The Page-a-Day Challenge
As a writer who pulls double-duty (writing marketing copy for eight hours and then coming home to try and crank out some pages on my personal projects), finding the motivation at the end of the day can be tough. I managed to compete in (and "win") the 2012 and 2013 National Novel Writing Month competition . . . but it was harrrrrd.
While discussing this with some other double-dutiers, we decided that the time of year for the NaNoWriMo was all wrong. I can understand why they chose November -- gray skies, cold temps and the beginning of a winter no matter which part of the country you live in. However, many businesses have a ramp-up during this time. Plus, there's the Thanksgiving holiday, the family visits and the shopping, oh Lord, the shopping.
March would be better. Symbolically, it's the start of spring. It has 31 days. And there's usually not a whole lot of stuff going on. Except my birthday. What a wonderful time to write. While talking to CTH, we thought, Gee, if you could just manage to write one page each day, eventually you'd unearth a long work, a few short stories, or a handful of poems or a diary of the pain of writing. Thus, the Page-a-Day Challenge was created.
Originally, the plan was for the PAD to start on February 1st and end on October 31st. We would end just in time to start planning for the holidays. Writing one page each of those days would net a writer 270-ish pages of content. A handful of us started and a few dropped out along the way. Nine months is a lonnnng time. I managed to stick with it, and complete the first draft of Lot 23. The second book in my "Tales from the Inside" series.
So, if you're interested in playing along . . . we're planning on doing it again this year. The full version will run the same length (from 2/1/2015 to 10/31/2015) but we might put together an amended version. I've already started thinking about what my story this year will be . . .
Stephen King has said numerous times (probably most eloquently in his book On Writing) that the best way to become a good writer is to read a lot and write a lot.
Update August 1st
Life takes over, as life is wont to do. The PADC started as planned on February 1st. Right now, with six months completed, you and I should have just written page number 181 on whatever project we are working on. I took a couple months off in the middle of the competition to keep things organized in my personal life. Starting in July, I started to get back into the challenge. Through July, I've written 136 pages, spread out over four projects:
Six pages of a chapter for the videogame book "Splashdamage."
Ten pages to finish off a partially completed episode of the sitcom "Dr. Joystick."
Forty-eight pages of the book "Phoenix Hill," the project that started the PADC.
Seventy-two pages of the book "Hidden Riches of Lord Granite."
The current plan is to finish Hidden Riches and then get back to work on Phoenix Hill. The rest of the PADC will only last for 137 more pages. I'm not sure how much longer HRLG will take to finish . . . hmm. Maybe I'll finish Phoenix Hill during the NaNoWriMo.
Are you following along in the challenge?
Update October 31st
And the challenge is completed. How did you do? I managed to finish Hidden Riches at 272 pages. That, plus the partial projects put me over the PADC limit. It feels nice to complete the competition for the second straight year. I'm not sure if I'll do it in 2016 or not. Another writer, Matt Johnson, has challenged me to write a "sea monster novella." The whole idea intrigues me, so I'll probably do it.
I look to complete that book and then get back to finishing up Phoenix Hill. Maybe someday, I'll tell you why I stopped writing Phoenix Hill and started writing HIdden Riches for the 2015 PADC . . . ;-)