I set myself a challenge this week…

If my wife sees this then she might remark, “Not a lot”, and that would probably be fair.

At the outset of the week I set myself a challenge of getting onto WordPress a lot of the ideas I had stored up and to just see what I was capable of spewing out over 7 days.  In addition to writing I also set myself the challenge of reading as much as I could too.  A kind of total immersive experience.

As a bit of context, I have a job and a family and other commitments so it was very much a case of seeing what I could fit in where.  I do a typical 8-4 in a large bank running a team of programmers, the boys have rugby Wednesday and Thursday evenings, it was my nephew’s birthday on Wednesday and I didn’t get out of work until well after 6 on Friday.  Oh, most of Saturday and Sundays are spent doing something rugby related somewhere in Yorkshire too – so time is at a premium.

So how did it go?

Well by the time this is published I think I will have managed in the region of 27 posts during the week and have read somewhere in the ball park of 300 other peoples articles.

When it comes to reading it was simply a case of getting up one hour early each day (at least) and spending from 5.30 am to 6.30 am reading, liking, commenting or sometimes skipping over other peoples work.  A week or two ago I actually read every single post in The Daily Prompt.  Over 200.  I think it was on flavour.

There was some great stuff that I have taken inspiration from, new people I am now following and I seem to have picked up new followers on the way.  If I had something constructive or really enjoyed a piece I said so, I didn’t just constantly like, I tried very much to engage in what I was doing and with the author.

As for writing, it was very much a case of being disciplined and creative with my time.

I planned the week, did a spreadsheet of what I wanted to do each day and tracked it day by day.  Many of my pieces were related to weekly challenges from other bloggers so knowing what came out when was key.

So after a week I seem to have produced :

  • 7 Daily limericks plus one Sunday Limerick piece
  • 10 Pieces of flash fiction or micro fiction stories
  • 5 Haiku posts, some in response to other peoples challenges
  • half a dozen commentary type pieces, often based on what’s been going on in the world.

Each night I would try grab an hour or more after the kids were in bed, and if I was helping them with their homework I would perhaps write when I was doing that – either in my note book or on my tablet.  I’ve watched less TV too.  Something had to give.

At work I was more disciplined about taking a lunch break and would use 30 to 40 minutes writing.  I will also admit to writing a fair few limericks on some of the more tedious calls I have to attend from time to time.

One morning I took the youngest to tutoring which is 45 minutes, and in that time as I waited I managed to write the outline for 3 more short stories, so waste not want not.

I then proceeded to post 3 or 4 a day.  Was it necessary?  Could I have stored them up? I simply wanted to write, I wasn’t really bothered by those sort of thoughts.  I may post nothing this next week, and if that’s the case then so be it.

As for the numbers, not something I spend a lot of time worrying about, but it was by far my best week ever.  I do know I had more likes, comments, views and visitors than any other week, and I don’t think my quality was greatly diminished – I still tried to do my best with the things I tackled.

I did think I might have been short of inspiration for so many pieces but I was surprised by just how much I still had left by the end of the week – I think I now have more ideas that I started with.  It feels to me like the creative process, once stimulated, really can run away with itself.

That’s just my experience though, I have only been doing this for a few months so don’t claim to know much about this lark – I only know I enjoy doing it.

Michael