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2016 “Leap-Ahead” Writing Marathon

Sunday, January 31, 2016

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m falling far behind on my personal writing goals this year. And now that I’ve got a new story that I’m really excited about, I need something to motivate myself to get back to a regular writing schedule and get this story moving! To that end, I’m pleased to announce the . . .

Leap Ahead Marathon Logo

If you’ve ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month in November, or if you did the FirstDraft60 challenge last fall (which yes, I, too, failed to complete) then you know what a month-long writing marathon is.

If you aren’t familiar, here’s the idea:

For a set number of days (February 1–29 in this case), you commit to writing as much of your manuscript as you can, which usually involves setting a total word-count goal for the month and then breaking that down into achievable daily chunks.

But I’d like to suggest we work this marathon a little differently.

Instead of arbitrarily setting a number goal to achieve by the end of the month, the main challenge of this marathon will be writing every day to see what can be accomplished in twenty-nine days. Sure, set daily goals and set a total goal if you want to—but this is more about being committed to writing every day for the entire month and building the story. If you can commit to doing a 1k1h sprint every day, you’ll have written at least 29,000 words at the end of the month! Don’t have an hour a day to spare? Try a 30-minute sprint.

The challenge isn’t to “write a book in a month.” The challenge is to write for each day in a month.

You can set your own challenges within it as well—such as:
I will write five more words each day than I wrote the day before.
Or: I will write one poem (or song or essay or short story) per day.
Or: I will write one full notebook page per day.

I hope you’ll create your own challenge during Leap Ahead month and then come back and check in often with your progress, successes, and struggles. I’ll try to post something encouraging, motivating, or challenging most days during the next month. And I hope you will, too. And on Fridays, I’ll bring back the SWAT (Self-evaluation, Word count, Awesome accomplishments, Tidbits to share) Day from FirstDraft60 to give everyone a chance to share.

For Discussion:
1. Are you going to participate?
2. What story are you going to work on?
3. What questions do you have?

  1. Carol permalink
    Sunday, January 31, 2016 7:09 pm

    Yay! I need to try something again ;). I want to have this next manuscript done (first draft anyway) by the end of February. I have about 10K words so far. It also doesn’t have a title (well “Jonathan and Kenzie’s Story doesn’t count ;)). I’m also working on edits for PRINCE FROM HER PAST which releases 3/1 so it has to be out of my hands and to my proofreader soon.

    I did miserably on the writing weekend a couple weeks ago :p. And I failed the 60 day challenge. I (sort of) won NaNo (rebelliously anyway; not a new project).

    But I’ve had readers asking for this story since last spring so I need to get it done and out – heck, I’VE been asking for this story for at least a year so… :D.

    Goal: Write every day (less on days that also have heavy editing responsibilities) but at least a 70K rough draft complete by 3/1. 🙂


  2. Carol permalink
    Monday, February 1, 2016 11:48 am

    I’m in. Thanks for hosting this, Kaye. My goal is just write. I want to have one short piece ready to submit on March 1. I’m targeting the ezine Daily Science Fiction. But beyond that, I just need to write, to focus on being a professional writer.


  3. Michelle permalink
    Monday, February 1, 2016 2:51 pm

    I need to do something and this just might be the push I need. I’m going to work on a new short story idea for an anthology about a twisted circus. I’m going to push myself to write close to the 10k max word length. I think there is enough of a plot to go that far.


  4. Jacki King permalink
    Tuesday, February 2, 2016 7:45 am

    I’m in! Taking the approach to “just write” is juuuuust riiiiight! 😀


  5. loridee21 permalink
    Wednesday, February 3, 2016 7:52 pm

    I’m going to do my best, although I’m 2 days late in starting–long days of work and a head cold to boot. Anyway, I’m starting a new story–historical, that will eventually be around 100K. It could be the first of a series of 3 books. Not sure yet. Thanks for keeping us motivated along the way! My goal is write 50 words more than I did the day before, fingers crossed.


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