Writing is a hard hobby…or career…or school project. I don’t judge why you’re writing–it’s hard no matter why that pen (or keyboard) is in your hands and that empty piece of paper (or writing document) is sitting empty in front of you! 😜
But learning how to write, or putting in the work to improve your writing, can be even harder! That’s why I have come up with three simple and FUN challenges that will test your writing abilities, push you just a little out of your comfort zone, and give you the chance to make great bounds towards becoming a better writer!
Without further ado, here are three simple and fun challenges to improve as a writer! I hope you find them enjoyable and helpful.
Challenge #1: Write one more sentence!
This challenge is particularly useful if you struggle with writer’s block, or get easily distracted and don’t get very much writing done. You get all distractions out of the way, sit down to write all alone in your room, and maybe you even get a few hundred words down on the page! Then your brain stops working on the story in front of you. It starts trying to think of any chores you may have missed or starts making you feel guilty for not doing something else in the time you have. Maybe it just gets overwhelmed because it starts overthinking the story, taking in the overall size of the project and not focusing on the one chapter you should be working on, which then cripples your productivity. (I definitely relate to this on a personal level!)
This is where the one more sentence challenge comes in. It’s literally in the name! Every time you write and begin to hit writer’s block, don’t focus on the overall novel, or the fact that the lawn might have to be mowed eventually. This is time for you to write. So write! Focus on the page in front of you, and ask yourself, “What should the next sentence be?”
Not the next paragraph. Not the next chapter. Not “How should the rest of the book go?” Only the next sentence. When you can answer the question, write that sentence down. Then do it again. And again. Hopefully four or five focused sentences in, you’ll have broken through your wall of distraction and can get back to a solid writing flow!
Challenge #2: Prompt-Based Practice Projects
Goodness, that was quite the alliteration! 🧐 😂
The second challenge is one of my personal favorites!! Do a quick writing prompt search online, or ask some friends to send you cool, interesting photos of landscapes, interesting buildings, or people.
Collect all these resources and start looking at them with the mind of a writer–searching for a story in the prompts. This doesn’t only work for novels or short stories–you can use this to write poems, flash fiction, and who knows, it might even help for a school project…if applicable!
As soon as you find a spark of a story or poem idea in the prompt, use it as inspiration to get writing!! I’ve done this plenty of times before, here, here, and here! It’s a lot of fun, gets you writing, and also helps stretch your creative muscles a lot!
Challenge #3: Word Sprinting
This simple but engaging challenge has helped me write tens of thousands of words!! Just a little while ago I was writing a 100,000+ word novel, and word sprinting REALLY helped me get through it, even on the days I was struggling to write!
The idea of a word sprint is setting a short amount of time (fifteen minutes to an hour, perhaps!) and then writing as fast and focused as you can until the timer runs out.
You can word sprint with a fellow writer competitively, playing a friendly game to see who can write the most words. You could also sprint by yourself, simply using that time to convince your mind to focus on writing…heck, if you really like accountability, but don’t have a lot of fellow writer friends, you could word sprint with your mom, or your siblings!
“But Caleb, my family doesn’t write!”
No problem! They don’t have to necessarily be writing–you could both set a time to do separate things. While you’re writing, they might have to be doing a chore, or getting some other kind of work done. Set a time, share the goals you wish to complete, and get to work! When the time is up, share with each other how much you got done. The accountability is very motivating!
And there you have it, three simple but very fun challenges to help you improve as a writer and get more words down on a page! I hope you find these helpful if you implement them. Have a beautiful day friend!
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