Maybe it’s because writing is a solitary task, but we writers love programs and challenges that hold us accountable. Sign up and you have a public statement of your goals and a group of writers to hold you to them. There are several programs to help you get your ideas and initial drafts down on paper.
NaNoWriMo. This one is going on right now and is for novelists. National Novel Writing Month challenges writers to draft a new novel in one month. Because novels can vary in length, that’s 50,000 words or just under 1700 words/day.
12 x 12. This program is run by Julie Hedlund. In it, she challenges authors to write a finished first draft of 12 picture books in one year. Ideally, writers can break this down into one manuscript a month but I didn’t spot any monthly deadlines.
PiBoIdMo. Picture Book Idea Month, obviously, is another one that targets picture book writers and author/illustrators. As the name suggests, everyone is challenged to come up with 30 picture book ideas by the end of November. They can be ideas for characters, plots, titles or all of the above.
While these three programs are good, they do after all, provide external deadlines and accountability, they don’t provide it in the area that I most need it. I’m a champ at idea generation. And first drafts are tons of fun. After all, the idea is still perfect until you get it on the page. That’s when you realize you have more work to do and you face a decision. Revise or start something new?
If you are anything like me, you have file drawers and computer files full of drafts. Some of them are first drafts. Others just need that final polish. But there they sit while we run off in pursuit of the next perfect story. Fortunately, there are also groups that hold us accountable in our attempts to rewrite.
ReviMo 2014. This is a one week program organized by fellow Missouri author Meg Miller. Throughout the week of January 12-18, she challenges participants to write (as in complete) picture book revisions. Half a revision doesn’t count. To add your numbers to the total, you need to start and finish a revision and you are encouraged to do more than one revision over the course of the week.
NaNoEdMo. National Novel Editing Month provides novelists who participated in NaNoWriMo with an opportunity to spend 50 hours revising what they drafted in November.
While none of these programs guarantee a submission ready product, they do get you one step farther along.
If you know of any other programs that provide some level of accountability, add them in the comments below.--SueBE
Sue Bradford Edwards blogs about writing at One Writer's Journey.