On Word Targets

It’s the strangest thing how psychological this writing game is. 

People (and by this, I mean non-writers) always assume that writing is such an easy thing. After all, they write hundreds of words every day with e-mails and texts, right? 
Sure. The thing is… It’s easy to just jot a few words with no particular word-count goal in mind. Ten words here. Twenty words there. 
But get told to write a 1500 word article. Or a 3000 word to 6000 word short story. Or just think and realize that the novel you’re working on needs 150,000 words to get finished. 
Suddenly, a task that seems simple becomes much more complicated. Especially when you’re starting out and wondering if the thing you’re writing will actually hit the word-count target. 
Last night, I wrote an article, and about 700 words in, I couldn’t imagine where I would find the remaining 800. 
When I started drafting my story for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group competition, I liked the idea, but I just felt like the word-limit was this insurmountable mountain to climb. 
Odd to think it, but I find the 150k goal less intimidating, because if I come in under that, it’s not like there will be repercussions. And that is actually the reason why I don’t like setting a target for the length of any story I write. It just adds extra pressure I don’t like feeling. I mean, I already give myself some steep deadlines to chase. 
The challenge is good for me, though. It’s nice to know that, yes, I could actually write to demand and actually hit those targets. 
And you know the funny thing about my short story? I’m at 3500 words now, and wondering if I’ll be able to wrap the story up in 1500 words or less. 
So that just goes to show you the importance of just writing. Even if we feel like we’ll never make a word-count target, we can always surprise ourselves if we try. 
Are you writing a story for IWSG competition? How’s it going?

My Biggest Challenge as an Author

My Biggest Challenge as an Author

By Michelle Pickett

Thank you so much, Misha, for having me on your blog to discuss briefly what challenges me the most as an author. I’m excited to be here!

The greatest challenge I face as an author is time. I know what you’re thinking. Nearly everyone can say they need an extra hour or two in the day to get everything done that demands their attention. But that’s not the kind of time I’m referring to.

Creativity doesn’t turn on at eight am and off at five pm. I can’t get up send the kids to school and then sit down and write for the rest of the day, producing page after page of publishable material. It would be wonderful if I could! But ideas don’t work that way. They don’t come with an on and off switch. They keep their own hours, and that is a major challenge.

Sometimes inspiration hits at the oddest times. While I’m standing in the checkout line at the supermarket or waiting in the carpool line to drop the kids off at school. Sometimes they come at times when I absolutely do not want to write. Like when I’m playing Chutes and Ladders with my 7 year-old twins or I’m at my son’s basketball game. When I’m spending time with my family I’d like my day to be idea free—that doesn’t always happen. I’d like a weekend off…or just an evening. I’d like to go to bed before two in the morning or sleep past seven. But time doesn’t always play in my favor when it comes to inspiration. Someone needs to explain things to my muse. She obviously doesn’t get it.

There are some days, today for instance, that I can’t write a word. Not because I don’t have the “actual time” to do so. I do. The kids are taken care of, the house is quiet, there isn’t anything vying for my attention. It’s a perfect day to write. The weather is even bad, so a pretty day isn’t calling me outside. So what’s wrong? Time. Inspiration doesn’t work on a timetable and because of that I’ve written a total of eighty-four words on my work-in-progress today. Considering I write two thousand to twenty-five hundred a day on a good day, eighty-four words is not a good day.

But tomorrow is another day and holds a new set of time issues. It’s Saturday. As much as I Wanted my creativity to clock in on time today, I won’t tomorrow. Saturday I won’t want anything to interfere with my family time—and that’s when it will happen. My muse will tap me on the shoulder and say, “Oh, yeah. Now I remember what I was supposed to tell you yesterday. You know chapter twelve? Well, here’s how it should go….”

Time takes on a whole new meaning for a writer. Instead of one, two, three o’clock, I measure my day in one, two, three creative hours. The challenge is keeping those hours confined to a certain part of the day and not letting them overtake life in general. And that’s one of the biggest challenges I face as an author.

