Saturday, January 1, 2011

30 Day Writing Challenge

I always complain, mostly to myself, that I do not write enough. “I need to write every day,” I mutter out loud. “Writer’s write. Just do it.” Still, even with the all the self motivation turned self loathing, I find excuses and reasons to not get it done. Peer pressure and accountability, however, add a whole different dimension to the mix.

Imagine my surprise - a very pleasant surprise, I might add - when my wife came to me and said, “I want to write every day. I want to launch my blog site and write something, anything, every day.” It’s kinda’ like going to the gym. By myself, it’s simply not going to happen. When driven by someone else, however, I may get around to actually doing it.

So this is a prologue to a challenge Lee and I have imposed on ourselves; to blog every day for thirty days. It’s a month of January show down. A blog-off, if you will.

As you might imagine, we had to come up with guidelines and a game plan in order to make this work. It’s very easy to run out of ideas if you’re trying to write on a daily basis. We also don’t want the blogging to be fluff or uninteresting. It’s for that reason we came up with the target road map listed below.

We also want to commit to this exercise and not make it overbearing, yet ensure the content is readable. For this reason, we agreed on word count parameters whereby each entry must be at least 250 words in length but no more than 1000, unless, of course, the power of inspiration kicks in and the piece basically writes itself.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out and thank our friend Rebecca Smith for the idea of this writing challenge. Her blog entry, Thirty Days of Truth, gave us a starting point for this project. Couple that with the writing project being covered by The Daily Post and we have a very solid framework on which we can build our writing challenge.

We go into this knowing full well we’ll fail - we’re on a vacation cruise from 1/6 - 1/10 - but we’re allowing for the brief hiatus. As for the other days in the month, here is what we plan to discuss. Let’s hope everything goes according to plan.

  • Day 01: Something you're looking forward to this year.
  • Day 02: Something you regret not having done last year.
  • Day 03: Something with which you struggle.
  • Day 04: Something that is part of your routine that you enjoy.
  • Day 05: Something in life that gives you balance.
  • Day 06: Something that excites you and fills you with joy.
  • Day 07: Vacation Hiatus
  • Day 08: Vacation Hiatus
  • Day 09: Vacation Hiatus
  • Day 10: Something at which you've been a champion or the best.
  • Day 11: Something about which people seem to compliment you.
  • Day 12: Something you hope to change about yourself and why.
  • Day 13: Discuss some of the things on your bucket list.
  • Day 14: Someone who has made your life worth living.
  • Day 15: A band/musical artist whose music impacted your life.
  • Day 16: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
  • Day 17: Someone with whom you shared a friendship/relationship that simply drifted out of your life.
  • Day 18: Someone you met randomly that's made an impact on your life.
  • Day 19: Something that shook your belief system to its core (a big disappointment in your life).
  • Day 20: Discuss your favorite movie and why it's so special to you.
  • Day 21: Write about your best friend (not significant other) and what makes them special.
  • Day 22: Describe a dark/turbulent moment in your life.
  • Day 23: Describe a truly spiritual moment in your life.
  • Day 24: Discuss a spontaneous moment in your life that that turned out to be fantastic.
  • Day 25: Discuss something you planned that ended up not being what you expected.
  • Day 26: How do you handle/deal with both success and failure?
  • Day 27: What is your vocation (why are you here on earth)?
  • Day 28: What is your biggest dream in life (what one great thing do you want to accomplish)?
  • Day 29: What WAS your biggest dream in life (you wanted to do as a kid but no longer can)?
  • Day 30: Someone in your family that means so much to you.
  • Day 31: Epilogue: Write a letter to yourself.

(1/31/11) - The following is a recap and review of our writing challenge, as well as a look ahead to writing in February.

56 comments:

lpgoodall said...

This is divine, Gil! Nothing short of divine intervention for me! Thank you so much for sharing your outline. While I don't think the month challenge will work so well for me at this time, with your permission, I would love to use some of the topics!

xoxo and Happy New Year to you and one of my favorite women on the planet!

purrfectlee said...

