21 Day Novel Challenge

\"AccordI know this guy.

His name is Chris Fox. Chris has written some good books – both fiction and nonfiction. His nonfiction is about…drumroll…fiction writing, and his stuff is really good. Chris published a couple of books on writing which have been somewhat controversial – one called 5000 Words Per Hour, and the more recent release Write to Market. He took some heat for the first one because it suggests ways that writers can be more productive, building up their speed and writing new work more swiftly. He\’s being questioned on the second because it suggests learning what readers enjoy reading, and then writing something based on that knowledge – which calls into question the whole concept of writing as art versus writing as entertainment. I believe – and Chris does too – that it can be both.

He\’s putting his ideas to the test in a 21-day challenge (click here to read all about it!). Starting on February 22nd, he will begin writing a book, which will be about 70,000 words when he is done. He\’s going to write it in about two weeks, edit it, pay someone to proof it, and then publish it on or about March 13th.

This is, needless to say, incredibly cool. I love seeing people do things like this. So I asked him if he minded if I tagged along. He was thrilled at the idea of having other writers run alongside him on this challenge.

So as of tomorrow, I will ALSO be launching my own 21-Day Writing Challenge.

I\’ll be producing the next book in the Accord series: Accord of Mars. The outline is finished. And if Chris and I are right, this is going to be a hell of a book. \”The Old Man and the Sea\” was written in about the same time-frame, and while I am NOT Hemingway, the evidence suggests that the faster we write, the more we are able to drop into flow state. The net result is that fast writing also tends to produce better quality writing, at least for most people.

I know a lot of people are looking forward to the sequel of Accord of Honor. I\’m excited that I\’ll be able to share it with you so very soon.

One last thing. There\’s a key difference between Chris\’s challenge and mine. Chris is proving HIS books. I\’m proving his AND mine. See, I wrote a book about writing, too: The Coffee Break Novelist. It\’s about writing in the time you have, while in the middle of a busy life.

Chris does this full time. I work full time in a day job, and write on the side. I\’m also getting ready to move, and will probably be moving into a new apartment the same day as the book launches. I have kids who I spend time with too – my Mondays are mostly an all-day kid day. We all have lives – but it IS possible to write anyway.

I\’ll be putting into practice every single technique I developed and wrote about in my book. I firmly believe that it IS possible to write rapidly while you\’re still in the middle of a busy life. I work 16 hours a day every Thursday, for example – so while Chris is getting in 5000 words every Thursday, I will be lucky to finish any words at all on those days. I\’ll be fitting in words on quick breaks at work, or in the morning before I leave the house at 6:30 AM. (I generally don\’t get home until after midnight, so any words after I got home would count for the next day!)

It\’s going to be tough to get the work out at the speed required for this challenge in the time I have. I\’ll do it by making the most of every minute that isn\’t already locked in for something vital. And I\’ll be updating you as I go. You can sign up for email updates too – click the link below to join and follow along.

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Chris told me the other day to \”get my game face on\”. I laughed and told him \”this IS my game face!\” I write with the same attitude I have when I toss on forty pounds of medieval armor and go hit people with swords: laughing, smiling, enjoying every moment of the rush. This is going to be fun.

2 thoughts on “21 Day Novel Challenge”

  1. I am following along on this as I find it fascinating. My only published works are 2 cookbooks but I have dozens of stories that are floating in my notes. I have one I am working on right along with you and Chris.

    1. Thanks for following! And best of luck on the story you’re working on. Remember: finishing is mostly just a matter of sitting behind the keyboard doing the work for enough hours. For me, 70k words is basically one hundred 20-minute sprints. It’s just a matter of getting in enough 20-minute sprints in the days of the challenge. 😉

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