Michelle’s Bio:

Profile_Photo_640x425_250x166.jpgMichelle has been an avid reader since a young child. She began writing for personal enjoyment in college, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting. Deciding sitting in a cubical all day was her form of cruel and unusual punishment, she decided to do what she really wanted to—share her passion for reading and writing with others.

She wrote her debut novel Concilium in 2010. It was released July of 2012 by MuseItUp Publishing. The sequel, Concilium: The Departure will also be published by MuseItUp Publishing with scheduled release date of November 2012.

Her Debut young adult novel, PODs, will be published by Spencer Hill Press and is scheduled for release in paperback June 4th, 2013.

Michelle was born and raised in Michigan. She now resides in a small community outside Houston, Texas with her incredibly supportive husband, four wonderful children, a 125-pound lap dog, a very grumpy cockatiel and a cat that thinks she’s queen.

Michelle writes adult and young adult Sci/Fi and urban fantasy romance.

Concilium Blurb


Leslee hit a strange animal with her car. Now she’s marked for death.

It was a simple car accident – the animal didn’t even die – but it drew the attention of the Cruor Imbibo. Driven by their insatiable need to feed, the secret society of Imbibo has devoured the dregs of civilization for centuries. Afraid Leslee will expose them, and put an end to their meal ticket, the Imbibo want her dead.

The Concilium is Leslee’s only protection. Guardian of the ancient secret and the protector of humans, the Concilium fights to control the Imbibo and end their feeding frenzy. Miller works for the Concilium. Keeping Leslee alive is his next assignment.

Now Leslee is on the run, and the only thing between her flesh and the snapping jaws of the Imbibo is Miller. He and Leslee quickly form a bond, but will falling in love make Miller’s job more difficult? Because if he fails, Leslee will be next on the Imbibo menu.

The Cruor Imbibo are coming, and they’re coming for Leslee.

Buy Links:

MuseItUp Publishing 


Want your copy of Concilium signed? I’d be happy to do that! Just go here and send me a message and I’ll send you a personalized inscription for your copy of Concilium.

I LOVE to hear from readers and other authors!

Links and Contact Information:





Linked In

Thanks again, Michelle. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

So lovely people: What’s your pet challenge as a writer?

Wondering about the competition? Well… Follow this link.


Faster, Higher, Stronger

Inline image 1I was the first person to volunteer for the Olympic Blog Relay on Nicole Singer’s blog, but even as I did it, I wondered what I’d write about today.
And just as I opened the editor to improvise today’s post, a phrase jumped into my head:

Citius, Altius, Fortius” or as it is famosly known: Faster, Higher, Stronger.

I must say that of all the mottos I’ve ever known, I’ve never seen one that better represents what it stands for. It’s the Olympic Games Captured in three words.

Because that’s what the Olympics is about. Always pushing harder. Always trying to excell.

But this motto could apply to writing as well. Just like athletes can’t just rest on previous successes until they retire, writers are never done learning their craft. They have to continue pushing themselves to learn more, to achieve more.

Faster, Higher, Stronger can serve as a special reminder for writers to keep striving to be the best they can be. How?


We can push ourselves to work as efficiently as we can without sacrificing the quality of our writing. So when the procrastination bug bites, we can do our utmost not to give in to temptation. We can resist the urge to waste time and sit down and write.


Writers must never stop dreaming. Because our dreams are the way we aim for our futures. Never give up on your dreams for publishing. And NEVER give up on a story idea just because you don’t think you have the skills to write it.


Writing to a large extent is about strength. Our word choices have to be strong. Our love for our stories have to be strong. The quality of what we’ve written have to be strong. But there is no such thing as “strong enough”. There is, however, “stronger”, and that can only be done by challenging yourself when you write and edit.

So, writers, keep reaching. Keep dreaming. Keep pushing yourself to improve your writing. Look for critique so that you can hone your craft.

Keep growing.

Keep striving.

How could you apply Faster, Higher, Stronger to your writing?