Last year I walked into the October Poetry Writing Month (OctPoWriMo) challenge of writing 31 poems in 31 days blind. I tried to formulate a strategy that I could carry on to the next month with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) as I was beginning the challenge, but by the end, I had thrown everything out the window. I just needed to write. I had to finish.
I ended up completing the poetry writing challenge again this year. I went in with a flexible plan. Write a few poems at a time, have a theme or several that can give you ideas for poem content, and just write whenever you can. It ultimately worked. I finished on time with a few smaller hiccups along the way, but I wasn’t as frantic as I was the year before about rushing to get a certain amount of poems done on time. Yes, the task was still a big one, but things seemed to go a little smoother.
These tips that I picked up from doing OctPoWriMo this year is what I carried with me throughout this month’s NaNoWriMo challenge, and I have noticed that things are going a lot easier with NaNoWriMo than they were last year. Who knew preparing and planning for things actually helped you complete tasks?
What I have learned from completing OctPoWriMo a second time is that just sitting down and scheduling a time to write without editing until after you are finished is key. Going all in and utilizing the random spaces in your day to squeeze in some writing is also helpful. Occasionally, if you do have a chance to get ahead, take it. There will be days or times when you will not be able to get your daily writing in, and you will need that bit of cushion you provided to stay on schedule.
However, the goal isn’t to hit word counts or even to complete a writing challenge using the rules given by said challenge. For myself, it’s about getting myself to recognize when there are times where I could squeeze a little more writing. What these challenges aim to do is help you sit down and focus on working some thoughts on to paper. It’s an encouraging starting point, a way to help you organize, and an inspiring task crafted to lure the average writer out to do what they love best—write.