Take the 10,000 Word Challenge

I have a lot of writing to do this month, and I love accountability challenges, so, I wanted to invite a few of you to join me in a “10,000 Word Challenge”.

The goal of the challenge is simply this: write 10,000 words in the month of September.

And you’re invited.

If you already know that you’re up for the challenge, go here to get set up.

10,000 word challenge

If you write for life or work, you already know that consistent writing is invaluable because:

  • You can’t unearth your best ideas unless you capture a lot of ideas
  • Final drafts only happen after you write lots of crappy first drafts
  • Every writer knows that great writers don’t wait for inspiration, they show up and get to work
  • Consistency begets habituality, which begets more consistency, which is the only path to results

Why 10,000 Words? Why One Month?

Here’s the skinny:

  • We all have a zillion goals. It’s easiest to focus on one goal at a time.
  • A lot of us kind of love but kind of hate to write. It would be cool to conquer that beast.
  • 10,000 words is a lot but it’s not crazy. That’s 323 words a day. You can do that in 30 minutes a day.

Also, Science

Pretty much all the goal science in the world supports this structure.

  • Doing this with a group and accountability makes it dramatically easier to follow through.
  • Additionally, the challenge is specific, measurable and time-bound.
  • And, the goal is a stretch and ambitious enough to be motivating, but not too big of a stretch. Research suggests stretch goals are motivating but that we can’t stretch more than 4% beyond our current skill level, so finding the right stretch is imperative.

Rules and Not-Rules

I don’t know why but everyone loves rules. This challenge is not going to have them.

The only rule is: write 10,000 words during the month of September.

The not-rules are as follows. You…

  • Don’t have to publish the words (but you’re welcome to)
  • Don’t have to write in any genre or topic
  • Self-report your numbers. No one has to validate your numbers. We’re doing this for ourselves.

There are some suggestions below. You don’t have to take any of them.

Consider the Following!

  • The easiest methods are likely to be either, (a) write 323 words per day or (b) write 500 words per weekday. The reasoning behind this (or science, you could say) is that these schemas dovetail nicely with the way habits work. Consistency is king.
  • If you miss a day or fall behind, it is imperative not to panic or beat yourself up. The best solution is to simply start again.
  • It will probably help to do a few big writing days where you take down 1,000 words or more. This can help make up for the inevitable missed days, which may be caused by travel, sickness, tiredness, Netflix, children, hurricanes, Netflix, being a human being, pizza, and Netflix.
  • Note: we will organize some virtual, marathon group-writing events. Let us know in the comments which days work best for you.

Suggestions and Support

Want to do this challenge all the way? I’m going to help you. Here’s how:

  • Track your progress with us. I made a tracker. Add your name on the left side (or a username if you want to be anonymous). Add your word count in the appropriate day. The tracker will add up your total and even calculate the daily average you need to hit to reach 10,000. To join the tracker, go to the challenge’s resource page.
  • Co-work with a virtual accountability partner on Focusmate. Focusmate eliminates procrastination by providing you with a virtual accountability partner any time, for a 50-minute video working session. It’s like magic for productivity. If you do one session a day you’ll crush the goal. Join Focusmate here.
  • Join the challenge’s Facebook group. This is a good place to share motivation, suggestions, questions, ideas, screenshots of words you wrote and (!!!) failure stories: “I didn’t write today but I’m not going into hiding or giving up” and so on. To get an invite to the private FB group, go to the challenge’s resource page.
  • Sign up to get an email from me every five-ish days with updates and encouragement. Behavioral science suggests that this kind of positive reinforcement drives results. Also, I’m a really good nudge who keeps it real and doesn’t go overboard. Promise. Get updates here.

Recommended Reading

Since all good writers must read—and because reading is a great way to generate ideas—here’s some suggested reading (non-affiliate links):

  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This is one of those books that is SO GOOD that I get tongue-tied trying to think of a short summary that does it justice. Pressfield provides deeply human, funny, concise, actionable insight into the plight of overcoming creating something, anything, that you want to create. It is as close to gospel as exists in the writing world.
  • On Writing by Stephen King. Because his name is also Stephen? Sure, why not. Also, because it’s great inspiration for writers coming from someone who has true mastery of the writing craft. Confession: I’m only a third of the way through this one, hence this blubbering summary, but so far so good.
  • Authentic Content Marketing by George Kao. A new addition to my recommended reading list, Kao’s book is a practical primer for those looking to build a business and want to understand how to use content (videos, social media, writing, you name it) to do so. Kao persuasively shows why “authentic” content is better for you and your audience, and provides exceptional advice on how to create it in a fast and painless manner.
  • Stand Out by Dorie Clark. This is a deeper dive into the world of audience-building, for those so inclined. Clark (like Kao!) is one of the most genuine and straight-shooting voices in the world of influence-building.

If you have other suggestions, let me know in the comments!

That’s All Folks: Time to Sign Up!

> Take the 10,000 word challenge >>

And I’ll see you on the inside…

4 thoughts on “Take the 10,000 Word Challenge”

  1. Taylor, what a great idea. Amazing that you set this whole thing up in just a few hours. Did you perhaps use FocusMate? 😉

    I’ll be sharing this forward! I know lots of people who want to write more 🙂

    Thank you also for the very kind mention.

    1. George, these days I scarcely attempt work anymore without Focusmate 😉

      The mention is well-deserved.

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