Saturday, January 7, 2012

January Writers

I recently interviewed Sylvia Forbes via email about her January Writers project. It’s a great way to help all of us start the new year by writing!

MH: Why did you decide to do this project?
SF: Winter is often a time when people don't get out much, and there's a big letdown after the rush and excitement of the holidays. So, what better time to daydream, reflect and write, than in January?
I started the January Challenge on a smaller scale last January, when I invited writers from my local writing group, the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild, to participate through email. However, Facebook seems like a more ideal way for everyone to communicate, so this year I've opened it up to ALL writers who want to participate. Any writer can search for January Writers, and “like” the page. Then they can start posting their daily totals, or comments about how they are doing on the challenge.

MH: How many writers are participating?
SF: Right now, we have about 53 participating. Others are welcome to join any time. The month is not over!
MH: What is the goal of this project?
SF: The January Challenge is to write something every day in January. It can be as short as a Haiku, or as long as a novel. It can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be journaling - the words don't have to be for publication, unless the writer wants to work toward that goal.

The overall idea is that by writing daily in January, it helps writers develop that great habit of writing daily, and not procrastinating. So if anyone wants to get started on developing that habit, come join in!

MH: Do you have a personal goal?
SF: I have many personal writing goals, from learning to write better essays, to writing non-fiction books, children's fiction, writing more nature articles, and much more. For this January Challenge, however, I hope to catch up on writing some non-fiction feature articles. These files have been waiting patiently on my desk for a long time, waiting for me to get to them.

MH: Do you think a writing community is important for writers?
SF: Yes. For me, a writing community is important. I know some writers don't need them, but I enjoy meeting others, even if just virtually, and getting enthused and inspired by the interaction. I feel that I learn much from other writers, both in the craft of writing and in the business of writing. I live in a small town, with few other writers, so it's nice to have a writing group nearby, whether online or in another town, where I can go and be with other creative people who "get" what I do. Sometimes, writing groups can demand too much of your time, or there can be a few irritating personalities, but for the most part, writing groups have been invaluable to me.

Thank you, Sylvia, for your time, and for this great project! 

Write soon,


  1. Encouraging comments and living up to the group's expectations can have a profound impact on one's writing.

  2. Thanks, Mary, for letting people know about January Writers! January Writers is a dynamic group, with members tackling all kinds of writing projects. We invite any writer to join us for the rest of the month, to see how much they can accomplish. Find us on Facebook at

  3. Thanks to Sylvia for initiating the project. So far I've managed to write every day, though a couple of days it's been only 15 minutes. It's encouraging to see that, if you keep plugging away, the words do appear.

  4. I was already deep into a wip, but the January Challenge has given me a strong impetus to finish in January.

  5. I've been excited about January Writers and JANO writing project with my Sleuths' Ink writer's group. Yesterday (Sat.) we had a 10am-5pm "write-in" for our local authors. It was incredible. I've managed over 6,000 words for this month--5,258 on my wip and the rest in journaling and poetry. Although I've missed 2 days on my JANO, I've written something evey day for January Writers. What a wonderful incentive to put pen to paper. :-) Looking forward to this next week.

  6. Thanks to Sylvia for a great project that has so many participants writing!