2016 write-every-day challenge

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My lifetime goal is to be a novelist; a working, regularly-published fiction author. In order to take the pursuit of this goal seriously and put the dream into action, and after reading Steven Pressfield's The War of Art, I am challenging myself to write every day in 2016. But because 'write every day' can be interpreted so many way and I have a history of writing a draft of a novel only to let the work drop when life gets in the way, I decided I had better thoroughly design the rules of the challenge. Those rules include writing a minimum of 1,000 of fresh, new text every day and to spend some time editing/reviewing and updating previously finished drafts until they are publishable.

My writing challenge:

  • Write at least 1,000 words of new, first-draft fiction six days a week, every week, for all of 2016. I define first-draft fiction as wholly new text. New pages of first drafts of novels, completely┬ánew chapters or scenes scenes in completed drafts. It is not blog posts, journals, short-stories, but not word count growth during re-writes of existing drafts.
  • I will also work every day to move completed drafts to publishable stage every day (review, edit, type changes, send to beta readers, polish, send out for professional editing and proofing, contract for a cover, publish. I have several to work with. Some that may need to be completely re-written. Some that I need to be honest with myself about and leave them as unpublished.
  • To always have the need for new text, I will also create and maintain a pipeline of story ideas so when one draft is finished, I can move to the next immediately. Which means I must have a story outline ready before I finish the draft of the current story.
  • I will put writing first every day. Which means that I will write first thing, before I start in on my day job, before I clean the house, run an errand, look at Facebook. reply to emails that can wait, etc. When it can't absolutely be the first thing I do, I will be relentless and selfish in taking my writing time so that I don't go to bed having burned my weekly day off on a Wednesday instead of saving it for Sunday when I can do something fun withe the day.
  • I will do all this without letting my day job or family suffer. They can accommodate but not be directly affected to the point of pain. And something in my life is obviously going to give for me to invest the two or three hours a day this challenge is going to require. but if I put writing first, and my job and my family are my priority anyway, the things that will give are the things I'm probably wasting precious writing time on anyway (television, Internet browsing, more television, Internet streaming television).
  • I will track my production diligently so that I can be completely honest with myself (and those I hold myself accountable to) about whether or not I am reaching my goal.
  • I will learn and apply something new about writing fiction every week. And not just the natural lessons I'll learn by working at writing daily. I mean take a lesson from one of the many, many gurus who freely share their thoughts and wisdom on how to approach this chosen field professionally. Like Chuck Wendig. Like Rachel Aaron. Like Jeff Goins. Like Steven Pressfield. Like (you tell me who).
  • Be accountable for meeting my goal. I keep a spreadsheet record of my daily work. if you want to help me be accountable to this goal, contact me and I will share the spreadsheet with you so you can question me, hound me, pester me, or encourage me as you see my progress.

It will be tough. I am sure I will be faced with crisis days, days where I want to chuck the goal, where the thought of chucking the goal will be supported by my psyche and my family and my friends and probably even forgiven by any strangers that choose to help me by holding me accountable to my goal. But, when I complete the year, imagine the production: I will have written at least three complete novels to bring my lifetime total unpublished novels to eight (or more). I am excited that I will have advanced one or two of them to the published level.  I look forward to learning a ton about writing by the end of the year, hopefully to the good.

So far, I'm thirteen-days into my challenge and have reached the goal every day. I didn't even take a weekly day off yet. I'm nervous about the challenge. I'm daunted by what I've taken on. But I am going to kick this challenge's ass (in case you were wondering).

What about you? Have you taken on a challenge like this for yourself? How did it go? What could you share about your experience? What would you change if you did it again?

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