ROW80, NaNoWriMo & Atlantik

It’s really no secret that I like taking on creative projects. Most recently, I had a script written for three episodes of a story-focused podcast called Atlantik. I only ended up putting out episode one – listen here – because after it had been chopped up, edited and refined, I realized the task ahead of lining up my characters for recording days and organizing everything was a tad unrealistic for a new dad.

Somehow, I couldn’t bring myself to fully drop the idea behind Atlantik. As a story, I’ve always been excited to develop it. The age-old dilemma is and always has been a singular problem; time.

Along comes a conversation with one of my RPG tabletop players at our weekly game, where she is describing a writing project she’d started in the NaNoWriMo month of November. I’ve known about the 30-day writing challenge for a couple years but that whole new-dad thing left me to know I’d be hard-pressed to complete that challenge.

Tonight, I was gearing up to get my materials together to work on a sturdy outline for Atlantik to give NaNoWriMo a solid effort this year, when I stumbled upon ROW80, or, Round of Words 80. It’s a similar challenge for writing but the goals are more self directed and spread over a more lifestyle-complicit 80 day interval. Here’s where the master plan begins.

I’m going to start ROW80 to end it’s last 30-day stint during NaNoWriMo. This plan, I’m hoping, will help me actually complete a writing project’s dreaded first draft. A task that can’t have it’s difficulty overstated, I’m excited to have the adrenaline dump that comes with accomplishing a feat such as this. Any hard work actually does pay off, you just have to put the work in. Seems simple, right?

So, here’s the meat and potatoes;

Starting on Sunday, September 11, I have 80 days to finish Atlantik (first draft) with a minimum of 50K words.

Like running long distance, sometimes the challenge really is to just keep going. I am going to finish the story. I am going to write a minimum of 50K words to tell that story. Since I’m not a fan of arbitrary start days, I’m kinda just going to start now, but slowly building to that date, where the word count (625 daily) actually matters. Time before that will be spent plotting and planning.

During the month of November, it’s crunch time.

Participating in ROW80 with a final sprint through NaNoWriMo will keep me engaged and motivated to get it done. Exactly like running a distance race, nobody likes to drag-ass past the finish line. Finish strong.

I’ll be in touch with the local writing group during this time and am looking forward to a challenge that touches discipline as much as it does creative energy. If for anything else, I want to tell the story of Atlantik. In submitting this post to ROW80’s website, have a look for the badge on the sidebar, too, if you’re looking to start something similar.

By | 2016-08-21T23:55:56+00:00 August 21st, 2016|Blog|3 Comments

About the Author:

Wearer of many hats, maker of many things. Combatives, fitness and guzzling information make up most of his spare time. @postpunksuperhero on IG


  1. Denise D. Young August 23, 2016 at 2:28 am - Reply

    I think your goal sounds completely realistic–and it’s measurable, which always helps because you can track your progress. Good luck! Welcome to ROW80.

  2. Shan Jeniah Burton August 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I completed my first NaNo when my homeschooled offspring were 8 and 5 – the first year I could manage enough time and focus (being a mom and not a dad, and the homeschooling parent of record, means that I am the Tender of All the Things, which was a much bigger can of worms then.)

    This November, those same children (are they still children when they’re half a head taller than you and still growing?!) will be 12 and 15. I have ample time for writing these days – they’re independent kids, and both have their own storytelling passions.

    Whether you make the 50K this first time out or not, you’ll have words and the learning that goes with the experience. I’m with you on not being a fan of arbitrary start and stop dates, which is why I have a buffet of goals every round and write through the breaks between sessions.

    Welcome to the world of ROW80! May you find community, inspiration, and productivity here. Also, welcome to the world of parentood – it’s an amazing ride!

  3. ReGi McClain August 24, 2016 at 5:17 am - Reply

    The listen here link didn’t work for me. 🙁

    Congratulations on being a new dad and welcome to ROW-80 and Nanowrimo. 🙂 How old is kiddo?

    It sounds like you have a realistic, achievable plan going on here. I would really like to say something less canned, but I’m bushed and creativity is not happening. 😛 I hope your plan works for you!

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