Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How I Managed to Complete Write 31

Last year I tried writing for Write 31 but quit after 11 days. I'd thought about the challenge ever since and was mad at myself for giving up. (OK I'm my own worst critic!) Anyway I decided to try again for October 2015 and since I'm writing this post that means I succeeded! Yeah for me!

I thought I'd share a little information about how I managed to complete the month. What I did and what worked for me might help someone else...

Be Up Front with the Family

  • The very first thing I did was to let my husband know what I was doing. There's no way I could sit at my computer and write everyday without him knowing what I was doing and why. It takes too much time and concentration. He was very supportive of my efforts and that helped significantly. If he hadn't supported me I'm sure I wouldn't have completed the challenge.

Write about What You Know
  • Another important thing for me was to pick a subject that I am passionate about. Walking is that subject. I knew since I do a lot of walking both around my neighborhood and while traveling I'd have a good amount of material to pull from.

Plan Ahead!

 Last year I tried to wing it and I knew that wouldn't work again so I spent some time in planning mode.

  • I took a look at my calendar for October. (I did this in early September) I noted any days, activities or appointments in October that would hinder my writing. I knew well in advance that I'd be out of town October 9-13 and I wouldn't have access to my computer. I had to plan ahead for those five posts. But this trip out of town also gave me subject matter for my posts later in the month. 
  • Schedule time to write. Most posts (for me at least) take 1 - 2 hours or more when I factor in photo editing and writing plus any research I need to do on the topic. It was crucial that I set aside time in my daily schedule.A lot of my writing was done in the evening which is why it was important to get my husband's support. 
  • I did write five posts ahead of time. For the first week of October I just wrote two posts a day. I scheduled the ones to post for the days I 'd be away. I also wrote the introduction and I set up my landing page in late September.
Stay on Track
  • To help keep me on track I decided to make an outline of sorts to guide the subject of the posts. I posted this outline on my landing page. It went something like this:

Monday - Why Walk? Health benefits, etc.
Tuesday- Walking Tips
Wednesday - My Favorite Place I Walked This Week
Thursday - Walk and Eat
Friday - Fun Things to do on a Walk
Saturday - Travels
Sunday - Walking With God

I sort of followed this outline although as the month went on I changed it up a little. Still it helped me to keep on track. I didn't always have to come up with a subject off the top of my head.

Think Ahead

It was important to think ahead. I'd think about what was happening the next day or over the weekend that would hinder my writing. And also what I would be doing that would give me material for my writing. Most of my posts were photo driven so I made sure to carry my camera everywhere.  I was on the lookout for photo opportunities to include in my posts and to get my creative juices flowing.

Use Link Ups for Inspiration
I've never done much in the way of link ups or link parties but I ran across a few as the month went on that gave me ideas for posts. You can see an example in this post Blue Monday- Seeing Blue in Chattanooga and this one Monday Mural - Finding Street Art. It was a fun way to use pictures I already had. 

A few things I did ahead of time for those days I knew I wouldn't have time to write or be able to think straight:

Before the month started I went through my photos and picked the ones that I knew I wanted to use. I set up a special folder for these pictures. Having these pictures already in a folder helped to jump start my writing. I didn't waste time searching.

I collected up several pictures and bible scriptures. This was so I could have little 'time off' on Sunday. Just a scripture and a photo made it an easy post. Here's an example Walk With God - He Goes Before You

On a couple of my posts I let the experts speak. I used quotes from various articles I found that could tell better than I could about the health benefits of walking. It's OK to use one or two sentences like this as long as you don't copy the whole article and you be sure to give credit to the author. This is an example Why Walk? Pain Relief.

That's a few of the things I did to be successful in this challenge. I know we're all different and have different challenges in our lives and what worked for me may not work for someone else. I just hope that by sharing my experience I might help someone who may have struggled through this month. I'm already looking forward to next October!

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