40 Days & 40 Writes F.A.Q.


Six days a week you will get a writing prompt by email with a target time limit of 10 to 25 minutes. You have 24 hours to do your writing and send it in via a form on the web site. 

What is this good for anyway? 

This exercise, especially at the beginning, is about building a particular kind of writing practice and figuring out how it can fit into daily life every day, at least for 7 weeks. Beyond that, what you get out of it is sort of up to what you do with it.

Do I need to have a theme or goal for my 40 days? 

No you do not. You can, but I can't assure it'll all pan out like you think.

What if I write longer than the allotted time? 

That's fine. But think of this like exercise. Don't blow out all your muscles the first week. Oh, you might want to invest in a timer.

Are these in any sort of order? 

Yes, there is a logic to what I'm doing, which I will happily share when it's all over. Generally you should expect that after this week, the time allotment will tick upward in two-minute increments every 4-6 days. And things will get a little harder. Feedback from the first group has helped me put these order of what they perceived as increasing difficulty.

What if I miss a day?

The goal is to write consistently, but if you miss a day, you miss a day. This is a practice, not homework. In previous groups it became clear that missing one day is no big deal, but missing two or three means a loss of momentum.

Do I have to send my writing in through the web form? 

Yes. You do.

Do I have to write directly on the web site? No, in fact I recommend not doing that. Write in your favorite word processor, or email, and paste it into the form to ensure that a crash doesn't delete your work.

Is anyone reading these? 

I am! I will read everything but critique nothing.

Are you keeping score? 

Yes, all your entries are also entered into a spreadsheet, which will allow me to see who wrote how much on which days throughout the 40 days. The daily standings are posted for everyone in your flock of writers to see.

Do I have to post to the blog?

No. Each day you can indicate if you want to make that piece of writing available on the blog or not.

Will I get my work back?

Yes. You will get everything you submit back at the end of the 40 Days in a digital booklet.

What the heck is "Birds in a Barrel?" 

A number of years ago I had a very vivid dream where an editor worked for said, "Birds in a barrel are worth two fish in hand." The phrase has held a space in my imagination ever since. Now it is the launching pad for my nutty ideas, like "40 Days & 40 Writes," which will eventually migrate to www.40days40writes.com. But not just yet.