Category Archives: Goal Setting

The Double Dog Dare

I’m a big fan of NaNoWriMo, for a lot of reasons.  Vivienne talked about it yesterday, and I’m going to talk a bit more about it today. 

NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge where you commit to pounding out 50,000 words (about the length of The Great Gatsby, or a short category romance) in 30 days.   That’s 1,667 words every day for 30 days.  The idea is that you give your imagination free reign, and you forbid all attempts by your insistent Inner Editor to intrude on the process.  Along the way there are pep talks by famous authors, and there are message boards and local meet-up groups to support you.   Traditionally, National Novel Writing Month has been in November (a difficult time for me, as I travel over the Thanksgiving holidays every year).  But now, the amazing staff at the Office of Letters and Light is putting together a summer version:  Camp NaNoWriMo, which is scheduled to launch around July 1.  Please, if you need inspiration, instructions, or just a kick in the pants to get started, check out the free NaNo website.  There’s scads of useful information there, for any time of the year.  I also recommend Chris Baty’s book, No Plot?  No Problem!  

So what’s the Double Dog Dare?  I Dared, then Double Dog Dared, Sister Scribe Vivienne Ylang to complete her novel in progress and to write the first draft of a new novel she’s been thinking about, all by August 12.  {Notice I did not commit any breach of etiquette by going directly to the Triple Dog Dare.  That would just be wrong.} 

The thing about daring someone else to do something is that you’d better be able to step up to the plate yourself.  So I dared myself to pound out the first draft of my next project, the second Bonaparte Bay mystery, by the same date.   We’re going to start on Monday, June 27.  Yup, we’re giving ourselves more than 30 days.  But we are the Author Goddesses/Gods and can set any goals we want.  I’ll be working toward 75,000 words.    Sister Scribe Jamie Pope aims to finish her manuscript by July 31.   

So I Double Dog Dare all of you out there to set yourself a goal this summer.  Make it ambitious, but attainable.   Make it concrete and measurable (not something nebulous like “Find an agent”).  Maybe you want to:

  • Start (and finish!) a completely new project.  How about trying a new genre to stretch your wings?
  • Finish or redraft a stalled project
  • Commit to submitting your work to a certain number of agents or editors and create (and use!) a tracking system for followups
  • Get your own web or blog site up and running  (I set up my own site here through WordPress, and it was super simple.  Follow the tutorials and you’ll be fine)
  • Find and join (or take the initiative and start) a group of other writers for support
  • Locate, create and organize a space in your home to use as your writing space.  (Bonus!  You get to go to the office supply store and buy some cool pens and notebooks and Post-Its and file folders and other “necessary” stuff!)

Whatever the goal is, it’s completely up to you.   Be sure to use the NaNoWriMo model of choosing a firm beginning and ending date.  But the bigger lesson of NaNo is to have fun along the way (see Viv’s post yesterday).  Give yourself small rewards for staying on track.  And celebrate like crazy when you get to the end of your challenge.  

Let’s face it:   Labor Day is coming.   How about having something to show for your summer besides a lot of weird tan lines and a bunch of mosquito bites?  You’ll be that much further along in your quest to move from Writer to Professional Writer

Write in and let me know what goal(s) you’ve chosen, and keep me posted on your progress.  Peer pressure and public accountability can be good things.  

Do you accept the Double Dog Dare?