Thursday, March 29, 2012

Success Is What You Make It

Hi Everyone! Audra here : ) Today we are going to compare building great young people (thru 4-H) and building great writers (thru a multitude of vehicles), and it all celebrates SPEEDBO!!

There are many great organizations committed to helping kids be the best they can be ie: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Key Clubs, Athletics, etc. I just happen to bleed green, so I’m going to use what I know to help you get the most out of Seekerville’s first ever Speedbo : )

When I was the Organizational Leader for our 4-H club, I would welcome everyone back at our October meeting for another great year of fun, learning and leadership. My opening line?

Your 4-H Experience Is What You Make It.

In 4-H, you can sit back, choose a project, do the minimum amount and receive minimum reward, and still complete another year of participation. OR, you can choose a category you have an avid interest in, do the research via computer, project leaders, community involvement and learn the basic building blocks of the project so that you can build on it each year.

In developing your writing career, you can attend your chapter meetings, scribble down some notes, finish your cup of coffee (or tea, or soda) and then hurry off to your next appointment and still call yourself a writer. OR, you can research the topic of the month and come prepared to the meeting, ready to participate, encourage others and make friends and contacts that might be able to help you with roadblocks you’re experiencing in your plot, characters, etc. and leave the meeting feeling energized and ready to tackle the next chapter of your work by putting words - words - words down on paper (or hard drive).

In 4-H, you can participate in the required demonstrations, judging projects, field trips and complete your record book as you prepare for the final judging. OR, you can register for speech/demonstration competitions that allow you to participate in levels above the county, join judging teams that compete around the state and perhaps get nominated to go to a national event, reach higher and farther and get noticed not just by your project leader, but due to your efforts, your name is recognized by staff and professors at the land grant university sponsoring the Federal 4-H program.

As your writing prowess increases, you can try and participate regularly in a critique group of 10 members so you get a variety of opinions, attend a workshop or local conference to get reacquainted with old friends, sit up front at the local meeting where the speaker is talking about the W method of plotting because it is rumored that the key to success.

OR, you can choose a few close writer friends whose level of dedication is similar to yours, who want the best for you and expect you to return the favor when you share your work, scout out online classes offered by a myriad of RWA chapters on every conceivable topic of writing and participate in the exercises and share your growth, volunteer to judge contests, help at conferences, get to know writers on a level beyond your own so that you grow and stretch to achieve new skills that press you toward your goal.

And that goal? Writing -- writing -- writing.

In 4-H, you can get swept along with the activities your club undertakes as a whole and always remain one in a crowd, OR you can run for a Club office, or a Council office, or a District, maybe even State position that teaches you leadership and responsibility, attend District, State and National conferences where you meet people with similar interests and make lifelong friends, compile all your efforts over the years into a resume that earns you a second look when being considered for scholarships, grants and internships.

As far as writing goes, apply everything I just mentioned about 4-H to your writing career and you’ll have a well-rounded, well-researched, well-connected resume to present to the editorial board of a publishing house that might be considering your work along with a few others. Maybe you made a connection at a conference, or wrote a post for a blog that caught an editor’s interest, or continually offer yourself to others who are in need of the very skills you now possess due to your diligence. You never know what tips the scale in your favor, but as Pammy’s tortoise pointed out on Monday, you’ve got to have a “T” for tenacious somewhere in your repertoire.

The moral of this story as we draw close to the end of Seekerville’s very first Speedbo?

You reap what you sow.

Now look at your progress over our month of Speedbo. I’ll be the first to admit my goals were a bit higher than I could attain. Things fell into my lap that I hadn’t anticipated. BUT, does that mean I’m going take down the word count widget on my blog because I’m dismally embarrassed over my progress? NO. I’ve just adjusted the timeline : ).

How about the camaraderie that has developed over the last month here in Seekerville? Folks are sharing insights and word counts. Words of wisdom and encouragement have been flying through the comments each and every day. We are stretching and growing, AND we’re helping each other stretch and grow.

Isn’t that just great?

I loved helping young people realize their full potential. I had a chance to encourage and yes, nag during my years as Org Leader. Now, you lucky folks, I no longer have a club to pester, so YOU get me, LOL!

Product DetailsShare something you’ve learned or discovered or mastered, or anything that pushed you beyond your comfort zone this month and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a copy of Robert’s Rules of Writing (4-H is big on Robert’s Rules of Order, ya know.)and a $10 Amazon gift card.

We've got a bounty of energizing food covering out buffet table. How about fresh berries and pineapple to go with the whole grain pancakes and waffles (remember what Sandra told us about energy!!) My favorite banana muffins and zucchini muffins, and a morning selection of fresh juices.

I brought a wonderful Southern Pecan blend coffee to share. Nice and strong. We're in the home stretch of Speedbo...can't fall asleep at the wheel now!!

