My challenge: 1writer1novel5months


Paula’s Post #110

Ah, Labour Day Weekend. The last weekend of summer. The weekend we look backward with some wistfulness at the days and weeks of summer that somehow sped by like someone pushed fast forward on the PVR.

We’ve talked about Labour Day before. About this special time of renewal. For many of us it evokes memories of the start of a new school year. New pens and pencils. Notebooks with crisp white narrow lined pages (never wide), unmarred and ready for scrawled notes and random doodles.


Hmm. There’s a word to make me flinch. Because for this 5writer, one can say it fairly accurately reflects my approach to writing this past summer.


You know what else makes me flinch?

The date: September 5th. Not just part of the Labour Day weekend, but also the precise date on which we 5writers launched our original challenge (and subsequently this blog) back in September 2012.

For those of you who discovered the 5writers blog ‘after the fact’, you may want to take a look back and read the heady excitement with which we launched our original 5writers challenge.

Reading back through those early 5writers posts from mid-September 2012,  I must admit I never dreamed that this “September 5th” date thing would come back to ‘haunt me’.

But that’s exactly how I feel. Haunted. We thought it was cute. We thought the five of us would start on September 5th and finish on February 5th. 5writers5novels5months.

But now, the date haunts me. No … more like taunts me.

Because while I reached our stated objective and in fact completed the first draft of my 5writer novel in the ‘challenge’ period of 5months (while blogging about it on a weekly basis), I haven’t completed a novel since.

Sure, I’ve started a few, but somehow, my initial enthusiasm has always petered out. Or I got distracted. Or both. Ditto for this blog.

Sound familiar?

Many of you will be familiar with Stephen King’s famous “20 rules for writers”. I see you nodding your heads. Good. Now put up your hand if you remember the one that says:

Write the First Draft in Three Months.

Don’t remember that one?

Hmm… I’d kinda forgotten it too, to tell the truth. Now I’m wondering what else I’ve forgotten. Maybe – just to be safe – I better go back and reread “On Writing“. Click on the title and you too can order it to be delivered (sound of snapping fingers) just like that. And  in a variety of formats.

I opted for paperback. I like to thumb through my writing books and dog ear the pages.

And I’m pretty sure I’m going to need that Stephen King book and I’m also pretty sure there are, inevitably, going to be a plethora of dog-eared pages.

Because today, on this memorable, haunting, September 5th date, my challenge gauntlet is out and ready for smack down.

My challenge. To myself.

Write a first draft of a novel. Start today. Finish in 5 months. 5 months from Start to Finish. Not a 5writer challenge, but a 1writer challenge. Because right now (for a variety of very understandable reasons), not everyone of our original 5writers is ready and able to take up this September 5, 2015 challenge.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t jump in to fill the breach and join in my 1writer1novel5month challenge.

Yeah! That’s what I’m gonna call it.

Kind of catchy, don’t you think?

I hope so. Because I have another challenge. This one’s for you! (And not just my writing group 5writers you, no – this challenge is for all of you. For any writer who has read or followed our blog. For anyone who has ever wanted to write a novel.

I challenge you to take up the gauntlet.

All you need to do is leave a comment and add your own ‘number’ to the string, as in and say “I’m in”: 2writers2novels5months …

And then the next person who accepts the challenge will be:

3writers3novels5months … followed by:

4writers4novels5months …

Hey! Wait a moment.Think about it. Some brave soul could even manage to jump in as 5writers5novels5months.

Wouldn’t that be great?

But why stop there? I know there are a  lot of other stalled writers lurking out there. This is your chance. All you need to do is ‘take up the gauntlet’.

I double dare you!

Paula Third (aka 1writer1novel5months)

(Attribution: Wikicommons photo by Sandstein)

28 thoughts on “My challenge: 1writer1novel5months

    • Thanks Alison and Don! But what about you two, aren’t you tempted to jump aboard as 2writers2novels5months and 3writers3novels5months respectively? It would be so fun to have you along for the ride and be part of the ‘challenge’? Where are you traveling this year? I bet some wonderful, exotic locales.

      • Write a novel?! No no no. It’s not my thing at all. Besides it’s all I can do to keep up with the blog. Next year we plan to finally write that book we’ve been talking about, the story of our journey as nomads. Right now we’re in Turkey, to be followed at the end of the month by Jordan, and then Egypt.

    • Woo-Hoo! Tried to post a comment earlier from my phone but I don’t think it worked. All to say I’m thrilled to have you part of the challenge. We’re going to be all excited about writing again and we’re going to have blast!

  1. What the hell… You and Silk are too crazy for words. So, I have no choice but slink along for the ride. 3writers3novels5months.

  2. I think we better claim the ‘4writers4novels5months’ spot for Joe, (he emailed me to say ‘he’s in’) but who else will claim a spot! Spot #5 is available, ready to be claimed… so leave a comment and claim the ” 5writers5novels5months ” spot.

  3. To boldly go…..5/5/5. I first started reading the blog in 2012 when I was writing my novel Saints & Strangers. Been trolling ever since. But S&S is now available for Kindle (print soon!) and I need to write the sequel–The 2nd Peirce Patent. I’m in!

    • Welcome Richelle! We’ve always wondered about our ‘lurkers’ – and while we’ve had many regular commentators on the blog, it is great to hear from on of our long time ‘lurkers’. We’re delighted your back again and this time, ready to take up the gauntlet and write along with our group. In fact, you’re one step ahead, because you already know that you’ll be spending your five months plotting and writing book 2 in your series while most of us, so far, have only a vague notion of what direction we might head. But that’s part of the adventure. Welcome and good luck! We look forward to hearing of your progress between now and February 5th… tick…tick…tick.

      • Gulp–thanks! I had the crazy idea that I could crank it out (mostly) last week while I was off of work (damn day job). I got (part of) chapter 1 written. LOL. But I really would like to finish in 2015–draft 1 anyhow! I can be reached at

    • Welcome to our 5/5/5 challenge Richelle! We’d love to know how you’re doing along the way and will check out your Saints & Strangers!

    • Eugenia, jump in anyway! There’s no penalty for trying, just some fun. Think of it as a much more reasonably paced NaNoWriMo!

    • Oh Eugenia, I so echo Silk’s comment of yesterday. We welcome lurkers and I know this is hard to believe, but in the months to come, you’ll welcome the ‘structure’ and solace of writing to help you get through the move and give you an escape when you just can’t face unpacking another box or calling the cable company, again. Besides, think of the ‘new friends’ you’ll meet here as part of the 5writers challenge. Just jump.

  4. There is something to be said about putting one’s intentions down in writing! I didn’t catch on that in the comment section on Paula’s blog post is where we say yeah or nay! I’m looking forward to the camaraderie to keep going to the end. For me, I will commit to 5 short stories in 5 months! I like writing short stories and with my new business start, it suits my interest, my timetable and my emotional state! 🙂
    Does that make me 1writer5shortstories5months?

  5. Pingback: 5/5/5/ Taking up the Gauntlet | 5 Writers 5 Novels 5 Months

    • Susan Laufer, So delighted to hear from you and you are now officially 7/5/5 – the 7th writer to commit to finishing their ‘challenge writing’ in 5 months time. We are so happy to welcome you to our group and know that Helga in particular will be delighted to see you have joined and I’m sure will also, like me, want to message you directly. Is your email address still the same?

      Post another comment on what made you jump in the fray and let us know a bit the draft or genre you are working on at this time. Bravo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s