Monday, November 01, 2010

The Distracted Writers Club 100 Words Per Day Challenge

This article has been deprecated. That's a fancy geek term for outdated and shelfed. As fun as it was to great the iPad graphics and post them on my site, I just found it easier to use the new iPhone app, Lift. It's free, and its built for daily check-ins for habits you're trying to create or break. Read more about it here: Six Ways to Give NaNoWriMo Loafers a Lift

Main Challenge Page

100 Words Per Day Challenge (cc) Douglas CooteyLike the 25 Words Per Day Challenge and the 50 Words Per Day Challenge, the goal of the Distracted Writers Club 100 Words Per Day Challenge is simple: to train distracted and busy writers to write daily.

I was inspired by two things: the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge and NaNoWriMo. One was like a fresh breath of air in a stuffy room and the other felt like a vacuum opened up into space sucking the very life out of me. My problem wasn't being motivated to write. I could write plenty. My problem was that my life was not organized around writing.

Maybe you can relate. You're a writer with good intentions and high enthusiasm who writes around the edges of your busy life. You've started projects like NaNoWriMo and found that although you were emotionally committed to the daily effort, your time schedule was not. Soon you found work, family, responsibilities, life, etc. interfering with your goals. If you were like me you began to fall behind, even feeling guilty, alone, and bereft of human kindness. Your children mocked you, your wife left you for the postman who always delivered, and the neighborhood watch pelted you with rancid fruit.

Or maybe that was just me.

Writing 1667 words per day for NaNoWriMo is a fantastic goal, but it's one thing to make a goal and another to achieve it. If your life isn't structured to make room for the goal, you'll likely never achieve it. I found failing NaNoWriMo despite my enthusiasm very disheartening and stressful. 50,000 words in one month was too big a mouthful to swallow for me.

Hence, the 100 Words a Day Challenge.

100 words per day may seem like a pitifully small number, but not if you forget to make it part of your daily schedule. In my case, I could write 500 one day, 1000 the next, then nothing for several days in a row. I was writing in spurts, then not writing at all. I needed to train my family as much as I needed to train myself for daily writing. Starting small helped us all get used to how important this goal was to me.

What are the rules?

  1. Try to write 100 words a day (pick one of these goals), at least six days a week. You're obviously not limited to such a small amount. Write 50,000 words in one day if you want. Just make sure you write at least another 100 words the next day. And the day after.
  2. Keep at the daily goal for one month. That's 30 days of steady practice. If you make it for 30 days, step up your daily goal.
  3. Go ahead and post the badge as soon as you've written your first 100 words. Just be honest with yourself. You are your only watchman.
  4. Display your badge proudly. You know how big a deal it is. I'm lucky I remember to eat, never mind write, so I know the challenge represents more than a word count. It represents a change in lifestyle. Link back here so others can join in on the fun. Click on one of the badges above for more info.

Where can I get the badges?

Feel free to use any of the following images for your blog. Simply link it back to this page in case others are inspired to take on the challenge as well: 100 Words Per Day Challenge (cc) Douglas Cootey 100 Words Per Day Challenge (cc) Douglas Cootey 100 Words Per Day Challenge (cc) Douglas Cootey

What if I don't like iPads?

You don't have to use an iPad to meet this goal. It just happens to be what I use to write with. If there's demand, I can supply a non-iPadish badge later.

What's to stop someone from posting the badge just for show?

I don't think this is ever going to happen. However, if many days pass without you meeting your daily word count goal, then take the badge off your site. Or catch up. The goals are so small that making up for lost days is possible. If you're going on a long vacation, traveling to Sirius in suspended animation, or you know you're not going to be doing any writing, then you should probably take the badge off your site. Place the appropriate badge up when you're recommitted to the challenge.

What if I find I consistently write less or more than my word count challenge?

This goal isn't meant to cause stress. You're busy. You have a life. But you also want to write. Maybe you need to drop your goal down, or take a hard look at your schedule and carve out some time to meet the goal. You want to choose the goal that allows you to write daily. If you are writing more than the daily challenge, then you're a rockstar. Sounds like you've adapted well to adding writing into your daily schedule. In fact, maybe you're ready for the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge. Good luck!      Follow me on Twitter for my ADHD escapades at @SplinteredMind or my novel writing project over at @DouglasCootey. And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well.