How to Participate in BIW

On the Thursday the week prior to the start of BIW (dates for year) an automatic message will be sent out announcing the pending BIW, encouraging members to enroll and supplying an enrollment key. The enrollment key allows you to enter the current challenge area and only needs to be entered once. The enrollment key is not the same as your password. Once you are enrolled you should immediately submit your goal in the designated area. Goals will only be accepted prior to the 8 am EST start time. An active EST clock can be found on the main community page as well as in each challenge area. If you miss, then plan to participate the following month.

Submitting Your Goal

In the current challenge under “Member Goals” you will find a link called “What’s Your Goal for the Week?” When you enter this thread click on “add a new discussion” to submit your goal. An empty message will open. Enter your name and goal in the subject line. The goal you enter is for the whole week. We work on the premise that 250 words is equivalent to 1 page. Feel free to comment on your BIW project at this time in the body of the message. We like to read what you will be slaving over. A mini-synopsis is fine.

The BIW Moderator will collect all the goals submitted and keep a summary of everyone’s goals (and daily totals). You will be able to check on this throughout the week by looking in the “Members Goals” area of the challenge for “Everyone’s Goals & Totals – Tracked by Moderator”.

Figuring Out Your Goal

This is really an individual thing. We can’t tell you what to submit for a goal other than the minimum is 10 pages. Keep in mind that one of the objectives of BIW is for you to push your limits, so make sure you submit something you wouldn’t normally do.

You know your writing habits better than anyone and the amount of time you can commit. You need to decide what you want to get out of BIW and what you want to put in. That being said you might surprise yourself. Many members have started off small and gradually increased each month to get to their current high outputs.

If it is your first time participating in BIW you might want to go in the 25 – 50 page range. At the end of the week you can evaluate your progress to determine your goal for the following month. The idea is to push yourself more and more each month, gradually increasing your output.

What’s My Number?

When you submit your goal you will be added to a list with everyone else (“Everyone’s Goals & Totals – Tracked by Moderator”). Make note of the number you are assigned and post-it on your computer monitor as you’ll need it throughout the week when you post your daily totals. This number changes every month you participate so at the end of BIW you can recycle your post-it note. This helps the moderator save time when she fills in her tally sheet. If the moderator has to keep reminding you to do this you will be removed from the group.

Messages

With the old system members received between 600 – 1000 messages a month, most of them during the week of BIW. With the new system members receive a few messages from the moderator and member news throughout the month and if the member enrolls in a challenge they will receive messages from other members like goals, updates and discussions.

No-email settings are not allowed with our group. You will be deleted from the group without notice. Warm up your delete finger, it only takes a few minutes and provides psychological stimulation. The messages are part of the participation, otherwise you might as well write on your own.

Feel free to send encouragement to anyone who sounds like they need it. Either through the thread they have posted a message in or by clicking on their profile to send them an instant message. Everyone always welcomes kudos of encouragement. All messages must carry a writing theme. Please keep off topic message to a minimum. There is an off topic area in the Pool.

What if I’m NOT Participating this Month

No problem, we all have lives outside of BIW so it is understandable if you can’t participate. It is not necessary to post messages to the group to let us know you’re sitting out or have a crisis or whatever. It’s obvious you’re not participating if you haven’t enrolled and submitted a goal. By all means, please feel free to send encouragements to the group even if you are not writing.

Ready, Set, Go!

BIW starts on a Monday at 8am EST. Check the website for all dates. There is an EST clock on the BIW blog, the main community page as well as in each challenge area that will tell you the current EST when you visit.

On the first day try to fit in as much writing as you can. A healthy start leads to a productive week. At the end of the day determine the number of pages you wrote and submit your page count to the group using your assigned number in the challenge area. You will find a spot for each day.

There are two ways to do this:

#1.

Put name, assigned number, day and number of pages in subject line.

i.e.
Email Subject Line – Karen #26, Monday – 26 pages (NT)
Message Body – (empty)

You would use this way if you had nothing special to say to the group. Adding (NT) to the end of your title in the subject line lets readers know that everything is in the subject line and there is “no text” in the body of the message.

Please do not try to put any other message in the subject line because if you make the message too long it will get cut off.

#2.

Some members create a template email that they continually update throughout the week rather than keeping a paper copy of their daily totals. This way of posting the daily total uses both the subject line and the message body.

i.e.
Subject Line – #34 Mandy’s Wednesday Totals
Message Body –

Hi Everyone,
I’m having a great week so far. I am definitely on a roll. I went to a great writing workshop and found it very motivating. I hope you are all busy Bic Hok Taming away!

