Hello and happy Wednesday!
First off, perhaps you noticed that my usual Sunday blog post was missing last week. No, that wasn’t planned – simply a matter of life piling up and me being too exhausted to focus on writing it. I figured it would be better for me to wait and write a cohesive post than to rush and not have it make any sense, haha. The blog schedule should be back to normal from here on out.
And while we’re on the topic of writing and time management (we are on that topic, aren’t we?), I thought I would share the latest writing challenge I’ll be taking part in this year! My hope is that you’ll consider joining as well.
Said writing challenge is the 100-for-100 writing challenge, hosted by the wonderful authors over at GoTeenWriters.com. You can learn all about it and how to join by clicking on that link to their site, but to give you a general idea, the challenge is simply to write 100 words a day, every day, for 100 days.
Notice I said simply, not easily.
Starting May 31st, you’re to pick one project and write at least 100 words every day in it. If you finish that project, you can pick another one to work on for the remainder of the challenge, and so on. The goal is to make solid progress on your writing projects, and also to build habits that will help you continue to reach your goals, even after the challenge is over.
Now, 100 words may not seem like much. It’s only about a paragraph, and can usually be completed in ten minutes or less. I think just about anybody can squeeze ten minutes out of their day, regardless of how busy your schedule is. Of course, writing 100 words often leads to writing more than that, but even if you only do the bare minimum, by September 7th (the 100th day), you’ll have 10,000 words written!
However, if you’ve never taken part in a writing challenge like this, or aren’t in the habit of writing every day, this may sound intimidating. Don’t worry, I get it. Though I’ve improved over the years, it’s still difficult for me to make myself focus on writing for even ten minutes sometimes. Distractions have a way of sucking away every last minute of our free time, unless we’re very intentional about guarding them.
So should you try this challenge or not? Well, here are some benefits to consider.
Any Progress is Progress
Maybe you don’t know if you’ll be able to manage writing 100 words daily for the entire challenge. Believe me, I understand. With everything I have going on this summer, I don’t know if I’ll manage it either. But any progress is progress! It’s not an all or nothing challenge. Do what you can, keep working at it, and don’t beat yourself up if you miss days. Any words written are words you may not have written otherwise!
The challenge also does allow for one ‘grace day’ per week, and one entire ‘grace week’. So if you don’t meet that goal of 100 words a day, or 700 words for the week, just count up what you have, claim those days as your grace days, and keep going! Life happens, and one of our greatest challenges as writers is to keep writing around it. You may not reach your goal all the time, and that’s okay. Progress is progress!
With that being said, the more days we reach our goals, the more motivated we get to continue that streak. I personally have a much harder time procrastinating or letting myself miss a day when I know that my calendar, writing journal, or Excel spreadsheet will then show an empty space where my wordcount should be. There’s just something about seeing that uninterrupted string of wordcounts or symbols that can be great encouragement to keep it going!
As you continue, your writing habit will grow stronger and stronger! The best times to write varies for everyone. Some write best in the early morning, others excel at night, and still others prefer to squeeze it in midday, or to write in little spurts throughout the day. The point is to find what works best for you, and then continue to develop that habit. Starting with a very manageable goal of 100 words is a fantastic way to grow in that habit, and the more you stick to it, the easier it will be to continue. Writers write!
Community and Accountability
One of my favorite things about writing challenges like this is that I know I’m not alone. There are plenty of other people working toward the same goal as me, struggling with the same time constraints, and figuring out ways to meet their wordcounts anyway. Go Teen Writers is such an encouraging community, and it’s an added blessing to get to work hard at something like this with others supporting you.
It’s also an excellent way to stay accountable. At the end of the 100 days, you send in your spreadsheet (they have one you can download on their page), or your record of how much you wrote each day, and if you’ve reached the goal, they’ll add your name to the list on their website of people ‘that totally rock’. It’s just another reason to do your best and stay motivated to work on your manuscript over those 100 days! Wouldn’t it be neat to see your name on that list (you totally rock anyway, but still…)?
Whether you’ve done plenty of writing challenges before or none, if you’d like to make steady progress on your writing projects and develop some good habits, I’d highly recommend jumping in on this. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? At worst, you’d at least write some words, and at best, you could write a lot. Though I don’t know what my summer will look like, I’m going to give this my best shot, and I’m looking forward to the extra push to work on my projects!
Once again, here’s the link to head over and learn more/sign up for this challenge: Hi, I’m the link! If you do sign up, feel free to post in the comments below and tell me! I’d love to be your cheerleader as you embark on the journey.
Also, let me know, have you done any writing challenges before? If so, did you enjoy them, or not so much? What have you found most helpful in developing good writing habits? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
1. Last year, I wrote a series of posts about my experience doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – another challenge!). You can find those posts here.