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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2nd Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! I hope everyone had a great day yesterday. Mine was pretty good even though it was ungodly hot. It hit 96 here late in the afternoon, but with the humidity, even when it was only 82 in the morning, it felt like it was in the 90s. I AM NOT COMPLAINING! I’d still take the heat over the cold.

By now you know my brain does not function like a normal human being, and I find things comical that most probably wouldn’t even notice, but I choose to share them with you in hopes they make you chuckle as well. At last night’s critique group, among the ladies, the “A”s had it. In attendance were: Anna, Christina, Frieda, Gloria, Loretta & Nina. I thought this was hysterical…no one else seemed to get it. I’m a kook, what can I say?

Gloria was new to the group, and I don’t think we scared her away, which is a good thing. She’s just begun to write and asked us for tips. She wanted to know all these things about what she should do after the books was finished. For once, our group actually agreed on something, and we ALL gave her the same advice. Don’t worry about the “after” stuff, the only thing you have to worry about is putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys), because if you don’t do that, the rest will be irrelevant anyway.

I think she was a little surprised by this, because the advice came after she sat in on our meeting and heard conflicting opinions on just about every piece we read. It’s true though, the most important thing to do as a writer is to write – EVERY SINGLE DAY. Some days it’s not easy, but you’ve got to muscle through it.

I wish I had taken down Gloria’s contact information, because I would have sent her the link to Keith’s “Magic Spreadsheet”. There’s no magic really, it’s just a daily sheet which tracks how many words you’ve written each day, and how many “chunks of time” you’ve spent on other writing related items. Example, it usually takes me twenty minutes every day to get this blog posted in its three locations, to find and download all the accompanying photos, and to hook up any links. Twenty minutes is one “chunk” of time.

Since February of this year, I have recorded over 184K words, and since June I’ve recorded 239 chunks of time (it was a new feature on the spreadsheet). Yes, you did the math right, that’s 80 hours of time spent on writing related things other than writing itself. But the most important number is the 149 consecutive days I have written.

Remember the other day I said I got out of bed at 11:30 at night, because I needed to do something before midnight? Well, that’s what I needed to do – get 400 words down on paper so my chain wouldn’t be broken. Even though you are only accountable to yourself, the spreadsheet is a great motivator.

As is our usual practice, after our meeting broke up at 9:00, we all got ice cream (or coffee), and then sat at the tables in the square and chatted. It was a beautiful night, and it gave us time to get to know the new people better and to catch up with the regulars. Todd, our Grand Pooba, spent a portion of the time speaking with a gentleman we did not know. After half an hour or so, he brought the man over to meet us.

It turns out, he’s a rather important person at the Huffington Post, and is quite a character. I believe he will be joining our critique group when he returns from his trip to France. He seems like an interesting and funny guy, and I look forward to getting to know him. He was so sweet; he offered to read and review all of my books for HP. I’m not holding my breath, because I can’t see him having the time to be able to do it, but it would be nice if it happened.

Okay, I only have a little over and hour to write today before I have to go to work, so I’d better leave. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

_____ is the most important thing, because without _____ you can’t…


Garlic is the most important thing, because without it, you can’t make truly authentic tasting Italian dishes. The pungent yet sweet flavor that is garlic adds a certain something to many dishes, not just Italian. Without it, the meal comes off as bland.

In my home, garlic is practically a food group. I add it to virtually every sauce I make; rule of thumb, if olive oil goes in, so does garlic. The seafood dish I made last week, with the cream and brandy reduction sauce was loaded with garlic. The cold green bean and mushroom salad we all love, in part, because of the great big chunks of garlic.

You would think with all the garlic we eat, it would be dripping out of our pores, but it’s not. Purely by accident I discovered if I pair garlic with the consumption of either lemonade or pineapple, the garlic scent is virtually eliminated. However, back when I could still drink wine, if I had paired my garlic infused meal with either red or white wine, I could smell the garlic on my skin the next day. I’m a writer, not a scientist, so I have no idea why this happens, but I thought it was interesting.

Your Next Challenge is:

If I had a nickel for every time I…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.