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What can you learn in a week?

For a week I’ve been writing a story a day. The plan is to go all month. It’s harder than NaNoWriMo. Do these challenges serve any purpose?

I like the challenge though. I see my habits, images, ticks, and typos. Bloody typos.

And I like the concrete goal. One day=one story. So much better than, “Write a good story.” At least one of these goals I know I can do.

10 thoughts on “What can you learn in a week?

  1. Sometimes I think the only purpose of these sorts of challenges is to drive writers to depression and self-loathing. It’s hard to do well and very easy to fail. Failure is something writers don’t need a lot of exposure to on their own. They’re going to get ample rejection and failure of accomplishment as they journey along the road to publication — at least, those doing it legitimately will. Why heap it upon our own person voluntarily?

    Of course, a lot of writers would slap me down saying, “What do you mean? Maybe YOU’D fail, but I’M not going to.” And so, this is why they make both chocolate AND vanilla, isn’t it?

    What good can come from them? Well, you’ve seen some good things come bubbling up already, and listed them in your post. And it DOES force one to keep the fingers moving. So those can be good depending on how you look at it, right?

    Or something.

    • There are challenges suited to some and not to others. I wouldn’t do Script Frenzy, for instance. But like you said–chocolate and vanilla. But what kind of challenge is easy to succeed? I don’t want fear of failure to hold me back. While I have plenty of moments of self-loathing, but then I’d rather not let failure define me. Plus, I don’t see this challenge as facing rejection. Failure, sure. I may not manage it. But I’m not asking anyone for anything. I don’t think they’ll be published. So. I’m learning and I’m writing. That’s what I want.

      Well, I guess if you lot don’t read any of it or do read it and hate it, I guess that would be rejection. But that’s okay. I’ll still like you and nobody owes me.

      There are many other paths to writing and learning, of course. I’d never slap anyone down.

  2. I have to disagree with DarcKnyt. I think there’s a lot to learn from these challenges, not the least of these lessons is how to deal with being the imperfect creatures we are. Sure, maybe we miss a day or two or more or fall short of our perfect goal…. but the the larger view is that we will have done more taking on the challenge than we would have without. And maybe some of those pieces are great. And maybe some of those pieces will lead to larger work.

    And not only that, but also the benefit of these challenges to your work habits is great. You learn about working under pressure. You learn about turning off the internal editor. You learn about putting those words down, no matter what. You learn more of your craft. You learn what doesn’t work. You learn about the things that help you keep going and the things that stop you from working. It’s a writing practice. And practice always helps us get better.

    And one more benefit to these challenges… you get into the conversation. You are actively writing. You are thinking of writing, of creativity, of characters and story lines and conflicts.

    Creativity breeds more creativity.

    In my book, these challenges are hard, but well worth the difficulty.

    • Yes! Creativity breeds more creativity. When I’m more creative in my writing, I’m also more creative in my art… it bleeds into everything.

      And I am learning. Learning, learning. Now I hope the lesson sticks.

  3. I suspect that one of the side benefits of something like this is that it’s a concrete goal that can be achieved. When you’re done you’ll be able to say you did it. It’s not ethereal like writing a good story – who defines good? At the end of each day this month you can lay down your head on your pillow and say, “I did it! I wrote a story today and accomplished my goal.” That has to count for something, right? 🙂

    • It counts. I love concrete goals. And like I wrote rowena above, I’m learning. It is all good practice and no harm if I can’t write every story. I’ll have what I’ve written so far.

  4. Having done 100 stories in 100 days, at Rowena’s inspiration, I agree with her with a caveat. I did it at a time when I was ready to do it. I had the energy, motivation and confidence. I couldn’t have done it at some other time, say now, when my energy lags, and my confidence did wax and wane, but the commitment sustained me. I tried Nanowrimo several times and didn’t last past a few days because it didn’t coincide with my goals. I am a short, short story writer. So a story a day fit perfectly with my writing goals. I think the challenge has to be the right fit for the artist.

    • Good caveat. Yes. If this challenge had come along in April, I wouldn’t have taken it up. All challenges need to be at the right time.

      Your 100 days of stories have been in my mind. When I signed up for this, I thought of you and knew this was possible.

  5. I think a lot of what comes out of these challenges depends on how you choose to view them, what you want to get from them. If you want them, in and of themselves, to make you a successful writer, mayhaps they’re best left undone. But if you tackle them to strengthen your writerly physique — setting and meeting deadlines, achieving and maintaining focus, managing distractions, and maybe most important, as exercises for your Inner Voice (Do Re Me Fa . . .), you find yourself in a whole ‘nother mental landscape.

    And then there’s the ‘fun’ part.

    Hey. Even a NaNo 50-per-center can have theories . . . 😉

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