Manchester Speculative Fiction is a writing group in Manchester specialising in speculative fiction genres (e.g. science-fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.) and, like all writers, sometimes we need a little extra motivation. That’s why, on the last full week of each month, we hold ‘Writing Week’.
What is Writing Week?
Writing Week is a ‘write every day challenge’, a mini NaNoWriMo.
People who want to take part sign up and commit to sitting down and writing something new daily for the week (Monday – Sunday, inclusive).
What Do You Mean ‘Mini-NaNoWriMo?’
NaNoWriMo is an event where people commit to writing a novel in a month by writing every day. That involves writing something like 2,000 words a day for a month.
Writing Week is similar, but instead of going crazy for one month a year, we go crazy twelve weeks a year 🙂
More seriously, Writing Week is a lot less hardcore than NaNoWriMo. Obviously it’s a lot easier to write every day for a week than it is for a month. And we don’t expect 2,000 words a day either.
So, How Does it Work?
Each day, we work on our project and then upload whatever we wrote to the group’s Discord channel to prove that we made some progress. As we say: “post or it didn’t happen.”
There’s no critique, but everyone reads what the others are doing and makes encouraging comments.
Some participants write a flash-fiction story each day, some work on their novel all week. People have written world-building ideas down and others just whatever comes to mind. Even if it’s only a hundred words a day, that’s fine.
The only rule of Writing Week is:
Every day for seven days, write something new and post it.
Why Does it Work?
Most writers want to write, but it’s all too easy to procrastinate, especially with all the other pressures we have on us, like work and family commitments, let alone addictive pastimes like video games and social media.
That procrastination can mean that time slips away and sometimes months might go by where we mean to write but never quite get round to it.
But, if we feel like we ‘have to’ write, because we committed ourselves to something like Writing Week, then we find time and actually sit down and make a start.
And usually, once we’ve sat down and started writing, we enjoy it and so keep going, because in the end we’re writers and writing is part of us.
People can also get ‘out of the habit’ of writing, and Writing Week can help them get back into it, leading to them writing more in general.
Committing to the week by signing up, and following the “post or it didn’t happen” rule, also brings a measure of accountability.
And finally, there’s the satisfaction of people reading what we’ve written each day and complimenting it, and of finishing the week having hit our goals and made substantial progress.
What are Some Tips for Writing Week?
- It’s useful to set a goal for the week, like “finish that short story”, or “write two chapters of my novel”.
- A daily word goal can be useful, too.
- The point, though, is to meet your goal and feel good about it, not to drive yourself too hard and fail.
- Set an achievable goal. Many people aim for five hundred words, but others write more (or less).
- Don’t get distracted by editing.
- The point of Writing Week is to write new, first-draft work, not to tinker with stuff you’ve already written.
- It’s better to write some more rather than write a little and then spend your time incessantly polishing it.
- There’s no critique, so your work doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’. Just write and post, write and post, all week.
- Read the other pieces and say something nice about them.
- The encouragement helps keep people going.
- It’s only fair – other people are reading your stuff.
- Don’t cheat!
- You are literally only cheating yourself. It’s not school.
- If you couldn’t manage to write anything for whatever reason, just admit it.
- Don’t give up.
- If you didn’t write one day, then tomorrow just try again. You can do it.
What Have People Who’ve Joined In Said?
Participants have said things like:
I enjoyed the boost of motivation and look forward to the next one.
Anything that helps me to write more is a good thing and Writing Week certainly does that.
I enjoy having the regular focus to write in a supportive and sharing way with other members of the group. It gives me a chance to experiment and develop new ideas, and a gentle nudge to keep writing.