One of my goals for the first three months of 2019 is to write a lot of things, and to achieve this by writing (at least) 250 words a day. This is in part inspired by #AcWriMo (academic writing month) in November 2018, where I joined the challenge and found it very helpful to do so. On several of those days, I wrote reflected on this practice. In this post I share my #AcWriMo diary with you ?
Sunday 4th of November
After two successful days of writing 250+ words for #AcWriMo2018, I failed with writing anything on day number three. It was a Saturday, and since I didn’t take the train like on the other two days, I didn’t have a set time to do my writing. In general I don’t have a habit of working in the weekend (although I do write for my blog sometimes), so I decided not to force myself and to let it go. Plus, yesterday I picked up two Dot and Pixel – two kittens – and I’ve enjoyed watching them for several hours. I hope they will become good #AcWri assistants, same as Buffy was.
The thing that I think is working for my #AcWriMo goal is having a rather small goal of 250 words. That’s about three paragraphs for me, and that doesn’t feel daunting, so it’s easy to get started. That’s why today, on a Sunday, I did manage to do it while watching the kittens play ?
It also helps to in advance think of the topic I’m planning to write about. Ideally, I should already prepare a list of concrete paper sections or blog posts I want to finish. I’m almost there for blog posts, as I have an Evernote notebook with blog post drafts, so I can choose something from there. For papers, it is more difficult at the moment, since the ones I plan to write next at rather early stages, so I need to do more reading and/or experiments first.
Wednesday 14th of November
Another important thing for successful #AcWri is having a set time and place to do it. The first few days of November I was doing my usual commute to work. Since I sit in the train for an hour, it’s a good time to get some writing done. It’s kind of a nice ritual, because I try to take the same train and sit in the same place, etc. Taking out my laptop and starting up Evernote just seems to complete the ritual. It also feels great to have an important task complete early in the morning!
The days after that were more challenging though, due to the weekend and then a week off. Since my days are less structured then, it was more difficult to keep up with writing, and I often procrastinated until the evening to get it done. Having a streak of several days, plus feeling like I have to tweet about it, definitely helped with getting it done. In these days off, I’ve been only writing for my blog since I try to not work when I have time off.
So far I’ve written most of this blog post writing on the couch, which is a place I never usually work. I like associating the blog with the couch – it feels different than sitting down at my desk ready to work. So perhaps writing in the morning while sitting on the couch is a ritual I could try to build up for when I have time off.
Tuesday 27th of November
This weekend was not successful from an AcWri point of view. On Friday I had a lot of things to do in a limited time, so in the end I just ran out of time. On Saturday, I just forgot. Sunday I thought about it, but it was too late in the day and I decided to let it go. It’s definitely true that it’s easier to forget a habit if you miss it twice in a row. But fortunately on Monday I was able to get back to writing, even though it was for a blog post instead of my planned paper revisions.
Overall I really enjoyed this challenge and am definitely not planning to wait till next November to repeat it again ? I think 250 words is still a good goal, I just need a list of prompts / things to write so it’s easy to get started each day, and rituals on when and were I write.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Would you try a challenge of writing 250 words a day? Why / why not?