Gusto the Busto: A Writing Marathon Challenge!

My dear friend Ally recommended Mr. Ray Bradbury’s book Zen and the Art of Writing and I love it.  (I also love homemade raspberry jam, long walks on the beach and when someone else does the dishes.)

Anyway, in the book Mr. Bradbury says this:

If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only a half writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled of the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is–excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiams. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health. 

This is actually a fabulous time to be picking peaches, P.S. but that’s not the point. The point is . . . Are you writing with zest, gusto, love, fun? Are you excited? Are you letting yourself go? Surprising yourself? Laughing? Crying? Making horrible wonderful messes?

It’s probably time for a writing marathon. To get back that loving feeling. The goal of this marathon will not be to finish a book, or to revise three chapters, or to get a query letter written and sent. The goal for this marathon will be to write with zest, write with gusto, write with love, write for fun.

Can you do that?

Does it feel like a waste of time?

Can you afford to have fun?

Can you bear to be unproductive?

Will you take a risk with us?

The marathon will start on Wednesday at 5:46 am. It will end on Saturday at 11:34 pm.

Two rules:

1. Write every single day. Wednesday-Saturday for as long as you decide. Could be four hours. Could be four minutes. Must be every day. Must be consistent. Must be made with jello.

2. Don’t worry about whether what you are writing is good. Just worry about whether you are excited. Whether you are having fun. Whether you are letting go. In fact, there is no place for the word worry in this challenge. Don’t worry at all. Just PLAY!!! Play play play for four days.

We’ll report back on Monday about our results. Carol even wants to have dinner party at Olive Garden for those who reach their “goals” or rather, those who do the rules listed above: Every day and Play.

If you are in, and you know you want to be, make a comment. Commit. Set aside time. Make space for you to have joy and laugh and create. Invite your friends to join too. Let’s see what happens!

kiss your face,

Ann Dee


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9 responses to “Gusto the Busto: A Writing Marathon Challenge!

  1. I’m in! Even though I will be out of town, I will write a little bit each day. I made it a goal back on March 1st to do something with my manuscript every day. We’re 150+ days in and I haven’t missed a day. I am in and it will be fun!

  2. CLW

    I will try to rewrite two novels with gusto.
    Every day.
    End of August for the dinner partay?

  3. I’m in, too! I might not make it to the dinner, since I’m in Wyoming, but I’m going to write with love and gusto. 🙂 (By the way, thanks for sharing that quote! I needed the reminder this week.)

  4. ally condie

    I love it! Isn’t it such a fun book? It made me smile on every page. Which I totally needed.

  5. ally condie

    And by the way I am going to try to do the marathon too (husband out of town but I think with these rules I can still make it work)!

  6. benschwensch

    I’ll join all y’all too — though I’ll be traveling those days from here to Logan for several days at the Opera Festival — then back again. I’ll write NO LESS than 750 words per day, would LIKE to write 1,000 per day IF I’m HAVING FUN, as required. And I get MORE than that, I’ll let you know ! ! !

  7. benschwensch

    P.S. I’ll also need to find Bradbury’s book, Zen and the Art of Writing!

  8. YES! I’m doing this 4-day challenge! But if you jump in on the 3rd day and tell me all I can eat are vegetables and chia seeds, I will bail. So. Fast.

  9. Even with four extra kids around during these days I think I can do this challenge. Thanks!


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