I know lots of people who don’t write regularly but they yearn to. They may not have a specific thing they want to produce but they want the pleasure of playing with their words.
The problem is that when they sit down to write, they have no idea where to start. They want to jump right into the writing part but they don’t have a way to launch themselves.
If that describes your current writing obstacle, I have something for you to try: a personal writing challenge.
Check out the list below to get started.
1. Have a look at your schedule for the next while.
Can you commit to writing every day for the next week? Every Tuesday or Friday for the next month? Once every ten days for the next six months? How much time can you commit at those intervals?
The details are up to you. This is your personal challenge, so you get to decide the frequency and duration and time commitment.
2. Figure out if you want company or accountability
Decide if you want to invite some writer friends to join you (on their own terms!) for the challenge. If you do, hash out how that might work best for everyone.
If you just want accountability, you can commit to posting on your blog or to emailing your writing to a friend (you can also email it to yourself.) Or, if it will help, you can post your commitment on social media and announce when you have completed each session. You can post what you write if that suits you but you can keep the actual writing private.
3. Choose a prompt
While you should feel free to search for a different prompt for each session, I want to make this easy for you. So I have created four prompts for you to choose from. Choosing in advance always makes it easier for me to get started, you might find the same thing.
You can pick just one of these prompts and write about it repeatedly. If you are writing on the same topic for 7 sessions in a row, it will lead you to some interesting places.
You can choose to rotate through the prompts, coming back to each one over a longer period of time.
You could also print these prompts individually, put them in a container, and then select one before each new writing session.
Or, you can assign each prompt to a specific day so if you are writing on Tuesday or Saturday, you are using prompt three. Maybe prompt one is for Mondays. You get the idea.
- Pick an area and describe everything in it – but imagine you are looking at a crime scene, or a magic spell, or the items someone requested be buried with them, or the contents of a mysterious box that has just been shipped to you.
- Start with ‘I remember’ and either describe an actual memory or the (imagined) memory of a character from a tv show or a book.
- Make a grocery list of 5 items you currently need and invent a biography of someone else who needs those exact items. Next time this prompt rolls around, you can use the same items but imagine a different person or you can use different items you need at that point.
- Wander around your house looking for items that have a distinct scent. Take a sniff. What does that smell remind you of? Where you you like to be able to smell that? What would be a terrible context for that smell? Write about both.
4. Get Writing
If you have picked a time to devote to your writing and you know what you are going to write, you are well on your way to being able to scratch that writing itch. Having those choices made in advance will help you jump right into your writing when it’s time to get started.
I think you will find that you will ‘save up’ ideas and phrases as you go through your regular activities and then funnel them into your writing sessions.
Activities like this can help you turn writing from something you do every now and then into something you enjoy on a regular basis.