As of today, I have been writing every day for 123 days (that's every day since March 13, 2016). I have a small minimal daily goal of 150 words but I write at least 500 words on average.
I also have a day job, am working on my PhD, have one toddler and another baby due in late summer this year. My husbands likes to see me sometimes and I swear we only eat takeaway once a month. Maybe twice. Tops.
So, how did I manage to keep my writing habit - or create one in the first place?
I started taking my writing seriously. I participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2015 and found a bunch of writers who were in similar positions - they worked full time, had families, or were full-time students and yet wrote every day. And then I discovered the #writechain challenge - which pretty much did it for me.
You see, I'm a competitive person by nature. And I hate failing - especially when other people are there to witness it. So once I made the pledge at Faye's website, I knew I'd keep writing no matter what - if only to be able to say that I never broke that damn chain. And it worked! In less than three months, I had completed the first draft of my first novel, Here to Stay, a contemporary romance set in Maine, US.
The premise of the challenge is so simple, it's ridiculous. You pledge to write a certain number of words (or edit words or write for a certain amount of time) each and every day. And as long as you're doing it, your chain grows, each day adding another link to it. If you miss a day, the chain breaks and you have to start over. You tweet your progress to Faye every once in a while (or every day, if you so desire) and she updates the leaderboard, where you can watch yourself climb the ranks. I'm currently a Write Chain Champion and I'm very proud about it, too.
The point is not to set a daily goal that is your ideal word count for the day. It's not meant to push your limits too much. The daily goal you pick should be one that you can accomplish on your worst possible day, when you're bone tired and want nothing more than to drag yourself to bed, hit the lights, and pass out. And yet you don't: if you're half as competitive as I am, you'll open your laptop (or notebook, or the note app on your phone, it's a very forgiving challenge) and type out those words just so you don't have to tell Twitter that your chain broke. It's silly but there you have it.
And one more thing: in all this time, I only had five days when I wrote less than 300 words - and most days, I write more than 600. It ads up, people, it really does!
So tell me, are you more of a binge writer and prefer writing a huge amount of words in a really short period of time, or are you a marathon writer and would benefit from such a challenge?
I'd love to hear from you!