Sunday, 4 November 2012

Come on everybody, do the #chapowrimo

November is the month of getting things written.  It's National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo), Academic Writing Month (acwrimo), National Blog Writing Month (nablowrimo) and probably plenty more besides.

Now, thanks to the genius of Helen Murphy and others -- see their Twitter discussions here -- it's also Chartership Portfolio Writing Month, or chapowrimo for short.  (I keep reading it as 'chapeau wrimo', which would presumably be a month of writing about hats.  Maybe next year...)

The idea with some of these wrimos is to set yourself ludicrous goals and see if you can meet them. The nanowrimo, despite the 'nano' in its name, encourages you to write 50,00 words in thirty days.  That's 1,666 words each and every day.  The academic writing month suggests that you "set yourself some crazy goals. Try and come up with some outcomes that would really push you beyond anything you ever thought possible."  Blogging month is a bit more modest - the idea is to post every day.

Chapowrimo is, fortunately, a little less pressured.  The idea is to set yourself a goal or target and to stick to it for the month.  Lots of people are going to a 'certain number of minutes' work every day' goal, rather than a 'certain amount of work produced by the end' goal.  (Here are posts by Emma Davidson and Niamh Tumelty.)

I much prefer this sort of goal.  Firstly, it means you're setting yourself up for less failure: it doesn't matter so much what you achieve, so long as you're trying to get some work done.  Secondly, my personal barrier to getting on with my Chartership portfolio is inertia: I haven't done any work for a while, so it's really hard to get started again, and the amount of work to be recouped seems huge.  So I'm saying that I'll do 30 minutes every day and see where that gets me.

I'm being strict about it - setting aside proper time when I'm not distracted by other stuff, and using a timer to give the 30 minutes a defined start and end.  This is a pretty powerful psychological trick: knowing you're only obliged to do a short amount of work means you pick a small, discrete and therefore un-intimidating task.  Because it's a nice, approachable task I get caught up in doing it, and actually start enjoying myself.  Then, at the end of the half hour, I actually want to spend a bit longer on it.  When that happens I'm resetting the timer for another 15 or 30 minutes, so that I don't wind up just wasting time and faffing about.

So that's chapeauchapowrimo: we'll see whether I've achieved anything concrete by the end...


  1. #chapowrimo is a dance now?

    I like your 'chapeau' interpretation and will read your tweets about #chapowrimo in a French accent from here on. It makes me feel slightly better about the fact that 'wrimo' reminds me every time of the way I say Lavender Hill Mob. It's that I'm (probably?) mispronouncing 'wri' (saying 'ree', rather than 'wry'), and the northern accent. In any case, WHAT A SILLY WORD.

    Anyway, that weirdness aside, good luck!

    1. Thanks. I don't understand at all how chapowrimo could end up like Lavender Hill Mob - think I need a demonstration. But I'll be thinking the wrimo bit in your accent now from now on. Sort of chapeau-ree-mö. Anything to keep me amused...

    2. It's that I speak too quickly and drop my aitches. The latter IS terrible, but it does mean I pronounce 'aitch' properly, so there are bonuses. OK, one bonus. In any case, it means that Lavender Hill Mob becomes 'Lavend Rill Mob', and there's something in 'wrimo' that reminds me of 'Rill Mob'.

      Surely that now makes perfect sense ;)

    3. Ah now here! What's this about pronouncing 'aitch' properly? It's clearly 'haitch' - where's the 'h' sound in 'aitch'? Next you'll be claiming that there's no 'rrr' sound in 'R' ;)

    4. Sorry, I'll go home now.

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  3. See, I say ree not wry as well...and I imagine a "chap" rather than a chapeau. Chap-o-ree-mo. It sounds like a jaunty jig, to be danced by jaunty chaps, in a jaunty manner.
    There's a fair amount of jauntiness involved in my interpretation, as you can see.