Tuesday, July 28, 2009

30 Day Writers Challenge

During a presentation I gave last week, someone asked about my writing style and how to develop a good one. I answered with a statement about being yourself and using writing as a way to reflect your personality.

As I thought more about that question, I realized that there is much more to it than that. I know that much of being a good writer has to do with practice and persistence. I learned that first hand when I began my writing career.

When I started my site, I was writing constantly for it while writing roughly 20 pages a week for my courses in college. The amount of writing was insane but the results were spectacular. My papers earned high marks and the articles I wrote for the site during that time are still amongst the most viewed.

So, in order to improve myself as a writer I am setting a challenge to write at least 250 words a day for the next 30 days without losing quality. How do I plan on doing this?

1. Time

Most writers and bloggers will talk about the large amount of time it takes to produce good content. There is truth to the idea that good content takes time. But not having enough time is not just a writing problem, but an overall time problem. In "How to Create More Time" I talked about knowing how your time is spent and eliminating the unimportant in order to create time for the important things.

I will use the same method in my 30 day writing challenge. Some of my post require research and verification of ideas. I will have to limit the amount of time spent researching possible ideas and spend most of the time researching facts and ideas that are the most relevant for the post.

In order for this challenge to be successful, I need to be mindful of how I use my time.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Most people who take part in any creative work are very particular about what they create. Artist, musicians and writers are they're own worst critics. I have at times spent hours on an article just to click "delete" on the file after reviewing it. Saying to myself,

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

I have come to realize that trashing every work that doesn't seem worthy is a bad idea. I read some years back about how Sammy Davis Jr hated the song "The Candyman" when he was recording it. But the song won him his only Grammy. Similar events have happened to me on my site. At times the post that I think is going to generate the best response gets ignored while the one that I write and am not completely sold on get an overwhelming amount of pageviews. It is true that everything that we produce will not be golden, but sometimes it is not up to us to decide.

During this challenge, it is also important that I grow my ability to write my thoughts in a clear, concise, and effective manner. Although my actually writing takes between 3-4 hours per week, I often spend a lot of time thinking about what to write and how to write it.

No matter what, it is important to write and publish. This will help me understand my your better and help understand yourself and what makes you effective.

Blackberry, iPhone and Napkins

30 days can be a long time and there are going to be several times when I can say to myself,

"Forget writing today, The Office is on."

That's why I have decided to write as soon as the inspiration or idea hits me. Sometimes when writing, we tend to wait until the idea is crystal clear and defined before we dive in. I have learned that this approach sometimes prevents any ideas from being produced because of the Law of Demonising intent. It is important to produce whenever and wherever you are.

The fist 166 words of this post were written on the Notepad function on my Blackberry during a 15 minute break. Attacking inspiration at its peak will be one of the major actions that will make this challenge a success. Whether its on phone, napkin, or your hand, try not to let any thought or inspiration go to waste.

It is going to take discipline and focus to complete this challenge. There will be many days when I will not feel like writing but by applying these few techniques and a few more, I know that I will come out with great content.
By the way, this is 784 words if you are counting
Visit my personal development site Potential2Success.com


Michael Fletcher said...

Indeed sometimes just writing is the hardest part. There are no shortcuts as the old adage goes "if you wish to be a writer, write" One other thing I do recommend though which kept me ticking over when I began is keeping a post "in the barrel" so to speak. What I'll typically do is have one post completed ready to revise. When I sit down to write I work on a new post until the first draft is done then revise the first draft I have waiting to post. I find that extra breathing space before revision really helps and also takes the pressure off when I'm writing.

Me said...

Thats a great idea. Keeping an extra post could really help when I don't have time to sit and write a new one.

Glenn said...

Hey Ralph
Great post with a lot of good content. Your a much better writer than I am, I have found that for me I get an idea,write,proofread spellcheck and publish it. If I start to revise it I will never stop revising it and I get nowhere. Glenn

11visions said...

Hey Ralph,

I've got a movie I want to share with you. I know this is long, but I couldn't find your email.
Hey Jay,

The movie is called The Hitchhiking Movie (www.hitchhikingmovie.com) and it is extremely entertaining, inspirational, and I want to give it to you for free. Please email me at ryan@11visions.com for a free view and, in the meantime, watch this: www.hitchhikingmovie.com

Morpheus said...

Ralph, thanks for this article.My bounce back time after the 1st setback since I read your article has decreased considerably. Your articles are powerful and effective.It'd be nice if you could add a comment box under the articles on that site.Thanks!

Me said...

Thanks Morpheus,

I'm so glad that your bounce back time has decreased. That is a huge step!

Most of the articles do have a comment section, but you're right, that one doesn't. I think I will add one for that post. Thanks for the suggestion :)

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