In early April I started a challenge. A 100 day challenge to be creative each day.
At first that seemed a little unstructured to me. 100 days of creativity? What kind of creativity? What can be defined as being creative? Drawing, writing, painting or building?
I needed something to define this if I was going to take this path.
So I decided to do 100 days of writing.
I set myself a goal of 500 words a day. Not a huge task, but also, what I thought, an achievable goal.
I invited some friends to join me, creative writers like me.
At first it was pretty OK, I had some good ideas to work on. Some commission work and an outline of a novel or at least long form story. I got 37 days under my belt until it all fell apart. I added a few more days after that, but I never got back into the swing.
My mate Zles was on a roll, he got to 60 days before his muse ran out of steam.
So what stopped us?
Partly, for me at least, I lost confidence in my process. I was talking with another writer about how I was building the story that was forming. He questioned my “write first” theory. This caused me to re-think my whole way of creating.
You see I didn’t have a plan for this story. The ideas I had changed after each new idea formed. For me the creation of the story – the whole – was being made by little ideas. Tested in a few hundred word bites. To me I wasn’t creating a final piece just pieces that could become a larger story.
I even posted some notes on the wall beside my desk – simple dot points that formed from the writing sessions.
This horrified the other writer. “What is the point of the work, the writing, if you might not use it?”
To him my experiment of writing each day needed to have more structure to it. A reason. He suggested a plan for the whole story, know that before you write anything.
To me this was stunting me, stopping my flow.
It was then that I doubted myself and the point of the 100 Day Challenge.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that planning is important and for the commission work I do follow a plan.
But for me the 100 Day Challenge was about writing. By stopping to plan I lost the muse that allowed me to bang out 500 + words a night.
I work best when I can let myself write. But, that needs to be with some form of structure, a plan or at least an idea.
Also next time, I am going to aim for a short period of time. Aligned with a plan and some structure, I really could get some good value out of my personal creative writing.