100 Day Writing Challenge
About a month ago, I decided I wanted to write for a living. There are hosts of blogs that offer writing resources, tips, tricks, grammar advice, publishing how-to’s, etc. It’s all remarkably helpful and I enjoy the musings of other writers, but there is one thing in common with every book, author, and article I find- in order to be a good writer, you must write everyday. No other way around it.
Inspired by the 30 Hubs in 30 Days challenge, I decided to create my own challenge.
Half a million words in 100 days.
That sounds sort of obscene put that way, but I’ll break it down. And, I have to say, it's technically more than 100 days because I give myself the weekends off (or time to stockpile words).
Hubbers on Writing I Like
- cclitgirl on HubPages
She has some fantastic articles on grammar that I love, so much in fact- I've linked her RSS feed to my personal blog. She rocks!
- Make Money as a Freelance Writer 17 Niches You Should Consider
An article about the freelance writing niches available. I read it this morning and thought it was a good read!
The basic plan
In order to accomplish this, I need to write 5000 words a day. An average hub hovers around 1000 words, a personal blog entry between 500-1000 words, 1000 words on my memoir, 1000 words in private journal, and 1000 words in copywriting jobs. Realistically, it means I’ll be writing 3-4 hours a day. For someone who wants to write for a living, don't regular jobs put in 40 hours a week? Considering there are other aspects to writing (such as research, reading, etc.) I'm dedicating half a work today to actually putting pen to paper.
I have a drummer friend who practices at least four hours a day. Runners, chefs, surgeons, and carpenters all must log thousands of hours before deemed ready for the professional world. Why with writing do we think it’s any different?
Of course there is that one in a million chance that you are the next great author and the right publisher discovers your work, but more often than not- best selling authors work hard and write constantly.
Journal Writing Explained
- Keeping a Journal- Morning Writing for Writers
Step by step instructions for writers who want to learn the art of journaling as a way to inspire great work.
Focusing in on different kinds of writing
I’m not going to get all down on myself if I can’t write in every category every day. If I can accomplish 5000 words a day, I’ll consider my challenge a roaring success. But I do want to make sure I’m honing lots of different skills; not just the ability to rant and rave on the Internet. Here are the focus areas I want to work on. I suggest you write yours down as well.
- Hub Articles- These can be informative, creative, or both. I tend to like the more informational with a twist of humor, so that’s my plan.
- Personal Blog- Ranting and raving hotspot. I give myself this outlet so it doesn’t eek into my other writing.
- Memoir- This is my long term project, but for you it may be a fiction novel, a non-fiction book, or some other large project. Learning the art of self-discipline is something I need. I like the quick projects- ones with a start and finish. I need practice with endurance and long term rewards.
- Journal- What’s the difference between this and the blog writing? I aim to do it first thing in the morning before my day gets going. I want to get the best of my early morning creativity. Whether I write about what I’m going to do, secret dreams, or the argument I had yesterday, this is where inspiration is born. It’s not meant for the world, just for you. A swirly concoction of creativity just waiting for some magic.
- Copywriting- Right now, this is where I can make immediate money. Whether it’s SEO articles, translation, rewrites, whatever- I am going to take on a couple jobs a week so I can pull in some dough. While dreadfully dull, it does help to sharpen your skills with grammar and SEO.
Put the computer (or notebook) away!
When you write at home for a living, it seems like the job is never over. There isn’t a clock or a change of scenery. You can easily work until all hours of the night- that subtle pervasive, “you’re not good enough” feeling overtaking your every thought. Once I hit 5000 words, unless a story calls to me, I will put the laptop away for awhile. Give myself time to smell some flowers, cook a good meal, enjoy my dog. Live life so that I have something to write about.
I have a vacation planned in a couple of weeks and I will take a break from the 100 day challenge for about a week. No need to make it consecutive, after all- its my own self-inflicted torture.
If I generally follow my plan five days a week, I’ll be done by Christmas 2012 (that’s giving myself the weekends off). That sounds about right; dedicating at least the rest of 2012 to a crash course in writing for a living. Care to join me?
