Friday, November 30, 2007


Challenge. By far, one of my favorite words. So many possibilities in those nine letters. Endless, really.

From Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:


1. to demand as due or deserved
2. to order to halt and prove identity
3. to dispute especially as being unjust, invalid, or outmoded
4. to question formally the legality or legal qualifications of
5. a: to confront or defy bodily
b: to call out to duel or combat
c: to invite into competition
6. to arouse or stimulate especially by presenting with difficulties
7. to administer a physiological and especially an immunologic challenge

Great word, isn't it? It's one of my favorites. Oh, right--I told you that already. Silly me. What I haven't told you is why it's sitting so heavily in my mind right now, as we begin the final day of the month.

November is when the National Novel Writing Month Challenge is held. Over 100,000 people from around the globe signed on to challenge themselves to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I've done the challenge for a couple of years now and, honestly, at this point November wouldn't feel like November if I wasn't writing furiously on the first draft of a NaNo novel.

I love taking the NaNo challenge! This time I wrote a novel called Seaside Shimmy, which will be fine tuned in January, after I've settled down a bit. It is a follow-up story to my upcoming (March) release of the first Anna Romeo mystery, Vineyard Mambo. I had more fun writing this book than I think I should have. I giggled at every turn, smiled as Anna danced around a corpse. Oh yes, it was great fun! I will admit, though, that it was a challenge trying to squeeze writing into the already hectic holiday month. But the challenge of squashing writing in, finding extra hours to devote to NaNo, is part of the fun. Anyhow, that was my big November challenge.

Ah! But November isn't over, is it? There's still, according to the time counter on the NaNo homepage, about 15 hours left to the month. That gives me (ample!) time to finish the last challenge of the month. I'm writing a story in a genre that I've never written before and, between us, it's giving me a run for my money. It's a short story that has a December 1st deadline and you would have thought I'd written it earlier but hey, let's just call this the super-challenge, okay? Or, if you will, the author-who's-taken-leave-of-her-senses scenario. You choose. :)

To mark the end of my fun-filled month, I'm giving away a surprise to celebrate. Anyone who leaves a comment on this blog post, sharing a challenge they've taken recently, before December 1st will be elegible to win. Tomorrow morning (after I submit my, challenging story) I'll randomly choose a winner. So please, won't you let us in on what challenges you? Tell us how you challenge yourself? Please?

I challenge you. ;-)


Debbie Wallace said...'re a super something! I can't make myself write under any deadlines. It would be too challenging:)

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Two weeks ago I challenged myself to cut out caffeine for as long as I could. Does that count?

I only made four days before my husband almost inserted the IV to feed the Starbucks into me but I tried. Now I'm down to two cups a day which is really good for me.

the coffee challenge!


Patty Jane said...

This year I'm challenging myself to Christmas shop without using my credit cards. I hope I can do it!


Sue said...

I tried NaNo twice and both times fell short. So much for my challenges! LOL.

Sarita Leone said...

Debbie, sometimes I think I'm out of my mind! I'm so glad you stopped by. Thanks so much for reading my post! :)

Hope Gin Gin is fully restored after her shots.

Sarita Leone said...

Jennifer, yes! It counts! Anytime we challenge ourselves it counts. :) Good for you for making a positive lifestyle change. The coffee challenge is a difficult one, I imagine.

I limit myself to one cup in the morning but there are some mornings when I'd really, really like a second one. Or a third, probably!

Yep, the coffee challenge is a toughie. Congrats on your success!!

Sarita Leone said...

Oh my gosh, Patty, shopping with restraint is always a challenge for me. I love to shop, especially when it is for others. I learned a trick early in our marriage that keeping a peaceful house meant leaving those plastic cards at home. My husband wasn't the one who was annoyed when the bills came...I was! *G* So now I don't take the cards and no bills arrive. Happy all around! :)

Good luck shopping. And happy holiday!

Sarita Leone said...

Sue, don't sell yourself short. Many, many people never even attempt NaNo. You have had the gumption to sign on more than once, which is in itself a challenge risen to. You've already been successful, I think. It's not always easy to take the first step, but you have. Good for you!

Thank you for visiting with the Larks! We love having you here. :)

Sarita Leone said...

I apologize for not getting here earlier today but between snow and Christmas decorations, baking cookies and finishing my story, the day just flew by. But I'm here now, and I've put all four names in a hat, wiggled the hat around and pulled out...

Sue's name! Sue, please email me at and let me know which of my published titles you'd like a copy of. There are a number of them, and if you head to you'll be able to see them all and choose. Congrats, and thanks for taking part in my little contest. :)

Thanks, too, Debbie, Jennifer, and Patty for commenting. I appreciate your visiting with us!

Happy December 1st, everyone! :)