You might have guessed that since I’ve done and won that crazy exercise in writing intensity NaNoWriMo for the past seven years (only won six) that I like challenges, and I do.
I like the community. I like knowing I’m not alone. I like visual updates. I like competing with people I’ve never met, and I like that I’m working toward a very concrete goal.
So, to support my other writing goals this year, I’ve signed up for a few challenges.
I’m not sure where I heard about the 12x12 challenge. The goal is to write a picture book a month for twelve months. It’s the only paid challenge I’m in, and the updates on picture book writing and the community of writers make the few dollars a month I pay to participate well worth it. Out of that challenge has come the 1,000 picture book challenge which I’ll write about in a later post.
I’m in another online challenge from the Facebook Group Ten Minute Novelists, the 365,000 Words Challenge. I’m a part of the Hemingway group, aiming for 250,000 words this year or a little under 700 words a day. We post our words on a spreadsheet, and we can see how others in our group are doing. There’s an active Facebook page here, too.
But perhaps even more motivating are the challenges I’ve set for myself. You can see some of them on the My Write Club screen shot above.
Challenges work for me. It’s the end of January. I’ve written 34 poems, seven of which have become (the start of) a non-fiction picture book; I’ve written over 25,000 words; I’ve sent my manuscript to 12 agents, gotten 2 lovely passes, one "no thanks" from a query without pages, and (yippee) one request for a full. I’ve sent out 21 poems. I’ve published 8 blog posts. I’ve read 82 picture books.
Sometimes, as a challenge goes on, I have to readjust or I find the challenge no longer suits my aims. I’m okay with that. I find when I challenge myself, I get more done and I’m better able to narrow my focus by knowing what I don’t want to do. Having challenges and groups who are facing the challenges with me helps me focus when I put my butt in the chair to get the work done and makes this solitary work a little less lonely.