Words a Day Keeps the Writer in Play

A Plan Inspired by Failure

by Sarabeth Gordon

I’d planned to participate in National Novel Writing Month, and I did pretty well until the activities in my month of November kicked in. School conferences, a few sick days for me, a trip planned for months, and then Thanksgiving vacation. There wasn’t any way for me to write the average of 1667 words a day to reach that magical number of 50,000 words total. I gave in, but I didn’t give up.


I came up with my own month, January. We’re all primed to make resolutions or goals for that time of year. Even if we say we won’t make any New Year’s resolutions, we still see it as the beginning of a year and possible changes. So, let’s use it to our advantage as writers.


Make January the month that you start a new habit. Set your own goal for how many words a day you can make. To do that, SOLA is sponsoring Words a Day Keeps the Writer in Play.


The rules: Write each weekday in January. On February 1st-5th, send your file to SOLA (webmasterATsolaDOTorg) for word count verification. At the February meeting, we’ll reward you for the total number of words written. Then, keep it up. Keep writing.


That’s 21 days for January. Imagine what you can accomplish by the end of the month. Here’s the levels for you to reach.


Mardi Gras Beads: 2100 words -5249 words

Beignets: 5250 words – 10499 words

Crawfish: 10500 words – 15749 words

Po Boy: 15750 words – 20999 words

Gumbo: 21000 words – 31499 words

Fleur de Lis: 31500 words and above


You don’t have to sign up. We’ll post reminders on SOLAWriter, our news loop on Yahoo! Those reminders will also be on our website, solawriters.org. If you want to have those reminders sent to your email, make sure you get the daily messages or the digest from Yahoo! Or, sign up for email notifications from the website. There’s a box on the home page just for that. You won’t get spammed.


In words that I have heard many a times from successful writers, get your hiney in the chair with those fingers on the keyboard. Use December to figure out your characters and their goals, motivations, and conflicts. Set up meetings with a friend to do 20 minute writing sprints. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish when another person is working right across from you.


Let’s begin 2011 with a lot of words.