Running Writing Fit #RoW80 | Deadlines, Startlines and Finishlines

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“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree”
― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I thrive on sport and athletics. There is something highly addictive (for me) about getting your blood pumping, add in the competition and trusting your body to do the work and get you over the finish line.
I particularly love marathon/cross country running and sprint-hurdling.

Blame it on being an Aries baby but I thrive on competition, deadlines and work best under stress. The competition does not even need to be with anyone else, I am highly motivated at beating and exceeding my own personal bests.

So why not incorporate my need and passion for body fitness and deadlines into my writing life. Yes, there is Nanowrimo but for me I need a longer race to run to make sure life does not encroach or get in the way because of a too-short finish line.

The ultimate inspiration is the deadline. – Nolan Bushnell

So I have decided to sign up for this final 2014 round of RoW80.

What is RoW80?
The writing challenge that knows you have a life.

Perfect for rewrites/writing/editing

The key difference between Nanowrimo and RoW80 is that you are not limited to track just a word count or meet a specific word count goal.
Instead RoW80 slots beautifully into whatever goal you have in your writing life: Word Count or Time Spent Writing / a combo of the two (or any other trackable goal) if you’re in the midst of editing/rewriting (like I am currently.) It has a much more doable timeline of 80 days and if you miss one round or are late to start, you can jump in any time during the 4 rounds that take place annually.

“A deadline gets a writer’s work done done better and faster than any inspiration, if only because inspirations don’t always come, but the deadline is always there.”
― A.A. Patawaran, Write Here Write Now: Standing at Attention Before My Imaginary Style Dictator

A Daily Writing Clock-in

I have also recently signed up to Write Track: the goal setting community for writers where you finish what you start.

Write Track is a genius little social “writing” community where once you have signed up and created a profile you can log in individual writing goals. Then each day you accomplish steps towards that writing goal – you track it. It’s a great little accountability tool with the added benefit of a community if writers. If however you just want your own private accountability or private goals , you can adjust your privacy settings to Public, Private (viewable only to your friends) and to Hidden (your eyes only).

“I don’t need time, I need a deadline.”
― Duke Ellington

Look me up if you’re on/going to sign up.
I’m on there: KimKoning @ Write-Track

I’ll check in once a week here on this blog: RoW80 (You can also find a link in the site menu.)
My Goal: Finish my final rewrites on The Tattooist
Butt in Chair = 5x days/week

You can cheer on the other RoWers here

Are you a deadline chaser?
Are you a writing tracker?
Tell me how you track your progress?

Story A Day May – Challenge!

Day 27 Short Fiction
Image by texasgurl via Flickr

Story A Day | About.

Pushed for inspiration in May. Why not try “Story A Day in May”?

I have just signed up. This is  a great opportunity to get writing and get creating in the short story format. 

Every day this website posts a writing prompt for your short stories. The aim of the challenge is to write a short story every day for may or write 31 short stories.

Stretch yourself and take up the challenge.

My user name on the site is: lastlines

Look forward to seeing you there.

– Kim

Possibilities and fat purple figs

Photograph of a large fig tree taken at Centen...
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I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7

I have been thinking a lot about branching out creatively speaking. 2010 was a year of experimentation in different genres of fiction for me. Today I came across the above quote from The Bell Jar and it summed up that last year perfectly for me…it also gives me a clue to what 2011 may hold.

Have you noticed that most authors tend to stick to one genre? Does that mean they have not explored writing in others or did they just know instinctively which genre they would be good in? This question has been in the back of my mind for a while now when it comes to my own forays into the world of fiction writing.

One of the most common pieces of advice that seems to run through the world of fiction writers is “to write what you know”. This can sometimes not seem like much of an answer. In fact I would argue that I have always found this piece of advice very frustrating and vague.

Then there is the other common vein of thought especially in the last few years: write for the masses for instance if the big craze of the moment is vampires then vampires is what you should write. This is another theory of advice that I do not agree with.

So what do I think?

I think that a person should go ahead and experiment with different genres before coming to a final decision. If you have never written fantasy, for example, how do you know you will not excel in it? The answer is that you won’t know until you try. Life is ultimately a thing of change…without change there can be no growth. Although life can be lived without challenges, challenges are needed to strengthen you. In just the same way, this can be applied to your writing.

This brings me back to my introduction quotation. I am definitely enjoying branching out and trying new figs in a matter of speaking but ultimately I think that all the branching out can and must lead you to a theme genre where you find your niche. So I am not saying branch out and experiment so much that all the ripe figs fall off the tree leaving you with no fruit. I am saying that if you are truly tuned in to your muse, the branching out will strengthen your writing by creatively stretching those muscles but that it will also lead you to your main fruit.