Go Speedbo!!  YAYAYAY!

Today is another day 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.


Janet Kerr said...

This month during SPEEDBO I learned that I have to be organized. And that is what I am doing!
Thanks Seekerville!

Tina Pinson said...

I learned that goals can sometimes be lofty, especially when life happens, and it's okay to take smaller bites and be satisfied that I did manage to get some writing done, and in some instances I can push myself more.


Tina P.

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Audra and everyone!

I've been AWOL as we've been visiting my MIL (no internet), and with all the family stuff going on have had little (read zero) writing time, but I've been productive anyway.

Instead of getting words down, I've been able to do a lot of musing about my WIP (24 hours in the car will do that) and I sorted out some priorities about the story (how to get my hero's goal across, where I need to beef up the conflict). I've also been able to get a lot of research done as we spent today tooling around the Northern Indiana communities where I set my story.

The next few days will also be spent on family business (with my parents instead of in-laws), so I have more days coming up when I know writing time will be restricted.

The lesson? Do what you can when you can. Sometimes life steals the time from you, but it never steals your imagination. Think, muse, take notes, and plan.

Next week, when we're home again, I'll burn the keys off my computer putting my musings down on paper!

And Audra, thanks for the healthy breakfast! I feel like I've been eating nothing but fast food for days...

Virginia said...

Yes!!! I didn't know a thing about 4H. Not a thing! But I do now... And I love it.

Let's see. I learned that sometimes you have to fake ourself out. That's sounds weird, but if you've had ONE goal for SO LONG, when you reach it, you have to make another. Quick.

Without a vision, your plans start to seem... foggy.

Kara Isaac said...

I've (re)learnt that life is always going to throw the unanticipated at you, but you have to find a way to work around it (over it, under it and through it!) because there are always going to be plenty of excuses for not getting the words written :)

Jackie said...

Morning! Audra, thanks for sharing today.
At the start of the month I thought I knew where my story was going. The more I wrote, I realized I didn't have a clear picture of the ending.
This is kind of how my month went too.
I signed up for Speedbo and expected to have a rough draft completed by the 31st. Life had different plans. I'd pass one hurdle and another would pop up, like babysitting so my DIL could take her brother to ER after regular DR. couldn't treat him.
So these weren't silly things, but unavoidable issues.
So my life plans changed as did my story.
I liked what you said about changing your time line. That's what I'm doing.
You've helped me not feel so guilty about missing my goal.
Jackie L.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I love Kara Isaac's comment. So true! Been there, done that repeatedly... Hence the steady 1-2K per day push to keep me afloat.

Hey, I learned that we have one of the most amazing God-given groups of people here in Seekerville... With GOOD NEWS abounding, and that just makes me grin! (with my big teeth, of course!!!!)

And twelve puppies takes up time I'd rather spend writing, but that's summer money and that's huge around here, so puppies will add story depth... This is what I kept telling myself as I read Missy's delightful book "A House Full of Hope" and Mia Ross's beautiful "Hometown Family" while birthing puppies two Sundays in a row. Not a bad way to spend an overnight, right? Great writing, awesome friends, and new life.


Annie Rains said...

This month I think I learned that word count doesn't matter. I had a goal of 1500 words per day, but that on top of a full time job and family was hard. Not meeting a goal is completely debilitating for me, so I stopped looking at word count and just allowed myself to write. Ahhhhh, the freedom. Some days I even doubled what my word count would have been. Writing should be fun not crippling and that's what kicking my word count goal out the window did for me--it made writing fun again. Yea!

Good luck everyone. The end of the month is nearly here!

Jackie said...

Hi Annie,
I never considered not looking at the word count. I may try that
I did discover if I was close to my goal for the day, I could push a little harder to make it. So I liked that.

Jan, welcome back!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

I managed to get in almost another 2K in spite of major Norton crash, two hours with support and worrying my manuscript was gone (it wasn't). Ruthy, hearing over and over about your 1-2K daily work gives me hope.

Last night, in a effort to get myself out there and wait for Man O to back up my precious work of the past month, I went to a romance readers/writers group I had heard about but never gone to visit. One of the leaders, a Harlequin Historical author, said to several people, "This is Julie, she is working on an inspirational romance" and sat me down next to an author who just sold her first inspirational. This woman said she had just found out about Speedbo last week but she knows Seekerville and its reputation.

I also got the skinny on our local RWA chapter and that is going on my calendar. As is the AFCW info.

I don't have a completed manuscript but do have enough pages to send to two authors who offered to critique it long before I had anything to critique. So those pages are going off when Speedbo is done. No sitting back until things are perfect.

If I look back on the past month, I have a partial manuscript, contacts, meetings, critique options and plans for April! Like Jan, if I am not writing, I am thinking about writing.

Wow. Thanks a bunch, Audra for the advice on how to get to the next level! Thanks everyone!