I can't tell you how excited I was when you said you wanted to do this with me. I'm not sure I would have done it on my own. I am truly looking forward to the journey of discovery with you. I love you.

piglet said...

Great List! Think i will dip into some of these if you don't mind?

danaCreative said...

Thanks, Piglet. Feel free to borrow as you see fit. So long as we all keep writing. That's the goal.

piecesofmythought said...

Nice topics to blog on.

Salina Ramsay said...

Great list, thank you. I am going to use them out of order like a true creative person :)

Destination Infinity said...

The topics are nice, but there are so many 'you' out there. Probably for the next month, I suggest including some topics in the 'we' spirit too - Like,

How can we reduce piracy?

Small ideas that we can implement to make this world a better place...

Write a letter to your area councilor with suggestions that can benefit all...

Etc. :)

Destination Infinity

PS: Came here from The Daily Post. Wordpress and Blogger rock!!

nccheather said...

Great list. I'm definitely coming back here when I get stumped with my PostaDay.

Good luck with your challenge!

danaCreative said...

Thank you so much to piecesofmythought, Salina Ramsay, Destination Infinity and nccheather for the comments. I am thrilled you all took the time to comment.

Destination Infinity, I love your idea of a first-person plural list for February. I was not sure if Lee and I would continue this challeng past January, but now you've got me thinking about how great a 'We' topic list can be. Thank you!

one size fits none said...

Checked this out from the Daily Post, although I signed up for PostAWeek2011 for both my blogs. Some prompts fit with my textisle blog (creative fibre, quilting, art), others with one size fits none, which is about the start of homeschooling.

textisle said...

Came here from the Daily Post. One blog, textisle, deals with fibre art, quilting, and surface design. My other blog, one size fits none, is about homeschooling/faith/philosophy.

Have a paper list of topics and ideas for posts and some of your prompts will be making it into one blog or the other.

I like the idea of "we" prompts too, especially relevant to homeschooling.

Jane said...

Giving me great ideas, thank you!

danaCreative said...

Thank you, one size fits none, textisle and Jane, I appreciate the feedback and I am glad our list can help generate some ideas for your writing.

Jan Timmons said...

"Someone who has made your life worth living"—a particularly inspiring suggestion. Thank you! I could post each day about people for whom and to whom I'm grateful, without getting sloppy and maudlin if I were to write individually to them.
Cheers!
Jan

Michael said...

Thanks for the ideas. I am doing the postaday2011 challenge on Wordpress, so will always welcome any inspiration I can get!

JaxieCat said...

I am trying to leave a comment, I guess I don't know who I am...
The intent for me is to utilize your suggestions from the 4th on...Quite an undertaking to attempt two postaday2011. It can only result is success, even in the failures. ~JaxieCat from WordPress.com

danaCreative said...

Thank you, Jan Timmons, Michael adn JaxieCat for the feedback. I love that you all have come across this blog and taken the time to leave a comment. Happy writing to you all.

nellibell49 said...

Also directed here by wordpress postaday. would like to take on the challenge of this 30 day's writing. A great way to start the year. Appreciate your time and thought.

Laura said...

I write every day. It's the main reason I started keeping a few blogs. I like the discipline of keeping up with them and working on writing something every day.

Angel said...

How can this be a commitment to 30 days of writing with 3 days vacation? That actually is 27 days, isn't it?

nellibell49 said...

I am hoping that the invitation to join in the 30 days is an open one. :-)

danaCreative said...

Thank you, nellibell49, Laura and Angel for your comments. nellibell49, yes, this is absolutely an open invitiation for everyone to join. Angel, if it weren't for the fact we're going to be on a ship in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, I'd make that full 30 day commitment. We're just not sure we'll be able to 'post from sea', hence the deliberate hiatus.

DCybern said...

I love your list of thirty! You both did well coming up with guidelines and topics. I'm here from Daily Post. On the PostAWeek challenge, so I wouldn't feel stressed about daily posts, but can if I want.

