Happy Saturday! It’s time for the first Writerland Challenge Check-In. For those of you who are on Twitter, I have created a list of all the Twitter challengers who gave me their handles. If you are on Twitter and are not yet on the list, leave your Twitter handle below in comments, and I will add you. For everyone else, I encourage you to follow your fellow challengers, so you can hold each other accountable. Be sure to use the hashtag #TTWC, so we can all follow along.
My wonderful software engineer husband has created a forum for challengers to discuss their writing goals and obstacles along with any questions and advice they may have for each other. The design is still in progress, but I’ve added a list of everyone who has joined the challenge and their goals, so you can communicate with each other and cheer each other on. Take a look! If your name/goal are missing, let me know and I’ll add you.
My motto this week has been “Something’s gotta give.” Before November I had fallen into a busy but manageable rhythm of blogging once a week, working out four times a week (running twice, swimming and doing weights twice), doing a lot of book editing, and spending a lot of times with my kids. (I made their Halloween costumes. I chaperoned a field trip.) The problem was, I wasn’t writing. At all. I was tempted by NaNoWriMo, but I knew I’d drop out after about three days of attempting to go from 0 to 1666 words a day. And, although I do want to write a novel some day, I have two memoirs in progress that need revision, so it made no sense for me to start a new book until I finished those. Thus began the 2013 Writerland Challenge. My goal for the month is to write 500-1000 words a day. I spent the first two days not writing at all, not even sure where to begin. Then I wrote 1200 words. Then I wrote 300 more and revised all of them. I turned that chapter in to my writers’ group and had it critiqued two days later. That felt good! Then I interviewed a friend for another chapter, and I did some reading and research for that chapter. That’s it. Not exactly 500-1000 words a day (I wrote 2435 total, falling short of my 3500-7000-word goal, and half of 40% of those words were notes.) But I am soldiering on!
Don’t Get Discouraged
One thing I’ve learned about goals is that I tend to set them high and fall short. Yes, I could lower my goals and strive harder to reach them, but I like challenging myself, and I’d probably achieve about the same either way. I’ve also learned that there’s no point in beating yourself up when you fall short. Didn’t write 1000 words yesterday? Didn’t exercise? Didn’t finish reading that book? Today’s a new day, a chance to begin again, so forget about yesterday and achieve those goals today!
The best way to lose weight isn’t to run 10 miles once every couple of weeks. It’s to get out there and run two miles every day. The key is to keep at it, day after day, week after week. Writing is the same way. If you put in the time to write those 500 words a day, you’d be surprised at how quickly you accumulate chapters in just a few short months. But thinking about it and talking about it isn’t going to do the trick. The only way to get your writing done is to sit down and write. And write. And write.
So, after you let us know in comments below how your goals went this week, and after you check out the new Writerland forum, get offline and write!