How To Overcome Writing Stagnation by Designing Your Own 30-Day Challenge

A detailed guide to getting past a creative plateau and defining your next steps as a writer

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All illustrations by the author.

If you want to overcome stagnation, you need a change.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You ThereA Boost in Quantity Inevitably Leads to Higher Quality4 Common Sources of Stagnation, and How Daily Writing Addresses Them
PROBLEM #1: I was addicted to external validation
PROBLEM #2: I didn’t know what needed improving and what needed reinforcing
PROBLEM #3: I experienced self-doubt often
PROBLEM #4: I wasn’t sure what kind of writer I wanted to be
Challenge Yourself in a Smart and Deliberate WayHow to Design Your Writing Challenge Step-by-Step
Decide on the Parameters
Decide on how much time you’ll spend daily—and when
Determine a target word count
Clarify your content and style goals
Set intentions for posting and promotion
Create a checklist
During Your Challenge Period
Measuring your results
Create an accountability support system
Evaluate your challenge regularly
How to Draw Conclusions From Your 30-Day Challenge
Step 1: Create a table with all the data
Step 2: Mark top views and engagement
Step 3: Mark curiosities and personal favorites
Step 4: Find the intersection of readers’ and my own preferences
Step 5: Analyze the content of the top 20%
Step 6: Formulate recommendations for the future

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

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“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

A Boost in Quantity Inevitably Leads to Higher Quality

“Quality of output is closely connected to sheer quantity, so that the single best creative product tends to appear at that point in the creative career when the creator is the most prolific overall.” — Dean Keith Simonton, Handbook of Creativity

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4 Common Sources of Stagnation, and How Daily Writing Addresses Them

PROBLEM #1: I was addicted to external validation

PROBLEM #2: I didn’t know what needed improving and what needed reinforcing

“The audience will tell you what works and what doesn’t work. It’s a test. Every piece of content is a test to see what they like and don’t like. Your job is to figure out how to play the game.”

PROBLEM #3: I experienced self-doubt often

PROBLEM #4: I wasn’t sure what kind of writer I wanted to be

Challenge Yourself in a Smart and Deliberate Way

“Real success and learning occurs only when individuals choose and commit to their own standards and goals that are personally meaningful.” — Project Adventure

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“What a revelation that the simple affording of choice could achieve more toward growth of self awareness and image than what used to require large doses of performance pressure. What a relief!” — Karl Rohnke

How to Design Your Writing Challenge Step-by-Step

“When I do a 30-day challenge, most of the discipline happens before Day 1. It’s the mental discipline to clearly decide on the parameters and make a real decision to do the challenge. I get myself to the point of being all-in before I start. The discipline happens in the pre-challenge setup work.”

Decide on the Parameters

Decide on how much time you’ll spend daily—and when

Determine a target word count

Clarify your content and style goals

Set intentions for posting and promotion

Create a checklist

Image for post
Image for post

During Your Challenge Period

Measuring your results

Create an accountability support system

Evaluate your challenge regularly

How to Draw Conclusions From Your 30-Day Challenge

“By experiencing pleasure, one does not necessarily savor. Attentive and appreciative awareness of the pleasure must also occur or we would not consider the experience to involve savoring.”

Step 1: Create a table with all the data

Step 2: Mark top views and engagement

Step 3: Mark curiosities and personal favorites

Step 4: Find the intersection of readers’ and my own preferences

Step 5: Analyze the content of the top 20%

Step 6: Formulate recommendations for the future

Written by

What if you stopped treating your ego as the enemy and befriended it instead? To find out, read my new book, Ego-Friendly: https://gumroad.com/l/ego-friendly

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