The first week of January 2022, I launched the 2022 Empowered Papers 100K Writing Challenge. I’ll be sharing a weekly update on my progress to write 100,000 words in a year (or roughly 300 words a day). In these updates, you will also find tips, tricks, resources and books that have helped me along the journey.
Are you taking the writing challenge? Share your progress in the comments or on social using #EP100K.
Empowered Papers 100K Writing Challenge Week 1: January 1-8
Note: I’m counting January 1, which was on a Saturday, as part of my Week 1.
Week 1 was a good test of my abilities for this writing challenge, as I returned to normal daily routines following the holidays, including full-time work. My personal goal for this challenge, beyond writing 100,000 words in a year, is to make writing a daily habit. This equates to just under 300 words per day. Week 1 showed me that setting a goal during a holiday is one thing; sticking to that goal during everyday life is another.
So, how did I do?
Week 1 Stats
*January 2 includes two different numbers to represent two different writing projects worked on during that day.
I got off to a roaring start at the beginning of the week, writing blogs, journaling and working on other personal writing projects. On Wednesday, however, I started to flag, then rallied at the very end of the week. I also exceeded my weekly goal of 2,084 words by a whopping 3,104 words for a total of 5,188 words.
Also note that these stats include personal writing done during my free time, not any writing I do during my full-time job.
Why Are There So Many Days of No Content in a Row?
The days of zero writing I attribute to a few different factors, but they all culminate in an important insight: I need to manage my energy better, especially during my free time. In particular, the amount of TV that I watch saps my energy and leaves me little time to work on my writing goals and other projects. I also need to support my energy levels with proper nutrition and good-quality sleep.
During Week 2, I’ll be doing a mini “no TV challenge” to see how it impacts my daily and weekly writing goals.
Having an Established Daily Routine is Critical for 300 Words a Day
An established daily routine is one thing I found helpful in returning to full-time work post-holiday. From getting ready in the morning to meal times to writing in the evening, having a standardized flow to the day ensures that there is set time to be creative. Unfortunately, in the past week, I didn’t always take advantage of that time. When I did, however, I often saw results well above 300 words in a day.
Routines and Flexibility Can Work Hand in Hand
Having routines in place is what allowed me to rally at the end of the week and add those last 485 words. Having flexibility also allowed me to show grace toward myself for missing several days in a row. Taking the week as a whole, I far exceeded my projected goals. I have a feeling that I may see similar patterns emerge over time, with certain days of the week being more conducive to writing than others. This isn’t a bad thing, as it will help me create new routines and habits to support my goals. Awareness of your strengths and limits is an important ingredient when goal setting.
A recent episode on Jay Shetty’s podcast “On Purpose,” “7 Steps to Manifesting Results in 2022,” includes many gems. One that stood out to me and which is relevant to my update this week is the importance of not just recording your progress, but monitoring it and analyzing it for insights. If you’re looking for an inspirational podcast to kick off your year, I highly recommend this one. Jay always speaks positively and from the heart, and he delivers inspiration with actionable steps.
Stay tuned: I just got my hands on Jay’s book “Think Like a Monk.” Look for a book review soon!
Don’t Underestimate Accountability
The public nature of this blog gives me additional motivation to work on my writing goals and to monitor and report on my progress. If you have joined the writing challenge, I would love to hear in the comments or on social media how you are keeping yourself accountable. Did you start a blog? Tell your friends? Get a writing buddy? On the days you feel like quitting or doing something else (ahem, watching TV), accountability can go a long way toward getting you back in the saddle. If accountability doesn’t motivate you, think about what does, and set up a system to implement it.
Once You Start Your 300 Words, It’s Easy to Get Into Your Flow
This is why I love the relatively small daily goal of 300 words. Once you’re a few paragraphs of writing in, your brain begins to warm up and you feel more creative. As my Week 1 numbers show, once I got started, it was difficult to stop. Many days, I far exceeded the 300-word goal, leaving me more flexibility in terms of the rest of the week.
I’m looking forward to another week of writing with you!
How are your writing goals progressing? Tell us in the comments!