If you need help keeping to a daily word count – or sticking to any other writing or reading goal – and you just can’t wait till November, think about joining March Madness. AKA an Almost-Nano Challenge.
Open to writers, readers, bloggers, and illustrators who want to set some goals for the month and openly admit to the world whether they are even remotely keeping them. With plenty of opportunity to cheer on fellow writers &C. With prize opps, too. And the best thing is, you don’t even have to stick to your goals to win the prizes. You can stop by a March Madness blog to cheer on more disciplined writers, then go putz around for the day while your WIP wallows, and you could still win a prize! Awesome! This is the challenge for me.
So I stopped by Denise Jaden’s blog (She wrote Losing Faith. I voted for it on the SCBWI Crystal Kite nomination thingy. If you haven’t read it, you could make reading it one of your March goals and then win a prize just for reading it. Easy peasy.) So anyway…. I took step one of March Madness: state the goal you intend to achieve during the month.
Yes, I bared my goals to the world. Sort of. Actually, I kept them fairly vague: “Finish one WIP.” (I didn’t even identify which WIP – but I know which one I mean.) Sounds simple. The hard part is my commitment to “not set any more goals for the month until I’m done that one.”
Ouch. That is going to be tough. Because I really like to follow up 6 months of achieving diddly squat with a stellar month in which I:
- finish drafting one teen novel;
- finish revisions on another teen novel;
- polish my latest middle grade novel;
- draft two picture books;
- submit the pile of manuscripts teetering on top of my file cabinet;
- detail the outline of a historical novel for adults; and
- finish my research on said historical novel.
That was pretty much my list of goals for February. And January. And last December…
I’m starting to suspect that the reason I achieved diddly squat during the past 6 months is that I have too many goals. So many that I can switch from one to another whenever I’m bored or antsy, yet still feel like I’m on track “working toward my goals.” Even if I’m never actually completing any.
That is a recurrent problem in my life. And one I intend to face this month. My March motto is: Don’t stray from the path. And March Madness will help me live it large. Accountability, i.e., the risk of being publicly shamed, should keep me on track. (Or not. We’ll see. I’ve never signed up for any of these things before and there’s a good chance I’ll drop out by, oh, March 3rd, but what the heck.)
I hope some others join in the month’s madness. Today is goal-setting day. (But no worries if you join tomorrow or even mid-month, so long as you come with a goal in hand.) Visit Denise Jaden’s blog to sign up your goals and find out where to check in through the month to tell us how you’re doing.
Good luck. (And thanks to Deb Marshall for posting about this accountability opportunity.)