Writing Challenges are Dumb
Look, I wanted to increase consistency, practice more my writing skills, and ultimately give myself a kick in the butt and write more often. But I messed it up, messed it up good.
I’ve written absolute bullshit these last days. Except for Wednesday, when I publish Fear about learning about race. I’m oddly proud of that story because it was extremely uncomfortable to write, required a shitload of action from my part to get it going. But the other ones? Honestly, I would have rather not have them written. They lack introspection, depth, length even. They are short because I had set myself to do too many of them.
So here’s the thing. The challenge has started, I’m committed to two months and I’ve gotta make it work, however I see fit. The quick solution to my complaint would be to just produce better quality. Easy said, but it’s quite hard to do when I lack momentum of writing daily, perhaps next week (or the one afterward) I do, at least, a bit better than this one.
Following this week’s patron, I would like to keep Wednesdays as a “political article” day. Honestly, I don’t care what I focus on; law, economics, or pure politics, but it has to be about something or someone I’ve been interested in that week. A thought-through reflection that can be interesting for third parties to read.
Besides political Wednesdays, perhaps it would be interesting to also have “introspective Fridays” when I publish something that requires digging deep in my soul, pick the most hurtful parts of it and expose them to the world. This could be a way to keep me in check and show potential issues others might also be struggling with.
Here’s what this article might be interesting for you:
Don’t get yourself into challenges. There are better ways to improve a skill.
They have positive parts, sure, but they are way to rigid. A plan that lacks wiggle room might make you go backward more than forward. Weeks ago I did an article on how to How to make a 12-month challenge DOABLE for you. Where the main point was to select a time where, instead of follow a set of rules (as you would do in a challenge) you set yourself to experiment with a habit (writing in this case).
This might mean that you spend one morning writing to see what happens and perhaps you realized that the goal of writing from 6 to 9 makes no sense to you since creativity hits you in the night. You change it. Because this approach lacks rigidity.
Selecting times to play around and experiment with righting might take many of the pressure associated with it and give you many clues on how to address your writing for future times. You might get more information that makes it easier to create a plan that works with you, instead of doing it the other way around, as you would with a challenge.
Make Challenges either SHORT or FLEXIBLE
If something doesn’t work but it doesn’t last for a long time, then it might even be doable. And probably, even though it might suck for a short amount of time, it’s over fast enough.
However, if you are really determined and you want to commit for a longer time, you might want to make your Challenges as flexible as you possibly can.
Flexibility serves two purposes, the first one is explained formerly, the second one is that challenges often don’t allow for breaks. Breaks are productivity’s secret.
Yes, when you are lazy and rather watch Friends for the gazillion time on Netflix instead of writing, you should push yourself to write. However, sometimes you are really not inspired and need to forget about it. I also do this with german, sometimes I ignore it for a month and come back as excited as I was when I first started.
Your quality will suck if you are not in it 100% (or something close to it). Don’t push yourself when you just need to disconect. Disconnect instead and come back with more energy than you would if you hadn’t taken a break.
Also, challenges might push you way too much and get you to sort of hate on the task at hand. If you tell yourself you will write every day for a year, you might end up resenting writing because it stops being a form of pleasure and it becomes something you “have to do” instead of something you “get to do”.
Do challenges either short or flexible. Experimenting on something for a limited amount of time might be a sort of challenge. Taking breaks and flipping your challenge rules might help you make more progress than following them religiously.