Peace, Julie

Kav said...

Wow -- great post and wonderful insights from everyone so far.

Dramatic pause. 12 puppies???!!!!Ruthy has 12 puppies?! Oh the bliss! (says the woman miles away from all that havoc.) Nothing like puppy breath and little wee snorts and that puppy smell. Ahhhh...

Okay, back to Speedbo. I'm finding all of this encouraging because I won't reach 'the end' by Saturday. However I'm kidnapping the first week of April and stretching out my Speedbo. Dedicating all day this Sunday and much of my four day Easter weekend to writing. Very exciting because I work both a full-time and a part-time job.

The biggest thing I've learned from SpeedBo is not looking back. No matter how much I want to add, fluff, edit, I've managed to stay focused on the part of the story not told. That's my greatest success. I never thought I'd conquer that urge to constantly fuss over the last chapter instead of writing the next one.

Glynna Kaye said...

Great 4-H comparisons, Audra! You can just TALK the writer talk, or you can WRITE the writer walk. There isn't a solitary magical thing you have to do, it's BUNCH of things that all add up and get you there.

Whitney said...

I did 4-H when I was a kid!

During Speedbo, I learned that “thinking” about writing, “daydreaming” about the story, and “jotting” ideas on post-its at work (because they were just that inspired!) are all good things, and part of the percolation process that takes us from chapter to chapter, page one to “The End.” But none of that will increase word count, and without words, there is no story. At least not one you can share with people, though it may live on within yourself!

No matter how much I think about writing, or beat myself up over NOT writing, the only thing that is going to get it done is to sit at the computer and DO IT. Is it easy? Heck, no. Writing a novel is one of the hardest things a person will ever do. It continues to be for me, anyway! And I struggle with inadequacy and the value of my writing EVERY DAY. But at some point, you just have to do it. This month, I have been learning to do it. Everyday. And I’ve been rewarded with a progressed story, and a clearer view of the road ahead.

I didn’t make any great word count since I didn’t “start” Speedbo until a couple weeks into March, but I’m extending my personal Speedbo until… heck, until I get the story finished!

Thanks very much to the Seekers and Friends of Seekerville alike, because you have ALL encouraged me this month. : )


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great post!

I've learned that it's OK to take baby steps after life throws you a hand grenade (yeah I think death of a loved one is more than a curve ball) ... as long as you do something. I've learned that I have to go back and practice what I teach....make time to write. Word count goals intimidate me to a certain degree - I just write as often and as long as I can.

I've learned it is worth the few minutes once a day (or several times a day) to stop by Seekerville to get a breath of encouragement and I pray I've helped encourage others too.

God Bless each and every one of you as we wrap up Speedbo (and beyond!)


Jeanne T said...

Audra, loved this post and your comparisons between 4-H and the writing life. Rising above the level of mediocrity sounds awfully good, as difficult as it is. :)

I didn't participate in Speedbo this month, but I definitely learned some things. :) First of all, I learned that walking really does freshen the brain. I began a walking habit this month, in part for the exercise and in part to become more inspired. :)

I also love seeing how participants made great forward progress on their stories, even if it wasn't as much as they would have liked. It moved their stories FORWARD. So proud of each person who participated. I'm looking forward to doing my own Speedbo in a few weeks, when I'm ready.

Jamie Adams said...

Great comparison. I learned that when things don't go as planned do as much as you can when you can. I may not reach my speedbo goal but still it's been a very productive month.

Audra Harders said...

Janet, I'm so glad to hear that. Now, if you'll just pass on your secrets to organizational success, I'd really appreciate it, LOL!

Very elusive concept for me ...

Audra Harders said...

Good for you, Tina! Lofty goals are always a good thing, but remembering that life happens and sometimes we have to reassess our priorities is a wonderful lesson to keep close to the heart.

Here, have an extra scoop of custard on your waffles : )

Audra Harders said...

Jan, excellent example of what to do when life bites you in the hind end!

I can't remember all the times I thought I'd get so much writing done when we went of family trips or just getaways from the house.

Silly me.

Glad you enjoyed your time with in-laws and look forward to time with your parents. Musing, plotting, working out details is never wasted time!!

Enjoy the healthy buffet! I'm going to run out and get some blueberries after a bit -- just cuz they're my favorite topping on everything : )

Carol Moncado said...


DH told me the other day that when we buy our several acres and build our dream house, he'd like to have enough to have some cows. And let the kids [who are so not farm kids at all] raise some for their college funds. Except it won't happen in time for that most likely. I know some 4H type kiddos who have done that, but mine aren't them ;).

For Speedbo... making progress. Keeping on. Working with some new crit partners/brainstormers/becoming BFFs. Not stopping which I kinda want to do because I'm sorta stuck.

And afraid of major rewrites...

