If you are a writer, a blogger, or an artist, an invitation to take part in a challenge can spur you to greater inspiration and output. Challenges motivate you to try new forms of artistic expression or to set more ambitious goals.
On social media, writers and artists reach out from around the world to connect with like-minded creatives and issue challenges.
If you’ve been meaning to blog more regularly, challenges can help you do that.
Some challenges come with an expectation that all joiners will commit to the entire run of the challenge. Others allow you to drop in and participate whenever you want. Rules vary. Some are very specific; others allow great latitude.
Why to participate in challenges:
- To try something new you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t yet. Stop procrastinating. Move out of your comfort zone. Grow—as a writer, as an artist, as a person.
- To teach yourself discipline by committing to perform at a certain level for a specific (or indefinite) length of time.
- To become aware of the work of other creatives. Once you enter a challenge, you’ll probably be curious to find out how others are interpreting a prompt or responding to the challenge. Seeing other ideas will stretch your imagination in new ways. Usually you can follow a tag on social media to find other entries. Sometimes you’ll make connections with people whose work you admire. They can be sources of inspiration and support, as well as quality entertainment and education.
- To drive new traffic to your blog. See #3. Other participants may want to check out your challenge entries, and if they like what they see, they may become regular followers of your work.
In the year and a half that I’ve been writing ARHtistic License, I’ve taken part in the following challenges:
- Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Cee is a professional photographer and instructor who maintains a dynamite blog and issues multiple challenges. Fun Foto has a weekly theme.
- Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge This is for those pictures that defy categorization. You felt compelled to click the shutter, but it’s not a landscape, not a portrait, not a flower, not really a still life, it’s just… weird.
- Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge For anything connected with transportation: vehicles, roads, signs, etc.
- Cee’s Flower of the Day Every day, Cee posts a flower of the day. If you create a blog post featuring a photograph you’ve taken of a flower, share a link in the comment section of Cee’s latest Flower of the Day post.
- Tuesdays of Texture Exploring those visuals that make you want to touch.
- A Photo a Week Challenge Nancy Merrill is the photographer behind this challenge. New theme every Thursday.
- 52 Weeks Photo Challenge New theme every Monday. Scroll until you find the current post.
- Wordless Wednesday For this informal challenge, post a photograph on any social media using the hashtag #WordlessWednesday. Theoretically, no words are necessary to explain your photo.
- Daily Post Photo Challenge New theme every Friday.
- Color Your World Jennifer Nicole Wells’ color challenge.
- My 500 Words The first challenge I ever took. This challenge changed my life by proving to me that I am a writer. Thank you, Jeff Goins.
- NaNoWriMo Write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel in November along with hundreds of thousands of other writers.
- Weekend Writing Warriors We all want feedback on our work. Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors post 8-10 sentences of a work-in-progress. Participants also read and comment on each other’s snippets.
- Share Your World Another of Cee’s challenges. Every week she asks several questions that you can answer, if you choose to.
- OctPoWriMo October is Poetry Writing Month. The goal is to write a poem a day for 31 days. I managed to write three poems last October, but I will try again this year.
- A to Z Challenge To participate in this challenge, you post daily in April (most Sundays excluded) featuring something that starts with the letter of the day.
- Holidailies Post daily during the month of December.
- Daily Post Challenge A new prompt every day.
- And, this year I’m also participating in the Writing Cooperative’s 52-Week Writing Challenge to write one “thing” a week (which feels like cheating for me, since I post new content every day on ARHtistic License).
- Inktober An ink drawing every day in October. I managed three drawings last October. (Sigh.) I’ll try again this year.
- Index-Card-a-Day Challenge Daily during June and July, do something creative on an index card.
- World Watercolor Month Make a watercolor painting every day in July. I did mine on an index card to do double duty (see Index-Card-a-Day Challenge, above).
- String Symphony Challenge A 2016 Zentangle challenge though a Facebook group, Zentangle All Around. This year there’s a new challenge, Taking It to the Next Level, and an art journaling study, and a Friday art journaling prompt. (I haven’t decided yet whether I will do any of these. I will probably “lurk” for a while.) You have to join the group first to be able to participate.
Do you have artistic goals that you want to accomplish this year? Then you may want to participate in the ARHtistic License Creative Goals Challenge.
How do I find out about challenges?
I find out about challenges mostly when the bloggers I follow participate in one. Many blog hosts offer easy ways for you to find blogs that share your interests. WordPress has a Reader feature. You can list tags you’re interested in, and any WordPress blog post that contains that tag will automatically show up in your Reader queue. Here are some of the tags I follow: art, creativity, faith, piano, memoir, quilting, writing. You get the idea. I also add tags for whichever challenges I’m participating in at the time. When I find a particular blog that I like, I subscribe to it. I might not read it every day, but I’ll either get a notification through email or see it when I scroll through my Reader. I think I’m following about 200 blogs at the present time…
Here are some other sources of challenges:
What about you? Do you participate in any challenges? Which ones? How did it work out for you? Did you learn something as a result of taking the challenge? Share in the comments below.