From May 6 to September 1, I challenged myself to write fiction every day, with minimum word counts of 500 when I was home, 100 when I was backpacking and 250 for bumper days. In that goal, I succeeded. I wrote fiction every day, even when I was exhausted from backpacking. Even when my husband and I arrived at our campsite near sundown and I had to write by headlamp. Even when I felt sick and uninspired, tired from a long day at work, I wrote my words.
I also challenged myself to write a short story almost every week. My goal was to complete 14 short stories, and 4 novel or novella length works. In that goal, I fell short, completing only 5 short stories, 1 microfiction and 2 longer works. That is, I believe, what Dean Wesley Smith calls failing to success, because without the challenge in place, I would have completed none of those works.
I had a more vague goal about publication, and I'll put the blame for the lack of completion on the vagueness of the goal. I was so focused on writing that I didn't focus as much on publication or submission. As I transition into the fall, I'll put more energies in that direction.
I also challenged myself to be accountable for my words, and in that I succeeded. I posted my words every day that I was home and posted recaps when I got back from my backpacking trips.
Overall, I call the challenge a success. I finished a work that I'd started years ago; I created several new works of fiction. I proved to myself that I can make time for writing if I really want to. I wrote over 65,000 words during this challenge, and I have one more work that is still in progress. Because of this challenge, I'm committed to finishing it, to continue writing fiction every day and recording the word counts, if only for myself.
This fall, I have a goal of completing my next Hike with Me book, which will get the bulk of my writing attention once I finish writing up the Chamberlain Basin hike I took with my husband. But I won't abandon fiction completely. I have a mighty streak of fiction writing, and I don't really want to break it. Writing fiction became easier as the weeks wore on. Where I struggled to complete my 500 in less than two hours in the first month, by the last month, I was able to finish that minimum in less than 30 minutes. Not something I want to lose.
Although I'm pretty sure I annoyed my husband more than a few times this summer with my need to complete my words, I am glad to have started and finished this challenge. I may just do it again next year.