The More, the Merrier

I’m in the middle of a two week writer’s challenge with my local writing buddies. Unlike National Novel Writing Month, which has a 50,000 word goal, or Book in a Week, we set our own individual goals. It could be a word count, it could be dedicating a certain number of hours per day to writing, or it could be something specific like finishing an outline. We email back and forth with our daily goals and progress, pulling out cyber-champagne or wet noodles as needed.

It’s going well, despite the several snow days we’ve had. Although we’ve had to deal with our beloved offspring more than we planned, all of us have soldiered on and gotten more done than we would have otherwise.

The idea of group challenges isn’t unique to writing. I haven’t done Weight Watchers but I think they use the same concept. My husband is making continued progress on his stroke recovery through a group water exercise class at the YMCA.

I think there are at least two reasons that this sort of group challenge can work.

  1. Accountability. It helps to declare a goal and have friends who will know if you achieved it, or at least gave it a good shot.
  2. Camaraderie. It’s great to have someone to bitch to when it gets difficult, to share tips and tricks and to celebrate achievements.

What do my writer buddies and I get out of it? Increased productivity and bragging rights. Oh yeah, Mimosas and cake at our next meeting. 🙂

Do you participate in any group activities or challenges? Do you feel you get a boost out of them?

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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11 years ago

I attend my local RWA chapter, Desert Rose, and enjoy the encouragement I find there. I don’t do challenges for the simple reason that whenever I’ve done them I feel like the hounds of hell combine against me to ensure I fail. Really. I did decide this month to overhaul my completed inspirational historical, a chapter a day plus the synopsis for that chapter, so it’s ready for the next meeting. We have a mentor program, and I want to be ready to sign up for it. Today, I start chapter four, and so far so good. Your challenge group sounds like so much fun! And glad to hear your husband is making progress. That’s good news.

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

My local chapter, Southern Magic, does a challenge every year. We put ten dollars in the pot for each book we pledge to finish that year. At the end of the year everyone who reaches their goal has their name put in a hat and the winner splits the pot with the chapter. It’s lots of fun. We check in each Monday and cheer each other on or chide each other for falling behind. It’s a nice way to keep each other going.

Elena Greene
11 years ago

Judy, I know that feeling of the “hounds of hell”. That’s how we felt this week with the two snow days, but OTOH the challenge spurred us on to do *something* even if not as much as we hoped.

Louisa, that challenge sounds like fun! Though I wouldn’t ever pledge to finish more than one book a year (unless drafts count). That’s why we set individual goals in my group.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

I’m doing a challenge, too! With my local chapter. Judy, guess how many words I’ve written since it started.
You got it. ZERO.
But I have caught up on all the things I neglected while I was writing my Undone! I turned it in on Tuesday.

11 years ago

It’s nice to know I’m not alone! Once more, into the breach. 🙂

11 years ago

It definitely helps to be in a group, for the 2 very reasons you mentioned. For me the biggest part is accountability. I am doing the diet and exercise routine right now. I am managing to keep to the exercise part OK, but not the dieting part. I am keeping a food journal, but there is no one to tell me I am cheating or not trying hard enough. I did a weight loss program years ago, and I know having to show that journal to some one every week made me be more careful about what I was eating.