But, am at 55170 of my 70K goal. Home with a 'sick' 4yo today [not bad, just enough he can't go to school]. Here's to a big day. I've got a pretty good shot at it [I know, 15K in 3 days... they won't be GOOD words ;)], but it's gonna depend in large part on how today goes.

So best eat and get to it... :D

Thanks, Audra dear. And I would LOVE that Amazon card btw :D.

Audra Harders said...

Virginia said:

Without a vision, your plans start to seem...foggy.

Oooo, you are so right, V!! Without something concrete to strive for, your path can meander off into oblivion.

Good advice!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Audra, What a great analogy of writing to 4H.

Life and writing is what we make of it.

Sounds to me like we all learned something this month. We learned what works for us.

We learned how to mush on even when life throws its curve balls.

We learned to either be the plodding turtle or the speeding rabbit.

But most of all, we learned not to get discouraged--to treat ourselves like professionals and keep on writing.


Thanks for the goodies too. The waffles are yummy.

Happy writing.

Tina Radcliffe said...

"Sometimes life steals the time from you, but it never steals your imagination. Think, muse, take notes, and plan."

Well said, Jan!

Audra Harders said...

Kara, you are a wise, wise woman. How often do we make excuses for the hiccups in our lives?

I've lost count of mine.

We may not get to our goal the way we planned, but the important thing is to get there.

Sandra shared one of my favorite verses in her post on Tuesday:

In his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Obviously this verse hits home with me because I see it in various usages all through the Bible.

Plan your course, pray about it, and set forth.

Janet Dean said...

Audra, thanks for the inspiring, reach for the next level post! Doing the minimum brings minimal success. SpeedBo is pushing us to reach higher, to push ourselves harder. Life gets in the way, but obviously isn't stopping anyone in Seekerville! What a fantastic group of writers and readers hang out here!

Thanks for breakfast, Audra!


Audra Harders said...

Jackie, don't you just hate it when life gets in the way of your important plans?


Don't feel guilty over potholes along your journey - they're unavoidable.

The only time you should feel guilty is when you give up, rather than charting a new course.

I have complete faith in all our Seekerville friends, no giving up here!!

Audra Harders said...

Ruthy, I'm so jealous over all your reading time! And poor mama dog did all the work while you turned pages and lost yourself in the heart of Georgia.

Luck bucket.

In Too Deep is next on my TBR pile. Did you see who Mary cast as the heroine, huh, huh, huh???


I love it.

I've got to read it fast so I can see what monumental heights I need to live up to.

No pressure here, LOL!

Myra Johnson said...

Jan said: "Do what you can when you can. Sometimes life steals the time from you, but it never steals your imagination. Think, muse, take notes, and plan."

Advice worth remembering! Thanks, Jan!

Lyndee said...

Hi Audra,
Great post and comparison. Thanks for the post.

I've said this before, but this month I learned not to waste any time. First, get the WIP file OPEN and second, get something down, even if it's only 100 words, EVERYDAY. Yes, there were some days where family issues cropped up, but I'm a Grammy now, not a Mommy with cherubs running at my feet daily, (other than the 3 puff-ball Pomeranians, lol) so I'm at a place in my life where I can take time to write more and Speedbo encouraged me to be more productive. Sad to see the official ending just two days away, but I still intend to incorporate the things I learned.

Old science says that habits form in 21 days (new science says 66 days, but I'm a fast learner ;) - how about you?) For me, I'd say Speedbo helped me form a a strong DAILY writing habit. Whoohooo!

Myra Johnson said...

Audra, great post, girlfriend! It's so true--there's more to succeeding as a writer than just going through the motions.

Although, if you don't "go through the motions" of just getting that book written, success has no chance of happening! The writing should always be top priority.

But remember, along with success comes a whole slew of other challenges and commitments. Getting published means you have to be even more committed to your writing vision. Otherwise, all the "extras" will eat you alive!

Mary Connealy said...

I love all these things everyone has learned but none of it is so nice as that you've all learned to forgive yourself when you don't reach your goal and KEEP GOING! Rather than have unmet goals give you an excuse to quit, you soldier on, write on!

Good for you!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Audra!!! You awesome person, you! I am now curious to go look at your widget and your goal.

Goals are an absolute must. You have to motivate yourself, and goals are very helpful motivationally. Okay, so that's not a word, but you know what I mean.

Speedbo is also helpful for motivation. I am pretty self-motivated when it comes to writing, but now I'm wanting to lose weight, and I'm NOT self-motivated in that category, so I'm now trying to figure out what I can do, what program/diet to follow to motivate myself. Anybody have any suggestions?

Melanie Dickerson said...

I left you a comment on your blog, Audra. You know I can't wait to read your book, so you have to hurry up and finish it!

