This content is cross-posted over at http://jrfrontera.com/ by our own J.R. Frontera. (say that 5 times fast!)
If you are a writer and sometimes struggle with having the motivation to meet your word count or editing goals (so, like, all of us?), and you’re notparticipating in the monthly writing challenges on Twitter, your only two excuses had better be that you’ve never heard of it, or you don’t have a Twitter account.
As to the first excuse, go here and be educated. As for the second excuse … why are you a writer without a Twitter account!? But that discussion is for another day, so let’s move on.
I’ve joined the Twitter Writing Challenges on and off for a few months over the past year or so, and here are the top 5 reasons why I LOVE it, and why you should give it a try, too:
1. ACCOUNTABILITY. Writers like to be alone because it means they can procrastinate and not actually write. Stop doing that. Stop being alone. Express your goals to other people and then let those other people hold you accountable. I am the personality type who will go through hell and high water to keep my promises made to other people, but promises to myself are as strong as wet tissue paper. Being a part of these Writing Challenges prevents my word count and editing goals from being usurped by other pressing matters in life (you know, like doing the dishes and laundry or watching tv).
2. AVAILABILITY: Even if you are lucky enough to have found a writing group (which I have, hooray!), they won’t appreciate you excitedly updating them on your writing progress every single day for a month straight, especially if those updates come in at odd hours of the day, such as very early in the morning or very late at night. The beauty of these online Writing Challenges is that the participants are spread all over the world, and can see your updates whenever they check the hashtag, no matter what time it is. Thus, instant sharing without the spamming.
3. ENCOURAGEMENT: We writers really like encouragement and praise. Writing is hard. It’s an emotional and motivational boost if even just one other Challenge participant replies to one of your progress update tweets with “Hey congrats!” or “Way to stick with it!” or “Wow nicely done!” or “You can do it, keep it up!” Simple words, my friends, but they go a very long way when you’re slogging through a seemingly endless manuscript.
4. COMRADERY: There are no nasty people on this hashtag. I’ve never seen any snarkiness, meanness, grouchiness … nothing negative at all in all my months participating in these challenges. These are very supportive and positive people. They all have similar goals as you, they all know what it’s like to be a writer. They understand what you’re doing on a level non-writers don’t. They will feel your pain and your joy. Often you will see the same people there month after month. You will become friends. You will follow each other. You will help each other. It’s a great group!
5. REACHABLE GOALS: Some people shy away from National Novel Writing Month because the goal there seems too big for them. It seems impossible. The monthly Twitter Challenges have very reachable goals, bite-sized word counts and editing times that nevertheless add up over the course of the month. You’d be surprised how quickly you can write 500 words in a day, or how simple it becomes to devote 1 hour of your day to focused editing. And tweeting out an update, or scanning the hashtag to drop a few words of encouragement to others takes only a few minutes. Don’t believe me? Give it a try and see what you think. You have absolutely nothing to lose, and so much to gain!
To demonstrate how helpful #SeptWritingChallenge was for me this past month, I have compiled all of my writing and editing progress for the month and listed it below.
Sept 1: 1.5 hours editing SF novel
Sept 2: 1 hour editing SF novel
Sept 4: 1.5 hours editing SF novel
Sept 5: 1.5 hours editing SF novel
Sept 6: 3.5 hours editing on SF novel
Sept 9: 2.5 hours editing on SF novel
Sept 10: 1.5 hours editing on SF novel
Sept 14: 2.5 hours editing on SF novel
Sept 15: 1 hour editing on SF novel
Sept 16: 2.5 hours editing on SF novel
Sept 21: 1.5 hours editing on SF novel
Sept 22: 1 hour editing on SF novel
Sept 23: 1 hour editing on SF novel
Sept 24: 1 hour editing on SF novel
Sept 25: 458 words on nonfiction outline
Sept 27: 30 minutes editing SF novel
Sept 28: 3 hours editing on the SF novel, 350 words on children’s story
Sept 29: 2 hours editing, 1 hr on my SF novel and 1 hr on friend’s fantasy novel
Sept 30: 670 words on nonfiction, 1.5 hours editing SF novel
That’s a total of 30.5 hours editing this month (not counting a few more hours I spent on an author friend’s fantasy novel), plus 1478 words written on other projects (not counting some rewriting done on the SF novel, which was counted in editing time). These things work!
Hope to see you around on #OctWritingChallenge!
❤ J. R. Frontera and the Wordwraiths!