85K Writing Challenge
Year At A Glance
Beginning in January and ending in December, the yearlong 85K Writing Challenge moves through a series of productivity “cycles.” A 90-Day Write cycle, a 60-Day Edit cycle, a 60-Day Prep cycle, a 60-Day Publish cycle, and three strategically scheduled 30-Day Finish cycles.
90-Day Write (Jan-Mar)
60-Day Edit (May-Jun)
60-Day Prep (Aug- Sep)
60-Day Publish (Oct-Nov)
30-Day Finish (Apr, Jul, Dec)
Our flagship challenge is the challenge to write 85,000 words in 90 days.
How the 90-Day Write cycle works:
Q: Why 85,000 words?
A: Eighty-five thousand words is the average length of an adult novel.
Q: What if I don’t want to write a novel? What if I want to write a novella and two short stories? A: What you write is up to you. The goal is to write 85,000 new words in 90 days. At the 85K Writing Challenge, we embrace the writing life by advancing the practice of productive writing. Commit to writing 85,000 new words in 90 days, and you will form a powerful habit that just might change your life.
Q: How do I track my progress?
A: Using the WriterStat BookStats™ Project Tracker software installed on this site and generously supported by our Founding Sponsor, WriterStat. Click on the “Project Tracker” button on the top right of the home page to access your project tracker.
Q: How many words do I need to write to stay on track?
A: If you’re joining us on January 1st, then your writing pace is about 1,000 words per day. That’s about four typed pages. Technically, you only have to write 944 words per day. And guess what? Many days you’ll write more because the more you write, the easier it will be to slip into “flow state.” When you’re in a flow state, the words come more easily and reaching your word count goals will become less of a concern. Amazing things will happen.
Q: What if I don’t write every day?
A: No worries. Many writers don’t. Many writers devote time on the weekends toward getting words on the page. When you write is up to you.
Q: What happens after the 90-Day Write cycle?
A: The 30-Day Finish cycle, which happens in April. If you didn’t complete the first draft of your novel during the 85,000-word, 90-day challenge, use April to finish this task. Or, use the 30-Day Finish cycle to take a break, to recharge, or to focus on other things. Or, use the 30-Day Finish cycle in April to begin work on the next cycle in the 12-month pipeline, the 60-Day Edit cycle, which begins in May and ends in June.
Q: So, isn’t April’s 30-Day Finish cycle just an extension of the 90-day challenge?
A: No. Do not think of April’s 30-Day Finish cycle as an extension of the 90-Day Write cycle. The 85K Writing Challenge is not a 120-day writing challenge. We write for 90 days every January, February, and March. As a last resort, the April 30-Day Finish cycle allows for last-minute pushes across the finish line.