I have been judging Genesis entries and TRYING to work on edits but not getting very far. I had 10 Genesis entries to judge, and I only have 3 more to do. Yay! A couple of them have been really amazing.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Things SpeedBo taught me:

I already knew I'm not a total plotter, but now I know I'm also not a total pantster or mister. I fall somewhere in the middle. My claim to being a percolator has been solidified. I need to do a fair amount of plotting/planning or thinking/percolating. What I've percolated on becomes the fog lights I need to write into the mist.

I've learned to push through and write even when every word is like pulling teeth.

I've learned to stop and take time to percolate when pushing through doesn't work.

I've learned that seeing the word count increase strengthens and encourages me to plod onward.

I've learned to pray over my story and characters more.

I've learned I can't help my characters until I take care of myself first.

I've learned that being an empathetic writer has its curse as well as its blessings.

I've learned that it's encouraging to share writing time with other writers across cyber space.

I've learned that I'm more like the tortoise than the hare and that's okay.

I've relearned a lot of things I need to not forget. Like that I need to daily re-prioritize my life.

Seeing the length of this post, I apparently have not learned when to shut up....

Debby Giusti said...

Don't limit God!

'Nuf said.

Going back to my WIP. I still have two more days, right?

The end is in sight...

Debby Giusti said...

I should have added that I loved your blog post, Audra, and learned a lot about 4-H today. What a great organization. And aren't you wonderful to work with all those involved!

Audra Harders said...

Annie Rains -- I love your name : )

Word count doesn't matter if it's going to stifle your creativity. If it's going to give you something to worry about.

Worry is never good.

Be free and write. The best plot points and character dialogue come when you least expect them : )

Audra Harders said...

Ahhh, Julie HS, you warm the cockles of my heart : ) Good for you!

Get out there; get moving, learning, growing!!

And I'm mega proud of you for overcoming the heart attack of thinking you've lost all your work.

Back up, everyone. Back up your work!

I need to listen to my own advice, LOL! Crashes happen and woe to those who aren't prepared!!

Audra Harders said...

Kav, can you believe 12 puppies? I know Ruthy is in Upstate New York heaven : ) Nothing like new puppy smell, LOL!

I hope everyone caught Debby's post on Wed, Mar 21 where she gushed over the joys of using the Alpha Smart.

I love my Alpha Smart. Nothing better to focus your mind on writing new scenes and brainstorming. I'm not going to gush since Deb did a great job of it already, but really, the Alpha Smart is a great tool in its simplicity.

And good for you, Kav for not beating yourself up over not attainging original goals. Keep shooting for them.



Heck, take all over April if you need to. We won't mind : )

Audra Harders said...

Amen to that, Glynna. Walk the walk; talk the talk.

Write the words.

Arrange the words.

Write more words.

Yep, lots of little things go into being an author.

One step at a time.

Audra Harders said...

Whitney, high five girlfriend! May record books live forever, LOLOLOL!

Glad you joined us for Speedbo, it doesn't matter when you jumped in, as long as you jumped in : )

Just sit at the computer and DO IT. I couldn't have said it better myself : )

Audra Harders said...

PamT, I'm glad you find encouragement in Seekerville. We definitely find it in you.

YOu're right, the best way to sabotage your efforts is to not acknowledge there are more important things happening in your life than word count.

Just remember, to take the time to refocus and start again when life slows down. We're here for you!

Julie Lessman said...

WHOA, Audra, your blog falls RIGHT in line with my devotional today, which is SOOO cool and very uplifting!!!

In Joyce Meyer's "Hearing From God Each Morning" reading for today, she talks about attitude determining your destiny and lists that famous quotation that says, "Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny."

Which, as you so beautifully pointed out, is EXACTLY what 4-H and being an aspiring author teaches you!! I love that the choice is up to us!!

Great blog, my friend, and one I definitely NEEDED to hear today!!


Audra Harders said...

Jeanne, Speedbo needs cheerleaders, too. You've been here to support our efforts and I pray we'll always be there to support you and yours.

Don't you just love walking? I try to take the dog for a walk every evening when I come home from work. With my MP3 in my pocket and scoop'em up bags in hand, KD and head down the road for a good mile or two to clear our heads...

yes, even being a pampered pooch has it's stress points : )

Spring and fall are my favorite times to walk. In the summer, the asphalt is too hot for the dog; in the winter, the evenings get dark so fast. But spring and fall are just right.

When it's not windy.

Audra Harders said...

Jamie, you're a grand trooper. The commitment to Speedbo is tough. Always try to stetch beyond your comfort zont.

CaraG said...

Being a 4-H member was one of the highlights of my growing-up years. It's been a long time, but I still have the medals and membership pins.

My biggest hurdle this month came straight from the cliché book: It's been dealing with the guilt of leaving so much undone while I write. But I’m coping…

…and I'm now within 4200 words of completing a 50,000 word ms (about half written during Speedbo). Since houseguests are arriving today and staying thru Sunday, I won't be able to write "the end" until after the official closing of Speedbo, but that's okay. It’ll happen after I enjoy my visitors.

