Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Reaching Targets

Today is the 100th day of the ‘100K words in 100 days’ Challenge – and I’m happy to report I made the target – I reached 100,947 words last night, having started the challenge on January 1st.

Not all those 100K words have been added to my ‘work in progress’. I added 53,584 words to that; the rest of the words came from blog posts, for this blog and my own blog.
So – what have been the effects?
At the beginning of the year, I was up to Chapter 4 of my novel; now I’m on Chapter 20. Without the 100K Challenge, I probably wouldn’t have made as much progress. There were times when I was tempted to stop writing for the evening, but then looked at my daily wordage, discovered I was maybe 100 (plus or minus) words short of the target, and so made myself continue writing until I reached that target. So, for that reason, the challenge has helped me to increase my novel writing, although not dramatically.

The biggest effect has been on blogging. I have added far more to my own blog this year than I was doing during the latter part of last year. I’ve taken part in two Facebook blogging groups, and written blogs on the topic for the week, as well as my challenge to myself to click on random article on Wikipedia and write something about it. Also I prepared in advance all my blogs for the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. Without the 100K Challenge, I would probably be only half way through preparing them (and starting to panic now!). I’ve done a few guest blogs or interviews too. The only blogs I didn’t count were the Six Sentence Sunday posts (or Snippet Sunday as it’s now called) as those were mainly excerpts from my novels, with only a few introductory words for each snippet.

It’s true, therefore, that this challenge has definitely helped me to increase my daily word count. I have written something every single day – from the lowest (123 words) on February 2nd to the highest (2197) on February 7th. Looking at the spread sheet on which I entered my daily totals, the main thing that strikes me is how inconsistent I am! Also, looking at some of the other participants' totals, I am amazed that some can write several thousand words in a day. I think the highest I’ve seen was over 7K, and some folk can consistently produce 2-3K words per day.

The hardest part of the challenge has been the past 10 days, as I struggled to make the last 10K words. Before that, I didn’t worry unduly if I was below target, but of course looming deadlines often provoke a sense of panic. Not that it mattered if I didn’t reach 100K but, once I set myself a challenge like this, I am determined to achieve it (‘stubborn’ is my middle name!)

Would I do this challenge again? Definitely not immediately, although I might be tempted in a few months’ time to repeat it!

What I am aiming to do, however, is to keep my own spread sheet of words I add to my novel. I’ve already said that I tend to average about 500 words a day, i.e. 3,500 words a week. At that rate, a 70K novel should take 20 weeks to complete the first draft. For me, that’s a reasonable target, mainly because I find it impossible to turn off my inner editor without feeling dissatisfied with myself!

I’ll let you know how I get on – but now I must go and get today’s 500 words done...



  1. Butt in chair. That's the discipline to become and stay published. Wish I could be as diligent as you, Paula!

  2. I don't have the same external commitments as you do, Ana - and I could probably write much more if I didn't procrastinate as much!

  3. Paula...good for you! That is something to be hugely proud of.

    I never could do something like that during the school year...maybe I should make my own challenge in the summer.

  4. Thanks, Debra. I couldn't have done it either when I was working full-time.
    Actually, I've always been a little suspicious of word targets, thinking it could mean sacrificing quality for quantity, but I think my 500 a day is a realistic one for me. Might even push it up to 600 but will see how it goes!