Day 1: Open & Resourceful
30-Day Writing Challenge
Fifteen days into the new year seems like the perfect time to start something. The awkward newness and over ambitiousness of fresh beginnings have given way to the cold reality of January. I decided not to set any resolutions this year. Lately, my MO has been to hide. Too many things to do. Too many promises made. I embarked on a new journey about this time two years ago: getting my masters of fine art in fiction. I have a tendency to impulsively launch myself at the things I am passionate about without a thought to the realities. I took on too much, and the last two years have been overfull. For the majority, I managed to balance a full-time job, family, the podcast, the blog, and my school. About this time last year, I had to start making difficult decisions about what would get done, and what I needed to let go, at least for the time being. Perhaps that’s why I decided I wouldn’t set any new goals this year. I’m still grappling with the goals I set so long ago.
I’ve entered my thesis mentorship, and along with heavy revision has come reflection. As I find more time and come back to the things I abandoned, I’m returning with fresh eyes. Writing is heavy and hard and agonizing, but it is also fun and rewarding. So, in honor of that fun, I thought I’d kickstart this year with a challenge: write for the fun of it. I hope you’ll join me and rediscover, reignite, or fuel your passion for writing. Each day I will post a new challenge with four parts and an opportunity to share the fruits of your labor. There will also be fun giveaways and shenanigans along the way.
Part 1: Reflection
Today’s intentions are open and resourceful. In order to be this in our writing, we need to be kind to ourselves and practice care with our writing processes. Here are some questions to ponder:
- What connections do you see between the words open and resourceful? How can you carry these words into your writing and your writing practices?
- What expectations are you holding yourself to? Are they realistic? How do you react to not meeting those expectations? Do you give yourself grace and kindness, or do you put yourself down and make yourself feel guilty? How can you revise your expectations and your response to a failure to promote resilience and creativity, rather than stifling it?
Part 2: Free-write
Set the timer for 5 minutes. If you’ve never done a free-write before, it might feel a little awkward at first, but keep going. The goal is to be writing the entire five minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write. Just put down the first thing that comes to mind and keep going. If you get stuck, rewrite that first sentence until something new comes. Feel free to keep going if the timer rings and you aren’t finished yet.
Part 3: Writing Prompt
Set the timer for 20 minutes and write. Genre doesn’t matter, it could be a poem, story, memory, or anything else that sparks words. Feel free to stick with the prompt, pick and choose parts of the prompt, or ditch it entirely. Think of it more as a jumping off point. Give yourself permission to write without a thought to quality or potential. Just go. Have fun. The more you do this, the better your brain will get at coming up with ideas. Today’s prompt is a photo prompt:
Part 4: Tip
Too often we get bogged down in rules and guidelines. At my last master’s residency, T. Geronimo Johnson gave us a simple exercise: rewrite a sentence in as many ways as we possibly could in one minute. Of course, we started immediately asking for rules and his response was, “You’re writers, you don’t follow rules, you don’t let anyone tell you what to do.” When you are writing, you should ALWAYS ignore the rules. Revision is a time to consider the rules, but don’t be afraid to break them then, too, if it is what your writing demands.
At the end of our challenge, I will be giving away three book boxes (picture of said boxes will come this weekend). To enter the giveaway, participate. Every time you participate, you will be entered. The three winners will be drawn at random on February 13th. Here are a few ways you can participate:
- Leave me your thoughts, ideas, inspirations as comments on challenge posts
- Tag me in a comment or photo on social media. You can find me on:
- Email me your photos or writing at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I’m also doing a special giveaway. Between now and January 21st, comment on this post with your favorite tip for getting the writing flowing and you’ll also be entered to win a copy of The Pocket Muse. I will draw the winner on January 22nd and announce them in that day’s challenge.
- Self Care: Check out this fabulous 30-day yoga practice, Dedicate, on Yoga with Adriene.
- Writing Inspiration: Looking for some visual inspiration? Check out Unsplash!
- Tool Box: Grub instructor Michael Marano shares five tools prose writers can steal from the stage, screen and TV here.
- Set your intentions with this awesome intention generator.