The Quest Stands Upon the Edge of a Knife…


A New Year as I Identify My Goals

In my cramped New York City apartment the clock hit 12am. As the seconds ticked down, all the images and sounds, tastes and smells of 2011 fought for a space in my mind and heart- each taking refuge.

On the first chime I attempted to drive out the not so great memories of the year that past while on the second I savored in the good ones. By the twelfth chord my thoughts blended harmoniously on the people I wish to think of while recalling the ones I didn’t, often the same between the two.

Thankfully the war that was waging in my head and the tears that began to swell was interrupted by the sight of my self-absorbed Major kissing Lady Gaga, by the embrace of Dick Clark and his wife and finally in the vain of Alfred Eisenstaedt infamous V-J Day photograph, I watched as Jenny McCarthy made-out with a NYC Police Officer.

The last two years had been hard ones, plagued with a few of life’s hardships including the death of two family members and ending with a broken heart. Suffice it to say 2012 couldn’t have come any sooner.

I immediately began to wonder what the New Year would bring while seriously contemplating what I wanted to make of it. Above everything writing was and is going to be at the forefront of my goals. At the risk of sounding cliché my story…this story will be told and I’m going to kick ass at it.

So, during one of my many late night writing sessions I had the movie Lord of the Rings playing next to my Word document. I briefly glanced at the minimized screen just as Cate Blanchett spoke these words to her ‘Ring Bearer’

The Quest Stands Upon the Edge of a Knife. Stray but a little and it will fail.

– Galadriel

Almost instantly, I realized that I am the Ring Bearer in my own life. No, I’m not trying to defeat the Dark Lord and save Middle Earth. But in my own way (perhaps you as well) I am traveling and living within my own quest. Attempting to accomplish something I never thought I would.

But with that we sometimes need a little help. A fellowship perhaps. A fellowship of writers and artists alike.

More than anything, what has helped in my writing has been the connection with others. It started with creating my blogs and signing up for Twitter. Then National Novel Writing Month arrived and I participated fully. Each provided the push I needed each day to write.

Now that NANOWRIMO is over I went scouting for other challenges to connect with. In doing so I found A Round of Words in 80 Days. Unlike National Novel Writing Month you set your own writing goal for the 80-day stretch as you connect with other writers. You identify what you want to accomplish and post it. Fellow #ROW80 participants will connect on your blog and Twitter to see your progress and give a hand of encouragement. Sounded great to me so I started.

However, this had me thinking…how many other writing/ word count challenges are there? Quite a few (I’m sure many more that I’m missing)

  • National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO): Quoted from their site “Its a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.”
  • A Round of Words in 80 Days (#ROW80): Run by Kait Nolan. Here you set your own writing goal for the 80 days. There are 4 rounds a year, each running 80 days. Thanks @JayrodPG for this one!!
  • 250, 500 or 1000 Words A Day: In this challenge you try to write 250, 500 or 1000 words a day (pick one of these goals), at least six days a week. Their website is also a great resource on Word Count meters to place on your blog no matter which challenge you participate in.
  • 100 Words: In this challenge you set out to write 100 words a day. A fellow blogger just informed me about this one. Since the word count is so small you have the time to really take a close look at what you are writing, how it is said and determine if what you have written is actually moving the story forward. In other words, does it have purpose. Thanks Nancy at you rock!!!
  • May Novel Writing Month (MayNoWriMo) : The rules are simple: Name your word count goal for the month, begin writing at 12:00 AM on May 1st and reach your word count goal by 11:59:59 PM on May 31st to be called a winner.
  • Academic Book Writing Month (AcBoWriMo) Writing for an academic audience. Total word count goals you set – journals, book chapters, books, doctoral thesis, or academic reviews.
  • Six Sentence Sunday (SSS): BRILLIANT!! Its a way to share a tiny portion of your work with other writers, authors and readers as a means of gaining interest in your work or for feedback, support and encouragement! The idea of Six Sentence Sunday (SSS) began with Sara Brookes. Participating is easy. Pick any SIX sentences from your work from any genre, whether WIP or published (you don’t have to be published to participate) and post them on your blog on Sunday before 9 AM EST.

So, with my new writing schedule in one hand and a growing fellowship of writers in another I saddled up on my horse as I make my way to complete my ‘precious’…novel that is. ☺

20 comments on “The Quest Stands Upon the Edge of a Knife…

  1. Lesann says:

    Ooohhh, handy links. I’ve been looking for other sorts of writing support. Thanks!

