As a writer, I’ve been successful at writing challenges before. I’m a previous NaNoWriMo winner, for instance, and have succeeded at other month-based writing challenges such as blogging every day for a month.

Challenges do us good, provided we are challenging ourselves, and using the community around that challenge to help in motivation. This month, instead of competing in the marathon event of National Novel Writing Month, I found ROW80.


A Round of Words in 80 Days is to quote – “the writing challenge that knows you have a life”.

Quite simply, you join up for ROW80, publish out your own writing (and life) goals for the 80 days of each leg, and provide a checkin on Wednesdays and Sundays during the challenge. You need a blog to post your goals and updates on – making them public keeps you honest. Once you’ve checked in you can link to your own posts via a Mr Linky app sitting at the ROW80 blog – this allows you to catch up with other participants also. ROW80 also has a large precense on Twitter, using the hashtag #ROW80, which compliments the many word sprints / wordmongering short challenges going on via the social network.

Naturally, the last quarter of ROW80 this year (where I joined in half way through) coincided with NaNoWriMo, so you will find many of the ROW80 participants this quarter also had WriMo goals. And several have succeeded.

What I enjoy about ROW80 is the growing community of like-minded writers who are using it. There is no burden upon you to provide undoable goals for yourself, and it’s interesting to watch how different writers produce different goals for themselves – some talk about spending a certain amount of time at writing each day (minutes, hours), some speak in word goal terms with overall targets for a month or the 80 days, some – like me – also produce side-goals towards quantity of blog posts, social media timings, or even reading. Some ROW80 participants have also included overall life goals in their own packages – I honour those who have actually put down their fitness goals alongside that of their writing.

This particular round finishes December 22nd, with Round 1 for 2012 kicking off in January. If you’re a new author looking for a community of like-minded writers, and for some flexibility in setting your own goals, I recommend ROW80 for you. Join up at anytime by adding your goals post onto a checkin date.

Link: ROW80

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