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Writing Challenge 1: What Keeps You from Writing?

As a procrastinator, a lot keeps me from writing: checking out webcomics, watching tv, the fact I don’t want to look at a computer screen after 10 hours of doing so at work, lack of inspiration, fear (which is silly, but very real), and probably a million other things I could list if I thought about it long enough.

These first few writing challenges are going to focus on what keeps us from writing. We’re going to start off easy and focus on the physical things that keep us from writing.

Write a scene of the last activity that won out over writing. Maybe it was work, or watching tv, maybe you spent the whole time thinking about how you should be writing. Whatever it was, I recommend you write in the same style you usually write, or aspire to write in.

In yesterday’s post, I talked about the importance of having a goal. That goal will likely have a form. If you want to write a fiction novel, write the scene as fiction, with a character that is you or represents you. You can even fit the challenge to sci-fi, romance, or whatever genre you specialize in. If you write poetry, write a poem. If your goal is to publish a memoir, the post can almost be a diary entry, or in the tone you’d tell a story about yourself.

If you’re still figuring out what your writing goal is, just play with it. Take the prompt in whatever direction you want. I’ll post my response to this challenge tomorrow. Feel free to share your response in the comments below or post it on your own blog and put the link in the comments.

Writing Challenges

One of my blog posts that brings in the most search traffic is my “30 day writing challenge” post. My friend Beth found a writing challenge on a tumblr account and we started it together. I lasted about 5 days. But I had outlined the challenge on my blog, and that post does bring in some organic traffic.

The sad thing is, I doubt many people from that post check out my other pages. So I had the idea to create a 30 day writing challenge of my own, post it, and get some more interaction. The problem is that I never finish writing challenges.  NaNoWriMo, writing prompt books, anything that requires my daily attention falls through the cracks. Usually because if I miss one day, I don’t feel like it’s worth it to catch up.

Of course, concrete goals are useful in achieving your dreams, but I feel like “writing every day” isn’t a goal- it’s a means. It’s the strategy you use to achieve a result. But if you make it your goal to write everyday, that larger result gets lost, and it’s easy to get frustrated when you fall behind or, even if you do write everyday, it doesn’t lead anywhere.

So instead of doing a writing challenge that requires you to work every day, (which in my mind makes it easier to just quit if you fall behind), I want to make a series of challenges that just focuses on improving your writing. No pressure to do one every day. Just focusing on one little thing at a time to become a better writer. Some will be vague, some will be specific. All will be focused on improving the self as a writer. I suggest you make your own personal goals (finish a story, write a collection of poems, be published) and set a deadline of your own, but that is something that will be most effective when you do it yourself, not be told by some blogger you’ve never met that being published by december 31 is the only way you’ll meet your dream of becoming an author.

I’ll be posting a few challenges a week. The day after I post the challenge, I’ll post the writing I did in response to the prompt. This way you have time to write based on your interpretation, but you also get mine as an example if you’re stuck or if you just want to see my writing too.

I hope you enjoy these challenges. The first one will be posted tomorrow. I’d love to get feedback on what you think about them, what obstacles you find in your writing that you might want help addressing, and of course, if you’d like to share your writing inspired by the challenges, I’d be thrilled.

Happy Writing Everyone!

Dancing in the Rain

Here’s a piece inspired by a Nietzsche quote another blogger posted.“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Run! We can get inside before we get too wet!” Sandra pulled on Lionel’s hand, rushing to get out of the rain. Suddenly, her hand was empty, and the five year old was sprinting the other direction, spinning around and jumping in the biggest puddle he could find.

“Lionel!” Get back here! You’ll catch your death!”


“Oh, no! It’s raining! Our hair will get wet! The girls complained while Lionel and Jesse rolled their eyes at each other. “I have an umbrella we can share.” Jesse said to his date. Sarah looked at Lionel expectantly. “Here,” he started to take off his jacket. “You can hold this over your head.”

“But then you’ll get wet!”

“I don’t mind, really.” They got out of the car. While Jesse and the girls rushed into prom, Lionel stood for a second, looking up at the sky, basking in the rain. He looked longingly at a nearby puddle, but then turned away and ran to catch up with the others.

“Lionel, hurry up! You’re going to be soaked through for pictures!”


“It’s pouring down out there!” The whole office was staring at the downpour. Lionel had been busy delivering coffee to superiors all day. The rain called to him. Finally, he burst through the door and let the drops pour over his face.

“What is he doing?”

“I think he’s … dancing.”

ship shape

The sail screams,

begging me to stop it from being stolen by the wind.

I oblige, reining it in with all my might.

Now it begs to be free, to be filled with the wind.

I give it some freedom, but not so much that it can run away.

The sail is like a child.

It doesn’t know what it wants. Read the rest of this entry

Intertwining Storylines

The lonely, pale apple hung from the tree as all the children reached for its brighter, more appetizing counterparts. Sharlene, a girl of eight years old, looked up at the tree, stretching her small head as far back as it would go, and decided she would be the one to get the apple at the very top. She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and scrambled to start her ascent.

As the lone apple longingly watched her climb past, it felt a tickle in its skin. A worm was coming to visit! The apple did not mind the worm’s invasive presence, as it so deeply longed for company. Perhaps the worm would stay the night in the burrow it had created. Nights were so much warmer with a friend. Read the rest of this entry