So, in case I don’t make it back for the finale, Thanks Speedbo (Speedboers?) It's been a great month.


Connie Queen said...

Wow, I love everything you've learned. Awesome list.

I have 3 great danes going into heat at once. I only want 2 litters so it's off to the races to see which ones breed first. We haven't had a litter in a long time.

Love the post. I haven't met my goals but I'm still moving forward to complete my wip.
You mentioned critique groups. I've been meeting w/a new group and when I pulled out my old wip that I thought was edited, a bunch of mistakes jumped off the page. I reconize so many little problems w/my writing that I didn't before.

Rebecca said...

Fabulous post!

What I've learned from Speedbo - that I have a lot to learn from all of you! I've loved reading the posts and the comments. It's such an amazing community here!

I need to learn how to smell through the computer. Cookies, teas, coffees, berries, pineapple, muffins, and now puppy breath. Ahhh...

Linnette R Mullin said...

Mary Connealy, thank you! Because the temptation to quit when you get behind is huge!

Connie, thank you!

Janet Kerr, SpeedBo SO compounded the conviction of needing to be organized! Ouch!

Tina Pinson! Oh! To work through all the "life happens" stuff! That's definitely been a challenge!

Jan D, absolutely! Do what you can when you can do it! Just don't give up and quit!

Julie Steele - thinking about writing. Yes! I do that, too. Except when I purposely don't think about it because my brain needs a break or because my family needs mom in the room. LOL

Janet Dean, thanks for those encouraging words!!!

Audra, did I tell you how wonderful your post is? I don't understand where everybody is at today. Maybe they're writing like I want to be, but now have to go and get my son's phonics taken care of. Thank you for this post! I needed it!

Audra Harders said...

Carol, at times you are positively shameless, LOL!

15K in 3 days? Doable. That's a whole lot of 1K1Hs, huh?

The words do not have to be pretty. They can always be fixed.

You just can't fix what you haven't written yet : )

My kids sold sheep and swine. OF COURSE mom and dad helped with some of the bills, but raising farm animals and watching them reap the rewards at Market Sale?

Priceless : )

Audra Harders said...

Sandra, this has been a month of complete writing encouragement. I've loved all the posts and can apply them to many parts of my life.

Speedbo is a great challenge to help us see what we're capable of once we set our minds to it!

Audra Harders said...

Absolutely right, Janet! Yeah, there are days only want to give the minimum level of effort, and I reap those rewards.

I've learned to be happy and accept myself for my slothishness, LOL!

Audra Harders said...

Lyndee said:

Old science says that habits form in 21 days (new science says 66 days, but I'm a fast learner ;) - how about you?) For me, I'd say Speedbo helped me form a a strong DAILY writing habit. Whoohooo!

I'm having a V8 moment here. I thought if followed Weight Watchers religiously for 21 days, the habits would be ingrained and I'd be svelt. You're saying someone messed with the learning curve??

Whew, I thought it was just me, LOL! Okay, SIXTY-SIX days straight on Weight Watchers and I'll be reformed.

BTW, I've kept my WIP open all month, too. Makes me think twice about checking email before I write some words.

Audra Harders said...

Myra, you're absolutely right. GETTING published is only half the journey. Staying the course along the published path is a whole 'nother issue!

You learn the skills of sticktoitiveness while you trod along the path of pre-published.

They're good skills to learn.
Necessary skills.
Better to learn them now.

Audra Harders said...

I couldn't agree more with Mary. Discouragement is such an easy excuse to quit.

Don't fall for it! About the only thing you can't alter a schedule on is birthing babies, other than that, nothing is really cast in stone.

Make your goals. Write toward them.

But if life throws you a curve ball, just know you're not the only one.

Just ask any one of the Seekers and they'll be happy to tell you how long they'd been writing before they sold.

For me...16 years.

Audra Harders said...

Hi Mel. My widget should've been a bit further along, but hey, I just changed my timeline : )

If you read what Lyndee posted about habits being made in 66 days, I'm going back to WW and follow to the letter of my points each day.

66 days. My husband just hates having the refrigerator stocked with fat-free stuff...

Audra Harders said...

BTW, I've been judging Genesis entries, too. Silly me, I gave them a choice of categories I'd judge and they sent me entries in both.

14 entries.

Next year, I'll be a bit more specific, LOL!

BUT, there are more than a few entries I'll be rooting for at the conference. Amazing writing!!

Audra Harders said...

Linnette, you are a true inspiration. I'm so proud of you.

I'm speechless.

And laughing.

LOVED your opening remarks : )

Audra Harders said...

Debby, you're sweet. It's all in the 4-H organization, I'm but a pawn.

I work with absolutely awesome folks in the office.

My 4-H agent makes the BEST caramels you've ever tasted.

