Back at the beginning of the year, I joined a writing group called Shut Up & Write. We meet once a week to write. A fairly simple premise.
Every Monday, we arrive, introduce ourselves, and announce what we are working on for the evening, then a timer is set and we write for one hour. It doesn’t matter what you write—poetry, blog posts, screenplays, memoir, fiction—whatever you set yourself the goal to work on. At the end of the hour, the timer goes off and we go back around the group to share how much we accomplished. We don’t necessarily share the words, just come together to share the space and support each other in our writing.
I found Shut Up & Write through a Meetup group, but it is part of a larger network. There are over 36,000 members in 103 groups spread over 26 countries. And this month, they have issued a challenge—a 30-Day Writing Challenge. Every day in April, they will send participants an email with a writing challenge. You task is to write for 15 minutes on said challenge. I don’t know what they will be, but I have decided to give it a try.
A welcome package was sent out yesterday. One of the suggestions was to let people know about the challenge. In this way, it keeps you motivated and, in theory, has others keep you on task with their encouragement. So, butt in the chair, I am letting you know that my writing challenge starts today. The email hasn’t arrived yet, but I am getting a jump on things here, but sharing with you in hopes you keep me to task. Feel free to join me, so that we can motivate each other along the way!
The other piece of the welcome package was a few questions to prepare myself for the challenge. So without further ado, I am going to tackle them.
What do you Love about Writing?
Writing is many things. Sometimes it gets thoughts out of my head, so I can explore them more fully. Putting words on the page makes them shareable, and I have come to realize that we often have far more in common with people than we realize. When we share those words and thoughts with others, we unite each other in a very personal way that I love. And writing is a challenge. I love picking the perfect words to elicit the best possible imagery. There is something to be said for the satisfaction I get from properly placed commas, beautiful prose, and succinct meaning.
What can I say? I am a word nerd, a grammar geek, and I eat up words every chance I get.
Why did you sign up for this Challenge?
At the beginning of the year, I set myself a goal to make more space for my own writing. I typically write every day, but so often those words are for clients, whether it be blog posts, content curation, applications, news releases, or whatever their needs are. Joining Shut Up & Write, and conversely, joining the 30-Day Writing Challenge, puts me in the chair for ME. Carving out the time is a big part of that, so this hopefully will get me into a healthy routine for Me.
What do you Hope to Accomplish Most during this Challenge?
First and foremost, I hope to be able to show up and complete the daily challenges. They only need to be 15 minutes in length, so a relatively easy time block to fit in, but it is amazing how other tasks so often take precedence over my writing time. There is a Facebook page set up to build dialogue with other participants too though, so perhaps I might meet a few other writers to motivate me this month, and beyond, with my writing. And by putting my writing to the forefront, hopefully the motivation and habit will continue. I dream of completing a book or two at some point, and maybe this will help make that happen!
Imagine you’ve completed this challenge. After writing for 30 days straight, what would Future You say to Present You? Any words of encouragement?
Fifteen minutes is easy—too short really. An hour is doable and worth finding the time for. Every word you get on the page is another word of your manuscript, another step in your writing career, another mark saying you were here and you can do this. You have the words inside of you. Make them a priority.