Sunday, January 2, 2011

The 365 Day Challenge

First a disclaimer.

I have no idea if this is actually true, or where I even heard it—but I read somewhere that Jerry Seinfeld credits his success with the daily writing of new material and he said the best piece of advice he could pass on to new comics was to buy one of those wall calendars. One of those big ones that has all the months and days on one sheet of paper. He said to set a realistic, easy to accomplish daily goal, something you know you can accomplish no matter what is going on around you. Then on the first day, after you accomplish that goal, mark that day off on the calendar with a heavy red X. Every day that you accomplish the goal, mark it on the calendar with a heavy X. Pretty soon all those Xs will make a red chain. You will be able to see your progress, and it will become increasing important NOT to break that chain by missing a day.

Jerry Seinfeld is brilliant. (even if he didn’t actually say this. *G)

So for 2011 I'm buying a wall calendar and a red pen and I am going to keep that red chain going for 365 days.

Only not just in writing, but blogging as well.

Now, realistically I know I won’t have the time to write a long blog every day. So for my blogging challenge the length of the posts and the content are open to whim. If all I have time for is one sentence, that will still constitute a blog for that day. If I can’t think of anything to post- then a short blog that amounts to “Sorry, nothing to say today” will still count for my daily blog. The point is to train myself to think about blogging, and the easiest way to do that is by forcing a daily blogging habit.

On the writing end of the challenge, I’m setting my daily minimum goat at 250 words. This is for either new words written or for the first round of revisions- which is basically rewriting. This does not include editing, tinkering or trimming. So when I reach the tinkering/polishing/trimming stage in Zane—which is coming up fast. My 250 word goal will be written on the new project.

I started both these challenges yesterday.

Anyone else want to come along for the ride?


  1. Great idea! I'm still in the last stages of editing, trimming, and polishing my MS so I'll be concentrating on that. My second novel is roughly outlined, but I can't give it my full attention until I have my first round of queries sent out, lol.

  2. I've got three chapters left on Zane and then I'll be in the editing, trimming and polishing stages too. But the book I dropped to start writing Zane has been sitting there patiently waiting for my attention again. So I'll start back on it with the 250 new words every day.

    My plan is to get 4 hours in on the writing every day. So 250 words is pretty much nothing, Maybe 15-30 minutes of the day. The majority of my time will be spent on getting Zane ready to go out on submission.

    Maybe when you're done with your current manuscript you can join us with the new one?

  3. Great idea, Trish!!! I think it's very important to set daily goals and it sounds like you've come across a great system!

  4. This does sound like it should work well. I can just imagine all those red Xs on the calendar. After a few days you're not going to want to break that chain.

  5. Trish, I love this idea. Think I'll give it a try...well, starting today. Computer's been down until this morning!

  6. Hi Renee,

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope it works for both of us. Starting today would work just fine, all that matters is you know? lol

  7. Amy Atwell mentioned that. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to try to write 1000 words a day. At least. I plan on doing it first thing in the morning, before I go online. Gulp. Keeping off the internet will be the hardest part.

    Good luck to you!

  8. Great idea! I've been doing it this past month but it's a time suck. Worth doing though. The calendar idea is terrific--sort of like a guilt thing if you have an unmarked day. I think not holding ourselves to a blog length is key. Sometimes I can't think of anything to say!

  9. Great Idea Trish. I'll have to think about what daily goal I'd like to have, but I'd like to join in too. It sounds like a great idea.

  10. Edie,

    My daily goal is actual 1000 words a day too.

    That's the goal I used when I was fast drafting and revising Zane. Most of the time I would get a lot more than that.

    But I dropped the goal to 250 words for this challenge- because if something were to come up, I can realistically get 250 words no matter what, and I really want to keep that chain going all the way to 2012. LOL

    Good luck on keeping your chain going!

  11. Suzanne,

    Your blog is a source of inspiration for me. You always have new content, and not just any content, but interesting content. Or book giveaways. lol Plus, you draw a ton of comments and people over. You’re very, very good at this.

    I know you work full time too, at a job as draining as mine, yet you still find time to both blog and write. I thought of you the moment this challenge occurred to me. You’re my inspiration for this whole challenge. I want to be YOU, in a year’s time. LOL

  12. Willa,

    Welcome aboard. We can encourage and prod each other to keep adding those rows of Xs.

    Just make sure the goal you choose is something you'd find easy to write. The trick (IMO) is to keep the goal very low. You can always write more, most likely you will write more once you get going. Plus, if you go way OVER your goal, you'll feel even better about your progress.

    But if something should come up, then the goal should be something you can dash off without too much effort. Even 100 words a day, will keep your WIP in the front of your mind on those days you can't write 1000 words.

  13. Awesome idea, Trish! Love the T time!!

  14. So are you going to join us Martha???


  15. Great idea, Trish! I blog 5 times a week and will aim to continue that in 2011. Writing-wise, my goal will be 30 pages minimum each week.

    Cheers to you, girl!

  16. I'm so totally going to try this. I think seeing it visually will make all the difference. Thanks!

    Have a Sparkling Day!
    Rebecca Rose

  17. Sounds like great goals Zee, I'll have to bookmark your blog.

    Good luck on meeting them through 2011.

  18. Hi Rebecca,

    I'm finding its already making a difference for me after just three days. I want to add another red X to my chain today. LOL

  19. Sounds like a great idea. I think I'll have to swing by the office supply story for ONLY a calendar (NO stickies or markers or pens or paper or binders or...)

    ... Well, maybe a red marker. And I'll need one of those hook things that won't hurt the wall paint. And maybe some shiny stickers for end of week treats. Ah, jeez...

  20. Rebecca,

    Good luck on making it out of the office supply store with ONLY a calendar and a red pen. As a true writer, you will never be able to spring those metal doors with ONLY the items you went in there for. It's simply not possible.

    Best thing you could do is send in a surrogate shopper.

  21. Whew - a calendar and 3M sticky-hook ONLY. Go me! LOL

  22. Rebecca,

    'fess up, you sent your hubby in, didn't you? *g

  23. Heck no! He prolly woulda come out with a new camera or something. He's worse than me, but more expensive.