February Challenge

Unlocking Your Creative Potential

In One Month, You’ll Have A Year’s Worth of Ideas

Welcome to the second month of our transformative journey. If January set the rhythm of writing consistently, February is about igniting the spark of creativity. This month, we invite you to join the Ideation and Creativity Challenge. Over the next four weeks, we’re focusing on demolishing the dreaded ‘Writer’s Block’ and unlocking a treasure trove of ideas.

Why Ideation and Creativity?

Ideation is the soil where the seed of a story is planted; creativity is the sunlight and water that nurtures it. This month is about stretching your imagination, breaking free from clichés, and daring to explore uncharted territories in your writing.

In the heart of every writer burns the flame of creativity. Sometimes, this flame flickers under the pressures of daily life. Our challenge this month is to fan these flames into a roaring fire of ideas, characters, and worlds waiting to be explored.

What’s In store?

1. Daily Creativity Exercises: Activities designed to increase the quality, speed, and quantity of your idea-generating process.

2. Exclusive Lessons: Learn amazing techniques to stay inspired and innovative.

3. The Creativity Journal: A specially designed journal for you to record and develop your burgeoning ideas.

4. Idea Incubator: A community-built mega-list of shared ideas. Collaboration breeds creativity.

5. The Ideation Intensive: Join the 7 Days To Unlimited Ideas challenge-within-a-challenge in the final week to find out just how much you are capable of.

6. Weekly Office Hours: Join Ryan, Creag, and other challenge participants to share ideas and have some fun.

7. A Rewarding Finish: They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. If you stick with us for 28, you’ll be well on your way to the most creative year of your life.

How It Works

This challenge has 2 tracks. A lite-track anyone can participate in, and the full-track for Premium members. The breakdown is as follows:

Lite Track

Introductory lessons and Week 1 activity

Access to the community Idea Incubator

To complete the challenge, finish the daily exercise and say “Done” in the Challenge Hub area of the community Discord each day during February. We encourage you to share your favorite, best, or wackiest idea every day.

Full Track

Everything in the lite track, plus:

Weeks 2 and 3 of creativity instruction and activities

Exclusive lessons

The Creativity Journal

Join in on the weekly office hours

Access to the 7 Days To Unlimited Ideas Intensive

Completion Prizes

To complete the challenge, finish the daily exercise of the week and say “Done” in the Challenge Hub area of the community Discord each day during February. We encourage you to share your favorite, best, or wackiest idea every day.

To join the full track, grab a Premium membership by clicking here.

Join Us and Defeat Writer’s Block Forever

Embark on this exciting journey with a community of like-minded creatives.

This month is more than just a challenge; it’s a transformative experience. By training your mind to think creatively and generate ideas on demand, you’ll create a wellspring of concepts for years to come. Say goodbye to writer’s block and hello to a boundless universe of ideas.

February is a time to dream big, think outside the box, and let your creative spirits soar.

Let’s enjoy the process.

Week 1 & Official Introduction

(for both Lite & Full Tracks)

One of the most common struggles of first-time, new, and casual writers is the dreaded ‘Writer’s Block.’  That feeling that you are suddenly stuck and do not know where to go next.  A freezing sensation that you are out of ideas, inspiration, motivation, or whatever it was that was fueling your manuscript, and you have no idea how to move it forward.

This month, we are challenging you to bust your writer’s block.  As in, permanently.

Sound impossible?

That’s only because you don’t, yet, have a clear understanding of what Writer’s Block is, and how to defeat it.  For most of us, Writer’s Block is sort of a mystical frustration that is nebulous in origins and vague in solutions.  In actuality, Writer’s Block can be easily defined and, through definition, overcome.

In short, Writer’s Block is not a lack of ideas or motivation or inspiration: it is an improperly trained mental muscle.

Lots of new writers only write when they feel “inspired” to do so, and ultimately have a halting and inconsistent process or workflow.  Well, we just challenged all of you to spend a month writing absolutely every single day without fail, and those of you who completed that exercise are going to have a jump start on this month’s challenge.  If you did not take part in January, don’t worry.  We’re going to train you to think.