Week One 6/29/12: I'm heading into the weekend with about 1700 words still left to write. That should be easy enough because I've given myself two days off from the 5000 quota, so I'll squeeze out 1700 easily with two journal entries. **EDITED to add: I did it!
I'm going to say that if it was the school year, 5000 wouldn't be all that hard (six hours without kids underfoot). Summertime isn't easy though. Lots of beach and sun and activities to distract me.
Week Two 7/6/2012: Okay, at the end of this holiday week, I am in the hole about 5500 words. Since I'm heading on vacation, I'll be sure to squeeze those in somewhere so I'm not behind when I begin again on Monday July 16th, 2012.
**Week 3 Vacation UPDATE (7.13.12) Well, I wrote a total of 11,400 words this week (my vacation, so I wasn't counting) between private journaling, hubs, and personal blogs. I needed 5500 of those to make up for my slacking on week two, which means I'll start Day 11 on Monday July 16th with 5900 extra words.
Week Four 7/20/2012: Okay, I met my goals BUT only because of my giant stockpiling from the vacation week. I still have 200 words to make up on the weekend, which will be a breeze....but the editing job I took on is kicking my butt!! I have used so much time with that project that it hampered my creative writing time. I am finding I have to stockpile on the weekends to keep up with the demand during the week.
Week Five 7/27/2012- Met my goal but it seems that the weekend stockpiling is saving my butt. I can't always squeeze out the 5000 in a day so I use the weekends to continue writing and banking my extra words. I use almost all of them in a week- so it seems that the 5000 a day is a tough goal. I'll be curious what happens next week when I don't have much time to stockpile.
Week Six 8/3/2012 - I was 300 words in the hole going into the weekend, which I easily made up on Saturday morning. I am holding steady so far, BUT only because I stockpile on the weekend. At least three days a week, I can't make it to the 5000 mark, but I have to remind myself, I am home with the kids full time right now! I am hoping in the fall, the 5000 won't be hard to reach. Also, I have been slacking in the creative department; concentrating mostly on copywriting and hubpages.
Week Seven 8/10/2012- 950 words in the hole by the end of the week. So I have some writing to do on the weekend. **And I did**
Week Eight 8/17/2012- I made it! Even had a little bit left over.
Week Nine 8/24/2012- Goal! With lots of extra to spare
Week Ten 8/31/2012- In the hole almost 2500 words because I spent the week editing my new book! It came out on the kindle a couple of days ago and it's called Writing Through the Chaos. I have to kick some butt this weekend if I am going to make it up. **I did!**
Week Eleven 9/7/2012- Halfway done! I am seriously in the hole this week, due to a lot of other writing chores like blog re-design and editing of my manuscript. We'll see how it goes.
Week 12 9/14/2012- Even though I caught up from last week's deficit, I'm in the hole this week. Too many things going on. I think this is the first time since I started that I haven't been able to make my goal- even with the weekend to catch up.
Week 13 9/21/2012 - Landed in the hole again. There is no way to play catch up. So I am simply going to brush myself off, and start fresh on the new week.
Week 14 9/28/2012 - Goal!
Week 15 10/5/2012 - Goal!
Week 16 10/12/2012- Fail! I had visitors so it didn't happen.
Week 17 10/19/2012- Goal! This week was brutal, but I got it done!
Week 18 10/26/2012- Not quite Goal- but I will surely make it up on the weekend.
Week 19 11/2/2012- Two Words: Hurricane Sandy.
Only ten days left...I've noticed that I can "feel" 5000 words now. I get about how long it takes me. That's kind of cool isn't it?
Week 20 11/9/2012 - Two More Words: Anderson Cooper
Week 21 11/16/2012 - I made my goal this week. NaNoWriMo helped.
And that folks- is the end of my 100 day writing challenge. Holy cow I did it! I didn't totally succeed, but I came close!
Brutally honest updates continued here: Life According to Julie