[Note from the future, AKA 2018: The Facebook group mentioned in this post no longer exists. Sorry!]
Ever got into such horrendous productivity habits that you end up like this:
‘Ugghhh. I need to write. But I can’t remember how. I hate myself.’
And then you stare vacantly into your coffee for three hours lamenting your entire life’s purpose and wondering if you will ever achieve anything worthwhile in this pitiful existence of yours.
Uh, yeah, no. Me neither. But you do wish you wrote more, right? Cough.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that one of my favourite ways to break such vile habits as not writing anything ever despite calling yourself a writer is to conduct 28-day experiments.
Put simply, it goes like this:
- Decide what habit you’d like to try (and why this matters to you).
- Set specific rules and a timeframe (very important).
- Commit to it (aka fucking do what you say you will do).
- Analyse your results (what worked, what didn’t, whether you want to continue the habit and what you’d change).
I’ve found this a useful method for learning more about myself and what works for me and therefore for improving my life. And now I’m going to apply it to writing, to help drag me out of these terrible not-writing habits I’ve gotten into. You can read more about my approach to 28-day experiments here.
- Write every single day for 28 days, starting Monday 3 October.
- Write at least 500 words.
- Do it every single day, including weekends.
- It has to be personal writing. For me, this includes blog posts, course materials, articles, essays, etc. I know what you’re thinking: that doesn’t sound much like personal writing. But I basically just mean not client work.
- Analyse the experiment at the end (i.e. write a blog post about it).
I believe forming a daily writing habit will improve: my business, my productivity, my general daily satisfaction and, well, yeah, my writing. I run a fucking writing business, guys. I need to write more often.
Join Me On A 28-Day Writing Challenge
And now here’s the really fun part: I want you to join me! In my latest newsletter, I asked my lovely subscribers if they’d be interested in doing this with me, and a lot of you said yes.
And so I’m rolling with it. I officially invite you to join me on a 28-day writing challenge (I’ve decided to call it a challenge in this instance, even though I prefer the term experiment), starting from Monday 3 October. You don’t have to do things exactly the way I do, although I do have one rule:
NO CLIENT WORK. The whole point of this is to work on your own shit, because let’s face it – the client work will get done no matter what. It’s your own writing that’s suffering, isn’t it? Because you’re always like, ‘Can’t write this thing I really wanna write! Gotta finish this client thing first!’ But with that mindset, you’ll never write your own shit.
And the whole point of this exercise is to help you get into the habit of doing the writing you really want to do. If you’re not a freelance writer, you’re totally welcome to join in too. This is for everyone who wants to build a solid writing practice.
So, that’s my one rule. I have some other suggestions too, though:
Decide how many words you’ll write.
I think aiming for a particular word count is the best way to build a writing practice. It’s good to have something tangible and measurable to go for, rather than attempting to write something, I don’t know, ‘fucking epic’ every day. The aim here is not to write something brilliant every day. It’s not even to write something publishable every day. It’s just to write something every day. You could also choose to write for a certain period of time, like 15 or 30 minutes. Whatever feels better for you.
Decide how often you’ll write.
You don’t have to write every single day, though I do recommend at least doing Monday to Friday. If you’re insane like me you can shoot for every single day. Or you could just decide to throw Saturday into the mix and take Sundays off (because Sundays should be the preserve of Netflix, Doritos and underwear).
Keep it simple.
Don’t set yourself lofty goals, my friend. As I said, the aim is to write something. I did originally plan on going for 1000 words a day, which I probably could do. But then I decided to rein it in and go for 500 words, which I feel will be easily attainable for me. I’ll probably end up writing more each day (can’t shut me up once I get going), but it’ll be good to know that once I’ve done my 500 words, I can relax. Besides, 500 words a day is still 3500 a week, and that’s a good couple of blog posts to my mind. So choose a number that feels attainable to you. Not even attainable – choose a number that feels easy to you. We’re going to be doing this for four solid weeks, after all.
How This’ll Work
I’ve created a Facebook group where I’ll be posting an update every day throughout the challenge. Once you’ve completed your daily writing, you can simply leave a comment on the post letting us know you’ve done it. You can leave it at that or you can go into more detail, telling us your word count or what you wrote. That’s not mandatory though: you don’t have to share anything you’re not comfortable with. But if you’ve written something and published it online, you’re totally welcome to share the link with us, too.
I’d also love it if you’d write an introductory post in the group, letting us know what your plans are, like your word count goal, what sort of things you want to write, and your reasons for wanting to do this. Again, you don’t have to share anything you’re not comfortable with, but I’m totally nosy and want to know everything about you. So there’s that.
The group is also a place to vent about any writing-related frustrations, to share inspiring articles, and, hopefully, to get to know other members of the Untamed Writing community. This online writing thing can be a lonely gig, you know? Getting to know other people in similar situations or with similar interests and values can help. No, I’ll go further than that: it’s fucking awesome. I’ve made some close friends online since starting Untamed Writing – and many of them have become ‘real life’ friends, too. And it’s great and I love them, and maybe I’ll make that the topic of one of my daily writing sessions… Hmm.
Want to join the fun? YAY.
Here’s what I want you to do:
- Decide what you want your specific challenge to look like.
- Join the Facebook group.
- Post your introduction!
- Take a deep breath and prepare yourself to start the challenge on Monday.
WE CAN DO THIS GUYS. WE CAN BE PROPER FUCKING WRITERS WHO WRITE THINGS.
Oh, one final tip for you: do NOT do your writing directly into WordPress. Only dumbasses do that. Like this chick right here, who is writing this post for the second time today, thanks to accidentally hitting back and losing everything. Ugghhh. I am still writing this directly in WordPress even now, because I am a dumbass who never learns. I hate myself. (But not really because I’m clearly awesome.) ANYWAY. Join the Facebook group. Come write with me.