ROW80Days: “The writing challenge that knows you have a life”

Yesterday, I spent an entire blog post talking about what this blog should be all about. After listing several (not all, but several) things in life that matter to me, I realized that a great place to redefine my blog identity is to start back at square one – what this blog is originally supposed to be. Well, if you’ve been following me for a while I’m sure you’ve come to realize that I am a writer. And obviously, this blog is – if anything – an open space to talk about writing. My literary adventures.

My relationship with writing is similar to that of an arranged marriage – the bond is inevitable, but the emotions are rather mixed. There are some days when I want to write so badly but other priorities (like studying, which is a totally legit reason for not writing, y’all!) take a toll on my daily word count. On other days, I simply procrastinate by reading addictive Jodi Picoult novels, cooking even though I don’t like to cook, downloading music and doing everything else besides writing.

And then there are those days when I’m on a roll, or what I like to call a literary frenzy. In such a frenzy, my fingers are on fire and flying across the keyboard. For once, these entangled thoughts and crazy characters and half-formed ideas actually make it onto the page in what I consider to be pretty coherent sentences (or so I think).

In the past I used to love writing challenges, but lately they haven’t worked very well for me. They have either been not for me, too impersonal or too demanding (Like StoryADay… such a neat idea, but so mentally draining!). Too often do I get motivated and ready to kick some writing goals in the butt and then, and then…I flake out. Of course, there was the year of 2008 when I won NaNoWriMo, but I consider that to have been some sort of miracle. I doubt I could write that much in so little time if I tried to do it all over again. I’d probably hide in a corner with another distraction, spewing out excuses to myself for not writing.

But this just in – I found something new: A Round of Words in 80 Days. Even the description calls to me – “the writing challenge that knows you have a life.” Yes! I love to write, but I do also have a life! *gasp* Perhaps it is possible for both to coexist? The basic idea for ROW80Days is to create your own set of writing goals – ideally ones that are measurable – and use your blog to keep you accountable during the 80 days you have to complete these goals.

Oh mah gah, I can create my own goals?! No 1,600 word count? No 50k mark? No writing prompts? Normally I thrive under such strict conditions, but surprisingly the only word that comes to my mind is: AWESOME. I’ve added myself to the ROW80Days Facebook page, created my first ROW80Days blog post (right here!) and gotten myself motivated. Now all I have to do is follow through with my goals…whatever they are.

Goals. This should be the easiest part since I get to make them up myself, but it’s not. Realistic, measurable, enjoyable to achieve. That’s what my goals should be. Right now, I’m working on a personal writing assignment that I will simply call: “The T-Project.” I know that’s vague, but I read somewhere that it’s bad luck for artists to talk about their WiPs (works-in-progress). ;) Let’s see, I suppose these goals will do for now (we can amend our goals later if we need to):

  • write character-driven scenes
  • have a sense of where I want to go with my project – so, create detailed outlines
  • think “big picture” – what themes and main ideas do I want my project to reflect?
  • since I’m writing in first-person, my voice needs to stay in character and be consistent
  • get down at least 500 words every day, no matter how crappy or pitiful the words are
  • blog about my progress every Wednesday and Sunday, in compliance with the ROW80Days rules
  • make some progress, either tangible or mental, on the T-Project every day
Technically, Round Two of ROW80Days already began in early April but there’s always time to jump into the challenge. If you’d like join me and be a part of A Round of Words in 80 Days, check out their blog and sign up! And do let me know your blog URL so I can follow your literary frenzies, too!


13 responses to “ROW80Days: “The writing challenge that knows you have a life””

  1. Welcome to RoW! I think this is my 3rd round with it and I find it really helpful. It’s nice to have encouragement when you falter, and we are all about that here. I like your target of 500, even if they are a crappy, pitiful 500. I often work with that premise – get it out first, clean it up later. Good luck!

  2. Life 101 says:

    I actually use my blog much like a daily journal. I’m interested in several things, and when I try to focus on one thing, I feel hemmed in.
    I think it’s more important to find your voice and refine your style no matter what you write about.
    I love Jodi’ work too.

  3. Wendy Lu says:

    Lynette – Thank you for the welcome! I tried to choose a daily word count that’s strict but still reachable on a daily basis, no matter what I’m doing. :) Best of luck to you too!

    Rick – I totally agree! I am trying to put in a bit more trust in this blog…be willing to share more than just photos, and links, and things I could just put on Facebook or another social network. Blogs are special, you know? :D

  4. A Round of Words in 80 Days definitely sounds like more fun and interesting. This will be great for you.

    And for the question from your previous post: After you go through The Hunger Games, I recommend that you read the Divergent series. I think there will be 3 books, but currently only the first 2 are out (Divergent & Insurgent). They are sort of like the Hunger Games and just as good.

  5. Shah Wharton says:

    Welcome to the group – I’m sure you’ll love it. We’re a friendly bunch! You have such specific goals – I can tell you’re a ‘list’ person at heart and are incredibly organised in normal life I imagine -you should find this easy to achieve if you allow yourself to acknowledge those achievements. I sense you’re a perfectionist! :) Enjoy your writing X

  6. Wow Wendy, that sounds great. I will be checking in on your progress. I like the 500 words a day. Good luck.

  7. Wendy Lu says:

    Cheryl – Ooh thanks for the recommendation! Now that it’s summer I want to take full advantage of my free(ish) time to read books for fun. Will definitely check out the Divergent series after I finish the other two Hunger Games books hehe.

    Shah – Aw, thank you for your sweet comments and for visiting. I try my best to stay organized and goal-oriented, but of course there are always those days when I feel like doing nothing but lounging around :P

    Wendy – Thanks! I need all the luck I can get; it’s going to be a roller coaster of an experience.

  8. EM Castellan says:

    Welcome to ROW80 Wendy! Lovely to have you join us! Your list of goals sounds quite manageable to me, do keep us posted on your progress. As a sidenote, I don’t think it’s bad luck to give a title to your WIP and to share it with the world: it actually is a good way to make the manuscript more real to you – and others. Happy writing!

  9. Ain’t ROW80 a charge? It’s so good, because it is flexible, but it’s also long term. It takes away excuses.

    As for the blog… Mine’s always evolving, but I’m always going back to my original blog concept. A lot of people get tangled up in trying to make their blog into a “platform” or a marketing thing, but really, you have to live with a blog, so before it does anything else, it has to work for YOU.

  10. alberta ross says:

    The best of this place is that you can redefine your goals anytime according to what life is doing at the time – I started with ROW80 Jan 2011 and it has helped me keep my focus so well – I have often had to change what I had planned but have managed to keep motivated and on track with all the encouragment given here. – so welcome aboard and have fun:)

  11. Gene Lempp says:

    Welcome to ROW, Wendy! You’ll find the flexibility of ROW to be one of its greatest strengths. Goals, how we approach them, and why we want things changes, sometimes rapidly and not feeling trapped into something lets you move at the speed of your writing life. You will find the support, friendship and accountability of the other ROWers second to none.

    Have an excellent first “official” week in ROW :)

  12. Welcome to ROW80, Wendy Lu. I’m so glad you stopped by on Sunday! I already like your writing style – I was laughing out loud. You’ve set great goals, goals that seem reasonable to keep it all fun. Best of luck to you, and I look forward to visiting back on check-in days!

  13. Eden Mabee says:

    It’s great to see you in the ROW80, Wendy. I know I mentioned this on the Facebook page, but it never hurts to repeat it… We’re glad you decided to join us.

    You have great goals, a great outlook… You’re going to be rockin’ the ROW in no time. =)

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