Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Day 8 of the 31-minute Challenge: Choosing, A Guest Post

Today, I am excited to welcome a Pennsylvania writer for young people Wendy Greenley, who happens to be another 31-minute challenge participant. Read below to see how Wendy uses her 31-minutes each day, then visit her website at http://www.wendygreenley.com/

I’m Giving Katia Raina 31! Wendy's timers :)

Actually, I’m giving it to myself.

What is it?

It’s a pledge that for the month of January, yes EVERY DAY, I will spend thirty-one minutes working to achieve my dream. (your link: )

Doesn’t sound like much, you say? Well, it’s HUGE.

This thirty-one minutes isn’t just working on any old thing. It’s working on a dream. This means that I can’t just spend time thinking about it, noodling on it. It is time working to achieve it.

I thought I heard some tongue clucks. But hey, thirty-one minutes is nothing, right?

Wrong. I remember days when the kids were little and I didn’t even find time to shower. The elliptical machine tells me I burn 300 calories during a thirty minute workout. Rachael Ray has made a career out of thirty minute meals. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal’s David Biderman, an NFL football game has only eleven minutes of actual playing time! So thirty-one minutes is a substantial, but not overwhelming, commitment to make.

For this challenge, I commit to spending this time putting the finishing touches on two middle grade novels and submitting those same manuscripts. I’m putting this in writing so I don’t cheat. Cheat myself.

How could I cheat myself?

I’m not a lazy person. I am an enthusiastic writer. Maybe too enthusiastic. While other writers talk about writer’s block, I struggle with the opposite malady. Ideas are everywhere and I want to write about everything. Even if I were as prolific as Joyce Carol Oates, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the idea machine. Which means I have to pick and choose. It’s like looking at a litter of puppies and trying to decide which to take home. It’s hard! At least for me it is. Do you work on the project that takes your breath away, or the project that your critique group loves?

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer as to which project a writer chooses to work on. Just make the choice. Indecision is a time suck. In my experience, if it turns out to be the wrong project to work on, I’ll know it before too long. That’s why my YA novel and another middle grade manuscript aren’t on the dream achievement list!

So, thank you Katia for holding me accountable for the month of January. It’s not just about the work. It’s about which work.

Choices, choices...

Thanks so much Wendy! Hope you’ve been having fun “choosing” every day!

P.S. If anyone has tips/advice/thoughts to share in a guest post, I would be delighted to read it and post it here, of course. You can email your thoughts to me at katiawrites (at) gmail (dot) com. Keep it to roughly 200 to 400 words, though it’s okay if you go over. And don’t forget to send a link to your own blog, plus a beautiful picture of you — or your timer(s). 🙂


January 8, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. I love the 31-minute challenge idea! Kudos to you, Wendy, for putting it in writing and good luck with those projects!

    Comment by Susanna Leonard Hill | January 8, 2013 | Reply

  2. I like your point about not cheating yourself out of that time; setting a very specific time goal sounds like an excellent way to make sure that the writing you want to do gets done.

    Comment by Melanie Ellsworth | January 8, 2013 | Reply

  3. It’s a great idea! 31 minutes set aside for achieving our dreams is the least we could do for ourselves. 🙂

    Comment by teresarobeson | January 8, 2013 | Reply

    • Exactly, Teresa! Thanks so much, all.

      Comment by Katia Raina | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  4. “I remember days when the kids were little and I didn’t even find time to shower.” Ahaha! I remember those days too, Wendy. That’s why I did so little writing back then. And now my kids are grown and I have no excuses.

    Did we meet at the Poconos SCBWI conference? Your name sounds familiar. Good luck to you (and all of us) for the rest of January! I’m determined to use my 31-minute sessions to polish this novel enough to start querying.

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  5. I go with my gut instinct on what to work on next. I set aside projects that I’m not ready for or that I’m not feeling passionate about.

    Good luck with your projects.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | January 9, 2013 | Reply

  6. Wendy, I totally agree with you. I have so many writing projects started and just on slips of paper. I write middle grade, too. I’m spending the month revising my novel and writing non-fiction articles. I hope we both reach our dreams!

    Comment by jessica | January 16, 2013 | Reply

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