I have just moved my blog to WP from Blogger--AskaPsychNurse and I found my original brainstorming ideas from 2007--I was hella-inspired back then! I'm gonna blow it up this year!! Come by and take a look.

I may use some of your ideas! Thanks for sharing!

beth said...

I just discovered this, but I'm in! I may have a break the 6th, 7th and 8th as well as I'll be gone for my first half marathon and am not sure I want to pay for internet at my location.

Thanks for putting the list together!! :)

piecesofmythought said...

Good list to blog on

Patti B. said...

The Daily Post over at Wordpress.com pointed me here. Thanks for the inspiration! I love the topic ideas. I was thinking of turning some of them into "you-focused" posts to get more communication with my readers. I'm sure they don't want to hear about me, me, me every day.

alwaysbwithu said...

TheDailyPost directed me to your blog! Great ideas...mine is a movie review blog predominantly but if I run out of movie reviews to blog - I'll definitely use some of your ideas! :)
by the way, I may have a solution for your vacation hiatus - check this http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/schedule-a-post/.
It often helps me when I can't be bothered to do one blog a day. I just write multiple when I'm inspired and then schedule them :)
xx

danaCreative said...

Thank you so much to DCybern, beth, piecesofmythought, Patti B., and alwaysbwithu for the comments and continued support of this writing project. I know it may seem like I am gushing, but I am genuinely flabbergasted by everyone who has taken the time to leave visit our site and leave their remarks.

I wish you all continued inspiration and unending aspirations with your writing.

carpelangousta said...

Thanks for the great ideas. New to this and though I have many ideas I tend not to post as much as I would like. This will help.

About your vacation, may I suggest that you can either write for those days and post ahead, or write them during and post when you get back. Fair winds~Everett

marginalia said...

If one didn't happen upon this challenge until now, I expect that you could count thirty days from any day you first stepped in—is that correct?

Han said...

I'm going to back day the first 4 posts in a way but then join in for the rest of January. Thank you for the prompts :)

You can find mine at www.rockangel.co.uk once I've got sorted :)

danaCreative said...

Thanks to carpelangousta, marginalia and Han for the continued comments.

carpelangousta, our hope is to write while on vacation, but we're going on a cruise that is also a floating music festival. You know what they say. "Don't drink and type."

marginalia, I think the goal is just to write. My wife and put these guidelines in place in order to better direct us on this project. I don't think the approach should be taken as one with hard-set rules or restrictions. Rather, just find the time to write everyday if you can. I think that's the spirit of the writing challenge.

Thanks again.

Renee P said...

Thank you. Will be borrowing!! Hopefully I can come up with some topics for the hiatus days.

Thaks guys

Azl said...

Thank you for this challenge. This is so timely for me because I just made a similar promise to myself -- to write more regularly.

I would like to use some of the items in your list, too, although my plan for now is to post two blogs a week.

Happy New Year to you!!!

akhmmm said...

Thanks for all the ideas and inspiration. I am doing the "Blog-A-Week" challenge over at WordPress where I was introduced to your challenge.

Elaine H

Denise2012 said...

I am doing the Post-a-week challenge on my wordpress blog. I starting little late on the thirty day daily challenge for January. Thank you for the ideas. I can use some topics to write about so I can create interest posts for readers. Good topics for blogs. Hope to create good content for my blogs.

Meiko said...

Hi there!

I found your page via WordPress.

I'm going to try your daily post ideas for my personal blog (and just fill-in the ones I can't use using my own ideas).

This is really helpful.

Thanks!

boisterousgirl said...

Thanks, Gil!
I've posted the first point.
Would be glad to post another of those list in the very near future, if you don't mind. :)

danaCreative said...

Thanks to Renee P, Azl, akhmmm, Denise2012, Meiko, and boisterousgirl for the continued comments. I am thrilled so many of you are finding this post useful, and it's exciting to know more and more people are writing everyday. Again, this post is a simple guideline. It's an idea generator. When you sit down to write, make it whatever you want it to be. First and foremost, always be sure you're writing because you enjoy it. Happy writing, everyone.

bebekoh said...

thanks for the outline. I am currently working on the 30-day writing challenge. hope you could have a look at it too...

thanks for sharing.
http://thegreatwritingchallenge.blogspot.com

cherrylej said...

this is a great list! i'd like to do this if that's ok with you :)

Anonymous said...

