Tuesday, February 2, 2016

5 Things I Learned from My 500 Words Challenge

  Over Christmas Break, I decided to do something different. I challenged myself to write five hundred words of my novel a day starting the Sunday after Christmas.

  Five hundred words seemed like the right amount. It wasn't an unattainable one thousand words a day. It wasn't fifty words either that I could write without really even thinking. Five hundred words seemed like a good challenge for me without taking over my life or destroying my love of writing, so I went for it, and this is what I learned:

1. Nothing is ever really the same.

 I expected patterns. I assumed that on the days when I was excited to write that I would also love what I had written. And I assumed that on the days when I dragged myself to the Word document my mood would affect my writing and it would be terrible.

 Sometimes that is exactly what happened, but other days it was the opposite. I also had good days where I hated every word I wrote and bad days where I surprised myself and the words flowed out of my like. There is no easy formula to my writing.

2. I need a reward.

 I always tell myself I don't need a reward, but I do. I decided that if I completed this challenge I would buy myself a book, and bought Let Me be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot. I bought before I finished, which kept me going knowing that I had already bought my reward.

3. Writing is a sacrifice.

   Some days my family was watching a movie at the end of the day, and I couldn't join them until I had written my five hundred words. There were times when I was very tired and wanted to go to bed but I hadn't finished writing. It was a sacrifice that was sometimes hard, but one that I was willing to take. 

4. I either read or write.

   Before I began this challenge, I was constantly reading. When I began writing five hundred words a day, I stopped reading. Then when   I began swallowing books again like I had been fasting, because in a way I was. I think that because writing a novel is such a large endeavor my brain can only handle one story at a time.

 5. I can do it.

   This is the most important thing I learned while doing this challenge. I am not like other writers who can whip up ten or fifteen pages a day. I usually can't get five pages out of me a day. But I can set a writing goal and meet it.


  1. I've been a bit discouraged about my writing lately so it's encouraging to read what you have learned! Thanks for sharing Allison!

    Also, I'm not sure if you participate in Blog tags or not but I just tagged you for the Infinity Dreams Award:

    1. I am convinced that part of the writing process, well any art process really, is self doubt. Glad you feel better about your writing. Sadly we all struggle with that. And thanks for tagging me!

  2. Congratulations on completing the challenge! It sounds like you learned a lot. It's interesting how rewards-based our brains are. :)
    I nominated you for the infinity dreams award on my blog! If you should choose to do the tag, here is the link to my post: http://paigespages4thelord.blogspot.com/ . :)

  3. Good on you! How long did you continue the challenge for? I did a write-500-words-every-day challenge for the month of November, so I can definitely agree with the points you listed, especially number one. :) I also found that it sort of made the month go slower, because I was achieving something tangible each day.

    1. I think I did it for about twenty-eight days. Were you participating in National Novel Writing Month or just something on your own?