The Journal: Be Clear in Your Challenge Goals

In today’s Journal

* Topic: Be Clear in Your Challenge Goals
* Of Interest

Topic: Be Clear in Your Challenge Goals

First, go ahead and check out Dean’s “Challenge Mixed Bag” at https://deanwesleysmith.com/challenge-mixed-bag/. Then come back here for the discussion. I’ll wait.

The problem seems obvious to me. Dean obviously didn’t define his challenge well. One would think he’d know better.

As originally stated, his challenge was to write a story a day for 365 days. Period.

But soon after he started, he allowed the challenge to morph and become almost impossible. The challenge became not only to write a story a day for 365 days but to design covers for them, and submit or publish or collect them.

If you’re very disciplined and if you make writing and mailing or publishing the stories your number 1 priority — meaning you will do nothing else each day until you’ve met the requirements of the challenge — that would still be possible.

But that’s a far reach from simply writing a story every day for a year, isn’t it? And who wants to live like that? For me, the pressure of designing all those covers and publishing or submitting, etc. would suck all the joy out of writing.

I’m not saying write the stories and then don’t do anything with them. I’m saying wait to do something with them until you’ve successfully finished the challenge. In fact, along the way if you’ve written a story that’s particularly well suited for a magazine, by all means submit it. But make doing that the exception rather than the rule. Don’t let it become part of the challenge.

Dean also talks about the difficulty of keeping track of the stories, but doing just that and nothing more would add nothing significant to the challenge.

Each day, write a story, period. Then either copy/paste the title onto a spreadsheet and click Save (this is what I would do) or pen the title into the appropriate date of one of those calendars that hangs on the wall and has a block for each day.

What you DON’T do is allow all sorts of other requirements to swirl-in and become part of the challenge after the fact, then complain that you were unable to complete the original challenge. Because my response will be, “Well, of course you were.”

Talk with you again later.

Of Interest

See “AI Algorithm Predicts Future Crimes One Week in Advance With 90% Accuracy” at https://scitechdaily.com/ai-algorithm-predicts-future-crimes-one-week-in-advance-with-90-accuracy/. Phillip K. Dick’s “The Minority Report,” anyone?

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 410 words

Writing of Blackwell Ops 8 (tentative title, novel)

Day 19… 2117 words. Total words to date…… 41729 (not stalled, just sick)

Total fiction words for July……… 0
Total fiction words for the year………… 45405
Total nonfiction words for July… 2890
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 97020
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 142425

Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 66
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. I’ve never said WITD is “the only way” to write, nor will I ever. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among other topics.