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benjie said...

this is great. just want to let you know that I committed myself to do this. I need something to brush up on my writing skills. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey thank you for the wonderful article it had been genuinely useful , I hope you will just publish additional about this ! This topic rocks

danaCreative said...

Thanks to cherrylej, benjie, and everyone else for the continued comments and feedback.

mybyeworld.com said...

Hi :-) Just what I was looking for and needed. Starting tomorrow; can't wait til the start of May. One of the best lists of post prompts I've come across! Pleeeease write another 30 day-er again for us?...she say's having not even started this one yet! ;-) Anyway, a great and *intelligent* list...TY, Immie x:)

mybyeworld.com said...

Hi :-) Just what I was looking for and needed. Starting tomorrow; can't wait til the start of May. One of the best lists of post prompts I've come across! Pleeeease write another 30 day-er again for us?...she say's having not even started this one yet! ;-) Anyway, a great and *intelligent* list...TY, Immie x:)

danaCreative said...

Thank you for the kind and flattering comments, Immie. I am thrilled that you found this list to be helpful in your writing.

If you're looking for more prompts to keep you going, I invite you to check out the writing project we have going at http://randomwriters.net

mybyeworld.com said...

Hello! and Thank you :-) The list is going really well. I nicknamed it "The 'I'm Bored' Challenge" and people have warmed to it quite nicely. I need 3 prompts for Day's 6,7 & 8 but thought I'd just jump onto Day 10 in case I duplicate a prompt as while doing this challenge I'm just going day by day to keep focused on the prompt of the day. Thanks for the link, I'll look at it tonight after the weekly Sunday ritual of visiting the Parents!! Immie :-D

SJerZGirl said...

I have also borrowed your challenge for a writing group on Facebook (GBE2). There are not many of us, but I have a feeling it will grow. We finished the April A to Z Challenge and wanted to continue the incentives. This sounds like loads of fun. Thank you, Gil! (And, days 5-8 work for us because we're getting a late start.)

SJerZGirl said...

Oh, and I'm calling this the 30 Days of Truth Challenge.

danaCreative said...

Immie, thanks again for the support and the nice comments. Once again, I am glad to hear the prompts are working for you.

Wendy, I am glad to hear the list is working for you as well. I hope you share it with your FB writing group, and I am curious to hear what your group members feel about the list. I, too, invite you and your group to check out our new writing project at http://randomwriters.net

mybyeworld.com said...

Hi Gil, Well I did it - the "I'm Bored Challenge" is completed!

It was so tough at times and I likened it to being a 'Therapeutic' exercise and I did get healing and growth from doing it.

I have had so many more subscribers it's wonderful! I think people warmed to it as it was someone writing about their inner world and I think readers enjoyed that as it brought an intimacy that some other writings don't have.

I have seen your other list and I am going to do that too because the last one was such a huge success and I am kind of missing not writing like that.

So a big thank you plus I of course linked the challenge to here and your other site too.

Much kind regards,

Imogen Shepard :-)

ericka said...

i'm excited to try this challenge!!

Kerri said...

I am hoping that the invitation to join in the 30 days is an open one. :-)

Kristinheoh said...

Hi Gil, Well I did it - the "I'm Bored Challenge" is completed! It was so tough at times and I likened it to being a 'Therapeutic' exercise and I did get healing and growth from doing it. I have had so many more subscribers it's wonderful! I think people warmed to it as it was someone writing about their inner world and I think readers enjoyed that as it brought an intimacy that some other writings don't have. I have seen your other list and I am going to do that too because the last one was such a huge success and I am kind of missing not writing like that. So a big thank you plus I of course linked the challenge to here and your other site too. Much kind regards, Imogen Shepard :-)