And I now get paid to do what I did for 12 years while my kids went through 4-H.

I love it so much I actually feel guilty at times for taking their money...then I come to my senses, LOL!

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...



LOVE this: BUT, does that mean I’m going take down the word count widget on my blog because I’m dismally embarrassed over my progress? NO. I’ve just adjusted the timeline : ).

I'm not as far along as I wanted to be either, but some PAWMAZING opportunities plopped in my lap and I grabbed hold with both hands and held on.

So - it's all to do with book 2, but not as many words words words as you say. Still, all in all, I'm happy with the progress. I'm way further along than I would have been.

Love the whole "adjust the time line" thought. HA!

However, May 2 is still the deadline for May 2, so it'll just have to be!

Thank you Seekers, for always encouraging us and giving of yourselves.

So so thankful.

Nancy C said...

Thanks for the encouragement and the gentle shove, Audra :-)

Something I did outside my personal comfort zone this month -- posting at Seekerville. Trust me, that was a huge step.

Something I did outside my writing comfort zone this month -- pushing for more, thanks to Speedbo. Before this month, I would reach a certain point, sit back, and think that was enough for the day. That's not the case anymore.

No way I'll finish my WIP by the end of the month, but that's all right. I was *that* close to walking away from it permanently -- something I have never done with a WIP -- before Speedbo. Thanks to everyone here, I've stuck with it :-)

Nancy C

Connie Queen said...


Sorry I gave Myra credit for the post. I meant you...

Debby Giusti said...

Just got an urgert call for entries in the Touched By Love contest. If you have a manuscript ready for submission, ENTER THE TBL!!

Find details at the Faith, Hope and Love website or on Tina's Seekerville contest update!

(Sorry, Audra, but we want lots of Seekervillagers to final and/or win!)

Linnette R Mullin said...


Audra Harders said...

Hiya, Julie : )

Isn't it great how that progression goes? It not only reflects our writing life, but reflects how life in our books should progress.

Overcoming one obstacle at a time and with each milestone growing all that more confident : )

Thanks, toots!

Audra Harders said...


Oooo love the thought of puppies all around! I don't know how you do it. I would never want to sell any of them!

You'll always find edits to make in your work, no matter how many times you go over it.

Then there comes a time you just need to take a breath, say a prayer, and set it free.

Sometimes the issues you fret about the most aren't issues to someone else at all...

They find different things for you to fix, LOL!

Good job, Connie! Stay the course!

Audra Harders said...

Rebecca, maybe not so much the puppy breath, LOL!

Glad to have you hang out with us. We learn from everyone in Seekerville!!

Carol Moncado said...

Debby - thanks for the heads up :)

Audra Harders said...

CaraG, good for you having been a 4-H member. When I was growing up, I was a Camp Fire Girl (are they still around??). We got plaques and ribbons strewn all over the house.

Enjoy your guests. We can't write great books without the experiences first that enable us to write them (did that make sense?). So find a novel ready moment while you visit and it will be a very vivid scene in your book!

Carol Moncado said...

Audra - somehow missed your reply.
Shameless? Me? ;)

I'm up to 94 words for the day...

Audra Harders said...

Hey KC and May!

Love the deadline of May 2 for May 2. How clever can you get??

You know, sometimes you need those "be still" moments to let the words gel in your head before pounding your forehead on the keyboard because nothing you're writing makes sense.

I've had that happen way too many times.

Audra Harders said...

Nancy C!! You go, girl! So proud of you.

I'm just tickled that you finally posted in Seekerville. We love all our friends and want everyone to succeed.

You've stretched beyond your comfort zone and you're happy with it. That's what matters.

Remember the old saying - try it, you'll like it? I think we're intimidated by pushing ourselves, scared to think we won't pass muster.

Personally, I don't think we ever fail when we push ourselves. We either gain a whole new level of competence, or we can now claim "been there, done that" and trot down a different path.

It's all good.

Audra Harders said...

Nancy C!! You go, girl! So proud of you.

I'm just tickled that you finally posted in Seekerville. We love all our friends and want everyone to succeed.

You've stretched beyond your comfort zone and you're happy with it. That's what matters.

Remember the old saying - try it, you'll like it? I think we're intimidated by pushing ourselves, scared to think we won't pass muster.

Personally, I don't think we ever fail when we push ourselves. We either gain a whole new level of competence, or we can now claim "been there, done that" and trot down a different path.

It's all good.

Audra Harders said...


LOL! I like be confused with Myra. It makes me feel smart : )

Audra Harders said...


Oops, did I call you shameless...

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, Connie! You can confuse me with Audra all you want! She's WAY cuter!!!

Carol Moncado said...

Positively shameless, I believe ;).


