Everyone thinks I’ve been on holidays, but really, I’ve been on writer’s boot camp, training for a guest spot on Writing Races, the Australian Writer’s Marketplace online forum.

I thought it was an inspired bit of fun aimed at getting the procrastinators up and writing, if only for an hour, between 8.00 and 9.00 pm on a Tuesday. I thought the idea was to set aside the hour, get writing, and hopefully make some progress on the work-in-progress.

Then I find out that other racers have been known to clock over a thousand words in the hour.  A thousand words! Jesus, Mary and Joseph, talk about performance anxiety.

It was enough to make me suck in my writer’s gut and hit the keyboard for a gruelling week of finger agility exercises, keyboard readiness training, writer’s block attack strategies and a pre-race fitness program in scene mapping and character development.

I’d like to say that after just one week of training, I am now a lean, mean, writing machine. I would also like to say that I look fantastic in a g-string, but that doesn’t make it true, does it?

This writing machine was built for comfort, not for speed. I am a literary tortoise, taking a long, scenic amble through the landscape, smelling the roses, tapping out a few words, wandering off for a nibble, adding a semi-colon, jogging downhill for a couple of paragraphs, before circling back to replace the semi-colon with a comma.

Who am I trying to kid? Christy Brown wrote faster than me with his left foot. Dead poets write faster than I do.

You don’t believe me? OK, then, I dare you. Come along tonight (Tuesday 21 April) to Writing Races, the online forum at Australian Writer’s Marketplace.

We’ll be lining up at 7.30 pm sharp for an online chat with the punters, then we’ll be racing off-line from 8.00 pm. An hour later, we’ll check in to compare personal bests and word tallies.

Who will be the biggest loser in the history of Writing Races? Tune in to find out (but here’s a tip for free, the smart money is on me).  😉

  1. Michael says:

    Hi Chris

    That blog was hilarious.

    Also well done you for fronting up to the Writing Race. I’m doing a Q & A for the QWM soon but I was too chicken to say I’d do a Race. 1000 wds in an hour!!! OMG, I break out the champagne and notify the press if I do 1000 words in a day!

    My big fear is that at the end of the hour I’d have to say, ‘Oh … sorry, I got caught up checking my emails and Facebook and then the phone rang and there was this thing on telly I wanted to watch and then I completely lost track of the time and besides I only type with four fingers anyway … but I did THINK about writing something … honest!’

    Anyway don’t let any of that put you off. You’ll kill ’em! Do they let people just drop in and cheer the Racers from the sideline?


  2. chrisbongers says:

    Ah, a man after my own heart – honest to a fault! I’ve heard they have skulkers who unofficially race on Tuesdays, so I’m sure drop-in-skis who actually cheer would be welcomed with open arms. Check in at 7.30 – I need a support team to catch me when I crash. 🙂

  3. Meg says:

    you are too hilarious – both of you!

    i regularly clock a meagre 500 words in a race, with my PB being 227 or something.

    i am totally doing literary push-ups right now, chris. game on!


  4. Good on you Chris! I’ve never been one to perform under pressure. Oh, the anxiety! All through school and uni I had to have assignments completed at least a week in advance, just to avoid the anxiety of last minute working. So, not for me, but my thoughts are with you! (maybe wearing that g-string will make you write faster?)

  5. Karen B says:

    There’s always cut and paste!!!

  6. chrisbongers says:

    Damn you Karen, why’d you have to go and put that thought in my head!

    And Katherine, you’re not helping here – writing in a g-string, indeed …

    Though now that you mention it, I did once read the nightly news on ABC TV in a half-slip, so there is a precedent…

    The regular reader had a migraine. Someone leant me a matronly puce blouse, saying ‘Don’t worry, they only film from the waist up’. I stood there pathetically in my undies until someone whipped off her half-slip and hustled me into the studio with a quick ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!’

    I wasn’t, of course. I was terrible, so they made me do it again the following night to give me a chance to redeem myself. Dear old Aunty. Those were the days.

  7. Must remember to put that in my diary! A sight not to be missed. Chris, let those fingers fly like the blowies around a roadkill. Mmm, don’t think that metaphor works somehow. 🙂

  8. I was a bit slow off the mark in reading this Blog so there’s always next week.
    Hope all the contestants had a bit of inspired fun.
    I sure had fun reading this.

  9. chrisbongers says:

    I just logged off and shocked myself silly with 753 words in the hour. Had barely finished slapping myself on the back when Joanne Schoenwald popped up with more than 2000 words. Now there’s a lean mean writing machine for you!

    Swear to God, that’s as much fun as I’ve had sitting down in years. I’m joining the Tuesday night writing racers. They rock!

  10. Hi Chris,

    It was great writing alongside you tonight.
    Health Warning: Writing Races are highly addictive. Hope to see you there next week.



  11. Lynne Green says:

    Hello Ms Lean and Mean,

    Yours was still a worthy word length. Better 700 words of usable writing compared to 2000 words that will edit back to ten. 🙂

    PS: Lovely to see you in the flesh. Though now I have to spend days trying to forget the image of the g-string.

  12. chrisbongers says:

    Lynn, I have a meeting next Tuesday night, but I’m back after that. Too exhilirating to miss!

    And Lynne, I did come up with at least one worthy line about a ‘handsome bastard’ character:

    ‘His corners were sufficiently sun-creased to make him rugged, his background, sufficiently polished, to make him smooth.’

  13. Kirsten says:

    hey Chris,
    Sorry I missed it. (Too slow reading my mail… again.) Sounds like it was fun (and funny!).

  14. chrisbongers says:

    Laugh a minute, Kirsten. All I hear about Ice Age is good; hope I’m getting an invite to the launch!

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