I’m not talking about the bad weather, although that has made life difficult recently. I’m talking about the two month-long challenges that I’ve signed on for, one for my brain and one for my body.
Jersey Romance Writing Month is the mental challenge. The goal is to write 30,000 words in 28 days. This pushes me beyond my usual productivity and forces me to put-butt-in-chair-and-write no matter what’s going on in my life. For four years, I’ve participated (and been Head Cheerleader) for JeRoWriMo and I look forward to it every time. Over 50 fellow NJRW members signed up to work toward the 30k goal which makes the energy on our email loop positively crackle.
The key element to success in an intense writing challenge like this one is to turn off your inner editor. If you don’t, you’ll never hit the word count goal because you’ll be too busy second-guessing every sentence you write. It’s liberating to write without judging and often leads me in surprising directions. Even better, it reminds me that writing can be just plain fun, something I sometimes forget under the pressure of deadlines, edits, and marketing.
Coincidentally, my Jazzercise studio is running a challenge as well: attend 30 classes in 35 days and you get a tee shirt. They gave us this pretty sky-blue bracelet to remind us to go to class, but I don’t really need it because the only way to get the tee shirt is to tie on my sneakers and dance every day. The truth is: I probably won’t hit the goal. My travel schedule just won’t allow it. However, I’m going to do my darnedest and that will get me to work out more than I would have without the challenge. And that’s the whole point.
I expect February to be a very constructive month for me. I will write more than usual and I will exercise more than usual. On March 1st, I may collapse into bed for an entire day, but if that happens, I can sleep the sleep of the righteous, knowing that I’ve added words to my manuscript and muscle tone to my body.
Even more important, I will know that I rose to the challenges!