On October 2nd, I stumbled upon a twitter hashtag: #OctWritingChallenge. For those who are not familiar with twitter, a hashtag is simply a word or un-spaced phrase preceded by the # symbol to form a label. People who have a twitter account can post tweets (140 characters) about the topic listed on the label. The writers who created the #OctWritingChallenge have had such success in the previous month’s twitter challenges, they created a website to go along with it. Go to www.writingchallenge.org to get all the details.
Basically, the idea behind #OctWritingChallenge is this: Writers attempt to write at least 500 words per day for the entire month. They post their words counts at the end of each day, with the hashtag in their tweeted message. That way other writers can look up the hashtag, cheer each other on, and keep each other accountable. The creators of the site feel that writing 500 words is a great benchmark for writers to use. It’s enough to be challenging, but not too overwhelming that it’s impossible. I mean let’s face it, we all have other things we do each day than write, right? Sad but true. 🙂
So I decided to join the fun this month. If you read Monday’s post, you know I’m working on a business related manuscript. That’s my current job. I need to have a first draft completed by the end of October. This challenge for me, came at the perfect time. I was extremely behind in my word count. I think I was at 5,000 words on October 2nd. I knew I would have to pull off a miracle to have a 45,000- 50,000 word draft completed by Oct. 31. I’m a writer, not a magician. I figured this was a great way to keep me motivated and on track. Even though I need to write much more than 500 words each day this month, the fact that I am expected to post my word counts keeps me accountable. It helps for me to read about other writers who are writing every day too. Knowing that some of these other writers have goals similar to mine has helped tremendously as well. Many of the writers I’ve “met” have lofty word count goals like I do and knowing they can reach them, inspires me to reach mine too!
This whole writing every day topic has really gotten me to think. Does it make a difference to your writing if you write every single day (or at least almost every single day)? My answer is YES!
When I write every day, I find it so much easier to keep my head in the story. The process of entering my story’s world doesn’t take as long when it was just yesterday when I last visited. If I wait much longer than that, it takes me a good thirty minutes to get my head where it needs to be to draft. The voice is easier to fall back into, and the tone and pace are too. I also find it easier to write for a decent amount of time, if writing becomes part of my daily routine. If I make it a priority like cooking dinner or taking a shower, then I’m more likely to do it. Daily goals work for me, but sometimes weekly goals work better. That way I can determine which days have higher word count goals based on what other obligations I have for the day. I also give myself days off. Everyone needs a rest day, no matter what the activity because even if it’s your favorite thing to do in the world, you will get sick of it if you don’t take breaks.
What do you think about writing every day? Does it work for you? Do you do it only when you’re drafting (like me) or when you’re revising too? I’d love to hear what works for you! On that note, I encourage anyone who has a serious writing goal in mind to check out the awesome writing challenge website and give it a try. It looks like the fabulous writers host one every month. It might be a great way to reach that pesky goal of yours. It’s working so far for me. Maybe it can work for you too!
Have a great week and cheers to you and the writing goals you’ve reached this month so far! 🙂