We’re almost two weeks into the challenge of writing every day for one hundred days and whether you’ve been feeling like the Little Engine That Could Write The Great American Novel in A Hundred Days or more like a stalled car someone abandoned on the side of the freeway, this is a great time to take some steps to set yourself up well for the rest of this challenge. No matter how things are going now there are quite a few days between us and June 19th, so here are some tips to help you make the very most of this challenge, and to be able to look back on these hundred days and feel truly successful.
- Define what a successful day looks like to you. Be specific and reasonable.
If you haven’t already, set yourself a daily goal for your writing, whether it be in minutes, words, pages, or some other measurement that works for you. For me, it’s been very helpful to set a daily minimum goal of ten minutes and an ideal goal of two hours. The minimum goal is designed to get me back into my project when there are a million reasons to skip writing that day. No matter how busy or tired I am on a given day, ten minutes always sounds possible. One of my professors in college said that even if you tell yourself that you only have to write one word, do whatever it takes to get yourself to open your word document, or pull out your notebook, because once you do you’ll often surprise yourself with how many words you have in you that day.
- Make a go-to page to look back on when motivation is low.
Take out a notebook. If you have an ultimate goal for something you want to accomplish by the end of this challenge, such as a certain number of pages written, contest storied submitted, time devoted, or a big project to be completed, write that at the top of the page in big, bold letters. Underline it, circle it, draw stars around it, break out your glitter pens and embellish it. Really, just do whatever you have to do to get yourself excited about that goal. Fill the rest of the page with little things that excite or intrigue you about your current project. What unanswered questions do you have about your plot or characters (if you’re writing that sort of thing)? Is there a facet of your project that could use some research? Think if this page as a little box that you’re filling up with matches, ready for you to strike when your fire has gone out.
- Tell someone in your day-to-day life about the challenge for increased accountability.
While I hope that the Write 100 online community is one whose members spur each other on to meet their goals, having a more personal level of accountability can be a really great bonus motivator. So tell someone you see often about this crazy writing challenge you signed up for (preferably someone inquisitive enough to ask you how it’s going). It’s a lot harder to go to bed without writing if you know that your mom/best friend/significant other/nosy coworker is going to ask you the next day if you’ve managed to keep your streak going. Plus, it gives you more people to celebrate with when you hit big milestones, and I’m all for adding more celebrating to the writing life.
- When all else fails, remember that there’s something about this that you love.
Even if it’s difficult, try to accept the up and downs of the writing process just like you would the ups and downs of life, and do your best to enjoy it them. Remind yourself that the project you’re working on matters to you, and probably to those close to you as well. Take a deep breath, and know that all of the Write 100 crew are behind you. Now close this blog, and get back to the page. You have writing to do!