This month it’s Writing Challenges, since it’s not too late to sign up to Camp NaNoWriMo for April.
Hang on, I hear you say, NaNoWriMo is in November – write every day for 30 days and end up with a 50,000 word novel.
Camp NaNoWriMo (Can I call it Camp Nano now?) is like going to summer camp, and happens in April and July. You can join in a virtual cabin and get support from your cabin mates, and you can also do editing and other projects, and set your target, not just do a 50,000 word first draft, which is okay for a children’s novel, but not for a full-blown adult one.
You can of course write any time, but if you find the focus of getting a target achieved helpful, and like a bit of encouragement along the way, it’s a great incentiviser. I’ve written first drafts of 6 books at Camps now, and edited two of them in Camps too. It helps me to push everything else aside and say to myself, I can’t do that because I’m at Camp.
The Perihelix, Curved Space to Corsair (Viridian System books 1 & 2), and The Princelings of the North (Princelings book 8) are still in edit mode.
I’ll probably be doing Camp NaNo in July. But that’s a long time to wait if you could do with some support in your writing life.
Some clever people realised that, and set up the Insecure Writers Support Group.
This is not a writing challenge, but it’s a support group for people who write, and it asks you to offer support by posting about your writing experiences once a month – the first Wednesday each month (so it is rather like a Challenge). The point is to visit other people, read about their experiences, and chat about it in the comments. You can use their prompt for the month, if you prefer, or just write about something that’s happened or your successes, since they can help other writers. Some of us are secure some of the time, and insecure at others, it’s a way of sharing what we’ve learned and helping others, or finding out whether we’re the only writer in the world that feels the way we do that day.
We’re not. But every person’s experiences are unique, and they all help each other learn to be better writers or to overcome the downers that happen all the time.
Recently I’ve written about
‘Things I wished I didn’t know‘ because these bits of received wisdom make me feel I’m doing it all wrong
‘When do you know your story is ready‘ which was when I’d just had the fourth version of the Perihelix returned for a rewrite
‘Dealing with writers’ block‘ which is always an interesting question
‘Is it all worth it?‘ which was a question which proved popular!
It’s a great community to be part of, even when things are going well!
Other writing challenges
There are a huge number of writing challenges, and if you visit other blogs you’re sure to find something that you feel you can join. Flash fiction is very popular, as well as haiku, poetry, competition links and more.
I write a weekly Flash Fiction from a prompt (on Fridays) from a guy called Chuck Wendig, who tends towards scifi/fantasy/paranormal prompts (and rude words), but I also link it to a hashtag group of other people who write on Fridays – #FridayFlash. Some of these groups are totally informal, just linking via hashtags, others ask you to sign up, with your own link.
One I do monthly is run by The Bookshelf Gargoyle, who publishes his prompts for six months at a time. All you have to do is post your story and put a link to it in the comments of his monthly update post. And… you only have to write 50 words! That’s called Fiction in 50 #Fi50, and it’s harder than it sounds.
So, whatever your writing preferences, why not join in one of the memes and challenges, share your work and make new writing pals.
Until next month, when I’ll be looking at Reading Challenges,
PS If you’re interested in helping me to launch Willoughby the Narrator (Princelings book 7) on April 27th, come and visit my blog to sign up for the book blast post..