The Strongest, Fittest, Most Athletically Awesome Writers Challenge Ever Invented!
You are a writer whether you like it or not.
In the 1980’s, when the telephone reigned supreme and television was our consumption medium of choice, it became an old-saw that “writing was dead”.
Intellectuals not only railed against this but many went as far as to justify it as inevitable, even practical. Given the technology of the day, they were right.
Most jobs realistically didn’t require writing in all but the most mundane sense. And our social lives were devoid of it completely. Sitting down at a keyboard and typing on a daily basis was a lifestyle completely foreign to the majority of people on the earth.
How things change…
Today, we all write daily – literally (not “British literally”).
- Every single day – you type.
- All throughout the day – you type.
- No matter where you are, or what you’re doing, you feel the insatiable urge to tell the entire world exactly what you are up to – in written words.
Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, or even Instagram (an application dedicated to photos where you add a description to each one, and comment upon those uploaded by others – again, with the written word) you are rarely 5 minutes away from typing something – anything! – as your PRIMARY form of communication throughout the day with the world.
I have gone through periods in the last few years where I averaged more writing than talking in a given day. And while I may be an outlier – given that I AM a professional writer – I am not THAT much of an outlier.
You write constantly, all the time, non-stop, incessantly.
- Why not take this seriously?
- Why not be systematic in the way you choose to communicate about your passions?
- Why not have some FUN with it?
Enter the Fitness Bloggers Writing Month – a 30-day challenge during the month of November. The rules are easy, the contest is friendly, and the community is supportive.
Let’s dive in!
The FiBloWriMo Challenge! (Pronounced: Phi Blow Rye Moe)
I have a lot of professional writer friends. From novelists to essayists, from poets to technical writers, I am quite used to the fact that the people who are closest to me have structured their lives around the pen (or the word-processor, as it were).
Given that, I have known about – for some time – the yearly challenge for novelists called: National Novel Writing Month. It’s a one-month blast where you are required to write a certain number of words by the end of the month – generally split up into a daily word count. The purpose is NOT quality, but rather to break budding writers of their WORST habit: not writing!
Paralysis by analysis is a real syndrome that affects future writers everywhere (not to mention anyone in any field whatsoever). Finding a way to bust through your self-imposed self-judgement-induced downward spiral of inaction is imperative!
Research has suggested that to break a bad habit you need a BARE MINIMUM of 3 full weeks of concerted effort. That was the reason why I chose 21 days, rather than 19 or 42 (even though 42 is the answer to the universe), for my 21-Day Squat Challenge.
The Fitness Bloggers Writing Month is your chance to break the bad habit of not being consistent about your writing, of feeling “uninspired”, and letting the fear of publishing what you write overtake you.
It’s time to write proud, write often, and share it with the world.
It’s simple. There are only FIVE rules.
- Starts Nov. 1st, ends Nov. 30th
- 300 words per day (Quotes, etc don’t count as part of your word count – duh!)
- Publish DAILY, 7 days per week (artists “ship”)
- Be an adult
- Don’t be an asshole
The last two are my standard rules of contract. I don’t do “written” contracts anymore. I simply require a person to honestly agree to those two things. It covers all our bases.
You “win” by following the rules for the time allotted: one month. This is exactly like how you “win” the 21-day squat challenge. Go to the gym every day for 3 weeks, put a barbell on your back, squat up and down.
Simple, but not easy. And that’s the point. Get good at those things that are the CORE of your success: The simple stuff that you don’t do, but that you KNOW you need to do.
Let’s break down the rest.
Rule One: Start/End Date – November Is FiBloWriMo Month!
We’ll begin on November 1st. That means that your first blog post must be published on that day.
We’ll end on November 30th. That means that your last blog post must be published on that day.
Obviously, we hope you continue further! But, the last day of the challenge will be the 30th, and with that, the last day where we will publish the daily/weekly wrap-ups, and other “formal” parts of this fun endeavor.
Rule Two: 300 Words Per Day – Be Like Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway was easily one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century – in any language. So it may come as a shock to hear that he rarely wrote more than 300 words per day, and doing so often took him more than 3 hours!
Writing 100 words per hour is barely more than 2 per minute, less than 1 every 30 seconds… Calling that “prolific” sounds rather odd, and yet he ended up writing multiple novels, all of amazing quality that changed the world of literature forever.
How is that possible? It is a case of quality over quantity?
While it is true that Hemingway only wrote (around) 300 words per day, he also wrote EVERY SINGLE DAY. He’s the classic example of the Tortoise vs the Hare. Writing 2,000 words per day for a month and then avoiding writing for the rest of the year will cause you to write less than the person who writes a far smaller amount every single day for an entire year straight – by a LOT.
Quantity matters! Without it, you never get anywhere. Saying “Quantity vs Quality” is similar to saying “Work Smart vs Work Hard” – moronic. You have to have both. The appropriate question is, “HOW do you combine quality and quantity?”
IMAGE: It only takes a trickle to dig the Grand Canyon. The caveat being that the trickle has to CONTINUE for a damned long time.
That basic Hemingway philosophy of high quality work done daily – as opposed to low quality work done in rapid fire blasts, followed by falling asleep at the wheel – is the basis for this challenge.
