I first came across Word Wars in the chat room on the Forward Motion writer’s website sometime around 2003. Writers would enter the chat room, declare war and for the duration of the war (usually half an hour) everyone would all stop chatting and write their novels. At the end, everyone declared their word count and the writer with the highest word count was the winner.
Obviously this is great for chat rooms, assuming you have a chat room full of people willing to war. However it can also be done one-on-one in any messaging program of your choice (msn, aim, Skype, facebook chat) or even in person. All you need is two or more writers willing to play.
Most wars I have competed in have been half an hour. One of my manuscripts was entirely written in hour long wars (usually two a day) over several months. Most people who try them get a huge boosts on their word count for a half hour and the first time people try it they are surprised by how much they get done.
I rarely ‘win’ wars. I am not as fast at writing as my friends. However getting an easy 2k out of an hour is about twice, even three times, my solo speed. I’ve never left a war disappointed.
Wars probably aren’t for everyone, though if you can find someone willing to give it a try I highly recommend it.
- For most people, wars lead to massive word counts.
- It makes writing a fun, group activity.
- Wars hold you accountable for how you spend your time.
- Wars give you a clear, set time for writing.
- Competitive people will get that extra writing boost from a war.
- Arranging when to war can be annoying.
- The pressure to write may affect the quality of the writing.
- Overly competitive people can take out the fun for everyone else.
- If you have a regular warring partner, you not being in the mood can put them off.
- They have to be organised, usually ahead of time.
The biggest problem for me is finding people who are able and willing to war in my prime writing time. However when I do it’s always worth it.
Give it a try!
Copyright. Talitha Kalago. 2010