It is my practice to kick off every Round of ROW80 with some kind of post that makes you think, that inspires you to push beyond whatever it is you usually do when it comes to your writing. Most people join us with this challenge because they’re looking for some accountability with flexibility–something that isn’t the one-size fits all goal of NaNoWriMo (although for Round 4, we always have a fair chunk of dual challengers or peeps who use ROW80 to both prepare for and come down from November). In the past I’ve talked about goal setting, making good choices, finding your writing test mile, building discipline, learning to fail small, and being the best YOU among other things. Our archives are FULL of fabulous inspirational posts from our other sponsors–all other writers who GET IT and have words of wisdom to share. I encourage you, as you hit that inevitable wall during this Round (it ALWAYS happens), to take a little time to troll through the back posts and see if you can find something to jar you out of it. You never know who might’ve said exactly what you need to hear.
This is the 12th Round of Words in 80 days. This round finishes up our third year. And looking back at my productivity spreadsheets (yeah, I’m one of THOSE PEOPLE), I’ve churned out over 480,000 words in the company of other ROWers. That’ll be solidly over half a million by the time this year finishes. Since I started this, my number of writing days has increased each year, my number of total words has increased annually, and my average number of words on writing days has more than doubled. Some of this has to do with discipline and goal setting and all the stuff I’ve talked about before. But it’s not just numbers. The quality of my work has improved in that span. I’ve grown and learned as a writer because I have practiced my craft with deliberation.
Traditional theory about elite performance used to hold that it was all about aptitude–inborn talents and innate passions. And yeah, that stuff HELPS. But that only take you so far. So if you weren’t born with a natural silver tongue? Guess what? You put in enough deliberate practice and you can learn it. In the end, deliberate practice will ultimately outstrip natural aptitude. You can read more about the whole idea of deliberate practice here (and I encourage you to–it’s a really interesting article).
My challenge to you for this Round is to pick something to work on deliberately. Maybe it’s finding better ways to describe the feels. Maybe it’s writing more authentic dialogue. Maybe it’s doing better about planning each scene out before you write such that you nail what it needs to do on the first pass. Whatever it is, pick some aspect of craft to focus on and really, DELIBERATELY work on fine tuning that thing when you sit down for your writing block. Because writing is not entirely a matter of just spewing out the words. If you’re not making an effort to get BETTER, to IMPROVE your performance, you probably won’t get where you want to go. Think about that as you compose your goals for this round.
Click here to enter the link to your goals post. If you are joining us after the goals linky has closed, simply write up your goals post on your blog and link to it in the most recent check-in linky.