Friday, July 1, 2011

ROW80 Challenge

Conceived by author Kait Nolan, A Round of Words in 80 days is a writing challenge for the rest of us. Like Festivus. There is an unadorned pole, and the Airing of Grievances, and of course, Feats of Strength.

Okay, not really. Except for the feats (some of us may air grievances as well). ROW80 encourages writers to wrestle with self-assigned goals on a more realistic basis than most other challenges.  I've been wanting to do NaNoWriMo for several years now, but never really could get up for it.  While I love the idea of writing communities and encouraging one another, I couldn't really get on board with the whole "writing a novel in a month" thing.  I just don't write that way. 

Slow and steady wins the race.  Doesn't anyone else remember the tortoise and the hair? Even then, the lesson we were supposed to learn is that, a lot of times, patience and persistence will win out over short bursts of activity.  NaNo is the hare.  ROW80 is the turtle. 

(Side note: I was obsessed with the Ninja Turtles growing up, so it is any wonder I wax tortoise at times?) 

Right now I'm simply a writer who wants to share stories.  I have to keep my day job (begrudgingly), and life matches on, oblivious to my wishes.  I cannot set aside a month to complete a sprint.  I've been able to create stories by chipping away a little at a time.  Isn't there another old saying about how to eat and elephant? 

ROW80 fits me, so when I found out about it, I was anxious to join in.  It's a great idea and an approach that I believe is healthier for people like me who would love to join the new and improved e-midlist.  So count me in.  I'll be updating as much as possible (We're supposed to check in on Wednesdays and Sundays.  I generally don't blog on the weekends, but I may make exceptions).  Here's a tentative list of the goals I want to set for myself:
  • Average 6 "pages" a week of new fiction.  I like to use "pages" rather than word counts because I feel it entices me to write more active fiction.  More dialog.  Dialog fills up a page quickly, and I like dialog.  As a reader, I dislike being bogged down by long passages of description, but those really help a word count.  Focusing on pages allows me to focus on what works better for me.  For those who are keeping score: this usually amounts to an average of 350 words per page, and I absolutely do not game myself (by changing fonts, margins, etc.  It's 1.5 spaced, 12pt, TNR font.  I won't muck with that until I'm done with an MS).  This works out to about 2100 words a week.
  • Finish the "Revision Gauntlet" on my first novel and get it out.  This should be accomplished in the first week.  The on-going goal here is just going to be to report/pay attention to what the released book is doing, learning the lessons it may teach.  
  • Average 3 blog posts a week on each of my two "main" blogs (here and my gaming blog), also put up 1 per month on my personal/family blog.  Some of this will be experimental fiction that I can use later, but that doesn't count as part of my 6 pages.  I'd like to average 1 post per week of fiction on each of my two "main" sites.  I try to space blog posts out so I'm writing at least 1 per day. 
We'll see where I stand in 80 days!


Anonymous said...

These look like good, measurable goals, Matt. Word counts don't work for me either--I do the annoying child thing with them (are we there yet? how about now? and now?)

Glad to have you with us in this round!


Matt said...

Thanks and good to be along!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Row 80! Festivus is one my favorite ever Seinfeld episodes, and if you read my blog, you know that I'm addicted to TV.

Best of luck with your pages, revisions, and blog posts - I think you have set some great goals!

Matt said...

It's Festivus for the rest of us!

(Did you know that one of the writers for the episode... his actually celebrates Festivus... that's where he got it from? Ah, research.)

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