A Round of Words in 80 Days: A Writing Journey

Where Can Writing Take You…?

Someone on Twitter was fab enough to point me towards this amazing 80-day challenge. As my husband can attest, I’ve very goal-oriented, and respond better to external prods than internal ones. That’s unfortunate for some who is self-employed, and particularly difficult for a writer.

Although it has it’s critics among professional writers, I LOVE NaNoWriMo because it provides that push. But I couldn’t handle it more than once a year. And while it’s a great way to get a lot of ideas down in a short time – ideal for my style of first drafting – it doesn’t do much to help me develop consistent writing habits.

That’s where A Round of Words in 80 Days comes in. This brand-new challenge, started by Kait Nolan, will kick in four times a year. Someone on Twitter pointed me towards it the day after it started, and I’m in! The timing was perfect because I’d already made a bunch of commitments to myself and my writing. What I lacked was accountability, and that’s what this challenge provides.

Like NaNo, there’s no prize for sticking with it, and no penalty for failure. No problem. I can provide those myself 🙂 I do guilt really well, and I bought myself some great fingerless gloves, and a tablet for winning NaNo.

Round Two! April 4 – June 23, 2011

Round Two starts on Monday. I thought about why Round One was less successful than I’d hoped, and wrote about it in this home-stretch post. With eighty more days of wisdom under my belt, I’m ready to tackle Round Two.

Here’s a summary of my Round Two Goals, with more details below:

  1. Writing: 600 words/day, 5 days/week + daily morning pages
  2. Blogging: 3 posts/week = Sunday check-in, Wednesday post with a check-in, Friday post.
  3. Learning: one lesson/week of the Artist’s Way + some part of the How To Think Sideways course material/week.

1. Writing

My goals will evolve over the next few weeks, as I settle into my next writing project. I’m in a bit of a weird space: I’ve finished one novel, and want to revise it, but feel like it really needs to breathe a bit. So, for now I’ll put it aside, with the expectation that it will sneak back onto my goals list when I’m ready for it (probably before). Consider yourself warned!

In the meantime, I plan to start something new.  What, I have no idea – or rather, no end of ideas, which is usually my problem. But whatever I decide on, it will require regular writing, so that’s what I’m going to aim for. I’ve given myself daily goals, but outside of NaNoWrimo, those have been only marginally successful. I’m often not able to write at all on Fridays and Saturdays, due to family and religious constraints (I don’t use my computer on the Jewish Sabbath), and end up feeling like I should make up the time later.

This time around, I’m going for a weekly goal. I like the flexibility: I can do it all in a few chunks or spread it out over a number of days. I know near-daily writing is said to be ideal, and I will strive for that. But knowing that a few days of interference (read: life) won’t totally set me back will help me stay with the goal for the long run.

I will also commit to daily morning pages, as described (prescribed!) in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (more on that below)

Weekly writing goal: 3000 words (600 words/day, 5 days/week), plus morning pages

2. Blogging & Online Check-ins

Thank to a wonderful class given by social media maven Kristen Lamb, I’ve put a lot of time into revamping my blog, and recently increased my schedule to 2x a week (Wednesday and Friday). So, one goal will be to maintain that schedule of regular posts.

I realized that part of my downfall during Round One was skipping out on the twice-weekly check-ins (Sunday and Wednesday). For the next eighty days I’ll add a brief Sunday check-in to my blog schedule (bringing it to 3x/week). The Wednesday one will be included in my regular post.

Weekly blogging goal: posts 3x/week. Regularly-scheduled posts on Wednesday and Friday, ROW 80 check-ins Wednesday, and Sunday.

3. Learning

I am new to writing. The whole idea of giving time and energy to creative expression is new to me. And what any newbie needs is the opportunity to learn. So, I’m going to establish some learning goals for the next three months.

Many people have recommended The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It includes a 12-week program for discovering or recovering your creativity.  I’m working on the latter, and will use this round of ROW 80 to pace myself, one chapter/lesson per week. Daily morning pages – three longhand pages written as soon as you wake up – are one of the critical tools of this program.

I am also taking an online self-paced course by Holly Lisle called “How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers” (HTTS). I stopped progressing through it when when I started wrestling with revise versus write on my current novel. (I’m also enrolled in her “How to Revise Your Novel” Course :-)) I want to get back up to speed on HTTS, but since it varies from week to week, I’m not going to set a specific goal of one lesson a week. Instead, I’ll commit to working on the course material at least once a week.

FYI: I like Holly’s courses so much that I’ve become an affiliate, which means that I receive a commission for everyone who hears about the course from me and signs up. If you think you’d like to take them yourself, please click on one of these links so I get the credit for the referral. Thanks!

How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers

How to Revise Your Novel

Learning goals: one lesson/chapter of The Artist’s Way, and some part of the HTTS course material each week.

Wish me luck! You can check out the other participants’ goals here.

Danielle Meitiv is an oceanographer by training, an advocate for all things marine and a writer of science fiction and non-fiction. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate of Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Brave Blue Words, and Danielle Meitiv.


17 thoughts on “A Round of Words in 80 Days: A Writing Journey

  1. I wish you the best of luck! This is an ambitious plan, that requires a lot of self-discipline, which i am sure you have! I wouldn’t choose it personally, i prefer setting my own schedule…but i am very happy that you decided to follow it, since this is what you wanted! Aim for the stars!

  2. I am by no means an expert, as I’ve never written a book and only started blogging eight months ago BUT a blogging guru recently told me that the best blogging could/should lead to a book. Envision the book, figure out what questions you need to answer to write the book, then start chipping away at them … and post what you find on your blog.

  3. Those are mighty goals. I’ll cheer you on through twitter and our class with Kristen Lamb. I’m also taking Holly’s class and although I’m behind, I love it. Thanks for the heads up on the 80 days challenge. I will take that up on the next go around.
    Happy writing!

  4. My goodness, Danielle, what an ambitious and admirable schedule and set of goals! You’re putting me to shame. I’m not always good about setting word-count or time goals for my writing, but I love the Artist’s Way, and the name of my blog, the Artist’s Road, is an homage to Julia Cameron.

  5. so glad you’re back – good goals – I like weekly rather than daily goals – although writing is a daily routine for me I like to be able to move somewhere else if needs be without he stupid guilt thing! Good luck this round.

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