I belong to a writer’s group RWA, Romance Writers of America, and the local Idaho chapter of that group. One of the ways that we encourage each other is to suggest a writing challenge for a month. 100 words per day for 30 days. Simple and easy.
In August, one of our members suggested such a challenge. I signed up. I knew that August would be a busy month, and I hoped this would keep me on track.
In my estimation, I failed miserably.
My family had been a long distance one since February with my husband working out of state. He arrived home shortly before August began and we were just beginning to come to terms with being a family again. My in-laws arrived in town and my father-in-law’s health went downhill and he wound up in the hospital for a week. That hospital was over an hour’s drive away. My sister and her two children came to visit for the entire month and the cousins decided they HAD to play together every day. Two very close friends came for extended visits from out of town. School started at the end of August and school supplies as well as clothes for my growing daughters had to be bought.
I got up diligently for the first ten days at six to write. After that I waved the white flag and told myself on some days to simply breathe. I didn’t write 2000 words that month.
But my chapter mates did. Some while dealing with as much of that “life stuff” if not a lot more than myself.
Less than a month later our own wonderful Mary Vine suggested another 100 NEW challenge.
I pondered. I dithered. I agreed.
At the same time, the monthly edition of the Romance Writers Report, the monthly RWA magazine, arrived in the mail. This month a large section is dedicated to balance in a writer’s life, challenging oneself and setting goals.
It reminded me again of the entire point of the 100 NEW words per day goal. Even if we can’t always meet them at one point, we keep trying. It’s what we do as writers.
The goal is not to merely challenge ourselves, but to help start and maintain a habit of writing that we can carve out of our day to day lives. To remind us that as solitary as writing is, we are not alone. To take that empty page and turn it into something doable. To break down that 100,000 word goal into something manageable. To take our novel and give it a place to start.
Because that is what we want to do. Despite, or sometimes because of, what happens in our lives, we want to write. To put our stories down on paper, and give them voices. We are the gardeners, the dreamers, and the authors of our books.
And we all have to start somewhere. Where do you start? How do you create?