Almost a month ago, I decided to join a 30-day writing challenge hosted by the amazing Tara-Nicholle Nelson. This would be my second time participating in this challenge, and I had specific results I wanted to achieve: 1) perfecting my writing tone to fit with my brand, 2) developing a consistent writing schedule to force me to keep up with my blog + content, and 3) working through some of my writer’s block when it comes to biz writing.
I’ve done all those things, but I have to admit I was shocked at the level of creativity and drive this challenge helped me discover.
The challenge itself consists of a daily writing prompt sent via email, and the goal is to write 750 words per day. I started out following the prompts, and it helped me work through a bunch of surprising truths in my life and existence. It also got me started on the daily writing path.
The results of the Writing Challenge
For the first two weeks, I wrote about my fears, my doubts, my hopes, my strengths, my expectations for myself, and my most secret dreams. I explored my failures and successes. And then something amazing happened.
I suddenly became inspired.
I’ve always had this grand plan for my blog: that I would post to it regularly, provide as much knowledge to my readers as I contain within my brain, and be enthusiastic in my efforts to write about things people actually want to read about. It was a great plan. One that I hadn’t really been able to develop besides the foggy vision of it.
But after writing about a variety of topics every day for two weeks straight, I felt a shift.
I know that sounds cliche, but let me tell you about my big moment.
It was late. Close to 1AM. I was falling asleep with my laptop open (the problem with working in bed).
I shook myself awake enough to think I should go to bed, but then I remembered that I hadn’t written yet that day. It was a compulsion that I couldn’t skip a day. It had almost become an addiction.
I didn’t have the brainpower to find the writing prompt for the day, though. I was TIRED. So I tried to pull a topic out of thin air to write about. A free-writing session, just to get things floating around in my mind out onto the page.
And the craziest thing happened. I didn’t pour my heart and soul out; I didn’t write about my feelings or answer those one of those nagging questions that always seem to plague me (“What would REALLY happen in a zombie apocalypse?”).
Instead, I wrote a list. 123 blog post topics, to be exact. In a half hour.
We’re talking real, quality blog posts. None of the silly things I’ve written about in the past that don’t really do anything for me or my customers. Real topics.
- How to keep your biz running when you have a personal emergency
- How to decide when you’re ready to invest in a custom website
- 5 secrets to awesome photographer branding
The floodgates opened, and they poured out of me. It was astonishing.
That initial list of 123 ideas has since grown to more than 160. That’s enough posts (at three per week) for a whole year.
The next day, the flow kept going. I wrote three of the posts—start to finish—in an hour. And everyday since then, I’ve used the time I’ve been spending on the challenge prompts to write blog posts for my website.
Which means I’m getting ahead of my content, and at this point, have the next two weeks pre-written. Powerful stuff.
On top of actually writing them, I’ve put together a calendar for my blog posts in Google Sheets. So everything is organized and I can keep track of it. Because once you start writing that much, you need a little structure and organization!
My point in all this is that you should consider joining Tara’s challenge. (And no, I don’t get anything for promoting it—it’s totally free.)
You can find out more about her next challenge on her website. I suggest you do it.
But let me give you a little taste of what the writing challenge has done for me:
Days Writing: 26
Blog Posts Written: 13
Total Words Written: 20,346
The writing challenge prompts that I’ve skipped over are being collected so I can revisit them the next time I’m feeling uninspired, or need a little writing therapy. I will get around to them, because they’re just that GOOD.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. Go sign up for Tara’s next challenge. So worth it.