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500 Word Snatch: Make a Long Story Short

Published on Monday, December 30, 2013 by

FINAL-500-WORD-SNATCH-BUTTOIt’s easy to feel despondent when you consider the effort required to produce a full length novel, especially when you have so little time.

The truth is you can make a long story short by taking small disciplined steps every day, instead of sitting idly by waiting for inspiration to strike. As Jack London said,  “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Your challenge is to write 500 words a day for 365 days, come rain or shine – if you’ve completed the NaNoWriMo challenge you’ll find this one very easy. The 500 Word Snatch (#500WS) is perfect if you have a long-term goal, or need sustained support and encouragement.

Of course, you’re not confined to writing a novel, you can use the challenge for many different writing forms; outlining, a daily blog, a book of poems, short fiction, non-fiction or even revision; we don’t care what you write, as long as you write. This is an exercise in disciplined creativity.

Snatch Rules

Aim to write 500 words a day. You’re not restricted to a single WIP, in fact we encourage you to work on numerous projects, just write those 500 words every day, for a full year.

If you choose to use our badge please link back to this page.


The best way to meet a goal is to track it. Svenja Liv offers various spreadsheets for writers. We think these are perfect for our challenge. You may also require a word count meter for your blog, there are some wonderful free meters available on the web, our favourites are from Critique Circle , Svenja Liv and Honorless.

For those of you who are easily distracted, try a full-screen text editor such as WriteMonkey. It cuts out all distractions so you can concentrate on simply writing.

If you are given to the odd bout of writer’s block then you might like Write or Die. You set your word goal or the amount of time you want to write, then you choose a punishment level (in case you fail) and just write. Perfect!

Online Meets

We’ll be holding regulars meet-ups on our writing sim in Second Life® at 6am Pacific Time, Monday- Friday, and at 12 noon Pacific Time on Saturday. There will be an additional Snatch at Book Island in Second Life® on Sunday at 12 noon Pacific Time.

Join our Second Life® group for event reminders and follow us on Twitter for daily prompts.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit our virtual writing community in Second Life® then make some time this January. You’ll find an incredibly diverse and active community of writers and the level of support is second to none.

Our Second Life® 500 Word Snatch meter will be up and working on the 1st January at our virtual writers’ camp. You will need to join our Virtual Writers, Inc. group in order to obtain a participant titler (displays your overall word count above your avatar head). To update your word count each day you must put your total count into the blue alarm clock (found on the round table at the camp) which in turn will update your Second Life® titler.

When you drop by the writers’ camp in Second Life® be sure to pick up the free goodie bag for 500 Word Snatch participants.

Please feel free to visit Milk Wood and take a wander through our beautiful woodlands and meadows. Our virtual writers’ cottages are for rent and are perfect for your online office base; we currently have two large properties available and various small writers’ cabins. We also have several well-positioned stalls at the Dead Wood Book Fayre. Your books can be displayed and linked to your online bookseller or author’s website, allowing instant purchase from many outlets. If you need help with creating a Second Life® version of your book, please email us using the contact form on this website.

If you’d like information on connecting to Second Life® so you can attend some of our events, then please check out the following article.

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