Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A New Writing Challenge

by Stephanie Morrill

With school underway for just about everybody now, it's common for writing time to get squeezed out. As a teen writer, I could only take a break from writing for so long. Any more than a week away from my story, and I would get irritable and start doing things like plotting chapters in Geometry class instead of my assigned charts.

Yet it was simply impossible for me to devote much time to writing during the semester ... so what's a girl to do?

The answer didn't come to me until a few years later, when I was a part of a writing group that did a "100 for 100" challenge. Which means you vow to write 100 words a day for the next 100 days. It takes hardly any time at all to write 100 words, just 10 or so minutes, but it means at the bare minimum you're going to have 10,000 words in 100 days.

Think you're interested? Great - because Go Teen Writers is hosting one! (9/11/12 - *Sign-ups have closed for this event*)



Here's how it'll work:

1. The challenge will begin Monday, September 10th. That means you have between now and next Monday to decide if you want in. No exceptions - if you don't sign up by next Monday, you can't participate.

2. The challenge will end (if my feeble math skills can be trusted) on Wednesday, December 19th.

3. There aren't many rules but here they are:

  • The idea is for it to be a gradual trickle of words, not a geyser of them, so you must write 100 words every day for it to count. You can't write 10k on November 4th and call it good.
  • There is 1 "grace day" per week (meaning if you miss 1 day a week, that's okay) but you still must have 700 words completed by the end of the week.
  • The words should all be for one manuscript, not spread out over a variety of stories.
  • Yes, the above rules exist, but we're not going to police this heavily or anything. Not only would it be virtually impossible to do so, but this falls under the rule of "you get out of it what you put into it." Yeah, you could just write 100 words of nonsense everyday and still win the challenge ... but what benefit is there really?
4. Writers of all ages are welcome to join. Whether you're 9, 99, or somewhere in-between, this is a writing challenge available to you! Just for fun we're going to do some competitions between the age groups. More details on that later.

Here are some questions you might have:

Can I write more than 100 words per day?

Absolutely. You can write 4,000 words on Monday and 103 words on Tuesday and 2,000 words on Wednesday, etc. It just has to be at least 100 words for 100 days.

Are there prizes?

Other than adding 10,000 words to your manuscript by December? Yes, there are!

For those who finish the challenge, you'll receive a special writerly badge for your blog, and a chance to win this darling necklace from Inspired Novelties:



Designed just for writers, Susie Finkbeiner calls these "What's your story?" necklaces. You can check out other literature-inspired jewelry - everything from Shakespeare to Suzanne Collins - at her Etsy store.

Also, those who complete the challenge will be entered to win a 10,000 word critique. 

*Sign-ups have closed for this event.*






117 comments:

  1. This sounds like and awesome idea. SO doing it! :)
    Thanks Stephanie.
    ~Sarah

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    1. Also, is it alright with you if I post the 100 for 100 picture on my blog?
      www.inklinedwriters.blogspot.com

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  2. Wow! This sounds like so much fun! And great motivation, as well! I've been trying to get in at least a little writing time lately, but last night I had something get in the way of it. . . Wasn't too happy about that, and I'll probably be fighting for it tonight.

    Just need to ask my mom if I can sign up for this!

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    1. What? No picture today, Kelsey? :D

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    2. That's what I'm hoping, Kelsey. That as a group we might get more written than we would have individually.

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    3. Yes, Ms. Mindreader. I swapped it to my website's URL rather than my Google account, so I apparently don't get a photo, and I haven't a clue how to change that.

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    4. Grrr...forgot to call you Ms. NG. *tells self to remember*

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    5. Don't worry about it! Trust me, I answer to just about anything.

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    6. I know. xDD I wasn't worried. I just wanted to call you Ms. Nickname Giver. :)
      HERBERT!!! ;)

      Hmm...we are having a whole discussion here...uh-oh. :D

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  3. Already signed up! Forgot to ask thought, is this open to all countries? I'm almost certain the 10,000 word critique wont be something very usefull expecially if you write in a different language. Plus, shipping costs for the necklace would be thru the roof! Anyway I do hope it's open to all countries, even if we dont win anything, it's great motivation and lots of fun! Excelent idea!

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    1. Hi Bruno! Yes, all countries are welcome to participate. The 10,000 word critique will be available to an international winner, but not the necklace. Glad you thought to ask since I forgot to specify.

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  4. I'd love to do this...only I'm not currently writing a manuscript. <.< I was hoping to do some planning during these months and write another novel for NaNoWriMo, which doesn't work with the dates for this.

    If I had a working novel, though, I'd sign up for sure. :) This looks fantastic. Any chance you'll do it again in the future?

