April 8-28 See Jane Write will host a FREE 21-day writing challenge that I’m calling The Write Start. I believe it is my calling to help women writers and bloggers take the first step they need to take to get to the level they want to reach. The challenge is designed to help women develop a daily writing ritual and build the confidence, commitment, and creativity they need to get serious about writing, blogging or building a platform.
You can sign up at bit.ly/thewritestartchallenge.
Here’s how the challenge will work: Each morning you’ll receive an email from me that will contain a brief lesson and a writing prompt. The Write Start challenge also includes weekly live virtual group coaching sessions, one virtual write-in, and one virtual critique session.
The challenge will get you writing every day for 21 days in hopes of making daily writing a habit.
But you may be straining your eye-rolling muscles right now. You may be thinking, “Not another writing challenge! Aren’t writing challenges just a waste of time? Aren’t they just busy work?”
Obviously, I don’t think so, but you don’t have to just take my word for it. I recently asked the women of the See Jane Write Network Facebook group if any of them had good experiences with writing challenges that they’d be willing to share. The response I got was overwhelming.
Last summer Safiya Robinson did a writing challenge for which she was sent three photos and had to write about the pictures for at least 10 minutes. The challenge completely changed her view on inspiration.
“Before I did this challenge I was pretty convinced that I needed to have a good idea to write,” Safiya says. “That challenge taught me that it is writing that brings me good ideas. And often once I start writing and commit to it, the creativity expands to fill the space I’ve given it.”
That challenge inspired Safiya to participate in National Novel Writing Month last year as well.
“I definitely think writing challenges increase creativity if you are consistent and stay open,” Safiya says.
Finding Your Voice through Writing Challenges
Every year See Jane Write hosts a blogging challenge I call #bloglikecrazy. The challenge: publish a new blog post every day for 30 days in the month of November.
See Jane Write Collective member Candice Hubbard of BeingCandiceMaria.com participated in last year’s #bloglikecrazy challenge at a pivotal time in her blogging journey. She’d just closed her fitness blog and was launching a faith-based lifestyle blog.
“For me, the challenge was not about being the best writer or blogger on the Internet. It was about recreating myself and being the true essence of who God created me to be as a writer,” Candice says.
“The challenge forced me out of
Candice says she also appreciated the support she received from her readers and from the See Jane Write community throughout the month.
“I feared for a long time that what I felt that God wanted me to write about wasn’t actually the ‘popular’ thing for me to do or write about on a public platform and that it should stay in my personal journal,” Candice says.
But Candice says #bloglikecrazy taught her to write for herself, not an audience. “It doesn’t matter what others think of my writing or writing style as long as it comes from a place of authenticity,” she says. And she believes the readers she’s meant to reach will appreciate her writing regardless.
Related Reading: Why I #BlogLikeCrazy
Finding Confidence, Creativity, and Consistency through Writing Challenges
See Jane Write Collective member Audrey Atkins of the blog Folkways Nowadays frequently participates in the annual #bloglikecrazy challenge to get her “blogging groove back.”
She says the challenge boosts her writing confidence, too.
“When you’re publishing, people are reacting and commenting. For me, that positive reinforcement makes me just crave more, so I write more,” Audrey says. “And I think it makes me a better writer because I see what people respond to and I can do more of that thing.”
Audrey has found that writing challenges help her remain consistent and committed long after the challenge is complete.
“The last time I participated in #bloglikecrazy, toward the end I thought that if I could publish something every day, then surely I could continue to publish twice a week after the challenge was over. And I did just that for most of the next year,” she says.
In fact, Audrey’s consistency helped her write and publish her book They Call Me Orange Juice, a collection of essays and stories.
“I think that the more you write, the more you think of to write about,” Audrey says. “Every time I commit to writing consistently, the ideas just start flowing.”
And if the ideas ever stop flowing Audrey says she finds it helpful to get out of the house and go to different places that might spark a story like a museum or a get-together with friends. Going for walk in the woods helps, too, she says.
Teresa Zuniga Odom of the blog Southern Senora has participated in #bloglikecrazy three years in a row and she echoes Audrey’s thoughts on how the challenge sparks creativity.
“I remember thinking there was no way I could write for over 30 days straight because I would run out of things to say,” Teresa says, “Boy, was I ever wrong! If anything I exercised that writing muscle and found that it gave me even more ideas on future posts.”
Teresa admits that taking on a writing challenge can be scary at first but she says eventually it becomes exciting.
See Jane Write Collective member Harriette Thompkins of Eagles Mount Editing and the blog Intentional Leaders K12 agrees.
“I will never forget the thrill and rush of it all,” Harriette says of her first #bloglikecrazy experience. “It was absolutely gratifying at the end of the challenge to see 30 days of content created by me. It changed my life forever!”
How to Successfully Complete Writing Challenges
Not only has Kathryn Lang successfully completed the #bloglikecrazy challenge but she’s written two middle-grade novels through National Novel Writing Month.
So if you’re looking for tips on how to successfully complete a challenge, Kathryn is definitely the woman you want to ask.
“I tried to make sure to write first thing in the morning – even if it was just the rough outline or first draft,” Kathryn says when asked how she published a new blog post every day for 30 days for #bloglikecrazy. “I knew that if I could get it started first thing then it would be easier to follow through.”
Kathryn believes that when it comes to succeeding at writing challenges your mindset is just as important as your work ethic.
“I didn’t think about writing a book in a month,” she
But what about writer’s block? How can you keep writing when you’ve run out of ideas?
“I like to call writer’s block by a different name – procrastination,” Kathryn says. “It usually shows up with its cousins, distracting squirrels. If I can keep all that fenced in then I can write. And sometimes when I can’t keep them fenced in I write about them.”
Ready to take The Write Start 21-day challenge? Sign up at bit.ly/thewritestartchallenge.