This is the second-to-last check-in for Session One of ROW80, the 80-day writing challenge marathon founded by Kait Nolan that has been the source of inspiration spurring me on to productivity in my writing since January. When ROW80 started, I was coming in fresh of a NaNoWriMo burnout experience and wasn’t sure I was ready for another “writing challenge.”
But ROW80 has been a different experience. The goals are our own, and changeable as life changes for us. And oh, how my life has changed in the past eighty days.
When I began ROW80, I was working full-time for my faith community, and writing was something I did late at night, robbing myself of sleep to accomplish. I began slow, then did better, then slowed again, then finished strong.
And five days ago, I lost my day-job and suddenly, after a long conversation with my wife, we have decided the time has come for me to take my writing seriously. As in, this is what I do now, full-time. No more filling up my weeks scraping for temp-job assignments to bring in some meager pay and rob myself of writing time.
I can think of no bigger change than that.
At my last Sunday check-in, I was still working full-time. I set a goal for my week: 5,000 words at least 1,500 of them coming from EMBER, and by Wednesday’s check-in I had pretty much already surpassed that goal, because I had lost my job one day before check-in.
So, with full-time writing now my main focus, I reset my goals for the second half of the week. EMBER became lower priority because I need to get something on the market as soon as possible, to start bringing in money. EMBER’s a first-draft project and MOST LIKELY…, but YA coming-of-age novel that served as my master’s thesis twenty years ago, only needs to be reentered, updated, revised and reviewed.
So I called for myself to finish out the second half of the week by re-entering at least 9,500 words on MOST LIKELY. The sooner it’s entered, after all, the sooner it can be revised. I’ve even started making mild revisions as I go, when I spot passive voice and other pet peeve flaws.
How did I do? Well, as of Wednesday’s check in, my word count on MOST LIKELY… stood at 7,388 words. As I enter this post tonight, my word count on MOST LIKELY stands at 25,742 words. That makes for a grand total, of 18,354 words entered since Wednesday’s check-in. So, for the week, my MOST LIKELY word could stands at 23,567 words on the week, plus 1,018 words of new progress on EMBER, written before I lost my day job and re-prioritized my WIPs.
So, overall? My combined goal for the week was 14,500 words and I actually produced 24,585 words.
That means this week was a no-holds-barred success, in terms of my productivity.
As we enter the final days of ROW 80, Session 1, I find I’m more energized than ever to write each and every day. Some of that is the necessity of no longer having a day job. But at least part of that is due to ROW80. Where NaNoWriMo left me drained and dispirited, ROW80 leaves me doubtful that I could take a 10-day break before ROW80 Session 2 begins on April 4.
Because, with its movable goals, ROW 80 isn’t a wind-sprint challenge; it’s a marathon. It’s a lifestyle. Quite simply, it’s what works for me.
So here are my goals for the final days of ROW 80, Session 1:
I am now just under halfway through MOST LIKELY… I need to press on and get the rest of the novel finished as soon as I possibly can, so that revisions can begin in earnest.
With four days left before the final check-in, I want to enter at least 5,000 words a day, and reach 45,000 words by Thursday. That would leave me 15,000 words or so left before MOST LIKELY… is complete, a goal I could reach while ROW80 is in recess. That would also allow me plenty of time to start revisions on MOST LIKELY… and I should be well into that process by the time ROW 80, Session 2 begins.
That’s my goal for the last four days. See you on Thursday. I’ll let you know how I did.