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Writerland Challenge 2013 Week One Check-In

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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 Check-In
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!

21 comments to Writerland Challenge 2013 Week One Check-In

  • Hi,
    I wish I could say I've been writing like crazy, but the truth is I haven't managed to squeeze in any writing time at all. The only thing I did is rereading what I've written so far, and mapping out ,sort of , the next several chapters. I hope I have more to say next week. Good luck everyone with your challenges!

    • Meghan Ward

      Sasha, whenever I get stuck, I go back and reread what I've written, so that's the first step to writing more pages! Don't get discouraged. Tomorrow begins a new week! Good luck this week!

  • A+O Curator

    This week was a reminder that not everything is a priority. I teach several classes and have been trying to fit in my writing. I realized that I need to but a few things on the back burner at least until Jan. I also realized how much I love writing. This coming from a guy that hated writing in school settings. Now, it's 1 of my 3 must have's each day. The other 2 are yoga and meditation. I'm training for a marathon that happens on Feb 2. With that in mind, I'm recommitted to being protective of my schedule from other people and my own pitfalls/behaviors. My goal is 801 new words per day between 2 books. this week I hit 1805 words. That's not on pace. It is a good start. Meghan, I love how you compared writing to running. You are in my head. My writing is my marathon and my marathon my writing. Here's to another day to run the write way. By the way, AO Curator is my handle. My name is Anthony Ware. Happy Saturday!!

    • Meghan Ward

      Where do you do/teach yoga, Anthony? I used to do a lot of yoga, and I miss it (When I do do it, I go to a couple different places here in Berkeley.) And I started meditating this year, too, although I've been feeling like you this week: Something's gotta give. I can't do everything. My exercise has been suffering this week. Good luck with the 801 words this week – interesting number!

      • A+O Curator

        I practice at home for the most part. I teach private classes for individuals. I also teach/coach guys the practice of life editing. Yoga in Indianapolis and life editing for guys – in person and via phone/skype. This weekend I did a little editing myself. Narrowed it down to teaching, yoga(my practice), running and writing. No new projects for next 90 days and put several on the back burner. That really helped clear some mental clutter. No writing yesterday. 1731 words today. You are awesome for starting this group.

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    "Don't get discouaged." That's the key. Whatever project, whatever timeline, whatever goal,

    I wrote a blog post about that, before I even had a blog: It was (among other things) about having two unfinished novels and deciding that I was going to finish them by my 50th birthday (which I did).

    Good luck to everybody who's taking the Writerland Challenge!

    • Meghan Ward

      Anthony, thanks for that link! Are you going to join the challenge?

      • Anthony Lee Collins

        Not really feasible right now, I'm afraid. Too many other demands on my time right now (the kind that really have to take top priority). I'm squeezing writing time in when can (and I'm just now figuring out where my new story is going — so that's nice).

  • Jane

    Meghan – I'm not a member of the challenge but your post certainly encouraged me! "Don't Give Up" & "Consistency" – those attitudes, feelings, words will take you through a lot. It got me through and passing the California Bar– surely I can complete a book the same way. Thank you!!

    • Meghan Ward

      If you can pass the Bar, you can write a book, Jane! Good luck, and it's not too late to join the challenge. Just post your goal and Twitter handle, if you have one, and I'll add you.

  • I jumped into this challenge without much forethought about how I might achieve my goals. I spent a lot of unpaid writing time over the last year or two and it became unsustainable. Now I'm spending time on more lucrative projects, but I haven't written (except for blog posts) since July. I really want to carve a little time out to write, because I don't want to go to the grave wondering why I didn't push myself to see if I could successfully publish. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how I will make that time. I won't lie: I'm totally overwhelmed.

    • Meghan Ward

      So am I, Christine! What about 200 words a day? Or 20 minutes a day? Can you do that? Just for November?

  • You are such a wonderful support. I think 20 minutes a day might be doable. I'm going to give it a try. Thank you!

  • Patricia

    I’m meeting my goal of a minimum of two hours a day, writing like crazy for nanowrimo. My problem is that my right arm, neck and shoulders are aching. I want to keep up the pace, just don’t know if I can physically do it.

    • Meghan Ward

      Congratulations, Patricia! Can you get some help for your arm, neck, and shoulders? I had the same problem last week and went to a chiropractor twice. Pain is gone.

  • Maia

    I've been writing every day but I haven't kept track of how much. This week I'll keep better tabs on what I write. I worked on two different chapters that are at different stages of completion.

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