Let’s say it’s New Year (because it is) and you’re an aspiring writer looking for a daily writing challenge. You want to get into the habit of writing every day and hopefully get some inspiration along the way. Have I got the challenge for you! Really, do I? I don’t know. But I do have a challenge that I have done so I present it here for YOU to do now.
You will need:
- One page-a-day diary (mine was A5 but you can use any size you like)
- Something to write with.
And that’s all you need to do the diary challenge! The challenge is simple. You need to fill every page of that diary with stories, ideas, scenes, characters, anything at all, by the end of the year to ‘win’. You should aim to do a page-a-day, on the day, as part of the exercise is to develop good writing habits. That doesn’t mean you ‘lose’ if you miss a day though. You can, and should, catch up. I used prompts when I did this in 2011, and I’m made them available on a Google doc for anyone: The Diary Challenge.
For some background on what the different types of challenges are you might want to check out the original post from when I set myself the challenge.
I’m a regular NaNoWriMo participant so I designed my prompts to work with NaNo and the Camp sessions. This means there is a bit of planning on the run up to the events and some ‘free’ months for novel writing so it’s perfect for loyal Wrimos. But the challenge is not to do my prompts. The challenge is just to fill the diary, your way, with whatever writing you want to do. I had a lot of fun doing it and I hope someone else will to.
A few tips:
- Don’t worry too much about what you’re writing. The first page of my diary has the most beautiful handwriting, and I agonised for ages about what I was going to write for the first prompt. By the end I could start writing with just the germ of an idea and go for it. Some of those stories are my favourite ones. That first story sucked!
- 5-10 minutes is enough to write something. Maybe not a whole page, but don’t waste your minutes on Facebook because you’ve convinced yourself it’s not worth starting writing. It’s always worth it. This challenge is perfect for busy people as the one page limit makes it ideal for lunch breaks and commutes.
- Always carry your diary with you! This is one reason why it should be a real diary and not just on the computer. If your diary is your constant companion you will find more time to write in it.
So that’s it really! If you don’t have a page-a-day diary go out and buy one tomorrow (or now?). Seriously, they’ll be 25% off or something, just go get one. If you’re seeing this half way through January, go get one anyway and catch up. You’ve got a whole year ;). And if you do decide to give it a go please let me know how you get on.
One final note: I ‘failed’ the challenge. I started in 2011. I only just finished my diary 2 weeks ago. That’s 3 years late! But I still have a whole book full of ideas and I’m feeling pretty good about myself, so even if you don’t think you can succeed it’s still worth trying. You never know what you’ll come up with.
Good luck, and happy 2015!