Up to the Challenge?

Sometimes I need a nudge to get me writing.  Sometimes I need a push.  And sometimes I need a flat out dare.

There’s something about having a challenge laid out, a gauntlet thrown or any added incentive to force you out of a comfort zone.

I know I can’t be the only one. The success of popular writing challenges, NaNoWriMo being one of the most popular, shows that we writers like to challenge ourselves sometimes to get the words on the page.

This week Jesi and I are both doing the A to Z Blog Challenge, which is for all types of bloggers, not just writers, but is a fun way to challenge yourself.  During the month of April, we participants will be posting every day except Sundays following the A to Z through the end of the month. Most people choose a theme for their posts and many writing blogs use the daily post for flash fiction, poetry or even serialized short story or other work. On my blog, every day will be a quote or a few lines from a famous novel, short story or poem which can serve as a writing prompt. Some days I will post something new based on that writing prompt, but am not promising that for every day.  That is unless someone dares me and then, uh oh, well, who knows? 🙂 And this is probably where our resident instigator, I mean encourager (cough, cough) AJ, will cackle with joy and immediately issue a dare.

April is also National Poetry Writing Month so another popular writing challenge is NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) where participants are writing a poem a day for 30 days.  I did a similar challenge in October of last year (and may do again this year) called OctPoWriMo, where organizers posted a prompt and a suggested form to try for a daily post. I’m a newbie poet so it was a huge challenge for me, but it was a great way to push myself and stretch those old writing muscles.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) every November is hugely popular and for good reason.  The organizers offer a wealth of resources, lots of support and plenty of fellow challengers to help you along the way. I haven’t ever made the commitment to do NaNo since it requires a significant commitment and that time of year is crazy busy with my family, but I hope to give it a go at some point just to see if I can.

That’s one of the best things about the challenges, it’s a dare you make with yourself to see if you can do something new. It’s saying I will commit to giving this a try. It’s the start we sometimes need on a new writing path.

Sure, not everyone needs a challenge, and some just don’t like the organized ones.  Setting your own challenge or goal may work best for you. I gave myself a daily writing challenge last year. I had to write something every day. Sometimes it was a character sketch or just brainstorming for a scene.  Sometimes it was a poem. Sometimes though it was an entire scene or more. Having set the goal, the challenge, the dare for myself, I couldn’t let myself get by with just saying I wanted to write, I had to write.

So how about it? Are you up for a challenge? Look around, there are plenty! Or set one for yourself. It never hurts to have a little extra push (or a friendly kick in the pants) on occasion to get yourself moving forward.

Have you participated in a writing challenge you’d like to recommend? Tell me about it in the comments. Absolutely hate them and think they are a waste of time?  Feel free to share that as well. We always welcome your feedback.

Thanks & have a great week!

– CJS

17 responses to “Up to the Challenge?

  1. A few years back I got involved in a project called Indie Ink (sadly, now long gone) which was a weekly challenge. The writers involved created a one-sentence challenge, and then all the challenges were thrown into a virtual hat, and you drew one. It was a blast to participate in, and I still miss it. For pushing creativity and getting the juices flowing, I have never found it’s equal.

    Challenges are a great way to get you stretching your wings and ready to really fly.

  2. Even for us “non-writers” this is a very well stated life lesson that applies to all aspects of our daily lives. We do have to pick and choose which challenges we will take on and see through to completion. We need to be open to new challenges and give it our best effort. Thanks for the encouragement to try new things.

  3. I enjoyed OctPoWriMo so much and am happy to be doing the blog challenge this year. Challenges are great for kicking you out of your comfort zone, and pushing you to test your limits.

  4. I love this, CJ. New challenges are so good for us. I love your readiness to do these things and am always encouraged by your writing. Go CJ!

  5. Great post CJ, I had wanted to do the A to Z challenge this year, I’ve just got too much on my plate at the moment but I can’t wait to see what you and Jesi come up with each day.

    As for my dare to you… I want you to try the 99 word prompt flash fiction. It is a lot of fun, and a great group of people. Try it… come on… I dare you!

  6. Pingback: Breaking News!! My Challenge Reveals | The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet

  7. Everywhere I go, AJ is portrayed as and instigator! What’s up with that? Relax and enjoy the Challenge!
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B ~ One of Tremp’s Troops with the
    A to Z Challenge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.