That’s right: thinking can be trained just the same way that a mechanical skill or physical event can be trained.

Over the course of the month, we will be challenging you to engage in daily ideation—or idea-generation—tools and exercises that will dramatically ramp up your creative process.  And by the end of the month, you should have dozens, if not HUNDREDS, of ideas to write towards.  Goodbye, writer’s block.  Plus, as a consequence of learning to think and generating ideas, your mind will begin to generate its own more organically.

That is, the more ideas you create, the more ideas you’ll create—even outside the bounds of the exercises we prescribe.

For the first three weeks, we are going to be focusing on three tenets of ideation: Quality, Speed, and Quantity.  Because how great would it be to be able to come up with lots of great ideas really quickly?  By the end of the month, you will be able to.

The final week of the month will be a crash-course intensive geared towards taking the skills that you developed over the prior three weeks, and applying them in new, abstract ways that will supercharge your creativity.

When this month is over, you will hopefully have a library, a VAULT of ideas so deep and compelling, you will be able to write for years just from that well.  And that doesn’t even include what you come up with on your own once you’ve started training your brain to think creatively on demand.

Are you ready to bust Writer’s Block forever?  Let’s get started.

Week 1/The Lite Track

For the first week, we are going to focus on quality.  That means taking one idea and finding a way to make it bigger, grander, wilder than on initial blush.  For that, we are going to utilize two creativity exercises: The Dictionary Method and a What-If chain.

For non-premium members, this exercise is going to be considered the “Lite Track,” and this is the ideation exercise you are going to follow for the whole month. Trust us: this is more than enough for you to start generating dozens of ideas the more you do it. A recommendation: alternate back and forth between the “What If” questions and the “Escalation Chain” to get practice at both as the month goes on.

First: the Dictionary Method.  It’s very simple.  Open up a dictionary, or thesaurus, or go to dictionary.com, and point to a random word on the page.  Or, if you are at dictionary.com, tell it to pick a random word.

This is now your topic.  You cannot change it, you cannot try for another one, that defeats the whole purpose of this exercise.  Whatever word you point to, or whatever word is selected is your topic for idea generation.

Next, you are going to use the What-If Questions to begin to generate potential storylines about this word.  The list of questions appears below.  Keep asking questions until you feel like you’ve come up with something truly compelling that you would like to write about.  Then jump in the Discord and say ‘Done!’ and if you feel comfortable, share your topic and the idea you came up with. 

Alternatively, you can take your topic and follow the “escalation chain”. Ask yourself an increasingly ridiculous series of questions that get bigger and more grand until you end up with an idea you are excited about! Here’s an example.

I just got the random word “Coal.”  Alright, here we go.

Escalation Chain

What if I got a lump of coal in my christmas stocking

What if every present I unwrapped was a lump of coal

What if I got all my friends to give their kids nothing but coal for christmas

What if an entire town agreed to give all the kids coal for christmas

What if every day of the year lumps of coal appear at the bottom of the chimney

What if Santa went rogue and gave every child in the world coal for christmas, and now there is a global shortage?

What-If Questions

  • What if I used ____
  • What if I had an outrageous number of ____
  • What if _____ didn’t exist
  • What if _____ was rare
  • _____ was taboo
  • scared of ____
  • _____ was the key to magic
  • _______ is SF technology
  • the opposite of _____ was normal
  • the next evolution of ______
  • something random had _______
  • How would a game involving ______ be played
  • How could _____ be sentimental

It’s Time to Start Thinking!

Alright.  That’s your assignment this week.  Take one word a day and start asking questions about it until you get to a story idea you think is a Quality idea.  A good one.  One you would be interested in writing about.

Then sound off and share!

Start thinking!

Week 2: Speed and the List of 10

This training is available to Premium members only. Thank you for supporting Elegant Literature and new writers around the world.

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