Monday – 16 pages
Tuesday -14
Wednesday -15
Thursday –
Friday –
Saturday –
Sunday –
Grand Total –

BIC HOK TAM!
Mandy
XO

You’ll notice a reminder in each daily update area to post:

ex.”Daily totals for Monday and any discussions for that day can be posted here. Do not post a daily total for Monday in here after 8 am EST Tuesday.”

Each day runs on a 24 hour clock beginning at the 8 am start time and ending at the next. If you are not able to post your daily total within that period then post it in the next days either by itself or later in the day when you post the next day’s total. Please don’t post two days of totals under one thread a few minutes apart. Both totals can go in the same post.

How Often Do I Submit My Daily Totals?

The best way to hold yourself accountable is to submit your daily total at the end of every day before you shut off your computer. Even if it’s, heaven forbid, a zero total. Life isn’t always filled with pages. We want to see that too. There’s a thread set up for each day of the BIW you are participating in.

Checking in also inspires other members, letting them know pages are possible as well as letting them relate to others who may not be producing.

Be sure to check the “Everyone’s Goals & Totals – Tracked by Moderator” page to make sure your daily totals are being recorded accurately and that your messages are getting through. DON’T wait until after the Wednesday deadline (see minimum check-ins) to report any issues. Email the moderator offlist about any problems and include your daily total so it is counted on time. The rule of thumb: no excuses are accepted.

Minimum Check-in

We welcome you to check in every day but the absolute minimum is 3 “daily total” emails (one before Wed 8 am EST) and a final total (you add ’em up). Minimum. If you aren’t doing this then you aren’t participating you’re just passing by (and wasting the moderator’s time).

On Wednesday anyone who hasn’t posted a daily total is removed from the current month’s participation and will have to try again next month. If someone continually does this then the moderator may remove them from the group to make room for someone more active.

No excuses are accepted. Each writer knows what to expect going in. If you have plans during the week of a scheduled BIW then don’t submit a goal. It’s that simple. Respect the Moderator’s time.

If something comes up and you need to bow out then by all means email the moderator off list or email the group. To totally disappear is just rude. No explanations are necessary, just a simple message, “I have to drop out this month” will do.

Further participant weeding is done on Sunday if the moderator deems it impossible for a participant to make the minimum check-in. Grand totals are accepted until the Tuesday after BIW ends 8 am EST provided the member has made other check-ins. Please do not send any totals after this time.

What are those stars next to my totals?

i.e.

Kathy – Goal – 22 pages
Monday – 4 pages*
Tuesday – 2 pages*
Wednesday – 5 pages
Thursday – 5 pages*
Friday – 6 pages
Saturday – 8 pages*
Sunday – 8 pages*
Grand Total – 38 pages*

Every time a writer checks in with a daily total the moderator puts a star next to their pages for that day. Unless of course the check-ins are of short duration (minutes apart – don’t do that). The check-in works on a 24 hour clock running from 8 am to 8 am.

The grand total doesn’t have to be submitted in a separate email to get the final star.

What if I Make a Mistake?

If you submit the wrong total, no worries. If it is only a few pages add or delete from the next day’s total rather than making another post about the same day. Unless it is something obscene like you meant to post 2 pages but you posted 22.

Final Totals

There is a section in the challenge area to post your final totals. You will also find directions there. Add up the total pages you wrote for the whole week. Ideally, submit your grand total with your last Sunday daily total. Should you forget you will have until Tuesday 8 am EST to submit them.

Anyone who hasn’t submitted a grand total will be removed from the final tally list and not included in the top producers or random draw.

On Tuesday, the moderator will send a message to the group saying that BIW is over. She will then send another message to everyone, including those who didn’t participate announcing the Top 10 Producers for the week and the random draw winner. You are encouraged to send in your kudos.

Please don’t submit any totals after this point. BIW is over and everyone is tired and moving on to grander things… in other words… You had your chance.

After BIW

Take this time to reflect on your week. What worked for you? What didn’t work? You might want to journal about it or make a list so you can review it next month and then make alterations so you can overcome them.

Now go get ready to BIC HOK TAM!

For more information check the challenge area for rule reminders and a how to participate video. You also might want to check the website faqs.

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