We will not have some astronomical number of words to write per day. We will follow Hemingway exactly, and write AT LEAST 300 words – that’s our minimum – daily, 7 days per week.
Rule Three: Publish Daily – Real Artists “Ship”
There is an age old debate about whether a tree falling in the woods makes a sound if no one is there to hear it. A more interesting question is whether art can exist in a vacuum.
If you create a work of “art” (used loosely here to include all forms of writing that may end up in a blog-post), then can label it as “art” if no one else but you ever sees it?
For the purpose of this challenge, the answer is: NO.
That answer is also in line with my own philosophy on the subject. Art without an audience is merely therapy, entertainment, or education (or some combination thereof) – and you do not count as your own audience member! All worthwhile in their own context, but that doesn’t make them “art”.
Art is a form of communication. Unless you are a schizoid, communication requires another person.
Let me be clear: A work of art is NOT valued higher because it has more than one audience member, nor is it higher-valued because the audience “likes” it – they may HATE it. That isn’t the point. If you only have one person reading your stuff, and they think it’s shit… you still get to call yourself a writer.
Tom Hirtz once told me that so long as you have one lifter, you are a coach. In other words: all buildings are built by placing the first brick.
We’ll use that definition: So long as you have one audience member, you are an artist.
(NOTE: simply replace the word “audience” with “reader” or “viewer” or whatever you need to make it relevant to your artistic expression of choice.)
And lucky for you, if you join the challenge, you will have a built-in audience! All participants will be given a daily wrap-up of all submitted pieces (details below). This means that your core audience will be myself, Tamara, and the entire Weightlifting Academy family as well as all other members of the challenge!
When you write, you will know that someone will be reading it on the other end.
How To Join The FiBloWriMo Challenge
It’s Easy: Just decide you are going to do it, then DO IT.
- Go to the Official FiBloWriMo Daily Post – this will include some tips, tricks, and/or inspiration
- Add your post to the comments section
- Provide a short summary of your post (one or two sentences, nothing crazy)
At the end of every week, we will do a massive weekly wrap up that includes every post that was submitted during that week, with links back to your blog!
BIG NOTE: This is not a competition with others, it is a challenge for yourself! We aren’t going to “pick winners”. That’s idiotic. We are all on the same team fighting a battle against a world of complacency.
What If You Don’t Have A Blog Yet???
Your posts MUST appear on a blog. A Facebook status update doesn’t count!
That means that if you don’t already have a blog, then you’ll need to create one. We have two recommended options for you.
AWESOME OPTION: BECOME A WEIGHTLIFTING ACADEMY BLOGGER
If you do NOT have your own blog already, then by becoming a member of Weightlifting Academy – JOIN HERE – you can get one on our network. I’ll create it for you and deal with all the “tech” stuff, so that you don’t have to. Woo!
By joining Weightlifting Academy you also get the benefits of being a member of one of the coolest communities on the net, as well as all of the back-end exposure of our network. PLUS, of course, as a full member, you will have all of the coaching, accountability, and support you need to become a better lifter and athlete.
Learn more about joining our community HERE.
STILL COOL OPTION: WORDPRESS.COM
You can get a free blog over at WordPress.com quite easily. Set up is fast, and you don’t have too much “tech” stuff to worry about. While you won’t get all of the back-end support and fitness-community features that members of Weightlifting Academy enjoy, it’s still a perfectly fine option that will “just work” without hassle.
Many of us began blogs over on WordPress.com years ago including myself, Bret Contreras, Adam Stoffa, and other bloggers you know well.
OK, truth be told, I began blogging BEFORE WordPress existed, back when you had to hard-code every new post in straight HTML… I’m old, and I’m from one of the first waves of bloggers. How technology has changed! Things are SO much easier now.
When You Don’t Know What To Do – START
Weightlifting Academy is dedicated to making the world a stronger place.
You can be a part of this movement by sharing who you are with the world, and by doing so, you’ll have a ton of fun in the process.
On a personal note, I really have been blogging for well-over a decade. I’ve had blogs on so many varied topics, I can’t even keep track of it anymore! I am a blogger.
This new medium, afforded us by the modern world, is unprecedented in history. Finally, real people like you and me can have their voices heard, and create communities committed to excellence, and support one another on our journeys.
Join us, take the challenge, write every day, and let’s build a stronger world together.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Can I do video blogging instead? Or Podcasting?
Of course! Do whatever you want, whatever seems natural to you. Express yourself, be free, don’t let your internal editor win.
Does posting my training log count?
Nope. It’s gotta be something intended for someone else to read (watch, listen to), not something that is too hyper-personal. A training log is dominated by the word “I”. The dominant word in your posts should be “you”.
Do I HAVE to write about fitness?
No! You can write about quantum physics, weather patterns, fashion, bananas, elephant behavior… doesn’t matter. We are calling it a “fitness” blogger challenge in large part because that is the ONE area we can all relate on – we’re in the 15% of American’s who actually lift. That’s our common ground. But, you have so much more to share with us, and we want to hear it!!! (Watch out, my personal blog is about to get seriously geeky during this challenge – so I’m following my own advice here.)
Now Go Write Something Heavy,