Why Take Part in an Online Creative Challenge?
The thing about taking part in an online challenge is that it makes you feel accountable. You’ve told the world that you’re going to do something and so it would be pretty embarrassing if you failed, right?
Think about it… You decide one day that you want to write a book. You decide you will start on Monday (of course) and you are determined that you will write every day until you are done. Monday comes and you are full of enthusiasm! You begin typing and the words are practically falling out of your head and on to the page.
The rest of the week goes well, but then on Saturday, something else comes up. You’ve been invited to a barbeque and you have a ton of other things to catch up with. Oh well, one day off won’t hurt. But it’s a rather ‘lively’ barbeque and you don’t get to bed until late. On Sunday you’re feeling a little fragile and you decide you’ll get back to the book on Monday (of course).
Monday comes and you get back to work, but you’ve lost your flow. Today is a struggle. You carry on regardless but by Thursday, you’re just not feeling it. You decide you need a break and you’ll come back to it when you’re in ‘the right frame of mind.’
A month later, you still haven’t picked up your book.
Let’s Re-Write this Scenario…Imagine you’ve always wanted to write a book…
You have always wanted to write a book. Then one day you come across an online challenge where you have to write 1,000 words every single day for a whole month. You get excited… This is just what you need to get started!
On the lead up to the challenge you figure out a rough plot. You work out where it starts and where it ends. You think about your characters and an idea of where your story takes place. The challenge is starting tomorrow and you can’t wait to get started! You ‘sign up’ to the challenge online and you write a post on social media, telling everyone what you’re going to do.
The following day you are raring to go! You write your first 1,000 words and actually quite a bit more as you really feel ‘in the zone.’ The rest of the week goes really well and by Friday you’ve written over 5,000 words. But on Saturday something else comes up. You’ve been invited to a barbeque. Not only that, but you also have a ton of other things to catch up with.
But you know that you have to fit in your 1,000 words somehow because if you don’t do it, everyone will know… You will have failed after the first week! So instead of falling at the first hurdle, you decide to set your alarm for one hour earlier on Saturday. You don’t like mornings, but it’s nothing a coffee can’t help you with. You make the most of this peaceful, undisturbed hour and you get your 1,000 words down. You go to the barbeque feeling accomplished!
The following day you’re feeling fragile. Your head hurts and you feel really tired… But you have to write your 1,000 words. You have no choice! Everyone is waiting for you to post up your word count! Eventually, you pick up your laptop and write your words in bed. You’re a little fuzzy but hopefully there’s some gold in there somewhere.
The following week is much the same. You go through periods of flow and periods of frustration… but one way or the other, you make sure that whatever happens, you write down your 1,000 words every single day. There is no way you are going to fail so publicly.
The 31st of the month arrives and you can hardly believe that you have now written even more than 31,000 words of your first draft. 33,402 to be precise! How on earth did you do it??
You made yourself accountable!
And Here’s Proof That a Challenge Works…
You may remember that in February we hosted our own challenge, ‘February Fables’. The idea was to write the first draft of a children’s book in one month.
One of our members, ‘Yardell Perkins’ took on the challenge and wrote a book from start to finish! And not only did he write his book, but he then went on to publish it! Of course the fact that we are even a small part of his success gives us a really warm, fuzzy feeling inside. We couldn’t be happier for Yardell.
We asked him what he found to be the most useful thing about the challenge. He said…
‘The community of help. Being surrounded by people of various experience levels and being able to get some feedback that would be critical but not on the “Gordon Ramsey” level of: “You’re not fit to draw you own mother’s backside!!!” I’ve heard that the mentorship can get pretty cutthroat and damning in certain art circles.’
We also asked him why he takes part in challenges. He said…
1) They’re structured in the sense that you focus on a very specific, or small group, of mechanics
2) Despite being structured, they’re still open and flexible enough to let you run wild with your imagination
3) They’re fairly simple to start and finish, which negates the whole “I don’t have time” excuse.’
So it really is true that by taking part in a challenge you are far more likely to succeed than you are if you go it alone. One of the best parts about it, is that community of people who are all in it with you, everyone cheering each other on!
If you’d like to find out more about Yardell, including where you can connect with him and also read an excerpt of his book, you can do that by clicking this link.
Meanwhile, you can download his book by clicking the link below.