Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Day 4 of the 31-Minute Challenge: Getting Back In The Groove, A Guest Post

Please welcome Dori Stone, who has been writing for years on a daily basis, but then got off track — that is, until now. Dori started on the 31-minute challenge early and is sharing what her journey has been like so far.  Dori Stone

What do a wedding, a new grandbaby, a retired husband, aging parents, Facebook and email all have in common?

They distract me from writing.

A few years ago, I was hitting my writing stride. I’d get up in the morning; kiss my husband and daughter good-bye, shove them out the door, grab a cup of tea and settle at my computer. Alone, I entered the world of make-believe and craft picture book stories and middle grade fiction manuscripts.

I researched publishers, sent out queries and submissions and even sold a couple of works. Yay! Me!

But then, Dad got sick, Mom’s health started declining and my mother-in-law fell and shattered her hip. With each “issue” my writing time dwindled. More distractions followed. Our daughter grew up and got married. (An only daughter’s wedding is a definite distraction.) My husband retired and we started a new business. Then, we had a series of funerals followed by the birth of the most perfect grandson in the world. (Now, that’s a fun distraction!)

I tried to get back to writing but, things were different. I could no longer give writing my all.

Slowly I stopped writing completely. I became a dawdler and spent time browsing Facebook and reading corny email jokes.

Occasionally, I’d look at my computer and feel the urge to write but how could I get started again?

On December 6, 2012, I discovered the 31 minute challenge. I didn’t think twice. Immediately, I made the commitment.

Now I’m doing it.  I’m getting back in the groove, one day at a time. On Day 1, December 7 (I decided not to wait until January) I logged one hour of writing time.  I didn’t want to stop once I started. Day 2, I wrote for 62 minutes. That day, I enjoyed two 31-minute sessions, one in the morning the other, that night. So far, I’ve seized at least 31 minutes of writing time everyday and I’m determined to keep up the momentum.

The surprising thing is how fast 31 minutes passes. I’m also amazed at how easy it is to avoid or defer distractions for that period of time. It’s incredible how quickly I’m turning out chapter after chapter of my new middle grade fiction book.

Thanks to Katia and the challenge, I’m rediscovering my love of writing.

Thank you, Dori, for sharing. When your own “month” expires, I hope you continue writing every day!


January 4, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. Starting (and completing!) the 31 challenge in December is impressive, Dori! With out-of-town visitors, driving to our own visits etc. I dont think I could have made it–especially since my laptop battery died and I’m tied to “real” power for the time being. Glad you’re finding time for yourself and your dreams again. Go, Dori!

    Comment by Wendy Greenley | January 4, 2013 | Reply

    • I agree — totally impressive. Dori’s enthusiasm is incredible — and infectious, right? 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 4, 2013 | Reply

  2. Yay for Dori! I didn’t start until January 1st, because I told myself December had too much going on. But now I’m thinking if Dori could do this, maybe I could have managed. After that first day, with only one session, I’ve managed 2 or 3 31-minute writing sessions every day.

    Go us!

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | January 4, 2013 | Reply

    • Joanne, but now you know how it is, and that’s what counts! Go you, indeed. Go, go, go! 😉

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 4, 2013 | Reply

  3. Thanks, to Dori Stone, for your post. I spent my lifetime working with children and intended after retirement, when I had ‘quote’ TIME, I’d pursue writing, another lifelong dream. I prepared taking writing and photography courses, attending writer’s workshops, buying books from Writer’s Digest Book club, plus their magazine… I spent YEARS preparing to write, but let ‘LIFE’ hinder my efforts. Easy with 9 grandchildren, graduations, weddings, etc. I wrote books for my grandchildren, using them as characters, sometimes incorporating their ideas, but felt nothing was ever publishing worthy. Now, I’m making a concerted effort writing a middle grade novel. I have a few writing friends, but none doing middle grade fiction. Perhaps we could talk via e-mail sometime in the future. I’m a ‘Georgia Peach’, on the TN border.
    Best wishes with your novel!
    And Katia, thanks for getting us started again!!! You’re a dear!

    Comment by Barbara | January 5, 2013 | Reply

  4. I don’t know if it’s so much a matter of distraction as of shifting priorities. We all go through seasons in life. My family has suffered greatly because of my writing, and I have had to confess that and make them a priority again. My job performance has also suffered because I was up way too late at night for over a year, and had trouble concentrating and getting my work done. This required me to work longer hours, and then my family suffered more.

    No matter how wonderful the creative process is or how badly we want to get published, our loved ones and other responsibilities have to come first. It’s different of course if you are earning a living by your writing, but I’m guessing most of us here aren’t.

    I think this 31-minute challenge is a great way to do that reasonably. Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, things aren’t going well for me at the moment. I haven’t been able to do a half hour a day so far, and perhaps this isn’t the month for it. I pushed myself really hard and completed Nanowrimo, and now I’m under a lot of stress to get caught up with life after Nano and the holidays, including getting back to exercising. Writing is, unfortunately, a sedentary pursuit. So I’m not going to pressure myself with this, too. Instead I’m going to pat myself on the back each day I AM able to do it!

    Comment by Christine L. Hardy | January 5, 2013 | Reply

  5. Yes, family does come first in my book as well. The only reason I am able to do this is because I do not have a job nor can I find one. I do most of the farm work while my husband works through the day and some days, that takes all day making sure new born calf’s are fine. I guess this is my job but it doesn’t pay much most of the time. I am, for now, able to keep up with the 31 mins. per day and I feel blessed that I do have this time. This is still a learning experience for me. I thank you for giving us this 31 mins just for ourselves.

    Comment by Mary Morrison | January 5, 2013 | Reply

  6. I agree that sometimes it is about “a season.” Sometimes, it’s a choice. A crazy risk. And sometimes it’s a balancing act.

    Comment by Katia Raina | January 6, 2013 | Reply

  7. I loved reading this. I’ve been steadily writing since I was 17, but I had my moments where life happened or I was uninspired and dawdled. It’s great how this challenge is such an inspiration.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | January 6, 2013 | Reply

  8. Dori, your story sounds a bit familiar. The family care taking and similar distractions. FB and email dawdling etc. I am also relearning “creative stamina” ( a term I picked up somewhere online. I should find that blog post and credit the right person.)

    So glad the 31-Minute Challenge brought you and hubby in. I didn’t join but am excited to see how Katia is encouraging others to pursue their dreams.

    My personal challenge these days is to write 1000 words at a sitting without checking FB and email. It’s mostly working!

    Comment by joycemoyerhostetter | January 31, 2013 | Reply

    • I’m so glad you’re moving along so nicely on that, Joyce! Can’t wait to read that manuscript 😉

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 31, 2013 | Reply

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