My name is Philip and I love challenges. I guess it started when I did NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2008. This year will probably be the first time I don’t do NaNoWriMo for one major reason: I’m already writing enough. Usually when I join NaNoWriMo it’s because I have an idea brewing and following it through in November has always been a fun distraction from whatever else I have going on. However, now I’ve developed a kind of rhythm where I feel that NaNoWriMo wouldn’t be a good distraction for me anymore. Despite that, I highly suggest if you’re lagging on productivity to try a challenge like NaNoWriMo or one the myriad of different kinds of writing challenges are out there now.
So how did they skyrocket my productivity? Well, it probably started on February 2014 when I decided to try an idea I called Recharge Your Novel Month. I did it with some fellow Mythic Scribes members and it was a way to rebirth a dead or floundering project by instilling new focus into it. It worked wonders for me and put me on the path towards writing every single day. I have written something in some form since February 1st, 2014, so seven months now.
I think the secret is really just having deadlines. If you don’t work well with self-imposed deadlines, then finding a challenge that says “Write 50,000 words in 30 days” seems both fun and daunting. The added stress of doing it publicly helps put more motivation behind it. It started off that way for me. Once I started posting my progress every day, I thought, “I have to keep posting or people will think I’ve slacked off on my commitment.” It started that way. Now it’s become something I just do for myself.
I’ve decided that once a week on my blog I’m going to post challenges or writing prompts, so if anyone needs a deadline or a challenge, I will be here screaming at you, “Make the deadline!”
The results of a recent Mythic Scribes challenge I did, Writing Prompt Blitz-o-Rama II, had some writers saying they wrote over 20,000 words in two weeks. That’s pretty remarkable and it gives them a lot of material to work with going forward. I hope I can somehow duplicate this for others out there who need deadlines to stay motivated.
So keep an eye out for future prompts and challenges. I may not participate in all of them, but I’ll sure try!