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    1. We definitely will, Olivia. And good for you, doing Nano!

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  5. Yay, a contest we old fogies can enter! =) My question: if you finish your manuscript before the end of the contest, is it "legal" to log those 100 words on the next WIP afterward? Cuz I had BETTER be wrapping up mine before mid-December, or I'm in deep doo-doo with my deadline, LOL.

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    1. Lol that was my thought Miss Roseanna!

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    2. Are you doing it too, Roseanna? Woo-hoo, the awesomeness just went up :)

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    3. Yes, totally legal.

      And GTW contributors are welcome to participate (I know at least Roseanna and I are - go Old Fogies!), we're just not eligible to win either of the prizes.

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    4. *I* increase the awesomeness factor? Wow, I think I'm blushing, LOL. I think it'll be fun to learn you youngens how it's done. ;-) (Or, conversely, get my rear whooped by y'all, LOL.)

      Okay, stepping out of my WV speech patterns now...must hasten back to Baltimore or 1814.

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  6. Oh wow this sounds like so much fun! And it will be just what I need to get started and actually start writing my book! I was trying to figure out how much to write a week or in a day. And this will really help me! I'll email you with silly questions if I get confused :P Can't wait! Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

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  7. Wow! This is going to be a great motivator for those of us that have problems fitting our writing time into the school day. I'm so excited!!!! :D My fingers are now itching to start...

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    1. No reason you can't get a head start, Marisa!

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  8. Sweetness!!! This is going to be fun!! That necklace is GORGEOUS!

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    1. Isn't it? I put in an order for one for me as well... :)

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  9. You know, I was planning to do NaNo this year, but this is actually much more beneficial and practical for me. Last year was my first NaNo and I failed horribly and felt awful. I'm much more likely to actually finish this, and therefore feel much better at the end. :)

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    1. I haven't done NaNo yet (my kids will need to both be in school before I can attempt it) but I know it's not unusual to "fail" your first one. Glad you'll be joining us!

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    2. Yeah, I failed my first two tries at nano (once with a word count of 33k and another with 5k, lol.) before I won. So maybe try in a different month where you have more time. (The August one is better for me than the November or July ones.)

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    3. I failed the first time also :P Did you know you can adjust your word count on the YNaNo? It's pretty epic- you set it to a goal you can make. :D

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    4. I love NaNoWriMo! I first participated during the July camp last year. I won, but 40,000 words were written in the last two days. I think I validated at 11:30pm. :)

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  10. Cool idea! I think I'll try it! :)

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  11. This challenge is amazing. I just write in Spanish, so I would like to take this just for fun :)

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    1. Oh, good! I'm glad this is an event that's more inclusive of our writers who don't write in English.

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  12. This is perfect! I am writing a biography this year and I am trying to write in it everyday (since August 1st) but I have had no motivation. Well this is wonderful motivation! The necklace is beautiful!!

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    1. Isn't it gorgeous? The only thing better than jewelry is jewelry made for writers!

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  13. Ooo! I'm so excited to see how this all unfolds. And, thanks to everyone who complimented the necklace. That makes this novelist/jewelry maker smile.

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    1. It's the perfect prize for a writer! Thank you so much for contributing it, Susie.

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  14. Thank you for this fun challenge! I've never thought of how much 100 words a day can really add up. This is excellent motivation to write, and a great way to expand your manuscript during the busy school year!

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    1. Absolutely, Jill. I love how manageable it feels.

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  15. Hi,
    I'd love to join but I don't know if I can trust my day to make time for me. Am I allowed to participate but then not finish...or do you have to finish if you participate? Can you just join but then if something comes up you just trickle away?! :-)

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    1. Yep! There's zero pressure to stay in it through the whole thing.

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  16. Signed up! This will be a lot of fun! I guess I'm probably not quite so busy as a lot of people, being homeschooled, but I'm going to have a busy year due to some other stuff! :)

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    1. Bethany, sometimes I feel like I get more writing done now than I did pre-kids, just because I'm now so careful with how I use my time. So even though you might not be as busy as others, it's still nice to have that extra bit of motivation on those days when you just don't feel like writing, you know?

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  17. Ooh! I think I'll do this!

    If someone who's participating goes out of town and can't have a computer with them, are they allowed to write their one hundred words out on paper and transfer them to the computer later?

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    1. Absolutely. And you'll just want to log your word count when you get home.

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    2. Yay, I've signed up today! Working on my outline to make sure my 10,000 words are good words.

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  18. My personal WC goal each day during my novel-writing process is 1,000 words per day. But the thing is, I sometimes don't write *every* day like I should. This will be the perfect incentive to kick me into high gear! Thanks for hosting it!

