Since about January 2003, I've been a member of a secret club of successful writers.
Ok, so it's not that secret, it's just not that well known. I'm talking about Club 100 for Writers.
The brainchild of Avis Hester, a writer from Georgia, it’s based on the idea that it’s easy to write 100 words. Author Beth Pattillo (www.bethpattillo.com) runs the email group where you can keep track of your progress. Heck, you probably write thousands of words every day in emails, notes or memos without even thinking about it. So 100 words is nothing, is it? Ten minutes of your time. It will take more time for your computer to boot up than it will to write 100 words. In fact, I’ve already written more than 100 words just telling you about the program.
The way it works is you pledge to write 100 words a day for 100 consecutive days on your manuscript. If at any point, even on day 99, you fail to write 100 words, you have to start your day count over again. So the incentive to keep writing is not having to start over — that and the new pair of shoes or new reference book you’re going to buy yourself when you meet your goal.
Why is this different from other BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) programs? First, 100 words a day really is easy. Really. It's not like NaNo, although NaNo (National Novel Writing Month, going on now!) is also wonderful. One of the most obvious, and fixable, things between aspiring novelists and publication is finishing the book. You sit down, prepared to put in a couple hours, and that blank screen — or that last scene — eats away your brain until you can’t even get started. Or you while away your time revising your first three chapters endlessly, like some kind of Promethean writer’s hell. Write your 100 words first then do whatever you want. It will only take you about 10 to 15 minutes. Chances are, once you get started, you’ll want to keep writing.
Second, 100 words a day isn’t intimidating. You aren’t telling yourself to sit for three hours without once checking your email. You aren’t telling yourself you have to finish this chapter or draft an entire 10-page synopsis (speaking of writer’s hell). You’re just saying that you’re going to write 100 words…which is about the length of the first paragraph in this article…and anything else is gravy. Since your goal for the day is so tiny, you’re very likely to achieve it, and everyone knows that achieving your goals leads to increased self confidence.
Third, if you manage to motor along with Club 100, keeping your gears greased makes the writing flow more smoothly. Those 100 words keep your plot and characters in the forefront of your brain, instead of in the back behind the pickles and the scary egg salad leftovers. So you think about your book more, both consciously and subconsciously, and when you sit down to write you’ve got more ammunition and more to say.
Will 100 words a day get your whole novel written? No, but the fact of the matter is, when you sit down each day the 100 words become easier and, on frequent occasions, turn into 500 words a day. 1,500. I managed a 6,700-word day recently when I thought I’d be lucky to get my 100. 6,7500 words! Now that’s the way to get your whole novel written. (Of course I was writing a 6,700 word short story, but you know what I mean.)
What they are saying about Club 100:
“Club 100 helped me finish the rough draft of my manuscript in record time. This concept has brought a consistency and discipline to my writing schedule that is paying off in increased output as well as improved quality.” — Susan Peck
“Every book is different, and my work in progress is moving slowly. I’m only writing a few hundred words a day. Club 100 helps me focus on consistency. And all those small totals really do add up!” — Ransom Schwerzler
“Club 100 has enabled me to get back in the groove of writing consistently. I've added 80 pages to my current WIP in the last month. Another benefit of the list is the encouragement one receives whether 100 or 1,000 words are written.” — Mary Varble
“Club 100 gets me to the computer on days when I'd rather go alphabetize my spice rack. By drastically lowering my expectations about how much I must write on a given day, I find it easier to begin. Once I'm over that hurdle, I'm usually fairly productive.” — Beth Pattillo
“Club 100 is a great way to keep you from falling into that trap of saying you’re too tired, too busy, too something to write. It helps prevent the common problem of having difficulty getting back to writing after being away from it for several days.” —Trish Milburn
Link to Club100: http://www.bethpattillo.com/id8.html
Recommended for writer's block and writer's progress!
LIAM'S GOLD--Available now, Samhain Publishing