It's January... a chance for a new start.
What are your writing plans for 2012?
I'm jumping into ebooks full force, starting with launching three "true" short story ebooks on Amazon in January, which I'm putting the finishing touches on, now. I've even updated my About Julie page and added the ebook covers.
What daily writing goal are you willing to commit to for the next 100 days to start bringing your 2012 goals to life?
- The number of minutes or hours per day that you're going to write
- The number of words or pages per day that you're going to produce
- The number of scenes or sections per day that you're going to complete
Consistency is the key to success when pursuing a long term goal. Don't be afraid to experiment with the amount of time, or content, that you're committing to in order to discover the amount that challenges and stretches you, without putting you into overwhelm
I've designed a 100 Day Writing Challenge tracking sheet that you can use for this, or any 100 Day Writing Challenge. I've printed my sheet on card stock so it will last 100 days.
You can also use the 100 Day Challenge to build your author's platform or promote your book. Your promotional goal can be:
- Do 1 to 3 things every day to promote your book (interview, article, networking, etc.)
- Write 100 blog posts in 100 days
- Post daily to Twitter and Facebook
- Create an opt-in offer, and drive traffic to it daily to build your email list
Depending on what your writing or promotional commitment is, you can put a check mark in the day's box; the number of hours, words, or pages you've written; or the number of promotional tasks you've done. Since my commitment is to work an hour a day on an ebook I'm writing, I'm going to put a check mark in the box for an hour's writing, and the number of hours I wrote if I went longer.
There are three ways you can do a 100 Day Writing Challenge.
- The Positive Reinforcement Method: In this writing challenge, you only keep track of the days you write. Every day you meet your goal, put a check mark in one of the boxes. If you miss a day, it's not recorded on the sheet in any way. In other words, if you wrote seven of the first ten days then the first seven boxes would have a check mark in them, and then whenever you wrote next you'd put a check mark in day eight. So the challenge sheet would keep track of 100 writing days, no matter how many days it took you to achieve this.
PROS: Since you're only keeping track of your successes--of the days that you write--this method gives you a powerful dose of positive reinforcement. If you can't write every day, let's say your commitment is to write three days a week, then this can give you a sense of accomplishment over time. You'll see how those three days add up over the weeks and months that you're working on a project.
CONS: Since you're not keeping track of how many days you missed in-between writing days, it could have been one day, or it could have been five days. You want to be careful to stay consistent and make an effort to write every day (or however many days you're committed to) so that you don't lose momentum.
- The Box a Day Method: In this writing challenge, you fill in a box every day whether it's with a check mark to show that you wrote, or an X to show that you didn't write. So your 100 Day Writing Challenge will take 100 days, no matter how many of those days you actually write.
PROS: By keeping track of how many days you write, and how many you don't, you get a real sense of your writing habits. You also have a visual incentive to get you (and keep you) writing. If you see that you've missed two days in a row, you're more likely to write on that third day than if you weren't keeping track.
CONS: If you see that you've missed more days than you feel comfortable with, it could have the effect of discouraging you. If this should happen, throw the tracking sheet away!
It's important that you find a writing practice that works for you. Whenever you try something new, look at it as an experiment. After playing with it for awhile, ask yourself: "Is it helping and inspiring me, getting in my way, or not having much effect at all?" Be honest about what doesn't work for you, and be willing to let it go in order to find what does work.
- The 100 Days or Bust Method: To complete this challenge, you must write for 100 days straight. This means that if you miss a day, no matter how far along in the challenge you may be, you have to start all over again at day one.
PROS: This will kick you into gear! I've done it. Once you've had to start over a couple of times you will do ANYTHING to complete your commitment for the day. If you're not feeling well, you'll do it. If you have company, you'll do it. If you get into bed and then realize you haven't written, yet, you'll get out of bed and do it. It's an amazing learning experience, and habit builder.
CONS: The larger your commitment, the less this works. There will often be days when you're about to go to sleep and realize you haven't written, yet. On those days, you may be able to push through and write for half an hour, or even an hour, but I doubt you could push through and write for three hours. And yet... this challenge might be just the incentive you need to get you to start writing earlier in the day. As always, do whatever works for you.
The last thing to consider in a 100 Day Writing Challenge is the word that sits alone at the bottom of the challenge tracking sheet--Celebrate!
Before thinking about how you'll celebrate the completion of the challenge, think about what you'll be celebrating. Yes, you'll be celebrating:
- 100 days of writing
- a new (or stronger) habit of productivity
- the completion of the book you're working on (or, at least, completion of a substantial portion of it)
- new insights and understanding about your writing process
But what does this mean to you? How will it make you feel? How will it change how you see yourself? How will it change how others see you? How will it change your business?
Take the 2 or 3 strongest results from the questions above, and list them to the left of the word, "Celebrate," on the bottom of your tracking sheet. Then, to the right of the word, list how you would like to celebrate the completion of the challenge--and make it a celebration or reward worthy of your accomplishment. Make it something you want and are looking forward to, something worth writing for.
Download the 100 Day Writing Challenge Tracking Sheet.
This is a do-it-yourself writing challenge.
If you'd like some coaching and support around writing, blogging, ebooks, platform building, or promotion to start 2012 off strong, I offer new clients an introductory hour-long coaching session for $50 (that's 60% my normal hourly rate). You can get more info here.