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Day One

All novels begin with a single word.

Remember how I spent the last blog post talking about how much I hate the advice: writers must write every single day? Well, here’s the thing. I’ve never actually tried writing every day.

I know, I know. Don’t knock something until you try it. So this is me, trying it.

After the next 365 days are over, I could end up loving the advice of writing every day. I could sing its praises from the highest stack of books. Or…maybe not. But we’ll see! I won’t know until I try. The next 365 days will be an experiment, a creative project, a fun adventure. One word at a time.

Here are the ground rules:

  • I must write or revise at least one paragraph* every single day.

  • I will do this for an entire year, starting Nov 1st, 2020 and ending Nov 2nd, 2021.

*I’m defining paragraph as 3 sentences or longer.

That’s it! Simple, right? Oh, I sure hope so!

Now you may have a few questions.

Isn’t writing a single paragraph cheating?

Nope. I’m setting this goal for myself because I want to actually achieve my goal. Sure, it’d be way more impressive if I said an entire page, or two pages. But that’s unrealistic. I’ve been writing long enough to know that sometimes you get stuck on a single paragraph and will write and rewrite it for hours and hours. This has happened to me on every writing project (I’ve written 7 manuscripts so far).

Another reason I set up the one paragraph rule is because I completely acknowledge that there will be days I don’t have time to write. Holidays. Vacation days. Family time days. Again, I don’t want to fail at this project, so I’m trying to make it as easy for myself as I can.

Also, novels are built paragraph by paragraph. Even something as short as 4 sentences will add to my novel and help it inch closer to The End.

Why are you starting on Nov 1st and not Jan 1st?

A few reasons.

First, I don’t really believe in the whole starting fresh on New Year’s Day thing. Every day is an opportunity to change a habit, learn something new, change your perspective.

Second, November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a great program where writers aim to complete an entire novel in one month. I’ve participated in NaNo the past 4 years, and it really gets me in the habit of writing every day. And that’s what this project is all about: forming a new habit. So again, I’m making things easy for myself by using NaNo to motivate me and get me in the swing of things.

How are you going to document everything?

Every Sunday, I’ll do a blog post recapping my progress for the past week. I’ll share what projects I worked on, my word count totals, and reflect on things that went well and things that didn’t go so hot.

On the last day of every month, I’ll do a monthly recap. In these I’ll share the month’s total word count and dive deeper into how the project is going overall. I plan to be very honest and transparent about the whole process. If I’m really struggling, I’ll say so. If things are going great, I’ll do a little happy dance.

At the very end (so one year from today!) I’ll share final total word count, recap all I accomplished, and share my lessons learned, as well as any tips or tricks I picked up along the way. And I’ll form a brand new writing philosophy. One that actually works for me and my writing life.

So here I go! 365 days of writing!

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