Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Misery Loves Company
One of the teams that helps me put fingers to keyboard is an online group called Book-in-a-Week. This group has existed for over ten years, and I've been a member for nearly seven. The site has been listed on Writers Digest's 101 Best Websites for Writers more than once. Here's how it works:
At the end of every month, Maureen Wood (fondly known as Moe) sends us an email to let us know sign-up can begin for that month's session which usually occurs the first week of every month. We then submit our page goal for that round. After all the goals are submitted, we are assigned a number, and then must report our daily writing online. Moe keeps track of our results on a chart that we all can access. Three check-ins are required and throughout the week, prompts and encouragements are offered to keep us writing.
By the end of the seven days, the page count for the entire group of around 100 writers is quite impressive. Some members can easily write 100 or more pages in that one week. Nothing fancy, you understand, because this is all about spurting out new words, not finishing the final product. I've written thousands of pages over the years, and some of them have even been polished into submittable works. Not many, but some. Most are simply rejected, because they aren't good for much more than an exercise in writing. The point is, regular writing for one solid week, month after month, results in a lot of words on paper, a lot of practice. Without an online team like this to suffer along with me, I would never have written nearly as much. Therein lies the power of a good team.
I've also made some good friends through Book-in-a-Week. Ann Parker, author of the Silver Rush Mysteries set in 1880 Leadville, is a long-time member of BIW. A young neighbor where I live just visited BIW member, Carolyn Ann Aish in New Zealand, where this prolific writer has her own publishing company. Elle Neal who is one of the bloggers here at the BRP. Moe, of course, who month-after-month keeps score for us as we mix our metaphors, pour on the adjectives to reach our daily word count, and pile on the crap with reckless abandon. Thank you, Moe. It's a blessing none of us has to read the weekly output. Our job and motto is BIK HOK TAM: Butt in chair. Hands on keyboard. Typing away madly.
And that's what we do. Nobody said it had to be good or make sense. This is just round one, after all. Join Book-in-a-Week if you need a little group support to get you motivated. Go here for more information about how it works.
What about you? Do you belong to any online writing groups? Do you feel it helps your output? How many pages do you write each month, and how do you accomplish it?
Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil, teaches blog book tours classes for authors, and is special projects coordinator for Little Pickle Press. She also critiques and edits cozy mysteries for other authors. Her goal is to spend a wee bit less time helping other people and more hours writing and promoting her own books.