The Fifty-Thousand-Word Challenge


A writing group in New Zealand set up a challenge like National Novel Writing Month in their hemisphere’s fall. The Southern Cross Novel Challenge, or SoCNoC,
organized things a little more loosely than NaNoWriMo—you didn’t have to start from scratch, or work on a single project to add up to 50,000 words—but it was a community of writers getting together to get a lot done.

I so missed the goal on this. On the one hand, it was a busy month—work deadlines, adjusting to schedule changes, summer vacation—but on the other hand, that’s the point of these things: it’s always a busy month, and if you don’t write now, when are you going to?

My SoCNoC goal wasn’t just word count, however, but habits: I wanted to get back to writing every day. This has two benefits for me. It turns out I get a lot more done (those dribs and drabs add up) than when I shoot for big page-count totals, and I don’t get so nervous anticipating The Day (thus choking when it finally arrives, leaving me barely able to hammer out a grocery list).

Another group I’m in is trying a 21-day challenge in July, with the goal to set a habit, not meet a word count. This gang, like the SoCNoCkers and NaNowwers, are willing to talk about what spurs them on and keeps them going. The collective powers of problem solving available is mighty. They also build a community around an activity that can be quite isolated.

Doing a 50K challenge last month was saying I’d go from 0 to 60 when I’d made no accommodation for the effort. I’m pleased to have gotten moving, though, and with some of the writing I did. Scenes that looked like hurdles at the beginning of the month are long behind me, and the terrain looks more like rolling hills than mountains.

I got a kick start from AnnaDeStefano on twitter and her #writegoal posts:

RT @amgamble: Whatever #writegoal I set or meet, it means I write somthng, & the story moves. Failure is *not writing,* NOT *falling short.*



Published by annmariegamble

Ann Marie Gamble has been putting pen to paper since her mom made her scrub the crayon off the stairwell walls (one chapter per step). Although there is plenty of inspiration to be had in the carpool lane, she likes writing her way across the galaxy as well as across town, and she especially enjoys research missions (aka family vacations) when she and the boys can get away. Her favorite place to write is a room with a view and a pot of tea.

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