For those who have struggled to write a book—without success, a 30-day writing challenge can prove an enormously effective way to finally get the project done. The reason for this comes down to a habit—generating urgency. Specifically, a book-in-a-month event, like the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge (WNFIN), provides you with a sense of urgency. Your mind shifts to “I must get this done now…not later!”
Of course, it’s the deadline that provides the urgency. But when your mind switches into that gear, it commits to the task at hand—completing your WNFIN project by the due date. The same holds true for any deadline at any time of the year.
Urgency Provides the Push
With a mindset trained on urgency and behaviors that support it–like writing consistently with focus and single-minded attention, you find yourself at the computer every day with fingers flying across the keyboard. Urgency pushes you to produce word after word as quickly as possible. It reminds you to get in your writing every day.
Writing becomes THE priority.
Urgency also drives you to track your progress. “Did you produce enough words today?” it asks you. “Are you on track to finish on time?”
If you aren’t moving forward at a speed that ensures success, your mind pushes you to write more. The closer you get to the deadline, the more pressure you feel to declare, “Done!”
Thus, your focus increases. Your energy goes up. And your productivity skyrockets.
What Happens without Urgency
If your mindset doesn’t set itself to urgency, though, you may start strong and then stall out long before the end of the 30-day writing event. The urgency initially pushes you to write, but when the project begins feeling tough, you feel pressed for time, or “life gets in the way,” you’ll slow down and, eventually, stall out.
You never develop the habit of urgency, which helps you develop the writing habit.
Your sense of urgency dissipates, and your mind tells you there’s no rush. Commitment lessens every day, and before you know it, you’ve thrown up your hands and said, “Well, that’s not gonna happen. I won’t be writing my book during the WNFIN Challenge…at least not this year.”
5 Ways to Keep Your Urgency High
Obviously, completion of a 30-day writing challenge depends on increasing your sense of urgency. As a Certified High Performance Coach, I know that urgency can become a habit. If you develop this habit, you consistently feel the internal push to write effectively.
How do you develop this habit? How do you keep our sense of urgency high and your mind focused on finishing your manuscript? Here are five ways:
- Keep the deadline in mind.
Remind yourself daily of the deadline you’ve set or been given. And if a due date that is 20 or 30 days away doesn’t keep you writing fast, set smaller deadlines. For example, you might set a goal to complete 20,000 words by November 15. Or you could set a deadline to finish two chapters per week.
- Track your progress.
Create a tracking system for your writing progress. For example, you can track your daily or weekly word count. Give yourself a quota, like 1,500 words per day, and then track if you meet that. When you fall behind, urgency will kick back in. Additionally, you can track your productivity.
- Get accountability. Sometimes you just need a bit of support, cheerleading or camaraderie. After all, writing is a solo activity. That’s where accountability comes in. If you tell someone your goal and ask them to check in to see how you are progressing toward it, you will feel accountable to them for your actions. Even better, find another writer with whom you can team up as accountability partners…say during the WNFIN Challenge. Now you have someone to report in to on a regular basis. That little extra pressure to do what you said you would goes a long way toward finishing a book.
- Remember your readers. Keep in mind the fact that your readers need your book. As long as you fiddle around and don’t get it done…and published…they are left in pain, without the answer they need, or sans the solution you have to offer. Let the fact that they are waiting for your book keep your level of urgency high.
- Recall your purpose. Do you remember why you wanted to write this book? Can you recall your mission or purpose…your emotional reason for starting the book in the first place? If not, you’ll struggle to develop a habit of urgency. If, however, you keep it forefront in your mind, it becomes your GPS. It will guide you back to writing…and writing productively…on a consistent basis.
Develop an Urgency Habit
The WNFIN Challenge provides a perfect time to develop the habit of urgency. It will help you finish your book in 30 days. Then, it’s up to you to continue that habit.E
Every day, write as if you have a deadline hanging over your head.Find ways to continue increasing your focus and effectiveness so writing remains a priority.
If you continue the habitual behavior of raising your level of urgency, it will support consistent and productive writing all year long.
Do you feel a sense of urgency to write your book? How do you keep that urgency high? Tell me in a comment below.
This post is part of the 2018 Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge, also known as National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo). Find out more about how to participate by clicking here.
The event is sponsored by the Nonfiction Writers’ University. Get a 1-week trial membership for just $1!
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V. Lewis says
Hi Nina, Im helping a client of mine write her book. This is s project started over the paat year: in spring we planned it out, and we co-wrote the first draft, but I signed up for your 30 day program to put urgency on it, remove the fluff, and get solid material down. Thanks for your guidance! I’m looking forward to helping my client produce an honorable book.
Vanessa S. Lewis
Nina Amir says
Glad the post helped and that you are doing the WNFIN Challenge! Let me know how it goes, Vanessa.
Benjamin Smith says
Thank you very much for your recommendations. You’re right, it takes a little time to develop a habit. I often use different marathons or challenges to develop a new habit. It also helps to test your stability!
And I noticed that the whole difficulty lies in the beginning if you repeat some actions for two or three weeks, your body gets used to it. After would be easier.
Nina Amir says
Yes, indeed! Thanks for your comment!