There are many writing challenges available to help you break through writer’s block or to write a certain number of words within a given time frame. But what if these writing challenges are too general and don’t meet your specific needs? Maybe you don’t want to write 50,000 words in thirty days, or the timing of the challenge doesn’t suit your personal schedule. Yet the structure of a writing challenge can definitely help you stick to a schedule and complete more work—so why not create your own? Writer’s Relief has some tips on how to create your own writing challenge to meet your personal goals.
Create Your Own Writing Challenge To Meet Your Goals
Determine your goal: How much can you realistically write per day, week, or month? Are you aiming to complete a 100,000-word manuscript, several poems, or research for your submissions? If your goal is too intense or unworkable (100,000 words in two days, or five poems in five minutes), you’ll soon find yourself suffering from burnout and giving up on completing the writing challenge.
Choose a final goal and intermediate, smaller goals that will work well with your everyday life. Meeting the smaller deadlines within your challenge will give you a sense of accomplishment that will spur you on toward the finish line.
Set a sensible time frame: How much time will you dedicate to this challenge? Can you only write on weekends or evenings? Are there major events in your life that will take time away from your writing schedule? Consider what your project is and how long it will take you to meet that goal. It could be a few hours, a day, a month or more—or anything in between!
And don’t feel you’re “less of a writer” if you need to allow for more time to properly complete your challenge. Participants in the NaNoWriMo writing challenge attempt to complete 50,000 words in 30 days, but you might work better completing 30,000 words in 30 days—or in two months. Whatever you choose, having a predetermined beginning and deadline will help you avoid procrastination, pace yourself, and stay on schedule.
Get motivated: Remind yourself why you write and what you hope to accomplish. Think about what makes you passionate about your project. Post inspirational quotes around your work area. Write out your goal and place it where you’ll see it while working: to finish the first draft of your book manuscript; to make X number of submissions to literary journals; to complete a short story or poem.
Organize your tasks: Write out a list and cross off each step you complete, or use a calendar to note each accomplishment within your challenge. Choose the method that works best for you and use whatever bells and whistles you find most appealing: a color-coded digital calendar; a printed calendar with motivational stickers; colorful highlighters; a vision board; even a poster of a large checklist to keep you on track.
Schedule breaks: Don’t schedule hours of writing time with no breaks! Include a break now and then to prevent your mind from getting foggy and keep writer’s block at bay. Eat, hydrate, exercise, and maybe take a quick walk around the block. The change of scenery might even inspire a new idea for your writing project!
Track your progress: Use your list or calendar to keep track of your progress, provide encouragement, and celebrate each intermediate objective you achieve. If you find you’re not meeting the goals you’ve set, don’t get discouraged or give up: Simply rethink and readjust your time frame. After all, it’s your writing challenge—you can modify it if necessary! At the end of the challenge, even if you had to make adjustments to the schedule, you can still be proud of how much you’ve achieved.
Creating your own creative writing challenge will help you meet your writing goals and boost your productivity. It can even add a sense of fun to your average writing day! Here’s to starting your writing challenge—we believe in you!
Question: What type of writing challenge would help you meet your goals?