The thirty day writing challenge

Establishing a daily writing habit

The Thirty Day Writing Challenge (30DWC) was setup by Marc Jenkins last year, as a way of helping anyone make a daily habit of writing. It runs for the month of April, with a community of like minded participants cheering each other on.

I have a constant battle trying to write every day. I have so many different things I’d like to write, but I’m a terrible procrastinator, often wasting hours on social media when I could be writing something far more productive. The thirty day challenge is an ideal way for me to channel my time and energy into creating rather consuming.

There are no hard and fast rules for the challenge, other than turn up and write every day. Each person participating sets their own goal: whether that’s writing for a certain amount of time, or reaching a daily word count. Marc suggests a minimum of 30 minutes, which I know from previous experience is highly achievable.

I’m really, really good at being hard on myself. I’ve already done it in this very post, admitting to terrible procrastination. I often think I’m not capable of achieving the things I set out to do. But the reality is I know this is a challenge I can do. How? I’ve done it before.

Back in 2015 I set myself a 100 day challenge. I decided to try and write short 100 word stories for 100 days. I managed it for nearly a month. I was conflicted with that result. On the one hand, I’d proved to myself that I could write every day. On the other, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t complete the full 100 day challenge. But the reasons for stopping at 28 days were sound: I wanted to put my energies into writing other things, and creating a 100 word story every day, while fun, wasn’t quite the creative challenge I’d been looking for.

Skip forward a year and a half, and I’m taking on a new similar challenge. This challenge comes in the wake of me trying another challenge at the end of last year: NaNoWriMo. What’s that you may ask? Every November, writers try to create the best part of a novel in one month, writing at least 50,000 words (or 1666 words a day). I undertook this challenge last year, and it was a real eye opener. In fact, one of the things I want to write about this April is exactly what I learned during NaNoWriMo.

I enjoy writing, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact, one of my childhood dreams was to become an author, but I didn’t spend any time writing after I left school. I fell into digital design instead, and that’s been my career and hobby for the last 25 years. But writing offers a different kind of creativity from design. Writing allows me to express ideas, or share my views in direct language understandable by millions of others. That’s powerful. And by sharing my writing, I can build relationships with people that I’d not otherwise have met.

So what will I write on this challenge? Coming up with subjects isn’t the hard part: I have lots of works in progress already, and many other ideas:

  • I have several long-form stories that I’m trying to bash into publishable shape.
  • A couple of contemporary kids adventures.
  • I have a few ideas for epic and urban fantasies, with some worldbuilding already done over the last few years
  • Many half-started articles, and several ideas for completely new articles

The hard part has been deciding which of these to do. I pondered it for a while and briefly considered writing about re-designing famous book covers. But that didn’t feel right: I didn’t want to combine writing and design, they’re different beasts and I get different things out of them. Finally, it was obvious: there are several half-started articles sitting in my Drafts on this very site. I wanted to get those into shape, and finish them.

So my goal is to try and complete all my currently unfinished drafts (there are currently seven already, with two others brewing in my head) with a daily goal of at least 500 words. This is doable, I can definitely find the time, and I’m looking forward to finally clearing my backlog and re-establishing my daily writing habit.

Bring it on.