As someone who loves challenges, I’m a sucker for most 30-day writing and blogging challenges. The only time I have failed utterly is when I did NaNoWriMo, I managed 20,000 words and ran out of steam, twice. Without shaming myself too much the reason was on both occasions I did not outline the book and I wasn’t prepared.
In my defence, if NaNoWriMo had been a non-fiction challenge I would have prepared, it was just that I thought that my novels would somehow magically morph out of my amazing brain. Sadly they didn’t and I doubt if I work in this way in the future I will fail miserably again and I’ll only have myself to blame.
Ok, beating myself up over, this is what I have learned that does work for 30-day writing and blogging challenges.
At the point of signing up, I start to prepare myself mentally. I visualise myself completing the challenge and giving myself a reward or a series of rewards for achieving different milestones.
Having the right mindset and attitude will make the difference between success and not finishing.
If there is any research that needs to be undertaken, now is a great time to go and do it. Create a swipe file, collect and collate your research. If there are books to be read, start to skim read them now, making notes in your journal or research file.
What resources do you need? If you are blogging and don’t have a blogging platform, where could you blog that doesn’t need much setting up or learning time. I suggest LinkedIn or Medium depending on where your audience hangs out.
But what about other resources? What do you think you need? I always have a journal for the journey, a roll of brown paper and coloured pens for brainstorming.
Interviews – video
Creating interviews, editing and transcribing video’s is time-consuming. Get ahead of the game by booking your interviews in well in advance and start the interviews now. As soon as you have completed an interview get the video transcribed on somewhere like rev.com. You can sort out editing the transcriptions out as you go along.
Also decide where you are going to host them and prepare the platform. If you are also using the interviews for your podcast, make sure you have enough time to do this too. If not add these to your podcast when you do. This is all about creating and testing a process that works for you.
In the two weeks prior to a writing, blog your book or write your book challenge, make sure you understand who your ideal reader is, what questions they are asking and what the customer journey is for your book.
Have an outline, no matter how rough it is, get this out of your head and written up. In an ideal world, this would be completed, but I reckon better done than perfect. And you can always refine your outline as you go along.
Remember the outline is a way to chunk things up so that you are not seeing this as an insurmountable huge block of writing.
Get an off the shelf content planner or design your own. Brainstorm ideas around the questions that your ideal reader is asking and work out what your keywords are. Write yourself a list of blog titles, leave to reflect and put them in some kind of order if you are blogging or writing a book, otherwise connect them to events or an order that works for you.
Set the dates, SEO detail and any other information that is relevant to you. For me I would the chapter title.
Making time. This is a biggie and normally where people fall down. I get up an hour earlier and write. I also batch write in the evening and weekend to get my first drafts out. Then each day I only have to edit and refine what I am publishing that day.
At least two weeks before the challenge I will create as much content as I can, even if they are a bit scruffy. Put this in your diary, set a reminder on your phone – do something that visually and audibly reminds you to write.
Creating connection and community
Join the 30-day writing and blogging challenge community as soon as you can, say hello, connect to your fellow writers. Add as much value and support to others as you can. Ask questions no matter how silly you feel. You may even be lucky and find yourself an accountability buddy.
And a final note on preparing for 30-day writing and blogging challenges…
Do they work?
The answer is it depends on you and your motivation. They won’t work if you take them on and are not sure if you will have the time or can be bothered.
You need a clear outcome and as I said earlier the right mindset and most importantly you have to take action. If you fall off the horse don’t give up, miss a day and continue, cross the line doing the best you can.
The key is to find a challenge that meets a need that is important to you. I have wanted to do some exercise challenges and have found that with the best will in the world, my body wasn’t ready. However, because I have a series of books to write a 30-day writing and blogging challenge is right up my street because I can get at least 30,000 words written and feel like a champion.
Ready to write your book and maybe blog your book? This course has been designed to get your book and blog ready.
Look out for the next 30-day blogging challenge so that you can fast write your book.
If blogging your book in 30 days feels too much take the Blog Your Book course and join the blogging group and share when you have a blog for your book ready to go.