NOTE: This post applies to the January-March writing challenge portion of our year. The forums are closed April-December and therefore do not appear on our main navigation menu.
Q: How do I stay accountable during the 90-Day Write?
A: During the 90-Day Write cycle, writers report their word counts twice per week, every Monday and Friday, in the Forum dedicated to word count reporting. Report using the “Monday Word Count Reports” and the “Friday Word Count Reports” entries in the Forum. Under each of these entries, you will find a calendar date under which to report.
- On Mondays, report the total number of words written over the weekend (total words written on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).
- On Fridays, report the total number of words written during the week (total words written on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).
- If you want to also add your writing goals for the coming week, report that, too. If you’ve reached a milestone, announce it. Celebrate. We have an area in the Forum dedicated to Milestone Announcements. We also have Milestone User Tags you can add to your Member Profile Page.
Q: Where do I report my word counts?
A: In the Forum dedicated to word count reporting. (Forums are open January-March.) Report using the “Monday Word Count Reports” and the “Friday Word Count Reports” entries in the Forum. Under each of these entries, you will find a calendar date under which to report. You can access the Forums by clicking on the word “Forum” in the main navigation menu of this site.
Q: What if I don’t write anything that week?
A: Even if your word count is zero words written, you still need to check-in on Mondays and Fridays, so you stay connected, and stay accountable. Being accountable in this way functions like having a personal trainer or a workout buddy at the gym – but for writing. If you reach a Monday or a Friday and you have not written since the last word count report, simply report “zero words written” and then focus on increasing your productivity before the next twice-weekly check-in.
Q: What if I need daily word count check-ins to stay disciplined?
A: You will find an optional daily check-in in the Forum titled “Daily Word Count Reports.” Daily word count reports are optional. Monday and Friday Word Count Reports are required.
Q: I’m not so sure about this . . .
A: That’s why you should do it. The discomfort many writers feel about accountability stems from the fear they won’t be productive. Who’d want to publicly admit in a Forum they didn’t write that week? It’s this fear we encourage you to confront. It’s this level of accountability and practice we encourage you to try. There is no penalty for reporting “zero words written.” That’s life. People get sick. Demands from family and work intrude. If this is you, report “zero words written” every Monday and Friday until one day, you decide to change that and instead report “I wrote 50 words today” or “on Saturday, I spent all day writing and am almost caught up.”
Whatever your progress, no matter how small, report it in the private, members-only, writers-only Forum. Like handing a homework assignment to a teacher. Like meeting a deadline for your boss (which is actually, you). Like trading chapters every week with a critique partner. It will help you form a writing habit, complete your novel, and may change your life. Trust the process. Report every Monday and Friday.
Before we go, an observation: Public announcements also tend to foster accountability and help you stay on track.
Below are some social media graphics you can use should you wish to foster excitement for your work and keep your readers abreast of your next novel’s progress. We don’t ask that you report your Monday and Friday Word Counts on social media unless you want to. We do ask that you “check-in” in the members-only, private Forum every Monday and Friday under the designated month and date.
Because time and time again, our members report that what they need most to meet their writing goals – is accountability.
P.S. Have you read the “Welcome to the 85K Writing Challenge” post on our homepage? It’s pretty important. You’ll also find a Frequently Asked Questions post that might be helpful. Cheers!