The One-Week Writing Challenge
Being a writer is weird.
Not only for the act of it, but the idea of it. It’s a weird hobby and an even weirder way to make a living. We put words together and people pay us for it. (Weird)
But there’s just something about it — something fascinating, something alluring, something that makes people want to be able to say that they are a Writer.
In fact, people loving talking about the craft. Yet, all too often I hear from people who are writers, but not really. They want to be one, but they don’t write. They love it, but they don’t love doing it. They know they can do it, but they simply don’t. (The weirdest)
For them, though a passion, it’s become an unexplored creative outlet, something they’ve always wanted to do but will always do later, and therefore it’s never done.
But, the great truth, the secret to being a writer, is that it’s not hard. Anyone can do it, but a real writer can't not do it. Writers write, and a lot of other people just talk about it. So, if you want to be a writer, know that no one will give it to you. You have to write.
Time to Become a Writer
Ready for a challenge? It comes with these short, daily writing exercises (1 hour a day for 7 days).
Overall, your challenge is not to write anything for anyone else’s review. Your challenge is to write something that no one else ever could — to demonstrate that unique voice and perspective inside you that has been screaming to get out and play; something so...unapologetically you.
You say you want to write because you hear it, you feel it, so now let everyone else hear it and feel it for themselves.
Challenge Day 1: Find Your Voice — It's not as hard as it might sound. Sure, a writer's voice usually comes with time — not because it isn't there, but because they don't know how to find it.
But, you’re here because you hear it in you, so now it's up to you to confidently and audaciously dig deep and bring it out.
My suggestion: simply look for the writing that absolutely inspires you, and collect it in a single doc. It can be poetry, song lyrics, movie quotes, speeches, whatever. But, when you collect it all, you can start looking for patterns. You can start seeing the things that get your heart beating faster. You can start applying what you've learned to your own writing. That collection — those patterns — they will make up your voice. That is where your energy lives.
Pro Tip: Don't copy & paste it. Actually transcribe it. Write it word for word, line by line. You will understand it better. You will be dissecting it without even realizing it. You will learn from it.
Deliverable: A single Google doc filled with your favorite writing.
Challenge Day 2: Be Observant — A major part of writing is observing the world, people in it, and the things they create, and then gleaning insights from it. That's why I want you to take your headphones out, take a walk or observe the world. Consume someone, something, anything, and find an ah-ha Moment — that unexpected realization or discovery of something new or notable that inspires great thought and discussion.
Then, put that Moment in writing and make the reader feel the same power you felt when you realized it.
Pro Tip: Do this on paper or screen, not in your head. Talk about things as if you are writing to a friend, but keep in mind that no one has to read your brain dump. The simple act of vomiting thoughts onto the page will create a stream of consciousness that is truly your writing voice. Some consider it a little man who sits in your brain somewhere and does that actual writing for you. I can't see any scientific reason for that not being absolutely true.
Deliverable: A description in the same Google doc of your ah-ha revelation, however long you want or need it to be. Put it all in there. Don’t get it right, get it written. Draft and craft!
Challenge Day 3: Rewrite Something Great — Grab one of those pieces of writing from Day 1 that moves you, and make whatever changes you want to improve it.
Find the holes. Find where it lacks rhythm. Find where you can infuse pieces of yourself into it. Make it your own. Make it better.
Pro Tip: do this with everything! I have recorded people in my time who sounded incredibly brilliant out loud only to find out that, when transcribed, what they were saying, though convincing, was actually contradictory and meaningless. The action of writing words down, by hand or by typing, unlocks a part of your brain that is more critical to meaning. As you develop that part of your brain, you will be a much stronger writer.
Deliverable: A single piece of writing rewritten in the same Google doc. It’s something you love, but you have now made it your own by finding its weak points.
Challenge Day 4: Get Weird — The weirdest people around are on Reddit, but they have some useful writing prompts. Go explore them and get inspired. Write off of one, or many, and see where the prompt takes you.
Pro Tip: share your work with them. Writing is a contact sport and you only get better by sharing and accepting criticism. You don't have to take it, but you should find out how people are receiving it — especially since it's anonymous and you can tell them to fuck off.
Deliverable: The results of your favorite prompt captured in that same Google doc.
Challenge Day 5: Share Your Thinking — I respect the writers on Medium, even the bad ones, because they at least put themselves out there. Too often, people see the sharing of work as scary. The truth about blog content is: it's not very regulated. It's not that sacred. It’s not that scary. No one is really judging you. There is no great barrier to entry and your reader will likely forget about you within seconds. So, if you have something to say, just say it. Write a short article (500-900 words) and don’t get caught up on what people will think.
It can be about ANYTHING. Just write.
Pro Tip: Some people like to slave over long-form pieces, such as articles. The truth behind almost every single one of my articles is I did too. I overthink it all, worrying about how it will exist online and what people will think of me. I worry about mistakes constantly. But then I got so frustrated with myself for taking so long and being overly critical with myself and my work that now I just write something quickly and post it before I can stop myself. I accept that it will never be perfect, and I post. Do the same thing. Don't overthink it. Just write what you want to say for one single focused hour and run toward the fear! It's not as scary as you think it is. In fact, you'll probably find there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place.
Deliverable: A short article, even if only a draft, in that famous Google doc, and then also post that damn thing on Medium. Don’t you dare sit on it.
Challenge Day 6: Articulate Yourself — Of all the writing we do here at Digital Surgeons, the Brand Articulations are the most fun. They are a collection of writing that represents, inspires, and transforms the brand and business. It’s a single document that dictates all marketing efforts moving forward while representing the essence of the brand. It’s an accumulation of business, strategy, and pure creativity. It’s both an unbelievable thrill and a challenge writing them.
That's why you're not only going to develop your skills, you're going to develop your brand as a Writer by writing an articulation FOR YOURSELF!
What is your archetype, your voice, your positioning, your story, your mission, your vision, your values, your manifesto? Pretend you’re a brand. How do you articulate yourself for the world to not only understand you but connect with you? What stories can only you tell? What makes you unique?
Pro Tip: On any articulation, I find a piece of writing that speaks to the Soul of the brand and let it inspire all of the writing after. It’s writing that shows the energy of the brand — that brings it to life! It seems like you might have already found your Soul on Day 1.
Deliverable: An articulation, as deep and developed as you can get it, all captured in...you guessed it...that same Google doc!
Challenge Day 7: Fight for Your Work — Recently, I asked two writers from Digital Surgeons when they first felt that they were truly a Writer and also comfortable saying so. Both said that it was after debating with me — fighting for what they wrote. It wasn't writing something great. It was fighting for it, believing in their craft so much that they would stand toe-to-toe with me and say they were right and I was wrong.
That's why you’re going to let me critique something you wrote for yourself. When you're ready, you will have done everything with purpose. That will mean you can defend it. I will critique it heavily. You will determine where to fight and where to learn.
Pro Tip: Believe in your work or no one else will.
Deliverable: Send me your Google doc or anything you believe in and wrote with Blood.
That’s it. One week, seven hours, and you’re a writer.
Do you accept the challenge?
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