Many people have asked us similar questions on Twitter about our challenges, so I’ve compiled a group of common questions and provided answers below. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section of this blog post or on our current Twitter challenge hashtag.
Q. I’m considering the next monthly challenge. What’s the commitment?
A. You are promising to write at least 500 words each day during that month, then post your word count each day to the current month’s hashtag on Twitter. For example, #AugWritingChallenge is our August hashtag, so you would post your word count there. (See next question if you are editing.)
Also, you will need to log your daily progress on our Participant Log.
We also hope that you will include the current hashtag on your Twitter bio for the month so Twitter searches will include your handle in the list of people involved in the hashtag.
Please check the hashtag as much as possible and encourage other writers involved in the challenge. Favorite, retweet, follow, and comment on other writers’ posts. This helps grow our mini-writing community, and it will motivate you to get writing.
Q. Can I join the challenge if I’m in the editing process?
If you are in the editing process and find the 500-word mark too difficult to reach, we allow a one-hour minimum daily editing goal that meets the 500-word requirement. Post the number of hours you ACTIVELY edited that day, minus any daydreaming time. If you are rewriting major sections, though, you should be tracking word count. Also, you will need to log your daily progress on our Participant Log.
Q. I’m in! What do I do next?
A. Let us know on Twitter at the current hashtag, and start writing! Also, you will need to log your daily progress on our Participant Log.
Q. What if I don’t reach 500 words in a day? Am I out of the challenge?
A. No. You won’t have Perfect Attendance bragging rights at the end of the month, but not many people do 🙂 The challenge is not punitive in any way other than you letting yourself down. Just get back in the game the next day. However, you must post at least 7 days within the month to be included in our final list of participants. (Sometimes people post only a few times and drop out early–we would like to see more of an effort than that to get credit.)
Q. Why 500 words a day? Why not more/less?
A. (See blog post on Writing Habits: Why 500 Words a Day Works)
Q. I tend to write late into the night. Does a “day” have to end at midnight?
It would be impossible for us to pay attention to the time of day you finish writing since many of our writers live in different time zones (see next question). Let’s agree that a day ends when you go to bed, whatever time that may be.
Q. What about if I live in a time zone than the current hash tag leader?
A. It helps to let us know if you are writing outside the U.S. in another time zone since often you’ll end up writing a day ahead of the challenge. If this is you, please post what day of the challenge this is for you along with your word count. Ex. Day 15…670 words.
Q. Do emails, Twitter posts, etc. count toward my word count?
A. No. Only words that contribute in some way to your current writing project. Outlining DOES count!
Q. How do you know I’m not lying about my word count?
A. The challenge works on the honor system. If you want to lie to yourself about how much you are actually writing, you are free to do so.
Q. If I’m under word count for the day, should I still post to the hashtag and Participant Log?
A. Yes. It helps us know that you haven’t completely dropped out of the challenge, and other writers will probably send you the encouragement you need to get back in the swing of things.
Q. Can I go over 500 words?
A. Absolutely. But those extra words do not count the next day. New day, new 500 word minimum.
Q. I’m already part of another writing group/challenge. Is that okay?
Q. I want to join a monthly challenge, but the month already started. Do I have to wait until the next challenge, or may I join late?
A. It’s never too late to join a monthly challenge (unless the month ends of course).
Q. Why does the hashtag change each month? Why not keep the same one?
A. We thought about that. It helps each challenge stay separated from the last challenge. People want to feel like they’ve accomplished something, and by switching the hashtag each month, it gives closure to one challenge, and a fresh start to the next one. The following list will be used for hashtags in future challenges (please note some months are abbreviated for space).
Q. What is the main goal of WritingChallenge.org?
A. We wanted a central location for all the monthly challenges since it will shift on Twitter each month. We also wanted a place to commemorate writers who have participated in a challenge. (Read How Doctor Who Inspired Our First Writing Challenge.)
Q. How do you keep track of people in the current challenge?
A. We monitor the current hashtag on Twitter and we save copies of the weekly Participant Log. If we make a mistake, please let us know.
Q. How do you choose monthly leaders?
A. We choose from volunteers who have been highly committed to past challenges and show initiative in giving positive feedback to other writers.
Q. What’s involved in volunteering as a monthly leader?
A. Time and commitment. You must monitor the current hashtag, keep track of the Participant Log, encourage others on Twitter, update the website each week, and send promotional, welcome, and come back Tweets to encourage participation. It’s a lot of work, but you meet many writers, gain followers, and join the list of contributing writers at WritingChallenge.org