What Is A Novel Dare?

Every now and then a group of writers (often a drunken group of writers - or is that redundant?) will get together and dare each other to write a novel in a limited amount of time.  In the old days the term was often short and the goal was often high.  Two or three thousand words a day.  And of course, there would be strict rules about reporting your progress to the group.   A lot of people would drop out.  Sometimes before they even started. (Sometimes a soon as they sobered up.)

NaNoWriMo - or National Novel Writing Month - is the most famous writing dare. It's not as tough as some, but it's very restrictive in its rules, and a lot of people still drop out.

The concept of a novel dare is great - you have to write daily, you have to report your progress so you will be accountable.  But.... if you want to be a writer, you can't aim at these temporary efforts.  You can't hold back on writing a rough draft until November.  There are eleven other months in the year, and if you're a writer, every month has to be Novel Writing Month.  It's also better to set a daily or weekly goal you can sustain.

So I decided that life should be a novel dare. Every day.  You need breaks, but those are the exception.  Writing itself should never be the exception.

My general goal is 1000 words a day.  Sometimes it's nice to just write 1000 words on any project.  However, things can fall apart pretty fast that way.  (One of Heinlein's Rules is "You must finish what you start.")  Usually I announce a specific project and goal every couple of months.  Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't.

And I still haven't figured out how to measure editing and revising time. 

The purpose of this blog is to keep me honest - to report every day.  I try to keep it interesting by talking about the writing process and writing theory.  I hope that non-writers will find it interesting.  I hope that writers will be inspired to put their shoulder to the wheel.

If you are a writer, and perhaps you aren't writing as much as you'd like, I challenge you to challenge yourself.  Set a goal, let others know about, hold yourself accountable.

NOTE: more recently I discovered an organized effort that fits my style.  A Round Of Words In 80 Days is an almost continuous dare (80 days on, 10-11 days off, all year around) which allows each participant to set his or her own goals.