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30 Day Writing Challenge

What I Learnt From My 30 Day Writing Challenge

It’s been over a month now since I finished my 30 Day Writing Challenge, and I’ve had plenty of time to mull over what I’ve learnt and taken away from the experience. As I mentioned in my initial video, I didn’t give myself any rules when I embarked on the challenge, so everything was a surprise and by the end of the 30 days, my writing energy was focused in a direction I wasn’t expecting.

 

Here are the four main points I took away from my 30 Day Challenge experience:

 

You have to be thrifty with time…

During the challenge, I wasn’t allocated an extra hour per day by the time gods (shocking, I know), so I had to make time. I hadn’t been great at this in the weeks prior to the experience and was looking forward to having a reason to prioritise time for scribbling. But it wasn’t as romantic as the internet makes writing out to be… sitting at a Pinterest worthy desk, with a steaming cup of tea, an expensive candle flickering away and beautiful stationery at the ready… it was more like grabbing my laptop and utilising that spare 20 mins after work before cooking tea (whilst Tom plays something loud and annoying on his Xbox!).

Making an event of something can be helpful – I found going to the library when I was at university helpful because it meant I’d physically gone somewhere to do work, and if I procrastinated, it was a completely wasted trip. But because I want writing to be engrained in my daily routine, as normal as brushing my teeth, I found that I had to slot it in where I could. One day I even got my notebook out in the pub, and plenty of times I was scribbling away whilst on the train. Figuring out the best/most convenient times in my day to write a few lines has been great.

Life gets in the way and that’s okay, just pick yourself up and carry on…

Despite good intentions and best efforts, sometimes life does get in the way, and there were multiple days where I didn’t get around to writing anything. This wasn’t just because I couldn’t be bothered, it was mostly because I was busy socialising. And I do think it’s important to live my life and completely relax somethings, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. The main thing is that after a hiccup, I didn’t just give up. I used to be a bit of an all or nothing person, and in the past I think I may have been tempted to throw in the towel, because I would feel like a failure for missing a day or two. But it’s not a competition, and although I’ve been public about this challenge, nobody was holding me to it, except myself. I’m pleased that I saw the bigger picture and managed to shake off any feelings of failure or embarrassment and carry on with the challenge. I’m glad I did, because it gave me the push I needed to work on my book idea…

When inspiration strikes, grab it, but don’t rely on it…

One of the reasons why I did this challenge was to practise being more disciplined when it comes to feeling inspired and creative. People who have creative jobs can’t have a day off because they’re “just not feeling creative today” or they “have writer’s block”, and to be a (regular) creator, often you have to make your own inspiration and just create without waiting for it to hit you. If what you end up creating that day is a bit crap, it doesn’t matter – practise makes perfect.

However, when motivation or an idea does hit you, act upon it. When I make myself create more, I get into a groove and more ideas start to come to me naturally. As the challenge required me to be creative consistently, I found that I felt more observant and imaginative than I had in a good while. So I suppose it’s not all that surprising that after a couple weeks, I started to have lots of thoughts about the book idea I’ve been toying with for the past few months.

I had a pretty solid foundation in mind, and had written a short intro/synopsis, but I hadn’t focused any energy on the project in weeks (probably because I was intimidated and wasn’t sure where to start). Sharpening my writing skills and being more disciplined with my creativity gave me the boost I needed to continue working on the project and feel confident in doing so. I debated whether working on the book counted as the challenge, and I initially felt guilty for not posting daily on my blog or Instagram. But I decided that as there were no rules, and as the main goal of the challenge was get me writing every day, regardless of what I was writing, I was allowed to focus on the book for last couple of weeks. (That’s why it looks like lots of the latter days are missing on the blog!) I feel that I’ve cracked the book idea and have finally got on a roll with it – doing the challenge was turned out to be a great decision.

I love to research and think deeply…

The challenge also helped me to understand what kind of personal content I enjoy creating the most. I’m an inquisitive person, I like to know everything about the subjects I’m interested in, and I feel like I cannot let my brain rest until I know the hows and whys and everything in between. Basically, I love to learn and research. And although I enjoy to write little journal like posts here and there, I’ve realised that I prefer to write meatier articles that spark from an observation, opinion or current event, and that are backed up with research. These articles don’t have to be super groundbreaking, academic or time-consuming (I wrote a piece analysing Love Island the other day, for example), but I definitely prefer a blog post to have a proper subject and point.

I am so happy that I decided to do the challenge. It was a spontaneous decision that I made without much thought or planning, but I’ve learnt a great deal, have replenished my blog and have written some fab stuff for my book idea all from it. I would definitely recommend challenging yourself if you want to refine you skills and get back into a creative habit.

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