November Writing Challenge Day Two: First Steps

Nov. 2 graphicSo you’ve decided to participate in the Open Door Publications’ November Writing Challenge. You are enthusiastic and ready to sit down and punch out your first 1,000 or so words. But wait! Don’t start writing yet. If you want to make this month-long challenge as worthwhile as possible, before you start writing willy nilly, you need to do some preparation.

First, answer this question: why are you writing?

Whether you have decided to work on a novel, a memoir, a textbook, or just blog daily for a month, knowing the purpose of your writing is important. Without a purpose, I guarantee you won’t last for 30 days. So sit down write now and spend a few minutes thinking about your purpose.

Why do you want to write a book?

What do you want to gain from writing you book? What do you want your readers to gain from your book? And yes, if you have set certain word count goals, you can use these answers as a part of your daily count. Meeting a goal on your first or second day will help you to continue throughout the month – and I’m all for encouraging people to meet their goals. Rewards are a big part of my writing method, but we’ll talk about those later in the month.

So back to my questions. Why do you want to write a book?

Take a few minutes are write you answer down. Then post it where you can see it every day. It will help motivate you on those days when you just don’t want to write. There are no wrong answers here. Your answer could be anything from the loftiest, such as “to share my vision to make the world a better place,” to the more typical, “I just want to see if I can do it,” or something in between, such as, “I have always had this idea for a book and I’m using this November Writing Challenge as a way to motivate myself.”

The next question is a little less esoteric. What do you want to gain from writing your book? Again, there are no wrong answers. World Peace is great, but I find most writers, no matter how lofty their ideals, also want to become a New York Times bestseller, make a million dollars, gain national recognition, or double their client base. So be honest with yourself. What’s in it for you? Writing a book is hard work. What do you want to gain from it?

The final question for the day is about your readers. What message do you want them to gain from your book? What is the one, most important idea or theme you want your readers to take away with them when they read the final page? Try to be succinct. If you have too many ideas you will only confuse your reader. This question relates to theme, which we will talk about in tomorrow’s post.

In the meantime, happy writing, and don’t forget to tell us about your progress. If you would like to receive daily tips on how to accomplish your writing goals send an email to Or just tell us more about what you are working on this month. Send a tweet to @Publisher_KHM, send an email to, write a post to the ODP’s Facebook page. Let’s all join together and spend the month of November writing!

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