Today marks the final day of the 30 day writing challenge I signed up for and, while pleased with a lot of aspects of the challenge, I’m also a little disappointed. Because I like to stew in things, I’ll focus on the disappointments faced first during this challenge before going into the positive aspects.
First of all, I payed to receive prompts that would encourage me to write on a daily basis. After reading people’s thoughts about the challenge, I thought that my money would be going towards a cause that would encourage self exploration during the first few weeks of February and towards the middle and end, explore character development, setting, plot, all tools that could be applied towards my novel in progress (see? I used the word novel and not short story collection! Progress.) However, all of the prompts encouraged some sort of self reflection. For example, today’s prompts:
DAY 29 – DIG DEEPER:
What kind of freedom does writing give you? How do you wish or expect it to further increase your freedom, if you commit to giving it your all? Voicing your hopes and dreams helps you take the first actionable step towards this freedom.
DAY 29 – DAILY PROMPT:
Write two letters to two different people. One to a person you need to apologize to you, sincerely, and the other you need to offer the same sincerity to in the form of appreciation.
Gratitude and admitting we are wrong are two absolutely crucial lessons we all need to learn, and using our hands and brains to express them, are amazing ways to tap deeper into them.
I’m not against self reflection, actually, I believe it’s an excellent way for writers to discover who they are. But to write about it everyday during a challenge which I expected to help with my story?
Dear self, you should be focusing on your character’s, writing about their lives. Why are you writing me another letter? Get. To. Work.
-Your inner self
Of course, there is always the option of bending the daily prompts to work within your story. The two letters to two different people could be exchanged between two different characters but sadly, that is not my point. The point of signing up for this challenge was to receive daily prompts that would push me in the same way NaNoWriMo does but with creative leads of inspiration guiding the development of my novel (there it is again!) Disappointed. Unfortunately, none of these prompts turned into a short story which will be included in said novel but at least the beginning of a piece was written during this process. That’s always good, right?
The positives? Some days, the assignments pushed me out of my comfort zone. My favorite prompts were writing a scene that you’ve already written (I might have twisted the prompt to fit my own needs and schedule) in a different form and writing in the form you are least comfortable with. These two prompts fulfilled what I was looking for, a way to push myself without all the self reflecting and asking myself everyday why I’m choosing a more creative route. For the first prompt mentioned, I had a scene planned out but chose to write in the form of a play which forced me to pay close attention to dialogue (something I avoid like the plague).
The main goal of the challenge: to write everyday. Mission accomplished! My journal is quickly filling up, so much so that I’ve taken to writing this entry directly on my computer because I need those pages for more creative work. Sitting down everyday and focusing on my writing has become an enjoyable habit, though the struggle is still very real. Sitting down and planning to write does not mean that what’s will be written is any good. I’m trying though and that’s something to be proud of.
So if you are planning to participate in this writing challenge, I will say this. It is an excellent opportunity to learn how to write everyday HOWEVER if you are looking for a challenge that pushes you to continue working or provide you with the tools to work on your novel, short story/poetry collection, play or script this would not be my first choice. The community is wonderful and full of fellow writers who will offer words of encouragement but this challenge is more for the self, discovering why you became a writer in the first place and identifying how you, the writer, stand in your own way.