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  19. I really want to enter but my problem is that I will be on a missions trip during the the first couple days. Can I still do it and log my words later?

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    1. Totally! I have the spreadsheet set up for you guys to log your words once a week, but if you're out of town and can't log them that week, you won't be penalized or anything.

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  20. This is a great challenge - however for someone like me who isn't currently writing a manuscript it might be hard to get started! I might not sign up but will think about doing it at home! Thanks for the idea :)

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    1. Glad the idea is inspiring, anyway! Years ago when I did a 100 for 100, I found it both manageable and motivating.

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  21. This is so exciting :). I don't know if this is weird but its always been hard for me to write for large chunks of time yet I never thought 100 words a day was "good enough" to be a writer. Since hinting at it yesterday it's all of a sudden making 100 words a day feel worthwhile!

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    1. And maybe it'll even help you in the future to write large chunks? A way to crawl before you walk.

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  22. I really want to do this, but I'm going on a mission trip out of the country for a week next Friday and I will only have an iPod with no sure access to internet. If I write 100 words each day and then log them in when I come back on that Friday or possible Saturday (the time change throws me off), will I still be able to enter and keep going?

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    1. Absolutely. I have the spreadsheet set up for you guys to log your words once a week, but if you're out of town and can't log them that week, you won't be penalized or anything.

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    2. Okay. That's great. :) I'm going to do it then. Thank you. I downloaded a documents app so I could do it on the trip, because it sounds like good stimulus for writing. :D

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  23. I don't have a manuscript to add to at the moment. I'm back on the drawing board.

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  24. This is an awesome idea! I'm busy with school, and on top of that, my parents want me to get a job, but 100 a day might be doable. :) If I don't write, I'm not a happy camper. Hopefully this will help create balance. :)

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  25. This is so, so cool. I'm definitely doing it - or trying at least. :) Thank y'all so very much!

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  26. This is so awesome! Can I post this on the OYAN forum? And also, I'm going to turn 16 during the time of the competition and 15 and 16 are in different categories, is this a problem?

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    1. Absolutely, Tess! Post away!

      It's not a big deal, no. You can either select whichever one you'll be for the majority of the competition, or you can just round up since you're practically 16 anyway. I'm fine with whatever :)

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  27. This is such a good idea! I absolutely LOVE it! Just signed up for itXD

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  28. Ooooh sounds like funn!! =D

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  29. I got a question! I'll be gone for at least a week...so I wont have a computer...should I write on paper and just write what I wrote on paper onto my computer so I can see how many words I got down?

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    1. Yep, that's fine! I'm setting up the spreadsheet so you only need to log your words once a week. If you're gone, it's no big deal.

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  30. Just signed up!!! Ever since Camp NaNo ended, I've felt all weird seeing as I don't have anything pushing me to write anymore... so this is great!!! I won't have to wait till November!!! And it'll work great with school responsibilities, so that's a major bonus for me.
    One thing, though. What if I'm an international participant, writing in English, with a P.O. Box in the US?
    In that sense, could I still be eligible for both the critique *and* the necklace?

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    1. Glad it works well, Alexa! If you have a PO Box in the US, then yes, you're eligible for both giveaways.

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  31. I'm so excited! This is such a great idea. I was a little apprehensive about signing up at first because, being from Australia, I've got final exams at the start of November, but I realised that it would probably do me good to take a break from studying in order to do this.

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    1. I'm glad you're joining us anyway, Elizabeth!

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    2. I'm glad I'm doing it too!

      A quick question about the spreadsheet, is it cumulative or per week?

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  32. Best. Idea. Ever. And I love that necklace! It's so pretty! Hopefully I'll be able to fit that in with editing my manuscript.

    Oh my... I completly forgot about NaNo. Shoot! I gotta figure that out quick! Thanks for reminding me guys! xD

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    1. Oh, and I'm turing 16 next week. I entered in as 16. That won't be a problem, will it?

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    2. Not a problem at all, Seabird. And glad you like the idea!

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  33. I just entered - what a great idea! I'm excited :)
    Awww! That necklace is just too precious! (gonna let my Southern self gush over it for a minute)Seriously though, it's beautiful!

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    1. Isn't it? Glad you'll be joining us, Anna!

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  34. I have no manuscript in mind, but this sounded like fun, so I've signed up anyway. Now all I need are story ideas...

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  35. Perfect thing to keep me working on my book even amidst the flood of college homework! Just signed up. :-)

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  36. This sounds great - and there have been days recently when I've thought 'but I'll only be able to write 100 words or so now, why bother?', so this could be just what I need to get over my writer's block.