How do you know which fig is the right fig for you?

Well although I would love to be your guru and give you the exact symbols and signs that you will have to know which is the right branch and the right fig for you, I am not going to tell you that. I will tell you how I am finding out which is the right branch and the right fig for me. I use the word “finding” because I am still working on it. I have not got all the answers yet. I am glad I don’t because I am the type of person that when something stops being a challenge for me, I tend to grow bored very quickly and move onto the next. This is still a challenging concept for me. This is how I know that I am moving in the right direction along my tree of life and writing.

The answer is simple and complex all at once. Like the most important answers to the big questions usually are. The simplest way that I can sum this up is that it is a gut-feeling. It is similar to that first moment when you fall in love. That feeling deep in the centre of you that is surging with turmoiled emotions that first uplift you and then make you feel sick with nausea simultaneously. It is that moment when things start falling into place in a way that seems improbable and surreal. It is when you are so close to the subject/genre that it pulls at your gut and that you feel you can write one moment and the next that you dare not try. It is the moment when you feel naked and vulnerable on the page, like someone has shone a flash-light into your deepest thoughts and emotions. It is the moment when you start living your story and you start being in your character’s heads. You are not just writing about them but you are writing from within their thoughts looking out at the world and the story they find themselves in. All of a sudden you are no longer just the narrator but you have become an integral part of this story. It is the moment when you realise nobody else could tell this story because this story is a reflection of you – the artist not just the writer. It is the moment when to write this story becomes unbearably intense and you almost want to give up. This is the moment when I know that I am on the right branch and about to pick the right fig. I know that this fig will come off easily. I know that this fig will not be too ripe or not ready yet, it will be perfect for me. But to know that I have had to climb out on to other branches first and try other figs.

So my final piece of “wisdom” I leave you with brings me to my Word of 2011:


You don’t know what possibilities are available until you try them out. The key phrase here is POSSIBILITY, not decision and not choice. You do not have to stick to every possibility. The way you reach your perfect fig might be a different pathway from the way I would choose mine. Just like your parents always told you how you would know you were in love: You just will. It will just feel different. It will be consuming, intense and gut-wrenching but it will just click in your thoughts and your emotions.

So if you have not had that feeling yet, if you have settled and compromised; I urge you to get back out on those branches and try some other figs. It is better to have tried and failed then to settle and compromise on what is safe. Go against the grain. Challenge yourself and your own concepts of who you are and what type of writer you are. Don’t let other people tell you what you feel and how you should write. Just like someone cannot tell you when to love someone or something, only you can know which genre is “write” for you.

Until then…I leave you with my favourite quotation for the year:

Dwell in POSSIBILITY…it could lead you to the most interesting branches.

© All rights reserved Kim Koning

Monday Mental Muscles

I have decided to create a new weekly category called Monday Mental Muscles.

Mondays are a Chore for most people being a day that people want to get over as soon as possible. For traditional workers Monday is the signal that the weekend has ended and the work / school week begins. So I have decided that Monday should be the day set aside for my writing challenges. Fortunately for me, Monday is a day away from the dj (day job, not club cd mixer). On Monday I like to stretch my creative muscles by giving myself writing dares or writing challenges. So from October, I am now incorporating this into this blog.

Think of Mondays as gym for your imagination. You may have been busy with rest & relaxation on the weekend. At the end of Monday, you may be feeling stressed, frustrated, imaginatively “flat” and mentally tired. This is the time when you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and do some Pilates for the mind by attempting a Monday Challenge.

The Rules & Requirements:

  1. Pick at least 1 of 3 challenges to complete before Tuesday midnight.
  2. Comment under each Monday challenge on which challenge you have picked.
  3. If you have blogged about the challenge, link back to my blog.
  4. Pay it Forward – feel free to pass on my Monday Challenges to any writing buddies.

Happy adventuring in Monday Challenges!


Monday Challenges – October, 4th, 2010

Focus on the Protagonist & Antagonist

  1. Interview: Call your Protagonist and your Antagonist in for a job interview. The jobs that they will be interviewing for are their roles in your WIP (work in progress) or MS (manuscript).
  2. Blind Date: Set up your Protagonist or your Antagonist on a dating website where you have to answer questions relating to what the perfect blind date (person, time, place, activity) would be for your character.
  3. Lottery Ticket Winner: Either your Protagonist or your Antagonist has won the big prize draw in the Lottery. Interview your character and find out what they would spend their winnings on.


© All rights reserved Kim Koning.