Month 4: Write a Novel
I can’t believe that I have finished 3 months of the Year of 30-day challenges. That is one-quarter of the challenges I committed to tackling at the start of this big challenge. I guess you could call it a Challenge of Challenges. The big challenge is to finish the full year and the little challenges are the individual monthly 30-day challenges.
The challenge of month three was to scroll less and read more.
My goal was to put my phone down and pick up a book more often. At the start of this challenge, I found myself in a position of defaulting to scrolling on my phone especially during the evening hours. I didn’t even notice I was doing it most of the time. It was just something I could do when relaxing at the end of the day and it required minimal mental energy.
The problem was that I knew that scrolling on my phone was not serving me well. Oftentimes, I would end up in a worse mood than when I started. I would sometimes fall into the comparison trap or I read some political discussion that got me riled up or I even allowed myself to engage in some debate and that never goes well.
At first, I thought I would pick a goal number of books to read in October. Because I am a recovering perfectionist I knew setting that kind of standard could go badly.
So, I simply challenged myself to scroll less and read more.
That’s it. Simple. In the evening, instead of
How did it go?
I read two books to completion and started a third one.
When I started the challenge I envisioned having read a lot more than that. But, I still consider this challenge a victory.
Victories from Month Three: Scroll Less, Read More
- I now carry my Kindle in my purse whenever I leave the house.
- I now expect to read just about every night before bed.
- There were quite a few nights when I actually fell asleep in bed while reading a book. I wasn’t scrolling or watching YouTube or Netflix. I was reading. Win.
- I challenged myself to read a certain number of pages or percentages in the Kindle and most days I met that goal.
- I defaulted to reading my Kindle when waiting on my son to get out of activities or at appointments, etc. (Have you ever looked around a doctor’s office waiting room? It actually felt good to be the only person not staring at my phone for once.)
- My “To Be Read” list grew quite a bit and I’m excited to work through that list.
- I don’t feel “accomplished’ at the end of the day if I don’t spend some time reading.
What did I learn?
- I still need to keep working on scrolling less. I confess there were some nights I never picked up a book. I was so tired and it just seemed too hard. Even so, reading a few pages of a book would have still done me more good than scrolling on my phone.
- I need to read more novels. I love reading fiction. LOVE IT. But, I’ve been reading a lot of business/self-development/leadership books lately. Those are all wonderful and have helped me so much. But, I also need to allow myself to just retreat into a good story. I think having a leadership book and a good novel going at the same time is a good pace.
- I need to get away from Holocaust-themed books. I majored in History in college and focused my studies around the Holocaust. I’ve always been fascinated in that period of history. I STILL read a ton about it. The problem is that, for obvious reasons, these books can really pull me down.
How did you do with the Scroll Less, Read More Challenge? Comment or shoot me an email and let me know what you read!!
On to Month Four!!!
Can I just say that this challenge is the MOST frightening? I thought the BE SEEN Challenge was going to be the most frightening but I was wrong.
Month Four is all about WRITING!!!!
You have seen my Write 1000 Words A Day 30-Day Challenge before.
The Write 1000 words a day challenge is not specific to this year of 30-day challenges. It is something I do when I know I need to boost my writing.
This month I am going way out of my comfort zone. It will be a big stretch in the genre of writing and the amount of writing.
I am officially participating in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.
The goal is to write a novel or at least get a good running start on a novel in the month of November. You are supposed to write 50,000 words by the end of the monthIt comes down to 1,667 words a day to stay on schedule to get 50,000 words done by the end of November 30.
If you submit your novel on November 30 and it does meet the
I know full well that I won’t have a publishable novel at the end of NaNoWriMo. Most published novels are around 100,000 words, twice the amount of NaNoWriMo novel. The whole point is to push through fear and doubt and do something I’ve never felt possible. Who knows what will come from it!!Month 4 in the Year of 30-Day Challenges is all about writing! Join me this month for NaNoWriMo. Click To Tweet
Why does this scare me?
- I have NEVER been one to write fiction. EVER!!! Do you hear me? I want to make sure those in the back can hear me. NEVER EVER have I been one to write fiction. I dream about writing novels but the idea scares me and so I have never done it. Till now….
- The daily word count scares me. One thousand words a day does not bother me but adding 2/3 of that count to every day of the month does scare me. That’s a time and mental energy commitment.
- It’s NOVEMBER!!!! We have a lot of stuff going on that month. In fact, we are leaving on a camping trip on the 2nd day of NaNoWriMo. I was laughing with my husband I would be writing on my laptop by the campfire and in the car when driving home. Then there’s Thanksgiving!! I usually don’t think about writing on Thanksgiving. We’ll be traveling to see family so I’ll have to account for my 1,667 words a day all while visiting family and eating delicious food.
- I will be completely vulnerable right now and say I am entering this challenge as what NaNoWriMo called a “Pantster.”. That means I am pretty much going to be flying off the seat of my pants throughout this whole challenge. I have no idea what my story is going to be about or who the characters are or whatever. I have the first line and that’s it. This goes back to the perfectionism thing. I know that if I plan too much leading into this then I will find something wrong and will most likely shut down and not finish. So, the fun of this challenge will be letting the story write itself. (Spiritual alert: I strongly believe that God wants me to take this route to help me shed my perfectionism. He assures me there is a story worth writing and it will happen if I trust Him as I write.) Even as someone who isn’t terribly organized in general, taking this route is still scary.
What habits will I employ to get through NaNoWriMo?
- My writing will focus on the novel for all of November. Getting my 1,667 words out each day will probably use up all my writing “words” for the day and that means I may or may not get other blog posts out. I hope to get at least another blog post out mid-month but we shall see how it goes.
- I plan to write first thing in the morning. I will get up, eat breakfast, have my devotional time, and get to writing. I know that as the day goes along the chances of me writing will go way down. The best time is first thing in the am. Then I can ride the high of getting it done early.
- I will use Cold Turkey Writer. This computer app blocks out EVERYTHING on the computer for a designated amount of time or word count. If I set it for 1,667 words then the whole screen is blocked out except for the writing program. I can’t scroll social media, check email, or read the news until I”ve written my words.
- I will set writing goals and incentives. When I hit a certain number of words I will reward myself with something. I’m not sure what those will be quite yet but I know this will be helpful to stay motivated.
- I will stay accountable on social media. I will post whenever I finish my words for the day. Twitter is the best place to keep up with my daily updates. My profile is here on Twitter.
So, that’s it!
Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?
Do you have any tips or suggestions?