A Round of Words in 80 Days

I learned a lot from NaNoWriMo, the first lesson being that it’s not a good platform for me. The required word count was just too much. It was easy to reach some days. On others, it was impossible. That led to the following day’s requirement being even higher, which became harder to reach … lather, rinse, repeat. I had high hopes, but it didn’t take long to realize there was simply no way. Once I got behind, I stayed behind.

Another lesson I learned may be the most important one: fiction is not my forte. I can write fiction. Sometimes I write pretty good fiction, but to concentrate on fiction and nothing else leaves me reeling from a lack of self-esteem and an even bigger motivation deficit.

So what’s a writer to do? I like the idea of having a goal, of holding that goal up for the world to see, but I need a goal that’s more customizable.

That’s where A Round of Words in 80 Days saves the day.

ROW80 is an 80-day writing challenge you customize to fit your needs. There are four rounds per year; the first one for 2013 runs from January 7  to March 28. If you miss the kick-off day (Monday), no worries. You can start at any point in the cycle.

This challenge is enticing because not only do you set the goal, you can set any goal you want: word count, page count, time spent per day or even per week . Whatever works for you is fair game. It doesn’t have to be fresh fiction, either. You can use the goal to edit a work in progress or work on a second draft. It doesn’t even have to be fiction. You can write whatever you want. Expository, poetry, whatever!

All wonderful, yes? But wait, there’s more!

You can change your goal at any time.

That’s the selling point for me. If I set a goal and life takes a hard turn, all I have to do is set a different goal. How awesome is that?

The only “rule” for ROW80 is you must have a blog for check -ins. Any blog will do – your personal one or a throw-away you set up just for the challenge. On check-in days – Wednesdays and Sundays – you write up a progress post and link it from the ROW80 blog.

I’m looking forward to this. I know there will be bumps along the way and rough patches while I figure out what works best for me (not to mention what area of writing I want to concentrate on), but this is such a low-key setup, I’m not even worried about those bumps.

I’m simply excited to write, knowing I have only my own goals by which to measure myself.

By Brenda

40-something-something stay home mom, floating somewhere between traditional and strange. I’m addicted to music, making things and my computer.

13 replies on “A Round of Words in 80 Days”

I did NaNo but I did it on my own terms, which made it much less stressful. I didn’t make the 50K words but I did get roughly 43K and change and, more to the point, I got from beginning to end with the basic story I wanted to tell.

Now I have some major editing and rewriting to do but standard rules aside, NaNo worked for me.

I’m sure part of my lack of success was simply too few attempts under the belt – with no way of knowing what helped or hurt previous times, I only went by their terms. If I ever get to where fiction isn’t so hard for me (if I can get all the rust knocked off, I think it’s possible), I might contemplate another swing a few years down the road.

If there’s one thing people seem to not like, it’s the blog rule. But there’s no rule you have to actually blog, if that helps. You only have to post enough to show your progress or set/change your goal.

This is only the second year of it, so maybe down the road it will change to a different check-in system.

I’m really hoping it’s going to be the final piece I need to get back into a daily writing schedule. I’m going to start with splitting the word count between fiction and expository (or whatever the non-fiction shit I pull out of my ass is :-), and if I can figure out a good way to measure it, I’d like to get back to poetry.

I think that’s what so appealing about this one, it’s so laid back you can jump in whenever you’re ready and you aren’t starting from behind.

Well, that and being able to start with a low goal to test my limit. I’d rather start low and readjust than come out of the gate with this huge number looming in front of me.

The Burn Out Prevention Factor is really appealing!!! I am still in awe of folks who can blog everyday. Try as I might, I just can’t squeeeeeeze that much time for writing into my schedule! Sometimes weekly blogs are difficult, so I always love knowing that NOT blogging daily is NOT breaking a sacred blog rule. Thanks for posting this!!
Warmly, Dr. Deah

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