I’ve never taken part in NaNoWriMo, and I don’t see a day I ever do. It’s not that I’m against it, but…it always seems I have other writing projects moving along when November rolls around. (I’m not willing to set those things aside to take on a new challenge.) Still, I think it’s cool that every November, a bunch of people set out to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
Challenges don’t have to be big…
I see people on Twitter who tweet that they plan to do an hour-long writing blast beginning at a certain time, and others jump in for that hour. It’s a comforting feeling, knowing people use that time to separate from the world and do something they love, knowing there are others doing the same at that exact moment in time.
1000 Words of Summer
Every summer, Jami Attenberg puts together a challenge called the 1000 Words of Summer Project. The gist is simple: for two weeks each summer, people shoot for writing 1000 words a day. Some use the time to make progress on novels, while others write a small pile of blog entries. Others write short stories or essays. If you can write it, you can count it.
It’s the only writing challenge I’ve ever done; in part, because it’s not too hard to plan out a handful of chapters in a novel and just write. It’s not so much that you end up writing for the sake of hitting numbers, leaving you with a bit of a mess to clean up. (I have never been one who puts down big daily word counts. I’d rather let things simmer a bit so the best way through becomes apparent. But that’s just me…others thrive on word counts.)
Some years I’ve written more than 14,000 words in the two weeks, and other times I’ve only knocked out half the count (but still made good progress on projects).
I’ve not given this year’s 1000 Words of Summer challenge much thought, but with it starting on Monday, I’m considering it. I have plenty of stories lined up for Not About Lumberjacks, and know roughing several out could be a great use of the challenge. (Not finishing them, because there comes a point in my process where it’s all down, and edits may mean removing words or just adding 25 – 100 of the right words the story needs. Sometimes, for days.)
I can knock out plenty of blog entries as well…or work on essays. Hell, I can even return to the latest in-progress novel.
The 1000 Words of Summer challenge comes at a good time for me this year. I’ve been looking at what I do a bit differently these past few months, and it’s time to get back to moving forward. It’s not that I’ve not been writing, but this spring has seen me not writing as much as usual.
And so, while writing this, I’ve decided that — come Monday — I’ll have some rough notes made over this weekend ready, and I will wake up in a little bubble…and write.
Paul Lamb says
Good luck with this, friend. I hope you give an assessment of your success or discovery at the end.
I know I could not write like this. I spend a couple of hours this morning working on a new story and got perhaps 200 words written, but in those words I profoundly changed the direction (and depth) of the story, and I consider that a successful writing session. Had I tried to add another 800 words to the morning’s count, they would have been forced and likely unhelpful. My new direction needs to gestate in my little brain for a while.