Lessons learned from a 30 days writing challenge

Some time ago I blogged about a writing challenge during which I committed to write a little bit every day for 30 days (see the blog post here). Now it is time to look back on those 30 days and evaluate how it went.

I started the writing challenge with the goal to get into the habit of writing each day and to become a more productive writer in the process. Here is what I learned from this experience:

  • Make a plan and stick to it. Already a few days into the challenge, I realised that it took me too long to get started with my writing task and that I instead of writing spent time thinking about what to write, where to start, and so on. Therefore, to make a loose plan for each writing session revealed itself as an easy way to make sure that I used my writing time wisely.
  • The Pomodoro technique. Once the plan was in place, it felt a bit easier to write. However, to get started is usually my biggest challenge. This is where the Pomodoro technique came in handy and helped me to get things done. In essence, this technique is a time management method that entails to work for 25 minutes and then have a five minute break, before you work for another 25 minutes, and so on. At the beginning of each writing session, I told myself that I will only write for 25 minutes, which felt a bit encouraging. Most of the time I continued for longer than that but as a trick to get me started, the Pomodoro technique worked out well. 
  • Park on the downhill slope. I once read that you should park on the downhill slope, which means that you should end each writing session with some notes on what you want to write next. I even tried to leave paragraphs unfinished so that I could start the next writing session by completing them. Writing about it I realise that this is another way to trick myself to get started, but whatever works, right? To be able to put the finishing touches to a paragraph right at the beginning of a writing session really does feel great and can sometimes be the confidence boost needed to keep up with the writing task ahead.

I won’t lie, this writing challenge was not always easy and it was not always fun. With that being said, I feel that committing to such a challenge helped me get insights into my writing process and develop tools for becoming a more productive writer.

Rebecca Cort

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