Literature & Ebooks
The Ultimate List of Writing Challenge Events Whether you’re writing a novel, biography, or flash fiction anthology, it can be difficult to find the time and focus needed to get the writing done. Luckily, there are a variety of organized writing challenges that help motivate authors and create a community around work that can be pretty solitary. There’s potentially a challenge to fit every genre, and new ones are popping up all the time. Here’s a list of some of the more popular writing challenge events from around the web: 12x12 Challenge The 12x12 Challenge is the only one on our list that has a substantial fee, but it’s well worth it if you’re a picture book author. Started by author Julie Hedlund in 2012, this event challenges you to write one picture book draft a month for a year. During the challenge you’ll have access to members-only resources, community feedback, and support. The real value, however, is access to respected agents and authors who give advice, critiques, and guidance along the way. 750 Words The idea behind 750 Words is pretty simple: Try to write at least 750 words each day. The focus is less on writing for a specific project, and more about getting in the habit of regular writing. The site is simple, but provides a private, distraction-free place to work. The best feature is that it tracks your daily word count and writing time, and awards points based on your activity. You can view your statistics at any time and can even add metadata to your entries to track any information you choose. It’s a more advanced feature, but one that can help you understand your best writing conditions. A Round of Words in 80 Days Described as “the writing challenge that knows you have a life,” A Round of Words in 80 Days is an open-ended challenge that has four rounds a year, each running 80 days. You can have any writing goal you like, which makes this challenge great for any type of writer. There are regular check-ins and a Facebook group where participants can offer support. But don’t worry if you want to start outside of the regular rounds. It’s not as formal as some of the other timed challenges, so you can pretty much participate any time. Book in a Week This challenge runs the first week of every month, with the goal of writing at least 10 pages (250 words each) of any project. With Book in a Week , you won’t be sharing any of your work, but simply letting everyone know your page counts. The goal isn’t to have polished work at the end, it’s just to work at getting through at least part of a first draft. There’s a small $3 fee to join, which includes access to the group’s private learning management system. Daily Words Author Debbie Ridpath Ohi started Daily Words for writers who intend to find the time to write but seem to always be putting it off. It allows for customizable, attainable goals that make it easier for you to stick with it. You can choose to write to a specific word count or time count every day. There are no set goals, so you can start wherever you feel comfortable and work your way up from there. This is a great challenge to start with and build up your writing habit. October Poetry Writing Month One of the genre-specific challenges on our list, October Poetry Writing Month caters to those who love sonnets, couplets, haiku, and any other type of poetry. There’s a private Facebook group for members as well as badges you can display on your own site. To prepare for the challenge, the organizers begin sharing tips throughout September. The event then kicks off OCtober 1st. National Novel Writing Month Perhaps one of the more widely known events is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which runs every November. Just as the name implies, participants join with the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by the end of the month. The global event draws hundreds of thousands of participants who motivate and cheer each other on through the website. If you create a user profile on the site, you’ll be able to track and share your progress and be notified of any local events in your area. National Picture Book Writing Week Ready to write seven picture books in seven days? Then National Picture Book Writing Week (NaPiBoWriWee) is for you. This challenge is held every May and is hosted by children’s literature author Paula Yoo. The rules are simple. You can brainstorm ideas, research topics, and take notes prior to the event. But you can’t start writing until the first day. Some participants even start with Picture Book Idea Month (below) and then use those ideas in this challenge. The goal is to have seven new picture book drafts at the end of the week. To add to the fun, participants can also win random prize drawings during the week. National Poetry Writing Month This is another poetry challenge that runs in April every year. National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) was created by poet Maureen Thorson after she was inspired by NaNoWriMo. She began by posting a poem a day on her own site, and soon others were doing the same. Now she runs the event every year, providing daily writing prompts and maintaining an active Facebook group . Picture Book Idea Month Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) is a fun challenge for picture book authors. Author Tara Lazar runs the challenge each November, encouraging writers to come up with a picture book idea each day for a month. The idea can be a topic, title, character name, or really anything that you could eventually turn into a full picture book. She hosts a collection of children’s book authors, illustrators, and editors in the form of daily blog posts that cover various industry topics. All writers who register for the free event and complete the challenge are eligible to win prizes like feedback from agents, professional critiques, signed books, and more. StoryADay StoryADay is a short story challenge that runs in May and invites participants to write an original short story every day for a month. The goal is to promote creativity and help writers hone their craft through persistent practice. The website offers resources, writing prompts, and a community forum to connect with other participants. You can also sign up to get on the list for advanced notification of when the site opens for registration. When you’re ready to publish your work, edocr is ready to assist you!