Stephanie writes young adult novels and is the creator of GoTeenWriters.com. Her novels include The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and the Ellie Sweet books. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and check out samples of her work on her author website including the free novella, Throwing Stones.
As much as I enjoy making resolutions at New Year's, I think it can be daunting to set a goal that covers an entire year. Trying to eat a certain way for a whole year or write a certain amount of words in a year, etc. That's why I love monthly challenges. A month is long enough to feel the goal stretching you, but it's short enough that you can push yourself to finish. NaNoWriMo is a great example of this.
I thought it would be fun in 2016 for us to take on monthly challenges as a community. (If you have an idea for one, please send me an email!) Some we might do more than once, so if the month doesn't work for you, or if you're not able to complete the challenge, you'll likely have another chance as the year goes on. If you want a sneak peek at upcoming challenges, sign up for our quarterlyish newsletter. (Yes, it used to be monthlyish. Then I had a baby. So this year, it will probably be more quarterlyish.)
The February monthly challenge is to come up with a story idea everyday for 29 days.
1. No holding back ideas. If I thought of two ideas on Monday, no saving one for Tuesday. One of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge was to push my creativity and notice the story ideas all around me on any given day. I wanted to press into my belief that each day hold's its own inspiration.
2. The idea must sound like a story that I would actually write. "Star Wars but with clowns" is an idea ... but it's not an idea that makes me want to grab a pen, much less write a whole book based around it.
How the challenge worked out for me:
Was I actually able to come up with a new idea everyday for a month? No. I did really well for about a week, and then I had An Idea. The kind where you get a bit of a zap and think, "YES. That's the next book I'm going to write." Once I had this idea, I really didn't want to think about any others, so instead I spent several days brainstorming it. Then I spent about a week writing the first three chapters.
And then I remembered I was supposed to be thinking of a new idea each day—whoops!
So while I didn't literally come up with a new idea everyday, I did have one of the best book ideas I've had in months, and that's what it's really about, right? Not just lists of ideas but uncovering a special idea.
What I liked about the challenge:
During the last month, I found I was intentional about pouring into my creative self. Because I was consciously looking for ideas, I listened to a lot of podcasts, questioned a lot of things around me, watched television differently.
How to take part:
If you want to participate in the challenge, you're welcome to do it on your own, or you can fill out the form below. Sometimes it helps to physically sign up for something. Makes it feel more official. You don't have to abide by the two rules I set for myself, if you don't want to. Make this challenge work for you!
When the month is over, I would love for you to send me an email telling me how the challenge went. You don't have to share any of your ideas if you don't want to, but just write me a few sentences about your experience.
Those who sign up for the challenge and send me the email at the end of the month will be put in a drawing for a $20 Amazon.com gift card!
This challenge is for writers of all ages in all countries. You'll be able to sign up until the end of February 1st and then the form will close.