Why I dumped my challenge

I'm dumping my latest creativity challenge

I made a decision last night. I was about to write ‘I made a tough decision last night’ but honestly, it wasn’t tough at all. I decided to dump my latest challenge.

Here’s why.

I came to Vietnam with a vague plan of sorts to do my copywriting work, work on my young adult (YA) novel and develop some online course ideas and digital products. I saw my days panning out with novel writing in the morning, copywriting during the day and course creation or digital product creation in the evening.

I did say ‘vague’ plan, right?

One of the digital products I want to create is a short book on creativity — looking at living a more creative life and getting people to believe and understand that creativity is not some ethereal or magical creature or the gift of a lucky few, but it’s something available to everyone.

I wish I could say the book idea came to me fully formed the way other stories do. No, it came to me as nothing more than a suggestion. This one idea has been pestering me for months now since I started reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had such a visceral reaction to her book. I shook my head at every turn of the page. I had to put it down. I couldn’t finish it. That’s rare for me.

One good thing came out of it, though, it made me want to write my own anti-Big Magic book. No, it’s not bloody magic. It’s science. And if it’s science, it can be learned and understood. I don’t know what sciency things creativity is yet, but I will find out. If I say the universe is telling me to write this book, am I being a hypocrite?

I am not a science person. I am a humanities-loving Arts major. So I know that this won’t be an easy book to write. I have to learn about neurological thingies and brain stuff! But I’m driven by a deep belief that there is a craft to creativity that can be learned and can be taught. No wands. No spells. Pure science.

I started researching what other people are saying about creativity and thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great to package up all this wonderful stuff on creativity and offer it as a free challenge to build my subscriber list?’ And you know what? It probably is a good idea, a GREAT way to build my subscriber list, but the thought of all the marketing and promotion work I would have to do to build that subscriber list felt too overwhelming. At least right now. I’ve done it for two other events I’ve run and it takes A LOT out of your day.

We all have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce (where did I get that quote?) but what we all don’t have is the same energy levels. I recently read this productivity article by copywriting colleague Katherine Pranic on Flying Solo and it resonated with me — we don’t need more hours in the day, we need more energy to make use of the hours available to us. Then I came across an article by Sarah Peck about not using the full hour, which made me rethink how I spend my time and let small tasks blow out into the available time I have, not the time I allot them.

I’m getting to the point — if you haven’t already jumped to the conclusion yourself.

I really REALLY want to write my novel. More than the product creation. More than course creation. And more than copywriting and ghostwriting for others. The gift of our trip to Vietnam and digital nomad life and my time here is perfect for making that happen. So I need to prioritise my creative writing and make use of the available time here. And energy. But I will have far less creative energy available if I allow hours in my day to expand with marketing a promoting my creativity challenge over the next few weeks and then run the challenge with full engagement. I’ll be better placed to run a creativity challenge when I’m further into my book and can replace ‘science thingies’ with the actual sciency terms.

I’m starting to feel like a kid pre-Christmas about writing my novel. A tingle of excitement is building. It’s plotted (thanks to the amazing Shaunta Grimes and her A Novel Idea course), my scenes are drafted and now it’s time to finish writing my book, The Verge of Summer.

So if you’ve read this far, please save me from having to run a challenge to grow my subscriber list and fill in the form below :)

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