8×8 challenge – days 5-8 and wrap-up

Day 5 of the 8×8 writing challenge involved finding extra pockets of time in which to add to the writing I got done in the main session. I have to admit I didn’t manage this at all, but then I also didn’t stop at all that day, until I got home from work at 9.30 pm at night. I didn’t even have a lunch break beyond the couple of minutes it took me to actually eat my food, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself about this. I think it’s a good idea for a challenge, and may try it again on a non-teaching day.

Day 6 required me to post on social meejah about my progress with the challenge, thus increasing my accountability. I did so, as you will probably see if you click through the twitter link, above. 🙂

Day 7 required me to figure out how long it would take me to finish my current novel draft if I did one ten-minute session per day, or perhaps two or even more. I did this (I love writing maths!), and was a little dampened by the results – with one session a day I can expect to be finished some time around mid-March 2016. I mean, really, that’s only fair on ten minutes a day! But still, I have this arbitrary Christmas 2015 date in my head…Anyway, I also figured out that two ten-minute sessions a day would get me to 65000 words in late January, which feels less faraway and may be something to aim at. If not, well, a finished draft in March is better than a draft that’s never finished.

Day 8 required me to evaluate what I’d accomplished with my writing goals. See my reflections below.


Thoughts and reflections

Baseline: A couple of weeks prior to the 8×8 challenge, I was struggling to fit in any writing at all. When I came across the challenge, I’d just started writing ten minutes a day, out of desperation more than anything else, so I thought the challenge would fit in well with that schedule.

Results: I’ve been consistently writing more and on more days thanks to the 8×8 challenge. Most days I do at least two sessions (on two different books).

Word counts: It’s not all about quantity, but I was slightly sad that my word counts didn’t get any better through the week – I was still struggling somewhere between 120 and 180 words. This is because it does take me a little time to get into writing, so the past couple of days, I’ve experimented with doing two sessions back to back (ie 20 minutes instead of 10). The results are much better – by the second session my fingers are flying over the keyboard, and my overall word counts are well over 400 (for the two sessions combined). And 20 minutes a day still doesn’t feel like too much of a time commitment; I’m not feeling the resistance going into it that I might with a longer period of time.

Verdict: The 8×8 challenge was a great way to experiment with getting writing done in different ways and mediums – and to focus on getting words down. I feel I’m laying down habits now which I’ll hopefully be able to expand when I have more time and headspace. I can already see the seeds of this in the way I’m now doing two or three sessions per writing day, despite being up to the eyes in paid work commitments. I’m really pleased I took on the challenge!

The 8×8 challenge is run by Monica Leonelle; for more information see the twitter hashtag or check out Monica’s blog here.

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