Competitive writing - it's the new jogging

A good friend of mine, (and great writer) Lily Childs, is working on her novel as I work on mine. We found that we are about the same way through in terms of word count (Lily has just hit 50k and I am just over 48k as I write this). Now the interesting thing is that we have been 'racing' each other to see who can hit the 50k mark first (curse you Lily for beating me). Whilst word count is just a number and it is the quality of the writing that matters as well as the strength of the plot plus a hundred other things people might want to throw into a debate, this provides a good motivator.

Writing is potentially a lonely business, just you, a computer screen and your own, twisted imagination to keep you company. As someone without a book deal lined up, there is no one out there waiting to know when the next piece from me is coming out and no deadline to pressure me other than those that are self-imposed. I have a life away from writing, family commitments, work commitments, the need to eat, sleep and, well, you can fill in the blanks. All of those distractions that can pull you away from your writing when you are tired and just want to crawl into bed at the end of a long day. Knowing that there is someone else out there that I am 'competing' with in terms of word count provides a fun motivator and I have definitely seen my word count increase greatly in the past few weeks. More importantly, it means that my novel is developing and getting closer to completion.

So, why not find yourself a fellow writer to push against; almost like a buddy that you go jogging with who drags you out of bed on those miserable, wet winter mornings. It is quite fun, if done in the right manner (the writing, not the wet jogs). I don't think either Lily or I cared who got to 50k first (well maybe a little bit) but it really worked for me and now it's a race to see who cracks 60k first. Watch out Lily, I'm coming to get you!


  1. I think there should be a forfeit to the 'loser' every time you hit a 10k milestone :D

  2. I'm thinking post an embarrassing picture of the 'winners' choice :P


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