How would you feel if you wrote 25,000 words in a month?


writing retreatIs that your normal routine or does it seem a long way off? For me, it feels like quite a stretch. It’s only 1,000 words a day, and even gives you a few days off, but have I been doing it regularly? No. Life just gets in the way.


My poor notebook feels very unloved.


In April I took part in the Screw Work Lets Play 30 Day Challenge. You pick your own challenge which, crucially, must be something you find FUN, and work alongside 200 other people to produce something tangible in a month. Being told to have fun – I can get on board with that.


I built a website from scratch when this challenge happened in April, one I’d been wanting to make for ages but had put off because I didn’t know quite how to do it and was a bit scared of how it would turn out. It was the combination of the overall ‘we can do this!’ feeling alongside weekly accountability check-ins with a small group to hold myself that I really liked. And having something solid to show at the end of a month is such a brilliant feeling that I can’t wait to do it again in October. This time I’m going to write 25,000 words of a novel, and will be hanging out in the writing group on the forum.


True, I could just sit myself down and do it without joining the challenge. But honestly, would I? Experience tells me that the answer is no, that I’d have the best of intentions but get nothing done. Yet another month would race past before I’d even set aside time for writing. And I want to do this enough to find ways of making it happen.


So why this instead of NaNoWriMo? Both are great, actually. The reasons that I’m doing this instead this year are that: A) I had a great time doing SWLP in April and have seen the results, and B) both times I’ve done NaNo I’ve hated what I wrote. It’s fantastic for making people just sit down and write, but the ability to pick your own target (whether that’s wordcount, chapters, or something else) on SWLP means you can plan and use it to develop as a writer rather than just panicking and throwing anything on the page.


Because it’s a couple of weeks away still there’s time to prepare properly. Following my own advice, I’m going to release my inner geek and write something I really want to, not what I think other people will think is ‘good’. I’ll try to remember to share my planning progress on the Facebook page, but roughly speaking I’m going to spend next week brainstorming and looking back through old work, the week after choosing one idea and sketching a very rough story-arc outline, and then fill in the gaps to create a plan. Exciting!


Full price will be around £200 but you can you can get it for £147 by signing up before 19th September (that’s this coming Monday!). The website has plenty more information about how it all works and results other people have seen so take a look around and sign up here.


I’ll see you in the writers forum. Challenge me up!