The 10-day Writing Challenge

Today, Leeann Betts issues a challenge.  She writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk. Donna Schlachter, has also published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold. Today, she issues a challenge for writers.

Have you ever stared at a blank computer screen and wondered what on earth you were thinking when you thought you were a writer? Or maybe you’ve pounded away at the keyboard and cranked out a thousand words, but when you read them, realized they were gibberish and needed to be deleted? Or perhaps you’ve written a complete novel, or two, or three, but can’t seem to find the energy to edit them, or send them to an agent or publisher.

Writing is hard. It’s hard to be rejected. Criticized. Told you have plot holes. Or cardboard characters. Or you need to join a writers group and learn how to write. Or your story line is boring.

I know how you feel. Really, I do. I’ve been told all of that, and more. “Horrendous” was once used to describe a project I submitted to an editor.

So how do we overcome all of the voices–including our own–telling us we can’t do this? How do we get enough oomph in our engine to continue writing until we reach the end of the book? How do we persevere long enough to see success, however we define that for our writing?

A 10-day writing challenge might be the perfect solution to all of these problems. It’s short enough not to eat up too much time. Each day’s activity takes twenty minutes or less. And by the time you complete Day 10, you’ll have character sketches and an outline for a book.

Here we go, the abbreviated version:

Day 1: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down why you’re taking this challenge. Go ahead, be silly. Be insightful. Be honest.

Day 2: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down things you’re passionate about. Passion as in you could talk for hours without notes. Passion as in it gets your blood boiling when you hear someone else say it’s not important.

Day 3: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down things you’re good at. Not expert. Just something you do adequately.

Day 4: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write down the titles of books you want to write. If you can’t think of any, write down the titles of books you wish you’d written.

Day 5: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Choose one title from Day 4. List the characters and the setting.

Day 6: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write your acceptance speech for an Academy Award for when the novel from Day 5 is turned into a movie.

Day 7: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write the opening paragraph for the book from Day 6.

Day 8: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write a two-sentence summary of the book from Day 7. What you’d say in response to the question, “So, what’s your book about?”

Day 9: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write a one-sentence summary of each chapter of the book you worked on in Days 5 through 8.

Day 10: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write the final scene for the book you’ve been working on in Days 5 through 9.

That’s it. From idea to outline in ten days. Now, write that book!.

Donna publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at All books are available on in digital and print.




2 thoughts on “The 10-day Writing Challenge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *