It was during my very first year of blogging that I discovered an adaptation of the NaNoWriMo challenge.
Instead of writing a novel first draft in a month, it involved writing a blog post a day for 30 days. The word counts are remarkably similar (or it would be if my posts were longer. With my length posts, it equals roughly half a novel in a month’s time).
I loved the idea of it, and I have done it for four years now. I did move my challenge to the month of March to avoid the holiday craziness and add an extra day.
A couple months ago when I discussed wanting it to be April so I would have already accomplished this feat, Micah made the wonderful suggestion of talking about the process and what I learned. I always try to reflect to help things go smoother in the future, so this fit right in.
What I have found to be the best help has been to have a list of topics at the ready. I have a long list on the back of my homemade notepad that lives in my purse. Instant ideas at the ready mean fewer lost minutes thinking of a topic.
This year, like all years, I was so ramped up to start: I wrote four posts day one and then two more the next day. Half way through the challenge I started planning out my hard copy calendar of posts for the year, writing in the completed titles and the ones I intend to write.
I love that for the entire month of April I now only have one more post to write.
The best part about the challenge is that I can write whatever inspires me at the moment. I often get on a roll and write three to four posts in a row on a similar topic – like travel stories or books. When writing to deadline it’s harder because I have a mental list of topics I can’t discuss because I’ve covered them recently. During the challenge, I have the luxury of spreading out the posts I write, so playing off of the same idea is okay, and my blog doesn’t turn in to a one trick pony.
One thing that does happen every year is that my enthusiasm lags during the month. This year I was better and for the first time I never fell behind. There were a few times when nothing was inspiring, but fortunately I pushed on through. With today and tomorrow left in the month, I am at 30 completed posts and a topic that is screaming to be written. I’ve got this one in the bag.
I feel so much more me when I can plan and get ahead. This month allows me to do that and enjoy my blogging more.
Have you ever participated in a writing challenge? or What exactly is the one trick that a one trick pony can do?