Friday Five – Meeting a monthly writing challenge before it starts

Don’t get daunted by a monthly challenge

As well as the Write NonFiction in November challenge, there are many others, such as NaNoWriMo and the Chapter Book Challenge. Not all challenges are in November. Different challenges have different requirements such as word counts or goals, but the aim for all of these is to get us writing.

Juggling a challenge along with everything else life throws at us can be challenging – I’m a single Mum of 2 boys, work part time, run a household, and fit in writing when I can. I know I’m not the only one who juggles writing with a family and a job.

There are a lot of posts out there on how to cope with these monthly writing challenges, and here is another one…. Five tips to meet a monthly writing challenge – before it even starts.

  1. Choose the right challenge – look at your life, your writing goals and the challenges that are on offer. When looking at whether or not to sign up for a challenge, be realistic. I know that NaNoWriMo didn’t fit into my life right now, trying to write 50,000 words isn’t realistic, however writing a non-fiction book, especially one that is already mostly written on my blog, is a realistic challenge.
  2. Know what you’re going to write – if you’re going to write a novel, know what it will be about. If it’s non-fiction, know you’re topic. Don’t start the month with no idea and hope that it will come to you as the month goes on. Unless it’s a really short challenge, this doesn’t work.
  3. Do your research – Now you know what you’re going to write, do your research before you start writing. Is your story set in the 1800s or in a private Catholic school? Is your non fiction book about a topic that you don’t know everything about? Make sure you have the information that you need on hand so you’re not wasting valuable writing time in the library or surfing the Internet to do research.
  4. Gather a support team – most challenges have a website or Facebook group where you can get support on your challenge. Even if they don’t, you can still find support groups for writers around the place. Let them know you are doing the challenge, when you will be starting, and let them know what support you may need. This could be writing sprints or even just checking in from time to time to update them on your progress. If you don’t have a support group for your writing, create one.
  5. Set yourself a reward – for most challenges, the official reward is having a completed draft and a badge you can put on your website. For most writers, that’s enough. You may want to set yourself another reward for achieving your goal, something to work toward. Is there a writing book you’ve always wanted, or treat yourself to a massage for all those tired muscles from spending hours writing during the challenge. If it helps, print a picture and put it on the wall above your computer to keep yourself motivated.

I know the November challenges have already started, but I hope this tips will help you for future challenges.

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  1. Wonderful tips, Melissa!

  2. Great tips – I find it so hard to find both the free time and the leisure all at the same time, I need all the motivation tips I can get!

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