Want to write more this year? You probably already know what to do–write daily. Ideally, you’d do it before the other demands of your day start, but that’s not always realistic. Plus some of us are just not morning people, so it’d be great if we could stop valorizing early birds.
You probably don’t write on an ancient typewriter, like the one in the picture above. Whatever works for you is great–but if you want to put some money on it, it’s even better.
But, still, the only way to write is to… write. How to do it? I like the Pomodoro method (which I use not just for writing but for grading, housekeeping, and other painful tasks), though by the time I get into writing, I’m too focused on it to want to log anything. But whatever gets your fingers moving is great!
Like most humans, I’m shame-averse. But not enough to actually change my behavior based on what others think of me. (That’s kind of the entire challenge of adolescence, yes? And I’m happy to be done with it.) And I’m not competitive–I just have never been one to compare myself to others. I figure we’re on different journeys, at different paces, with different goals. So “making my goals public” or engaging in “friendly competition” has never been a motivator for me. So challenges that require me to share my results or beat other people are out.
But money… That’s a motivator.
So here’s how the Any Good Thing writing challenge works:
- You commit to writing at least 400 words each day for five days of the week, Sunday through Saturday. That’s 2000 words per week or 8000 words–an academic article, 16 blog posts, 8 book reviews, a chapter in a novel…whatever you are aiming for–in 4 weeks.
- Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you are participating. Include this participation-form
- You send me a check for $20 to cover one month of participation or pay via Facebook Payment if we are FB friends. I don’t cash your check…yet.
- Each day that you write, you email what you wrote to email@example.com. (No, I’m not going to read it, but, yes, I’m going to make sure it’s new words each day.)
- If you write 400 words for 5 days a week for 4 weeks, you get all your money back. (Plus probably more.) That’s $1 per day of writing.
- If you write for 19 days of the 20, you get $17 back. If you write for 18 days, you get $14 back. If you write for 17 days, you get $11 back. If you write for fewer than 17 days, though, you surrender the full $20.
- Any funds surrendered for not writing the full 20 days go into a kitty that is divided between all those who wrote each of the 20 days MINUS $5 that will be awarded as a gift card to one 20-day-writer whose name is drawn at random.
This is a free exercise, so there’s no cost to participate (unless, of course, you don’t meet your goals), and all the money pooled goes back to participants.
The first challenge runs from January 8th to February 4; please email me by the 8th with your participation form, and I’ll send you an address for the check then. We’ll start a second session on February 5th. If, as part of this, folks want to do more (share their writing with others, set up a FB group to discuss what they are doing, schedule daily check ins with a writing partner), we can make that happen–just let me know.