#FirstDraft60 Day 1: Welcome to the Sixty-Day First Draft Challenge!
Welcome to the official first day of FirstDraft60, a sixty-day challenge to plan and write a manuscript first draft. I hope you spent some time yesterday ruminating on the questions posed and reviewing the planned schedule for the challenge. Today, the questions aren’t rhetorical. Following those are some tips and considerations to keep in mind over the next sixty days.
Determining Your Commitment and Motivation—Guided Questions
Today, it’s time to not just think about but actually answer some questions that will hopefully kick-start your planning and preparation for this project. (Adapted from Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt.) You can answer them here in the comments, or if you want to blog through this yourself, please share the link to your post with your answers to these questions:
- Why do you want to write?
- What will finishing this project in sixty days mean to you? Do you think that completing this challenge will change you? How?
- If this is your first attempt at completing a manuscript, how do you think finishing it will impact your life?
OR, If you’ve completed multiple manuscripts, what will finishing another one mean to you?
- What will happen if the people closest to you don’t understand, support, and encourage you during this challenge?
- Imagine how you will feel on October 31 knowing that you’ve completed this challenge. How can you use that to motivate you during the next sixty days?
- What is the ONE thing you think you’re going to need the most to help you accomplish your goal for this challenge?
Considerations to Get You Through This Challenge
(Again, adapted from Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt.)
- Set a specific time every day to write. The book suggests doing it first thing in the morning before you get distracted and pulled in different directions. Mornings may not work for you, though. So choose a time that you can consistently set aside every day and make an appointment with yourself—set a reminder on your phone or computer if you need to, block out the time on your calendar. This is a commitment you are making to yourself. Your owe it to yourself to make it important. Start practicing this month by doing our FirstDraft60 preparation activities during your appointed writing time. If you make setting that time aside a habit now, it will be that much easier.
- Commit to cutting out frivolous/non-productive activities. September and October may be hard months to do this for those of us who are TV addicts, since most of our favorite shows are premiering new seasons and all of the new fall shows will be debuting. But completing this first draft takes priority. If you don’t have a DVR, plan to have your prep work (Sept.) or word count (Oct.) complete before the show comes on; otherwise, save them on your DVR as rewards for when you meet your goals. Also—your writing time should be phone-free and Internet-free. No distractions.
- Track your progress. We’ll get into this more in a future post, but consider tracking writing-related activities besides just word count. Outlining, making revision notes, brainstorming, character casting—this month, you’ll be doing a lot that’s writing related but not actually building word count. It’s all time spent on your story, so why not track it to see just how much you’re really accomplishing.
- Meals—consider planning and precooking (or at least pre-preparing) meals for the upcoming week on the weekends when you have more time. Here’s a wonderful YouTube Vlogger who has fantastic videos with ideas for how to plan ahead of time to make the most of your limited time during the week.
- Prioritize. The writing portion of this challenge is only 30 days. What can you give up or put on hold for 30 days in order to achieve the goal of a completed first draft?
- Say no. For the 30 days of this challenge in which you’ll be writing, don’t take on any new responsibilities or obligations that aren’t absolutely required. You have, right now, 30 days’ warning in which to prepare yourself for this. Start practicing now. Is it a matter of life or death? Does it put your job at risk to say no? Or are you just risking someone else getting miffed at you? You’ve already made a commitment to this challenge. Isn’t your commitment to yourself and your writing just as important—if not more so—than anything else that might come up? Practice telling people that you have a commitment right now, but as soon as you’re finished, you’d be more than happy to help them out.
Your Questions, Suggestions, and Ideas
Once you answer the Guided Questions above, don’t forget to also post your own questions, suggestions, and ideas to help encourage and support each other.
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