The Write Challenge

Tooling around on Twitter, I linked over to the Round of Words in 80 Days challenge through another writer. Aha! I thought. This is just what I need. After spending the last few weeks toting my car from one shop to another for repairs that made me wonder if a car payment wouldn’t be preferable, learning that the pipes under my house were clogged with debris and required replacement, and checking off about a billion family-related errands that needed doing but did nothing to further my writing goals, I wondered if I should be shooting for the moon with this author thing anyway.

By SMU Central University Libraries (A True Girl of the West. Uploaded by PDTillman) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
But I’m a Texan. We like shooting down here. So after a minor (10 minutes maybe, an hour, no more than a half-day) pity party, I decided I needed some goals and direction so I could get busy, catch up, and see some progress. I wrote a few goals for the month of April.

But I’m the only one who would know if I met these goals.  All too often, the cluttered kitchen table clamors for attention, a girlfriend calls to chat about nothing in particular, or the thought of a pedicure sounds much more relaxing than staring down a blank page with that “it’s you or me” confrontation. And that doesn’t count the sometimes constant interruptions of family members. It’s easy to get distracted, discouraged, or downright deranged in this writing process.

A little encouragement and accountability, though, goes a long way. Ask the dieter who has an exercise buddy, the football player who has his cheering fans, the employee who has a complimentary boss. I immediately loved the idea of setting an 80-day goal and knowing that I was in a group challenge where we would be secretly and publicly giving attagirls and attaboys to the participants.

So here are my Round of Words in 80 Days goals:

1.  5,000 words per week on middle grade novel (working title: The First Time).  I thought this seemed ambitious until I counted the words I banged out in 70 minutes time, and it was 1515.  Hopefully, this is a realistic goal for me. If I keep this pace, I will finish this WIP long before the 80 days are up.

2.  If first draft finished, edit through once.  If I do indeed finish my draft, I want to go through the novel and revise it once. I typically edit several times over, but the first few trudge-throughs are the hardest. It’s particularly difficult to yank out whole passages that you like but don’t add to the story. Still, it’s necessary.

3.  Two blog entries per week. Having started this new blog, it is my intention to post on Tuesdays and Fridays . . . faithfully.

That’s it.  I have plenty of other personal goals, like keeping my toenails painted, starting to work on a tan, and seeing if my old swimsuits fit. (It’s almost 90 degrees here, and I’m itching for the beach.) But I need to keep my writing goals in mind! I’m looking forward to the 80 Days Challenge.

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7 thoughts on “The Write Challenge

  1. I stopped by, as you are the author above me on the ROW80 linky tools list. After reading through your goals, I offer a hearty 'good-luck' in encouragement! Do you have a set time for writing each day, or do you just expect a set number of hours/words per day? I also set a word count goal for the 80 days, and I am comtemplating setting 'office hours'……~Nadja

  2. Thank you for the encouragement! Best wishes to you as well!I try to commit to an hour a day, but that hour moves around depending on the family schedule. Somedays I can extend that to 2-3 hours and other times, like today, I don't get a single word written on my novel. (Of course, it's still early, and I'm hopeful!)A daily goal for me won't work, so mine is weekly. But as long as I'm accomplishing something weekly and not weakly, I'm doing okay!Keep at it! It sure feels great when you emerge from your cave and see your plot coming together, your characters taking shape, and your future as an author becoming an (almost) certainty.

  3. Thanks, MMB! Seeing your blog has also inspired me to get going on mine.Ghenet – Best wishes with the YA novel! That age is so fun to write for.

  4. Good luck. I arrived at work by 7:30, had no break except lunch, left work @6:30, came home, left for another work place to help Randy, came home again to work more and hope to get a decent night's sleep before going back to work again tomorrow. Not finding time to write in one day is no biggie at all. I did want to check in on your blog. Keep it up.

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