Happy Halloween! 🙂 October is over and so is this month’s creative challenge. How did I do?
I managed to ALMOST finish this challenge, and not in the way that I had hoped to finish. I started this challenge with hopes of setting a daily writing habit, getting a good chunk of my LA book written, and having something tangible in-hand by the end of the month. Although I didn’t quite end up with something tangible to share, I hit other goals I’d set.
How I did with my goals for this challenge:
- (_) Share a written piece for public consumption (hardcopy or e-book). I have a pretty polished draft of my Tokens of Kindness book 99% ready. I just need to pick a few more visuals. Once that’s done, I’m planning to distribute here and on my portfolio site via Pay with a Tweet. I might not put this one out in hard copy because it doesn’t make sense to me to have people paying for this book (it’ll make more sense when I roll it out).
- (✔️) Finish a writing project. I managed to start AND finish writing this book in a month. I did spend the last year doing research on the topic and writing papers about it, so I guess I had a head start.
- ( ? ) Build my writing chops. I don’t know if I did this or not. I wrote more words than usual this month (30,000), so I’m counting this as a yes.
- ( ? ) Become a better writer. I also don’t know about this one since it’s so subjective. I have become a more frequent writer and a better editor, but those things come with more practice.
- (✔️) Design a different type of publication. I designed an ebook version of this book (which I’ve never done before).
Where I fell short:
- Not setting a daily writing habit. Multiple successful authors tell wannabe writers that to write you have to, well, write. Stephen King recommends 2000 words a day, which is what I aim for, but often fall short of doing. By falling short of this daily goal, I feel defeated, which leads to less writing.
- Procrastination. My personal projects ALWAYS take a backseat to things I need to do for others (work, housework, gifts, favors, etc.). I think many of us do this because it’s hard to justify wanting to do something for yourself when you cold be using your time to do something for somebody else. I found out that I got a new job just a few days after I started this challenge, so my enthusiasm for working on this waned. I didn’t want to spend my last unemployed month working relentlessly on a personal project. Ultimately, I didn’t finish this project because although I was 98% there on Friday, I didn’t want to spend this past weekend working on a project when I could be enjoying myself.
- Fear. Many of my creative projects go unfinished because I’m afraid that they won’t be good enough when I’m done with them. This idea is asinine, but true, and probably is a reason many others aren’t finishing creative projects. I’ve worked hard to overcome this fear, but it’s a lifetime of fear to demolish. My mom told me that when I was in first grade, she went to parent-teacher conferences and saw a coloring page that I didn’t complete because I told my teacher “Oh, I already know how to color.” My mom knew that I left that page blank, instead, because of my fear of being less than perfect.
How I hope to improve:
- Working on the daily writing habit. Instead of trying for the 2000 words goal, I’m trying to take time to write anything every day. The hardest part is finding a consistent time (which is part of those recommendations). I tend to write the most between 2-4 PM, which is unfortunate because I went back to work (today, actually!). I am going to use Daylight Savings Time to (hopefully) propel me into getting up a bit earlier and working to write then. Even if it’s just notes or writing here. The more you write, the easier it gets!
- Setting monthly creative goals. This puts one of my projects in the limelight and challenges me to finish it, rather than letting it sit on the backburner for someday. November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I’m planning to work on my LA book and finish NaNoWriMo (50,000 words) by the end of the month. It’s technically cheating to start with something written, but I’m not going to count the words I wrote prior to November. I get the idea of having rules, but NaNoWriMo can help push people into finishing unfinished works — so that’s how I’m going to use it (and you should, too, if you’ve thought of doing that but didn’t because you didn’t want to be a cheater). I’ll be tracking ALL words written in November (personally, not for NaNoWriMo) and am hoping to increase the 30,000 to 50,000 — even if it’s not on that novel.
- Continue to practice and share my work … on this blog, on social media, and in other formats. I’m going to keep working on creative endeavors I enjoy, such as writing, painting, and hand lettering — even if I’m not great at any of them. Practice makes perfect (or at least better). Why avoid doing something you love doing just because you don’t feel good enough at it? People don’t have to like everything you do — and that doesn’t make something you love not worth doing.
Have you been challenging yourself creatively? Have you had success?