Thursday, January 29, 2015

Writing Every Day - Jeff Goins' 500 Words Challenge

I've been writing for a long time in my life, but I've honestly suffered from trying to find the time and effort to write the way I want.  I think that stems from a major flaw in the approach I've had to writing - I would usually only write if I had a couple of hours or more to sit and get into it.  In the end, that approach seems to be the same as sitting at the starting line of a race and waiting until the right race is about to start (so, not very productive).

I've been reading a lot more lately about how other writers approach their craft.  Major authors will write lots every day, but what about the rest of us?  What about those of us who want to write for fun but also have other pursuits and careers that take up a good deal of our time?  One of the best pieces of advice that just about everyone who writes successfully (whether or not they are publishing or have a large audience) is to write a small bit every day through setting little writing goals.  Sounds pretty straightforward, though there are various approaches.  Some people think that setting little word limit goals is too stressful (what if I can't get past the first sentence?).  Some people suggest only using small time limits (I'm going to write hardcore for 15 minutes and then be done!).  Some people suggest taking various kinds of cues (like a random image search each day and then write about the day's image).  Whatever the ways are that people are setting their goals, it sounds like there are a lot of folks who are getting it done.

Last night, just before slipping down to bed for my nightly reading, I came upon the website of a man named Jeff Goins.  The first thing I thought when reading through the info on Goins' site about being a writer was, "Wow, this guy is super excited about getting other people to write!".  Here's a great interview article from CopyBlogger with Jeff Goins talking about how he writes:

Goins had a little writing challenge offered on his website, so I decided to give it a try.  Just as I've been working my way through a 30-day plank challenge to strengthen my transverse abdominus, I like the idea of trying out month-long writing challenges.  Goins' month-long writing challenge is simple: write at least 500 words every day for 31 straight days.  In my recent attempts to write every day, I've been usually landing somewhere between 200 and 1000 words, so I think 500 words a day is doable.  Also, it sounds like fun.  In the coming month, I'll likely post some of the things that I'll be working on as I write every day.  If I do, I'll put "My 500 Words" in the post title.  I don't think 31 days of writing a little bit each day will be enough to make me a great writer, but I do think it will help me to have some fun while finally getting some of my writing ideas actually written (and, just like kicking the digital snot out of a great video game or completing a fitness challenge, having a goal and tracking your progress has been consistently shown to help build confidence and to strengthen your resolve).

Here's to writing!

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