Since 2018 is drawing to a close, I felt this was the perfect time to let all of you who are unaware, that there is an awesome Writing Challenge that runs January 1st to March 31st every year.
On a personal note, those who follow my social media will know that I had to make the heart-breaking decision on Wednesday to let my little cat cross the Rainbow Bridge. Due to this devastating loss, please be patient with me answering comments and questions.
As we knew this was coming, this week and next week’s blog posts have already been written so there will be no delay in uploads.
This was the first Writing Challenge I ever did. I’d heard of NaNoWriMo but had never felt interested in trying it. However, when I learnt of this challenge I loved the sound of it.
So what is the 85k Writing Challenge?
The 85K Writing Challenge was started in 2016 by the awesome Julie Valerie who ran it through a small Facebook Group.
The basic premise is to write 85,000 words in the 90 Days at the start of the year. To hit this goal it requires less than 1,000 words a day.
It also morphed into a bigger challenge, with each month planned out as another part of the writing journey.
WRITE – 1st January – 31st March
This is part 1, the main challenge. Starting on the 1st January, each participate aims to write a least 1,000 words a day. By the 31st March when the “writing” section ends, this should leave you with a first draft of approximately 85,000 words.
Why 85,000? That’s roughly the size of a standard novel.
Obviously you can write more per day, or skip some days and write more on later days. Use the Word Tracker to track your progress.
EDIT – 1st May – 30th June
This is part 2 of the challenge. May and June are designated for Editing. Take this time to comb through your manuscript as many times are you need to get it tip top.
My personal editing system consists of a minimum of four edits as well as alpha and beta reads and critique partner feedback.
PREP – 1st August – 30th September
This is part 3 of the challenge. August and September are designated as Prep time. This is to get you heading in the right direction for publishing.
Prep time can be used to make sure your author platform is in perfect order, that you have a tight marketing strategy and you are putting it into practice, that you are building your following, starting that mailing list etc.
And don’t forget, no matter what route you take, you need to do your own Marketing.
PUBLISH – 1st October – 30th November
This is part 4 of the challenge. October and November are designated as Publish. These two months are where you focus on taking those steps that will lead you to to getting your work published.
This challenge is great for “encouraging writers to pursue publishing when the time is right for them and when their novel is at its best which may or may not be during the months the 60-Day Publish cycle is scheduled” ~85k90.com
This doesn’t mean you use these months to actually get published (unless you’re ready). As per the above statement, taken from the challenge’s website, don’t get ahead of yourself if this is not the right time. The last thing you want to do is rush.
Instead, you can use this time to learn about the publishing industry, look at hiring a book cover artist or a professional editor, do a search for relevant publishers and agents, learn about the self-publishing industry etc.
Wait, you missed a few months!
April. July. December.
Yes I did. These months are considered the “Finish” months. They are designed to give you a little breathing room.
April is the Finish cycle that allows you to catch up if you failed to hit the writing deadline by the end of March.
July is the Finish cycle that allows you to do any further edits if you feel that your manuscript is still a little too rough.
December is the Finish cycle that allows you to complete anything you feel you’ve missed or just take a little time to plan/outline for the next challenge that will be rolling around come January 1st.
Why I like this challenge
The reason this challenge was so appealing to me was because it gives a nice layout for the year. A writer who can streamline their process like this could manage to write and possibly a publish a new book every year.
I know some writers can do more than that, but in truth, most writers can’t. While writing a book a year might not be practical, this system can definitely make things more organised and efficient.
I found the structure as well as the additional advice, tips and of course, the support to be extremely helpful.
This challenge is what made me start really focusing on things like prep (especially marketing and branding).
Links to this challenge
Here’s the Year At A Glance
Anyone interested in joining this challenge?
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This will be my fourth year doing this challenge. Not only is this time period busy for my shop, I’m also going to be moving house in January. So yeah, I am adding in those extra obstacles. :p
But even if I don’t complete the challenge, I love participating, I love the support and encouragement I receive from other writers and I love challenging myself. 😀
For those who decide to join, see you on January 1st!