I was once told that you had to do something straight for 14 days for it to become a habit. Then that number rose to 29 days. Recently, I read about a new psychology study that was done that states that it takes up to 66 days to form a new habit. Look up 66 days to a new habit, if you don’t believe me and you’ll be presented with pages of articles and blogs on it.
This same study also stated that if the habit is more complicated it can take up to 8 and a half months or 254 days if you are particularly habit-resistant. Now I don’t think I’m habit-resistant, but I do know that it takes me more than two weeks to form a habit, as my attempt to create a new habit proved to me. While some of the routine stuck, other parts where not so successful. Like writing.
So I’ve decided to make a more concentrated effort to writing, editing, and publishing books. I want to make this writing gig a career and not a hobby. I created the 60 Day Challenge for myself to motivate my work. Anyone who wants to join me is welcome to. I’d love the company.
Why 60 Days?
I created the 60 Day Challenge for myself to motivate my work and because I have the attention span of a child. Just kidding. But not really.
I’ve found out two things over the years in relation to writing challenges.
1) A month is too short of time. I can’t accomplish what I need to in that time frame with everything else happening in my life (ie. kids, hubby, creating book covers, house cleaning, and ranching).
2) 90 days is too long a time span. I won’t accomplish anything because I’ll put it off to do later, thinking I have a lot of time or I’ll get bored working on the same thing day after day for 3 months. I need a break.
60 days seemed a good number. I can write a novel in 2 months and possibly a few short stories depending on how focused I am.
How does the Challenge Work?
Basically, the rules of the challenge go something like this:
Since there are several elements to writing, this goal can be for writing, plotting, outlining, character development, editing, or a combination of these. You don’t have to start something new. You can work on one manuscript or several. Whatever you are working on in your current WIP can be used. It you want to finish the last 10,000 words in your novel and edit that short story you wrote last week. Go for it.
Create a measurable goal or mini goals for 60 Days. Every writer is different and have different needs and schedules. So create a goal to fit your life. You can make a word count, page number, or chapter goal. Make a writing goal on what you want to accomplish.
Post your goal where you can see it every day so you don’t forget. This isn’t really a rule as much as a help. They say when you see your goals everyday that you are more likely to accomplish it.
Record your progress. This is another help. Tracking your progress allows you to see what you can accomplish, where you might need to improve, and give you a rough estimate of how long something might take you to do. You can use a day planner, blog post, on social network, etc. It can be everyday, every few days, or weekly. Telling the void about it is a great way to keep yourself accountable.
The 60 Day Writing Challenge Banner
For who like to post what they are doing on their blogs and websites, I’ve created a banner and html code that cane be placed in the post or in a text widget. It will open a link in a new window to this page.
<img title=”60 Day Writing Challenge” alt=”60 Day Writing Challenge” src=”http://stephanniebeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/60daywritingchallenge121-275×300.png” width=”275″ height=”300″ /> Click the image to read about the 60 Day Writing Challenge!