Who takes a break from writing during the holiday season?


I know I’m not alone which is why this January I’m hosting a writing challenge to help us all dust off those creative cobwebs for the year of writing ahead.

For 21 days, beginning on January 5th, a talented array of authors and illustrators will be sharing insights into their writing practices and providing a writing prompt/exercise to complete. Each day you complete the given exercise, you earn an entry to win one of the grand prizes. What are the grand prizes you ask? So far, there are 4 AGENT critiques, 2 EDITOR critiques, and proofreading services from a COPY EDITOR up for grabs.”][/tagline_box]

What is the Challenge?

Each day an established author will provide a writing exercise for you to complete.  If you complete the exercise and comment on that day’s blog post you will earn an entry toward the prize drawings.

Who is this Challenge for?

EVERYONE.  This challenge is for picture book writers, middle grade writers and young adult writers.  Everyone is welcome to participate and it’s FREE.

When does the Challenge begin?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ideally, you will complete one exercise per day; however, comments eligible for the grand prize drawings will remain open until midnight on January 31st.

Who will be guest blogging?

The talent participating in this challenge runs deep, my friends.  You’ll find debut authors, a National Book Award winner, NY Times Best Sellers, educators, illustrators, poets and three surprise bloggers along the way.  Click HERE for a complete list.

Why should I participate?

Writing is a craft that needs to be practiced and practiced and practiced some more which is why writing exercises are an excellent way to hone your skills.  For beginners, writing exercises provide a starting off point.  For more established writers, they can provide a fresh perspective by prodding experimentation.

And you want to know the best part?  You don’t have to worry about impressing anyone.  Writing exercises are for you!  They give you permission to enjoy the process, to try, to fail, and most importantly to develop.

What are the Grand Prizes?

Editor critiques, agent critiques, proofreading services from a copy editor, and one super secret grand prize.  Click HERE for more information.

All prizes will be drawn at random.  Please do not share your writing exercises with me or the blogging author.

What do you have to do to participate?

  • Tweet, Facebook, blog or if you’re not tech-savvy, sing from the mountaintops that you are participating in the challenge.  There is no registration required.  You just have to follow!
  • Display the awesome Start The Year Off Write badge – compliments of the uber-talented Maple Lam on your social media sites.
  •  Join the Facebook Group START THE YEAR OFF WRITE or sign up to receive updates via email (in sidebar). THIS IS REQUIRED.
  • Comment, comment, comment.  You must comment ON THE BLOG for each exercise you complete in order to earn an entry towards the grand prizes.  THIS IS REQUIRED.
  • If you complete every exercise during the 21-day challenge, you will be eligible for the SUPER SECRET GRAND PRIZE.

Bonus: If you blog about this challenge before January 5th, you can earn an extra entry for the drawing.  Contact me for details!




  • Please do not share your exercises with me, the author who provided the exercise or anyone else.  These exercises are for your eyes only.
  • By commenting, you are verifying that you completed the provided exercise.  This is an honor system.