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My Experience Doing Crazy Writing Week 2024

War broke out amongst thousands of writers. Writer against writer. Fruit against fruit. Grape against banana. Literally.


This January, I participated in Crazy Writing Week, and it’s amazing what just a week can do to your writing…and your life. Thanks to Crazy Writing Week, I’ve made more progress on my WIP (writers’ term for Work In Progress, but can also be translated to Walruses In Paraguay) than ever before!


This is my experience doing CWW 2024.


Thumbnail for the Crazy Writing Week 2024 Christopher J. Watt blog post


So, what is Crazy Writing Week?

Crazy Writing Week (CWW) is a free annual online writing program run by the Young Writers Workshop. The objective is to encourage young writers to, in teams, write—and be motivated to write—as many words as possible in the course of one week.



How Crazy Writing Week ‘24 worked

Crazy Writing Week is a week-long program with the aim to write as many words as you can in 7 days. Once you’re registered and the event begins, you are put into one of two teams (in my case, it was Team Grapes). The first day was Orientation Day, which is where you could introduce yourself, get to know your teammates and competition, and get to know where everything was and how it worked. 


After Orientation Day, the competition began! Using a space designed for writing sprints, you would log your start/end times, and the progress you made. Then, you would fill in the sprinting form to submit your word count and time for your team. 


At the end of each day (in American Eastern Standard Time), the scores were announced in the Announcements space. There were three graphs, one for words your team has written, one for hours your team has written for, and one for how many achievements your team has received in total. Achievements were if you had written more than 1,000 words per person and if you had watched and commented on each of the daily training videos. The winning team would be whoever came first in two of the three graphs.


There were also prizes to be won, if all CWWers collectively got to a certain goal (eg, 100,000 words). These prizes increased in value as the goals increased, starting at 1,000 words, and going up all the way to 6 million!



My Crazy Writing Week experience

2024 was my first CWW, so I didn’t really know what to expect. When the whole competition began, I was put into Team Grapes. Our sworn enemy and greatest opposition was Team Bananas. There was also Team Watermelons, which was for anyone who wanted to still participate in writing in a leisurely manner, not competitively.


By the end of the first day, the stats were in. A CWW record had been made—collectively, the teams had already surpassed one million words by the first day! 


The grapes were already sitting at 650,401 words, but the Bananas were in the lead with 697,004 (not forgetting the hours and the achievements, in which the Bananas were also winning). Something had to be done. 


And so I wrote a motivational message, parodying the words of the great American Revolutionary orator, Patrick Henry. To quote;


Watermelons may cry, “Peace, peace!”—but there is no peace. For the war has already begun! The next notification that sweeps from the internet will bring to our ears the sounds of pen on paper! Our grape brethren are already in the pages, writing and fighting for our army! Why stand here we idle? What is it that gentlegrapes wish? What would they have? Is writing so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of humiliation and deprivation? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course other grapes may take, but as for me, give me dead bananas, or give me death!

(you may read the full post here, as well as parts of the other motivational messages I wrote)


Ahem, yes, that was indeed the patriotic fervour that took a hold of me. But what could I say? We were losing the battle and something could be done. And you’ll never guess what happened the next day. By the time the updated scoreboard was announced…


The grapes were winning with 1.63 million words, in the lead by 42,607. 


What success!! And so I continued my posts, parodying more of Patrick Henry and even the Declaration of Independence at one point, encouraging and motivating my fellow Grapes to keep up their patriotic pens. 


By the end of it, I must say I had gained a rather large following. I had made new friends, rallied the Grape Army to fight against the Bananas, and I had made more progress on my WIP than ever before. 



Tales from the battlefield

My call to arms message for the Grapes received a total of 51 comments. And from it stemmed many Grapeish writers who shared the same patriotic zeal. From then, I was tagged multiple times in motivational posts written by fellow compatriots. I decided to continue my rallying posts daily, encouraging and motivating as many Grapes and writers in my team as possible to keep writing and not let the Bananas win.


I even wrote out our very own Declaration of Victory for Team Grapes:

When, in the course of CWW events, it becomes necessary for one team to dissolve the writing bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the fruit, the separate and more worthy team, to which the Laws of Writing and Writing’s God entitle them…

(read the rest here, along with additional posts)


Team Grapes came up with some very clever fruit puns and rather colourful ways of defeating the Bananas, some of which I have included below for you to be amused by:


Comments for the Grapes Team of Crazy Writing Week with Bella Raine

We grew close, despite being a team of over a thousand members. We got to know each other, and we always encouraged each other to keep writing. I believe that that is why, on the last day of the competition, when the Bananas were in the lead again, we united together for one final push. 



So... who won the Crazy Writing Week ‘24 challenge?

It was a very tough competition. By the last day, the scores were neck-and-neck (or rather, bunch-and-bunch). While the Grapes were still ahead in words, the Bananas were winning by having more hours written and achievements earned. I had to do something about it, so I sent the Grapes one final call to arms. The plea was simple: don’t give up, and keep writing. 


If we could unify ourselves and our pens, perhaps we might be able to pull through. 


And the result?


Hundreds upon hundreds of writers kept going, kept sprinting, until literally the final minute. In fact, the site crashed because there were so many people submitting their final sprints! Until finally, once the time was up, there was a winner.


And I am very proud to announce that that winner was TEAM GRAPES!!


With a grand total of over six million words and 6,000 hours, the Grapes beat the Bananas!! (you can take a look at the stats for yourself in the word count graph below.) And with a combined total of 12.2 million words written, a new Crazy Writing Week record was made!!!!! Huzzah!!!

a graph table of the Crazy Writing Week 2024 teams' word count
(I wish I didn't have to explain this, but the grapes are purple and the bananas are yellow)


Conclusion—does Crazy Writing Week actually work?

I am proud to say my answer is yes! I have never gone so far in my writing before CWW! I would still be in the tedious planning stage of my WIP, not knowing if I’d ever start writing, if it wasn’t for CWW motivating me to keep going. I wrote more words for my project in CWW than I ever have before, and I now know that I am capable of continuing my project until the very end. 


Crazy Writing Week wasn’t just a competition to write. It is an inspiration to keep writing, because there are so many people out there waiting to read your work. 



CWW-based FAQ

What is the Young Writers Workshop?

What is this "sprinting"?

How can I join the next CWW?


 

written by Christopher J. Watt

Christopher J. Watt author logo

Christopher J. Watt is a passionate young South African writer now living in Australia. He has co-authored two historical fiction novels in the Epic Story of America series and is currently working on his own projects. When he's not writing, you can find him doing graphic design, drawing animals, film editing, or swimming. Find out more at www.christopherjwattauthor.com.


 

Did you join Crazy Writing Week or have you participated in something similar? Comment below and tell us more!

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