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  • Writer's pictureSusan Gable

The 100 Day Challenge

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

How do you create a new habit? Write a book? One day at a time and one small segment at a time. One word at a time.

Today begins the 100 (consecutive!) Day Challenge for me, for my critique partner, and for anyone else who wants to jump on the bandwagon with us. 100 days in a row, and death (our own) is the only excuse.

For the writing, we're starting out very reasonably. 500 words a day.

500 words a day! That's nothing! That's easy. But think about the power of math! (I know, we're writers, and most of us prefer words to numbers. But numbers can be fun, too. I promise!) 500 words per day for 100 days gets you 50,000 words. That's a short novel, or half a “standard” sized novel. For me, it's close to a full novel. Well more than half.

And 500 is just the minimum. Once you get on a roll, odds are you can produce more than that each day.

My true goal, once I get past the warm up phase, is 1,000 words per day. Let's do that math. That's 100,000 words in 100 days. That's a full novel. A big novel. I don't even write novels that big! (Not to this point, anyway. I've learned to never say never.)

There are 365 days a year. That means you (we!) can do 3 of these challenges per year.

That's 3 big, full novels a year with some spare change. Days for plotting, planning, editing. (You can do those things and still write fresh material every day, too. Write a blog, an article, a short story.)

It's about BICHOK - butt in chair, hands on keyboard. Though with technological advancements, you might not even have your butt in chair nor your hands on a keyboard as we traditionally have done it. I'm writing this article in bed, on my cellphone, and I'm using Swype, so I've got one finger on my keyboard. I can write fast this way, too.

100 Days. Starting today.

What happens if you miss a day? You have to start over again. It's about achieving 100 CONSECUTIVE days. You can just have to go back to the starting line. (Consider it extra motivation to not miss a day!) Again, it doesn't have to all be on a novel/book. If you're stuck on that, write a blog post. Write a short story. Write "I'm stuck" over and over again, 250 times, giving you 500 words. Just write!

I'm getting on board for 100 Day Challenge for steps, too. I've been slacking off on my physical fitness needs as well, and that needs to change. So starting today, I'm going for 100 consecutive days of 10k steps per day.

I need routine. I need solid, established habits. Writing muscles are like any other muscles. If you don't use them, they get flabby. Weak. It takes training to build them back up again.

So this is my training regimen. (Cue the Rocky theme music.)

This is the perfect month to start because writing is in the air with NanoWriMo starting today. There's something to be said for tapping into something that big. The creative energy will be flowing all over. Dip into it, take a big gulp.

It doesn't even matter when you read this, when you start. Pick a day and start your own journey.

It all begins with a single step. Or a single word.

Let's go together.

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