    • Natasha says:

      Hi!! I’m glad you found it helpful. I’m pretty new to this, so after doing NANO I was excited to find out there are many more challenges out there.

      Thanks for visiting my page!!

  2. NK says:

    My longest-term, favorite writing challenge is I did it for years and really churned out some great stuff. Great for developing a scene or character, the limit forces you to choose each word VERY carefully. Great post! Will have to check some of these out.

    • Natasha says:

      Hi Nancy,
      That’s awesome I’m totally going to add to the list. Thanks!!!!!
      In trying to do a bit of research for this I was surprised to not find a somewhat definitive list of major writing/ word count challenges. Initially I had found out about the #ROW80 through a NANOWRIMO buddy of mine. So I thought let me pay it forward and spread the word. I know I could use the help and encouragement.
      Have a great weekend & happy writing!!

  3. Fabio Bueno says:

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been looking for a compilation like that.

    • Natasha says:

      Hi Fabio,

      I know, I had said to another reader I was shocked how I couldn’t find a general list of challenges somewhere. I hope you find them helpful.. Thanks for reading and visiting 🙂

  4. Natalie says:

    Thanks for the great links! Also, one can never underestimate the power of a good Lord of the Rings reference! (With me, at least.)

  5. This is exactly the post I’ve been looking for. Since I nailed NaNoWriMo on my first try, I don’t think I want to tempt fate and do it again next year. Why mess with a flawless record like that? 😉

    But I loved the writer-camaraderie, it was so awesome during November…well, at least the misery loves company part of it.

    Good luck with your challenges. *rubbing my hands together* which one shall I do next? 🙂

    • Natasha says:

      You’re AWESOME Jason!! Thanks for the retweet.

      I know! After NANOWRIMO I realized one of the best things I got out of it was meeting so many great people. ‘Misery loves company part of it’ So true so true 🙂
      Please, I’m sure if you did it again next year your puzzling mind would ROCK IT again!! LOL!!

  6. Brittany says:

    This list is fabulous! Thank you so much :D.

  7. spaciireth says:

    Before I attempted NaNoWriMo last year, I had no idea there were SO MANY writing challenges out there. Now I feel like I’m stumbling over new ones every day and have to resist the urge to sign up for all of them! Maybe once ROW80 is over, I’ll give some of the others a go. Or something. I quite like ROW80.

    • Natasha says:

      Totally!! Now that I’m finding out about so many, I wanna sign up for more. I need to keep myself in check though. Maintaining my blogs, Tweeting, reading, writing, sleeping, eating, working and living life; each takes time. I guess I have to make the most of my 24 hours without running out of breath 🙂

      Thanks for reading my post!!!

  8. Natasha says:


    Turns out I will be adding to this list. In connecting with other writers I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and links to other collaborating sites where you can connect. I want to pay it forward and share. If you fav this post or click notify me of upcoming comments you will see what’s newly posted. Maybe when I have time I will make it a separate tab so you can easily find it on my blog. In the interim here is another great page!!! (see link in post)

    Six Sentence Sunday (SSS):
    BRILLIANT!! Its a way to share a tiny portion of your work with other writers, authors and readers as a means of gaining interest in your work or for feedback, support and encouragement! The idea of Six Sentence Sunday (SSS) began with Sara Brookes. Participating is easy. Pick any SIX sentences from your work from any genre, whether WIP or published (you don’t have to be published to participate) and post them on your blog on Sunday before 9 AM EST.

  9. Writing can be so lonely. Thanks for the great information!

  10. AngelaMarie says:

    This is fantastic! You know what holds me back? I am at a standstill… and I don’t know what to write about!! It’s not that I have a shortage of potential material… but I think I’m waiting for some kind of passion to awaken. (Guess how that’s working for me?) LOL 😉 I might just use one of these sites to push me into writing even when I don’t feel like it. 100 Words and Six Sentence Sunday sound great!

    • Natasha says:

      Hi Angela,

      Since I’m new at this I was psch’ed about finding all these great outlets to meet other writers.
      you may be at a standstill, but your poetry is great!!

      • AngelaMarie says:

        Thank you!! 🙂 I love your enthusiasm for connecting, sharing, and learning with a broader writing community! It really is inspiring to me. I thought I had followed your blog, but I guess I didn’t sign up to get the emails. That’s about the only way I don’t miss posts, so I’m going to resubscribe myself now. I’ve enjoyed reading several of your posts tonight! Have a lovely evening!

      • Natasha says:

        Thanks Angela! I don’t seem to get everyone’s posts either so I took some time tonight to visit everyone’s page to see their work. Have a great writing weekend!

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