2016 is already 3 months gone, but I’m still catching up. As they say in New England, I’ve been wicked busy so far this year. I wanted to give a little shout out to two writing challenges that I have found really helpful.
Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 writing challenge is a paid subscription program, but the cost for a year of membership has been worth it in terms of both manuscripts completed and connections I have made with other writers and illustrators. It’s a wonderful writing community that spans absolute beginners to published authors.
Last year I did not manage to complete 12 drafts, but I did complete 8, which is pretty wonderful. This year I doubt I will make the magical 12 number either, but I continue to write new drafts, and revise last year’s, all while trying to complete the illustrations for the 2 book dummies I am working on.
The second is ReFoReMo, run by Carrie Charley Brown. Reading For Research Month challenges participants to read 100 picture books in a month. Last year ReFoReMo sparked a new habit of deeply researching books related to manuscripts I am working on, for use as mentor texts, or just to see what is already out there. This year I did not even try to keep up the reading pace during the month of the challenge, and instead, I plan to spread out my catch-up reading over the next couple of months.
It’s hard enough to find enough time to write, and read, and make art. So why participate in these challenges? For me, there is something about being part of a culture of productivity that spurs me to produce more. So time spent on these writing challenges, and reading blog posts, isn’t time wasted if it leaves me inspired and motivated to get back to the drawing board.