400 words a day

Last spring I joined a writing accountability group to make sure I actually get words on the page. (Well, on the screen.)

We’re a disparate group, many of whom focus on academic writing and some of whom 6794d3027c7aec50a81bdb1e1c26ecab-portable-typewriter-antique-typewriterwrite fiction. We have a Facebook home where we post, support each other, celebrate publishing victories, complain about edits, etc.

Here’s how it works. At the beginning of every month, you PAY $20 to be part of the group. You must write 400 words a day, 5 days a week–you actually send these words in to the fantastic woman who runs our group–in order to get your money back at the end of the month. If you miss one writing days, you lose $3. If you miss two writing days, you lose $6. If you miss any more than that, you lose all $20.

If you meet your goal, you actually get back all $20 AND the money “lost” by everyone else is distributed to the folks who “won.” So you might make $9 or $12 or $6 or whatever.

Hey, it’s not much, but it might be the only money my writing makes that month! LOLOL



Kind of JK.

Anyway, the beauty of the contest is partly in the camaraderie, but mostly in the feeling of accountability and competition.

I hate to lose. (Don’t we all hate to lose?) When it’s 9:00 pm and the kids are finally in bed and the kitchen is finally clean and I’m staring a 5:55 am wake-up in the face (no joke–why do they start school so early? and this year I need to take 2 kids to one school by 7:30 and 1 kid to another school by 7:15 and for various & sundry reasons, there’s not a bus option and it is so far hell that I’m trying to working into a better logistics scenario)–where was I?—oh yeah, when I’m tired and unmotivated and would like to read and sleep, I realize that I better get my 400 words in because I don’t want to lose $20. And so I write!

400 words, 5x/week = 2,000 words a week (minimum) = 8,000 words a month (-ish, minimum) = real progress, even if it’s a bit turtle-y

And, frankly, you can point out 400 words in 30-60 minutes. When I have more time or energy, I write more. But I can ALWAYS find a way to get 400 minutes in.

I was part of the group in March and April, winning back a bit of cash each time. In May, I had some complicated family issues arise and made the conscious decision to give up my $20 to the others in the group. I just couldn’t handle the stress of one more thing, so writing had to take a hiatus. I took off June & July (in terms of the group, I did still write a bit) because of travel plans, and I’m back in the thick of the group for August.

So far in August, I’ve written 5888 words in the challenge. That’s probably several thousand more than I would have written without it.

So. YMMV, but if you’re trying to write and having a hard time, perhaps pay someone to make sure you do it? Can’t hurt!!



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