“Hour a Day” Challenge Mid-Way Check-In: Want to Join?

sept 2014 calendarAt the start of September, I got on the blog to challenge myself publicly: to write for one hour every day this month, no excuses (see the post and my reasons here). I also asked if anyone else wanted to join me. This is a super-fast drive-by check-in, and an invitation to anyone who wants to jump in to join for the next two weeks.

At the moment,  hearty band of one dozen of us has taken on the challenge. I’m not sure if everybody’s stayed on course, but I know at least several have. We’ve all got day jobs or other super-demanding things going on in our lives, and it seems like the daily commitment is helping. Here are a few typical comments from our Facebook Accountability Group:

  • “5AM writing session DONE! Now I can face Monday morning.”
  • “Made my goal every day too …. woohoo!! Although I’m only committing to 30 minutes a day instead of 60 … but I did do 60 a lot of the time!!!”
  • “While I didn’t get a full 60 minutes in, I did get some writing done. And some is better than none.” 
  • “Got in THREE HOURS yesterday!! WOOT!! Longest I have spent writing in a while.”
  •  “Did it, and then added two more for good measure. I’ve a long way to go, but I’sa goin’.”
  • “This writing every day thing might be a good idea after all .. my word count is going up … who knew?”

For me, it’s definitely been a positive experience. I’ve made my goal (or exceeded it) every single day–except for one. And that was Back to School Night where I teach, which meant I left for school at 7 a.m. and got home at 10 p.m., and scrambled to get urgent school things done every moment in between. And when I did get home, both my kids had angsty things they needed to talk to me about, and all I wanted was a shot of whiskey and a hot shower (neither of which I got, by the way. Sigh.)

Every other day, though, I pulled it off. Even a couple nights when I was so exhausted after work and dinner and getting kids to bed, I almost burst into tears when I made myself sit down at the keyboard instead of going to sleep myself. (Don’t worry…once I got back into my story, I enjoyed myself, and slept like a baby afterward.) Most days, I managed the getting-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-and-writing-before-I-left-for-school thing. Which is an awesome thing, by the way.

Have I racked up massive word counts? Well, not so far. But I’ve finished chapters, and I’ve still got my head in my book, and I’m making progress, which is a helluva lot better than I usually do in the early weeks of school.

And I’m not carrying around that “Why am I not getting to my writing?” guilt.

It’s good. I’m gonna keep going. Onward and upward!

If you didn’t jump in at the start, but want to challenge yourself for the remaining two weeks of the month, say so in the comments here, and send me a message on Facebook (Elisa Beatty) so I can add you to the group.

Happy writing, everyone!


33 responses to ““Hour a Day” Challenge Mid-Way Check-In: Want to Join?”

  1. June Love says:

    Elisa, I’m glad you’re doing so well. I think one of the best motivational things you could’ve said was “And I’m not carrying around that “Why am I not getting to my writing?” guilt.” I think that’s so important for most writers, don’t you?

    I’m going to keep hanging in the challenge. The second half of the month has to be better than the first half. 🙂

  2. Hope Ramsay says:

    I’m jumping on to congratulate anyone who is seriously pursuing this 1 hour a day commitment. Because I know it works! This is how I wrote something like 15 novels over a period of 20 years while trying to make my first sale. 🙂 It’s really amazing the way the word count grows if you give a little time to this every day. I still do it, although since I’m writing under contract, I devote more time these days. Since I’m self-employed I don’t have a pesky boss looking over my shoulder. So my typical workday starts with three hours of writing and the rest goes to the day job clients. But I’ve managed to write two 90K word books a year by giving about 15 hours a week to the process. (It’s probably more because when I’m on deadline — like now) I will write on weekends. But normally I try not to write on weekends. So y’all keep it up. This discipline is what every writer needs, whether they are indie-pubbed or writing for a New York publisher. Content is everything, and you only get content by putting in the time.

  3. Kim Law says:

    I love that you’re doing this. Because it’s so easy to NOT write!! Trust me. Even as a full-time writer, it’s easy to not write. *sigh*

    Good luck to all participants!! Keeping the story going, and keeping those words coming are the best things you can do!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Seriously…it’s all too easy not to write, no matter how much time you have to devote to it. Writing is hard work!

      But I know I don’t feel happy when I don’t write. The emotional value of knowing I’m giving it some time every day is as great as the practical value of producing new words.

  4. I’ve been working twelve hour days the last week, Elisa, but not writing. I decided one of my books needed a title change, which meant changing the back matter in all of the versions of ALL of my books and box sets. It came to 55 revisions and uploads. What a chore. But I needed to update all of the back matter, anyway, so it’s all good.

    But I’m ready to get back to writing, now, so I accept the challenge for the next two weeks. At least 500 words a day.

