In 2022, I’m embarking upon a personal writing challenge: writing 100,000 words in a year. Writing is my first love, but I have found that prioritizing my personal writing among the other demands of life in the last several years has become difficult. An important truth I’ve learned is that there is never a “perfect” time to start on your goals. Life will always be chaotic, and outside forces can throw you for a loop. We must learn to live – and write – in the midst of the storm.
I invite you to join me on the journey. Where will you be at the end of the year? Will you have made progress on your writing dreams? How could that impact you, and the people around you?
If you want to level up your writing in 2022, consider committing to the Empowered Papers 100K Writing Challenge.
Follow along here on the blog, or on social media. I’ll be sharing weekly updates on my personal writing journey and the tips, tricks, and tools I’m using along the way. Also stay tuned for personal development insights that can boost your writing and book reviews to inspire you.
If you would like to participate, please share your stories in the comments below or with the hashtag #EP100K. I can’t wait to hear about your progress!
Read on to learn about what I hope to achieve with the challenge.
My Goals for the Writing Challenge
My primary goal for this writing challenge is to build a consistent, daily writing habit. I find that habits are easier to stick to when they are a daily commitment, rather than weekly, monthly, or sporadic. I want writing to be an integrated part of my life each day.
In that spirit, I have broken down the goal of 100,000 words in a year into smaller goals.
100,000 words in a year roughly equals:
- 8,334 words per month
- 2,084 words per week
- 298 words per day (the equivalent of a few paragraphs)
It is important to me that this writing challenge is one I can stick with long term, over the course of 2022 and beyond. Most days, I’ll only be able to dedicate a few minutes to writing, not several hours. The daily word count is substantial enough to create a solid habit while still being flexible enough to add to my busy routine.
Using the Challenge to Bust Perfectionism
Just under 300 words a day does not sound like a large amount, and it’s not. Over the course of a year, however, or even a month, these paragraphs will add up to pages upon pages of content. That’s the power of a consistent habit.
Moreover, I hope to use this daily writing habit to overcome perfectionism in my own writing. James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits,” has a wonderful blog sharing a story from the book “Art and Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland. They describe a class in which a photography teacher found that students who were graded on quantity of work performed better than those who were graded on the quality, or near perfection, of a single piece. The students who focused on quantity, taking many pictures, had the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them, which translated into a superior final piece.
I first heard a version of this story, which used ceramic vases as an example, on Lori Harder’s amazing podcast “Earn Your Happy.” The more vases you make, the better your vases become. The same can be said of writing: the more you write, the more you experiment, fail, succeed, learn new things and improve. But you can’t do that if you don’t write consistently.
Because I’ll be focusing on building a habit, not one particular piece of content, I’ll be tracking my word count across multiple pieces. These may be blogs, journaling sessions, and other personal projects. You may choose to focus on one piece in particular, such as the manuscript for a book. Whatever the piece, or pieces, it is critical to track your word count progress every day so that you can see emerging patterns and course correct when needed. I will be doing this in a simple spreadsheet.
Need a little inspiration to get you started? Start with these blogs and others on the Empowered Papers site:
- “7 Ways Journaling Makes You a Better Writer”
- “How to Find Your Perfect Writing Schedule”
- “Comparison is Killing Your Writing: How to Fix It”
I look forward to writing side by side with you in 2022!