Chances are that if you're reading this right now, you love a challenge. The Writer's Games just finished up which is The Writer's Workout's biggest writing competition of the year. If you've participated, you know how much of a challenge it can be coming up with an entry each week. But despite the challenge, or perhaps because of it, we still come back to the Games again and again.
But what is it about writing challenges that we love so much? Let's take a look at some of the reasons we're attracted to the challenge.
Writing competitions and challenges bring out the competitiveness in all of us. We might be competing with our friends, but that doesn't mean we don't want to win or place in first, second, or third.
And a little bit of competitiveness is good. It can be the spark we need to push us out of our writer's block. It can also make us work harder, push the limits of our skills, and write stories we didn't think we had in us.
Writing challenges often give us a solid deadline to have our work done by. The ticking clock counting down the minutes until the end of the challenge can really spur you on. I know when I don't have a deadline, I don't feel the urgency to work on a piece of writing.
I don't have a set deadline for my WIP so it has kind of stalled. I don't work on it as much as I should. But when I'm participating in a writing challenge with a deadline, I write like my life depends on it.
Something about a deadline just makes the task seem so much more urgent and the ideas just come and BOOM, you wrote a story in three days.
Variety of Prompts
Writing challenges also offer a variety of different prompts and allow you to write stories in genres you normally don't. The first time I participated in Games, my first story was historical fiction. I had never written historical fiction in my life. But I did it because that's what the Event called for and I loved it. Without that prompt, who knows if I would have written in that genre.
Writing challenges give us the chance to explore and have fun with ideas we might be too nervous to try in a different setting. I don't know if I would have tried to write a historical fiction novel, but I was fine with writing a short story in that genre.
Testing Your Abilities
Writing challenges are also a great way to test and practice your writing skills. You can't get better if you don't practice, right? And what better way to practice than by participating in a fun writing challenge?!
Try writing in a different POV than you normally do or try out a new technique you just learned at a writing workshop you attended. With most writing challenges, the stakes aren't incredibly high. Sure, we all want to win or at least do our best, but it's not life or death.
The low stakes allow you to try out new skills without feeling like your writing career will be over if you mess up. I swear you will still be able to publish a novel even if you write a less-than-great story for a writing challenge.
And if you're participating in a writing challenge like The Writer's Games where you get feedback for each entry, testing out your abilities can be incredibly helpful. When you learn what worked and what didn't, your skills as a writer can only improve.
What do you love about writing challenges? Let us know in the forum or on social media!
About the Author: Sarah Perchikoff is a writer and blogger, and the Director of Brand for the Writer's Workout. She also writes for Culturess, Netflix Life, and Guilty Eats. When she's not writing, she loves to read, watch way too much TV, and further her addiction to Sour Patch Kids and french fries. You can connect with her on Twitter: @sperchikoff