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300 Per Day: My 2017 Writing Challenge

Happy New Year! I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty freakin' happy to have 2016 behind me. And in talking with a lot of people, it seems to be a pretty common feeling. Okay, so 2016 is behind us. Now what?

Now, I'm not one for new year's resolutions. They never seem to stick. But as I brewed coffee this morning an idea popped into my mind: What if I wrote 300 words everyday this year?

300 words ... That's like a page. It could just be a couple of solid paragraphs. No big deal, right? But what might I have completed by the end of the year with well over 100,000 words written?

If I wrote exactly 300 words every day for 365 days, that would be 109,500 words at the end of the year. But what is the likelihood that I'll actually do that? How can I really stick to such a plan? I'm a stay-at-home dad taking care of my super sharp and active three-year-old daughter who also freelances as a video editor and occasional video shooter. Can I really do this?

Well, I'm thinking there's no hard and fast rules, just guidelines to help me along the way. I'm not interested in shaming myself into doing anything. That never works. Instead, having a goal and working to foster a good habit sounds a lot more attractive to me. So here's what I came up with as I shared this with the writer's group I'm a part of on Facebook:

  • ​​If I miss a day, oh well. I'll get back on the horse tomorrow. No need make up missed words, just get back to 300 words per day. This avoids the likely problem of missing a week and then feeling like I'm too far behind to bother trying. Never mind missed days or weeks, just get back at it and foster a good habit.

  • If tomorrow I look at today's 300 words and delete them all because they aren't taking the story in the direction I want to go, no problem. It's more about the habit of writing than the pressure to be amazing.

  • And because it's about the habit, if I wrote more than 300 words yesterday (say I got a good 2,000 words out during nap time), today I still want to get at least 300 new words written.

  • I'll include in my 300 words anything I might be writing as part of pre-writing where I am writing down a concept and fleshing out the idea or outline for a story. That is a pretty important part of my process and is the foundation on which any story, novel, or screenplay I write ends up being built on. So pre-writing is writing. It counts!

One thing I don't plan on counting are blog entries. Maybe I'll feel differently about that later, but I do what this challenge to be about helping me write more short stories, articles for publication, screenplays, and books. The only potential cross over between such writing and blogging is that I'm considering releasing a series of short stories on my blog.

As I've mentioned already, I want to approach this as a means to foster a good habit. It's a lot like exercising. If you get busy or sick and can't workout for a week or two, you don't try to make up for that week or two you missed. You just get back to working out. In the same way, I think writing everyday will exercise my creative muscles and help me to get better at developing and completing writing projects. Even if I at times look at a finished project and think, "This didn't turn out that well," the act of creating it was still a worthy exercise.

Okay, so 300 words per day. Sounds like a lot? This blog entry is 678 words. All I have to do is write less then half this much every day. I think I can do this.

Am I crazy? Anyone wanna try this with me?

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