Seventeen days ago, I challenged myself to writing approximately 55k in 10 days.
Blog Posts 15 (400 words each min) = 6K
Articles 5 (400 words each min) = 2K
2 Short W.I.P.S 6k total = 6K
2 long W.I.P.S. 45K total = 45K
The Challenge: 59K total words in 10 Days
First, let me explain why I took this challenge. It all started when I was asked by someone if I could have a finished product ready for a July 15th release. It was June 18th when I was posed the question. If I were to do it I would need to have it completed and ready to go no later than July 1st. That gave me ten days, and this was in top of my already scheduled writing commitments. Hmmm…was it possible or even probable? I could pull it off couldn’t I? I asked the question and went searching for the answer. I announced the challenge on Twitter and various groups so that I could be held accountable for completion.
I can proudly say 17 days later I hit my deadlines in ten days. All of them, can you believe it? Hot damn I do work well under pressure. That is one of the keys to my success. For me, pressure makes me work not just harder, but smarter. Here is what I learned during my ten day challenge and how you can crush your goals!
1. Commit. Make a list, put it on paper. Tangible evidence that your task has been started. The list for me consisted of what was due when. As I had rolling deadlines over the 10 days, I listed each assignment, the due date and the topic. If I didn’t have a topic already picked I put down something as a placeholder, usually a direction for the post. (Eg. Alt Reads Friday Post – Look at top ten bestsellers) These topics evolved and changed as I went through the week but I cannot even tell you how many times I referred back to the list. Every time I finished a piece I marked it off the list. I also didn’t necessarily work in order of due date. My muse just is not that cooperative.
Be realistic, and admit you are human. We all know how long it takes us to accomplish certain tasks. One blog is easier than another. Map out your time carefully to ensure that you give yourself enough cushion to breathe. Make sure you remember to a lot time for research, outlining, and editing. I am not going to get to specific about this because we all work differently. Setting a challenge that is difficult is much different than setting a challenge that is impossible.
3. Work at a steady pace, and don’t get trapped. Sometimes, and I am speaking from experience, we will create our own writers block. Create turmoil to have an excuse. Solution? Don’t accept an excuse, ever, not even from yourself. The question is, am I serious or not? Down to the brass tacks am I writer or not? Because this is it. This is the rest of my life as a writer, deadlines, hoops, and must-dos, all in the name of my writing career.
4. Look ahead, not behind. This is another trap we tend to set for ourselves. We research it, plan it, write it, edit it and then doubt it. Wait…what? Yes, we have all had our share of writing stage fright, but this is not the time to get nerves people. It is what it is, trust your skills and move on. Again, if this is it, you are going to need to work fast, be precise, be inspired, and get it done no matter what.
5. Keep your eye on the prize. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Know where you are, like the map at the mall. Okay, here I am, how do I get to Starbucks? Oh look, Bath and Body Works, Juicy Couture and See’s Candy are on the way! If you get turned around, or you start eying Cinnabon at the food court, bring out your list and get back on track. Think Frappuccino!
6. Last but not least…when you type that last word, on the last page on the list you started, make sure your I’s are dotted and your T’s are crossed. Take a deep breath, cross it off the list, and CELEBRATE! You did it, or at least you put forth a valiant effort, right!
Whether you hit your goal or not, you went for it! Great job! That is why we are here, right? Because we want our shot, we are going for the prize and nothing is going to get in our way!
Whether it is a blog post, an article, a novel or even a tweet, EVERY WORD COUNTS!
Every letter is a step closer to your goal, so stay focused, organized and ALWAYS know where you are.