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I’m trying to create a writing culture in my household the way I once upon a time succeeded in creating a maker culture here and a math-y culture here. Hanging out with other writers, and doing writing work myself, is definitely an important part of creating an atmosphere. So I’m working on a new novel and I’ve jumped in on a writer’s challenge. Accountability is nice and writing with friends is useful. Or the other way around.

You all know about NaNoWriMo, I am sure, and they now have a bunch of spin-offs: a screenwriting challenge, a poetry challenge. Incidentally, their workbooks for kids are free and amazing. 

A Round of Words in 80 Days, or ROW80, is a challenge I’ve been kind of studying from a distance for awhile. It runs on blogs, it seems like, which makes it hard for me to follow, since I don’t really have a good blog-feed machine. It divides the year into several 80-day “rounds” and asks each blogger to set their own goals for that period, link them to a master list, and post check-ins every Wednesday and Sunday. Today is the first day of this round, but I find myself hesistating before joining the linky thingy. I don’t know if I can go a whole 80 days on this project.

Then there’s a small private Facebook group one of my homeschool-parent peers began, with the goal of doing 500 words every day for whatever period of time you desire. In the group, one person posts the date, and then everyone checks in about whether or not they managed to do their words that day. I joined that one without hesitation. It seems easier to create a habit if there’s a daily check-in. I’m likely to forget a Wedneday and Sunday routine. Also, most of my novels are just personal attempts to learn more about something by writing about it, so I don’t know if I’ll stick with this book for longer than a month.

The novel is based loosely on the story of Hephaestus, because I recently have begun to hear Him tugging on me, because I want to get steampunk-y, because I want to explore some aspects of Maker culture. Writing about technological themes pretty much guarantees I’ll have to ask my kids tons of questions, too, and I did set a goal of drawing them into writer culture.

If any of my readers knows of other writing challenges, or has any ideas for creating a wordplay culture at home, please comment and let me know.

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