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    1. Kate, that's been me lately. This is just the motivation I needed. :)

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  37. I just realized that because I am from Canada, I am an international participant. Does that mean that I am not eligible for the necklace?

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    1. Hmm. I'm not sure. Let me research if it's very expensive to ship to Canada and if it would require a customs form...

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  38. I really want to do this, and I even signed up, but I have a question. I don't like writing on Sundays. If I write at least 200 words Saturday, could the extra 100 count for my writing on Sunday? (This is just something I personally do, but if you'd rather it be a strict 100 for 100 I'll still do everything in my power to get those 100 words on the page everyday.)

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    1. This is what it says above:

      "There is 1 "grace day" per week (meaning if you miss 1 day a week, that's okay) but you still must have 700 words completed by the end of the week."

      Hope this helps :)

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    2. Thanks for jumping in, Amanda, since I was delayed!

      Meaghan, the short answer is yes, totally fine. I also don't like to write on Sundays, so I understand. Plus some religions prohibit activities on certain days of the week, and I didn't want anybody getting left out for their religious beliefs.

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    3. Sorry I missed catching that in the post. I've been really stressed and distracted lately. Thank you both for letting me know about it though!

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    4. You're welcome! Hope you feel less stressed soon :)

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  39. Can I write on paper some days, then copy it later (Maybe a couple days later,) and say it counted for that day? Because sometimes vacation gets in the way, so I can bring a notebook, but not the computer.

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    1. Thank you, Lydia! Okay. That's good to know. This looks like a lot of fun.

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  40. Should I sign up using my first name or my full name? Or can I use my pen name?

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  41. *squeal* Okay, I'm totally stoked about this. <-- And I dated myself, just in case ya'll didn't know I'm in the two-decades-old category. ;)

    So, Stephanie, this is. just. plain. awesome. I feel like I can actually do this and still be my conscientious student self and I love that! Plus, the badge, the necklace (which I was totally eyeing on Roseanna's FB page), and the critique? Score.

    Really looking forward to this... :)

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  42. I'm really bad at remembering to post stories and such on my moms computed and I take a REALLY long time just to write a few words:( I did enter, but the book I'm writing isn't on a computer that has internet conection:( I don't know if I'll be able to send in my 100 words weekly:-( Ugh... I'm totally NOT thinking strait today. Must be the lastest excitment runnign through my life finally kicking in... I'm super sorry if this is does NOT in any way make sense...

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  43. Intriguing challenge... ;)

    I accept!

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  44. I want to join in, but I am still working on development for my novel, not the actual story yet (I am very much a planner writer! :P ), though I'd probably start it later in the 100 days. Unless counting up my development words qualifies, I'll have to sit out.

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  45. I'm sure you've got this a gazillion times, but I've already started a novel and am well into it. Can I continue with that? Or do I have to start something new?

    Thanks a bunch! God bless!
    Rana (pronounced Rena)

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    1. Absolutely, Rana! The idea of the challenge is to make progress on the project we're wanting to make progress on, so, yes! Work on whatever you want.

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  46. Me too. I would, but I really, really want to do NaNo. It would be fun if you could do this like in a few months or at the end of the school year.

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    1. I think we'll probably start up another one in the spring, Katia :)

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    2. I trying it! I'm going to write/ start a novel, epistolary-fashion, called Letters to the World. It's from a boy's perspective, and it's totally different from anything I've done before. Could I finish it quicker so that I don't have to juggle both 100 for 100 and NaNo? I signed up, and I'd really want to do this, too. I'll try, but you can only be so writerly amazing, and I may be using up all of my sometimes-wittiness on my future novel.

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    3. *I'm . . . text boxes make it rather hard to check your spelling.

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    4. Well, the idea for 100 for 100 is totally different than Nano, so I'm not sure how well they coexist. 100 for 100 was designed with the idea of trickling out words for such a long period of time that they add up. Nano is about a geyser of words for a month. You're certainly welcome to use 100 for 100 to suit your own purposes, though. If you just want to do it until Nano time, that's fine with me.

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  47. hi, i was just wondering if you ever have poetry contests?

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  48. This is a great idea! :) But like a lot of other people have said, it doesn't really work with what I'm doing right now... I'm finishing up editing one of my books and planned on cranking out the sequel for NaNo... I'll have to decide which one works better with my schedule.
    Thanks for the contest! :D
    ~Paulina

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  49. What if you enter, then decide you want more time to think about it? How do you un-enter?

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    1. If you don't log your words, then you'll kinda automatically be "un-entered"

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  50. I signed up for this event but I never got the email...

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    1. Okay, then send me an email at Stephanie(at)GoTeenWriters.com.

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