The Writer's Challenge

As writers, we know the importance of having a platform. We court  followers on Twitter, fans on Facebook and blog weekly or monthly as if our lives depended on it. And up to a point they do--our artistic lives that is.

Without an audience for our works, we create alone, our talents born to die unseen.

Thousands of great blogs appear on the Net every day. Every day new bloggers join the throng vying for attention. How can writers ensure their blog will stand out from the crowd?

The marketers tell you content is king. But hundreds of thousands of blogs have great content. You need something more.

Writing Challenges

When Nanowrimo.  the world famous National Novel Writing Month, started, it had six or seven participants, all friends. Now  thousands of writers clear their desks ready for a writing sprint in November. The website and forums buzz with global activity and everyone has heard of Chris Baty and his book No Plot No Problem.

Last year I discovered Nina Amir's Nanofimo--and Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo. Again both sites started quietly with one of two participants and now are famous through word of mouth for their outstanding content and helpful challenges.

Our own Writers on the Move all have helpful blogs. Joan Y Edwards has created PubSubWeek encouraging writers to submit a new proposal on the third week of each month. Again her support and helpful advice encourages loyal supporters who follow her blog regularly.

Writing Challenges can be free--and most are until they build up a strong following--or supported by donations or run on a paid-for platform when their value is proven.

Challenge Yourself

What would most appeal to you? Why not organise it? 

  • Choose the challenge.
  • Decide on the time frame--will it be week-long? month-long? Annual or one-off?
  • Find followers to help the start-up, to write encouraging and/or advisory Web posts.
  • Find sponsors to donate gifts and/or edits or reviews/ or whatever would be the ideal gift for your challenge.
  • Add a forum to your website to provide a home for participants' tasks and comments.
  • Decide whether this will be open or visible only to those who register.
  • Advertise your challenge, time and place on FB and Twitter.
  • Update your content daily throughout the challenge.

So what if only one person signs up? If your idea is good, it will grow year on year bringing you more fans and followers than you ever anticipated. Start by leaving just one challenging idea in the comments and see who might be interested.

 Anne Duguid is a freelance content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and she passes on helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers 


Karen Cioffi said...

Anne, great motivational piece on why we should all be blogging. You really just never know what will 'catch' on fire.

It could be one particular post. We have a post here at Writers on the Move with 947 views, as of today. And, it only published January 10th, 2014.

You can check the post out here:
On Writerly Resolutions

That’s a lot of visibility for the author and the site!

Blogging works, but you need to be consistent and persevere.

Linda Wilson said...

Anne, this is exactly what I'm working on right now! Your advice is helping me get there. Thanks for a great post!

Melinda Brasher said...

Great inspiration and advice. Challenges really help me accomplish goals, but I never really thought of trying to organize one for others.

Melinda Brasher said...

I took your advice and created the Sunday Night Query Society--for people who want to try sending out one novel query (or short story submission, article proposal, etc) per week. It's in its infancy now, but it's ready to join, so, to all the writers out there, if this sounds like it would push you in the right direction, come join:

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Just checked out Maggie's article on Writerly Resolutions--don'y know how I missed it earlier. Well worth reading and rereading.
Blogging work better for me when I share posts with like-minded writers. For that Writers on the Move is perfect.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Signed up Melinda but one submission a week sounds heavy with my schedule--shall start by trying one a month...Lovely website and good idea.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Can't wait to see what you come up with, Linda. Please let us know when you've finalized your ideas.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

should have written "Blogging works better..." whoops. Fingers too fast for their own good. :-)

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Annie, here's what I came up with. I'm taking a 10-week online fiction course beginning Feb. 17th. My goal is to get the outline finished for the second book in my MG mystery series, while finishing editing the first book. I'd like to begin writing book 2 by the end of the course and have the editing complete on book 1. Your post is directly related to this plan--you helped me set me on fire to get somewhere with my mystery series idea! Thanks!

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