Writing is some serious labor and it’s not always easy to get yourself to start. Using writing challenges to push yourself forward can be highly effective.
There are many different options to choose from and you can try them out one after another if you wish.

Setup

You can do a challenge on your own whenever you want, provided you have the necessary drive to follow through with it. I’ve done some challenges in isolation before and it works just fine for me, though I do like a little competition even more.

If you wish for some comrades and fellow challengers, you can search for a group of writers or create one yourself. The Internet, Social Media and writing blogs are perfect resources to find like-minded spirits. A healthy dose of peer pressure propels your productivity to the next level.

Set a Duration

One easy way is to set a suitable time frame during which you’re going to write non-stop. Simply set a timer and write away as fast as you can. Keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo the overall duration, because your concentration will drop with time and you don’t wan’t to end up frustrated. I suggest to start with half an hour and to not exceed 2 hours at a time. 2 hours of continuous writing should leave you pretty exhausted.

If you want the extra competition, you can challenge your group members and whoever writes the most words wins. This is a nice extra to ensure that you don’t slack off.

Set a Word Count

If you don’t like a fixed time frame and want more flexibility, you can set a word count that you want to write. You can write whenever you feel like it during the day, as long as you manage to accomplish the word count. This method is especially useful if you don’t have big chunks of time to dedicate to writing. This way you’ll use every available minute in between to get those words down.

As with a set duration, you can make it a little competition with others to get you extra motivated to follow through with what you set out to do.

Longer Challenges

No matter if you’re opting for a predefined time frame or if you’re setting a word count, you can always commit yourself to a continuous challenge over a few days. I personally like weekly spouts of high writing productivity.

As with the single day challenges you can commit to writing a specific duration each day of the week. This works best when you’re doing it on your own, because each member would have to write at the exact same time each day, which is oftentimes unlikely.

It’s easier to do group challenges with a specific word count and you have two different options here. You can either commit to writing a set amount of words each day or you’re defining a word count that you have to accomplish by the end of the week. A weekly word count grants a little more flexibility, because you can always catch up a missed day.

Weekly challenges are very effective, because they ensure ongoing action which is the basis to forming a habit and you’re achieving much more than with a one day challenge every other week.

NaNoWriMo

You’ve probably heard about the National Novel Writing Month before, right? This is a world-wide challenge for anyone interested in writing a ton of words – 50k to be precise – during the month of November. You have to consistently write nearly 1’700 words each day to accomplish this goal. Cool, right? And kind of insane. But well worth it. If you’re up to it, I highly recommend you give it a try! You can find all the information you need here.

Caution

If you’ve read other articles of mine you may have realized that I’m a huge advocate for a balanced lifestyle. I do think that humans are capable of incredible deeds and we can be highly productive over quite some time, but I also think that you shouldn’t neglect those other parts of your life like relationships and self care over the long run. It’s simply not healthy and I don’t want anyone to burn out. It’s okay to work in bursts of productivity if we incorporate phases of recharging as well. Your life is your responsibility so take good care of all aspects of your life.

What about you? Are you up to a challenge? Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? Leave a comment!

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