blog post to keep FOR. EVER. And yeah, I'm pushing for that first finished ONE by the end of this month.

    Thanks, Sergeant Mary.