  5. Two weeks here I come. I write nonfiction every day for hours and hours–and it’s not for me, for the most part, but for clients. So, what’s happened? Their work gets ready to go, and I’m behind on all my fiction, including Island Secrets, Book 2 of my St. Anne’s Island series. So, something has to change, and I’m in on writing an hour a day on MY work!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      It’s like so many other things in our lives….it’s just too easy to put ourselves last.

      An hour a day, though, shouldn’t make anybody feel overwhelmed or guilty or selfish (even those of us with young kids in addition to bosses.)

      I find that if I just think, “I really need to get a ton of writing done,” it can seem so overwhelming that I don’t start at all. Knowing I can stop after an hour takes so much of the weight off.

  6. Yesterday was the only day I’ve missed so far (thanks to an out-of-town family commitment that left me too spent to even stay upright last evening.)

    I did, however, do multiple hours most days so far in September, so I’m willing to cut myself some slack. I haven’t managed huge word counts (since I’m mostly editing,) but I have pushed myself through chapter after chapter and some major progress has been made!


  7. I’m so delighted to hear your progress, Elisa! Sounds like it’s given a real boost to everyone who’s participating.

    After an intense couple of weeks finishing my book, I turned it in a couple days before deadline (which was today) and have been taking a much-needed mental break. I always feel like I’m emerging from a fog at this point, and so, so tired. I will work on a blog post today, which might take an hour, and I may break out my other ideas to see which project is next as I await edits. But napping is definitely on the agenda today, too. 😉

    Keep up the fantastic work!

  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    Kudos to everyone who’s trying this! I don’t write to a daily word count, but it’s amazing how quickly the words add up when you sit your butt in the chair every day.

    Hurrah for new habits!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      I’ve long admired your morning writing routine, Tammy!

      My job is a 45 minute commute from my home, and I have to be in the classroom at 7:50 in the morning….AND I have to roust my kids out of bed and get them dressed and lunches packed before we leave home at 7.

      Nonetheless, I’ve been trying to get up and write between 5 and 6 on as many mornings as possible. Like you’ve always said, knowing that you’ve already got your writing in in the morning is a huge relief. And then if I’ve got energy in the evenings after dinner, I can try to get another hour or so in.

  9. Lynda Bailey says:

    I love this challenge! With luck I can keep the momentum going come October 1st.
    Thanks so much, Elisa! You’re officially my hero(ine)… 😉

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Hugs, Lynda!!!

      I’m up for keeping an Accountability Group (however small it might be) going after September…. Let’s see how we do!
      We’re on a roll now! And it really is uplifting to hear other people checking in saying they’ve done their hour for the day.

  10. I want to get started.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Fabulous, Burgess!

      If you want to have the support of the Facebook group (to check in daily and get virtual high-fives from the group…nothing strenuous), friend me on Facebook, and I’ll send you an invite to the group.

  11. jbrayweber says:

    Ahhhh….accountability. THIS is what really helps me stay the course. I think it’s a huge value to have to report to others on your progress. It’s a fire under the tush. No matter how small, showing to your peers you are indeed working toward a goal is rewarding in both pride and accomplishment.

    Great post!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      It’s really true….just knowing there are other people waiting to hear you say, “I did my hour!” helps to stay on course.

      And it’s inspiring to see other people doing well.

      And checking in just takes a minute.

      I’m grateful that other people joined in on this challenge!

  12. Somedays, the best thing about writing is that you get to let go of that “why didn’t I write today?” guilt!

    I have .75 of an hour until I need to leave to get V from preschool. #AMWRITING.

  13. Gwyn says:

    Can’t say I made the hour everyday, but yes, my head is in the book! Accountability can be a gentle boot-in-the-butt, propelling us forward. Great idea, Elisa.

  14. Yay, Elisa! I’m loving reading how everyone is doing. I didn’t join in at the beginning, but I have been writing an hour a day, so I’m going to raise my hand and say I’m jumping on the bandwagon now.

    And can I just say how much I’m looking forward to the Winter Writing Festival?

  15. Liz Talley says:

    You did so well! I’m in awe, especially since I know being a teacher takes up an enormous amount of time.

    I think a writing/reading challenge would be nice for me. I’m trying like the devil to do more reading because it really inspires me. Good stuff makes me want to write good stuff, you know?

    There are some days I just don’t write. Usually the weekends. The other days I really try to be in the chair at some point.

    Congrats on doing so well. Keep going. I know you can do it!

  16. Nikki McIntosh says:

    As one of your followers I’m loving the group … and the momentum! Thanks for starting it. It’s so great to be in my story ALL. THE. TIME. And I LOVE what you said about not carrying around the guilt – so true!!!!!!


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