I Graduated! A Salute to Angie Karcher, and Balancing Writing Challenges

This past month I participated in Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo! Since April is National Poetry Month, it was a great way to celebrate and learn with other like-minded children’s writers. It’s a tough literary world out there for us rhyming folk, and it was so nice having a month and a program dedicated to those of us who think and even sometimes dream in verse. I loved learning that I’m not a rhyming writer swimming all alone in a sea of prose. So hats off to you Angie! It was a huge undertaking and I thank you so very much!

But it was just that, a huge undertaking! Angie provided us with so much amazing information and opportunities that by the middle of the second week I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. But the beautiful thing about the way she organized the program is that you could fully participate or pick and choose the things and timing that worked for you. Now I have a file of wonderful blog posts to read at my leisure so I can soak up all of the great information between writing gigs and working on my own manuscripts.

You may have noticed there are lots of opportunities like Angie’s popping up all over the writing world. What started as just NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has turned into a nearly-full, year-long calendar of writing challenges, blogging blitzes and twitter-pitch mania. It’s enough to make any writer’s head spin, especially since we all know that each new opportunity could be the “game-changer” we’ve all been waiting for. So here’s some advice for those of you thinking about signing up for these kind of opportunities:

  • Balance your time. If you sign up for a writer challenge or learning opportunity, unless you can quit your job and send your kids to their grandparents for a month, you must find a balance that works for you.
  • Don’t let writing challenges and learning opportunities take the place of writing. Writing is hard work. You can’t get around that. And as fun as these challenges are, they won’t take the place of the work you need to do to be successful.
  • Participate in only those challenges that apply to the type of writing you do. It’s hard for writers not to jump into every opportunity that seems like it might help them move their pawn a little further down the writing road. You must become an expert at what you do, so try and find things that best meet your writing needs at this time.
  • Build your own online platform. While doing challenges and twitter pitches and contests are great, don’t neglect the need to build your own online writer platform so you’re ready when opportunity comes your way.

I’m giving you a standing ovation Angie Karcher! You’ve done an amazing job and this rhyming-writer appreciates it more than you’ll ever know!

Sensibility– Taking advantage of writer challenges provides encouragement, networking opportunities and much-needed food for your writing soul.

Sense- Commit to the hard work it takes to be a writer and don’t get sidetracked by things that may or may not be helping you learn your craft.

What writing challenges have you participated in and why? Did you find them helpful?