When considering contests [and not TBL mentioned by Debby], if the final judge/editor already gave you a 'no' [a very nice one, but still a no] in a pitch at conference, would that influence your decision to enter? If it's a work you're pretty sure is polished and has gotten good fdk in other contests and so on, so you'd be entering with that as a goal. Does that make sense? I get entering for fdk [and I have another entry I'm looking for fdk on], but should that influence the decision?

Thoughts, anyone?

Connie Queen said...


For me, it would depend on why the editor said no. If your novel doesn't fit their line, does it now? Can you make it fit?

I'd probably go for it, especially since it was during a pitch and she didn't actually read your writing.

Will it hurt to final in the contest if the editor reconizes it as the one she passed on? I don't know why it would, but someone else knows about that more than me.

I finaled in a contest w/an Avon editor. She didn't like my story at all. And then I finaled in a contest from Harper Collins. Whoops. It wasn't until later I realized this was the same editor.

She didn't like it any better the 2nd time around. Ha.

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Audra!

I've never done 4H (I'm a city girl, even though I live in Nebraska!) but I loved your analogies to writing. Good stuff!

I've learned over the past month to adjust. I'm a planner by nature, and having a lot of unexpected things come up has been hard. I've needed to roll with the punches. But even if I haven't been writing, I feel like I've been working on the craft, as I had the chance to be a beta reader for a published author. It was really great to see a story in it's various forms, and see it grow, just like I watch mine grow.

Good luck on meeting those SpeedBo goals everyone!

Audra Harders said...

For what it's worth, a couple of years before I sold, I had entered a contest where the final judge gave me a stinging series of 2s (out of 5) and told me I should try and find a critique group.

I also had entered another contest (with that same editor as final judge, but before I had received her opinion of my work). This was the same ms, with the same fatal flaws...

I won that contest and she raved about my entry and invited me to submit the entire work.

Go figure.

My husband suggested she had gotten my entry and the score sheet mixed up with someone else's.

I think it's the luck of the draw. Is the editor in a good mood when they judge? Are they tired? Are they ticked off at something?

They're human and read so many submissions, who knows what it does to their minds??

It's a tough decision, Carol, especially with so many worthy contests tugging at your purse strings.

I just thought I'd throw another condundrum into the mix : )

Carol Moncado said...

/snicker/ Audra - I'm sure that's much easier to snicker at now ;).

I'll likely enter.

Plus I'm watching the bald eagle daddy feed the babies. What a good daddy.

Nancy C said...

Audra said:
>>Personally, I don't think we ever fail when we push ourselves. We either gain a whole new level of competence, or we can now claim "been there, done that" and trot down a different path.

It's all good.<<

I really, really like that thought. Another one for my 'inspiration' file :-)

Nancy C

Virginia said...

CAROL I've never pitched anything, but I'd have to say enter. Writing is so different that talking.

But I avoid contests where the editor already saw and didn't request my ms.

Audra, that story is SO funny!!!

Cara Lynn James said...

I've learned I can't always do what I want to do--write. But I can fit writing into the spare time I do have.

Laura Russell said...

Great post! I am structuring small goals and working on pausing and rewarding myself. I usually feel that I'm not doing enough and lately I've realized that this feeling does not motivate me all that well.

Audra Harders said...

Hi Stephanie : )

Nebraska! We're neighbors. Sorry about the smoke blowing your way. Colorado seems to be burning up...

In the long run, writing is writing. You'll only finish your novel if you put words on paper.

That said, learning to overcome the hurdles of interruptions and distractions is HUGE! I've never been able to bury myself in seclusion like a writer is supposed to do.

Stephanie, being a planner by nature is more than half the equation. You've got it more than solved already : )

Walt Mussell said...

I learned that I still have time to met my goal, but it's going to be a push!

Audra Harders said...

Laura, don't be hard on yourself.

Small goals are good! Rewards, even better!

I love rewards : )

Audra Harders said...

Walt, if there's anything I've learned about you it's you're tenacious.

If you've got your eye on a goal, it will be met : )

CatMom said...

Thanks Audra--great post. With my dear FiL being hospitalized since mid-February and passing away yesterday, I've realized that I must "grab" that writing time when I can, and make the most of it (in other words, for me that means staying FOCUSED when I do have a small segment of time to write!). I'm also learning not to be "too hard on myself" *sigh*---as others on this blog have said, it's okay if you aren't meeting your original goals, but just keep at it and do the BEST you can! ~ Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Natalie Monk said...

I'm sooo late to this one.

Wonderful post, Audra! Very encouraging.

I learned from Speedbo how to shut off "editing mode" and get the words flowing--something I'd really, really, struggled with before.

Loved reading some of the comments. Going to have to finish tomorrow.

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

i've learned the need for diligence - in placing the writing as priority as well as the writing itself... TY!

Cindy Regnier said...

Still reaping the benefits of 4-H 30 years later.

marybelle said...

I have learned that writers are incredibly dedicated to the craft.