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Writing Tips

One Full Year’s Worth Of 30-Day Writing Challenges For 2024

Alana Chase

November 22, 2023

At Eleven, we’re big fans of 30-day writing challenges. Our writers, editors, and account managers all have their favorites — from the National Novel Writing Month challenge (which our Head of Editing has completed three times!) to the month-long microblogging challenge (which captivated our Head of SEO). 

The beauty of these challenges is that they each target different skills and push you in different ways. And they all help you become a stronger, more self-assured, more consistent writer.

In this article, we’ve rounded up our favorite 30-day writing challenges — 12 total so you can complete one ‌each month of the year. You’ll find challenges to clear the creative cobwebs in your mind, refine your persuasive writing skills, experiment with new genres and styles, master narrative structure, and more. 

Let’s dive in!

List of challenges 

Tips and best practices

Thirty-day writing challenges are marathons, not sprints. Follow these tips to finish challenges without burning out:

  • Warm up with writing exercises before the challenge begins. For ideas, check out our favorite writing exercises.
  • Schedule writing time into your calendar so you’re more likely to commit to the challenge each day.
  • Eliminate distractions by decluttering your writing space and turning off all device notifications. 
  • Have the right mindset. Writing coach and author Nina Amir calls this the “secret sauce” that turns good writers into great ones. Be willing to commit, go outside your comfort zone, and remain optimistic and determined.
  • Write how and where you’re most comfortable — in your bedroom, on the couch, or out in nature, using a notebook and pencil, your computer, or even your phone or tablet. 
  • Get support. Let your friends and family know you’re completing a writing challenge so they can cheer you on — and not interrupt during writing time. Also, consider joining an online writing community like Eleven’s (coming soon!) to seek advice from other writers.
  • If you miss a day, jump back in the next. Life happens, but don’t let one interruption derail your goal.

30-day writing challenges for 2024

January: That’s So Random!

Skills it targets: Creativity and improvisation.

For January’s challenge, you’ll write in response to random prompts, incorporate random words into your writing, and use existing text as a jumping-off point for new work. 

Aim to write 500 words each day — about any topic you’d like — and follow this schedule:

  • January 1-10: Learn The New York Times’ Word of the Day and write in response to it or use it in your writing each day.
  • January 11-20: Use Semrush’s Free Title Generator to generate headlines based on a topic or keyword you input — like “Everything You Need to Know About Flower Care.” Each day, write an article based on a headline Semrush suggests. 
  • January 21-31: Choose a piece of writing — a book, blog article, short story, academic paper, etc. — and select a random line from it. Use that as the first line of your new work each day.

February: Devil’s Advocate

Skills it targets: Using persuasion, argumentation, and logic effectively in your writing.

Each day, take an opinion and write a piece that argues against it. For example, write 500 words on why pepperoni isn’t the tastiest pizza topping or why making your bed every morning isn’t actually necessary. 

The point of this challenge is to get you thinking about topics from new perspectives and refine your ability to create convincing arguments. 

Choosing a subject you feel passionate about and then writing a persuasive argument from the opposite side of the debate is also a great way to understand others’ perspectives and see the world in new ways. This is a wonderful exercise, not just for writing, but also for personal growth. 

March: Microblogging Madness

Skills it targets: Writing concisely and capturing readers’ attention quickly. 

In March, challenge yourself to write a microblog post each day. Pick any topic you’d like (use BlogSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator if you need inspiration) and explain it in 100 words or fewer. 

If the 100-word limit sounds too daunting, try the “Ship 30 for 30” Challenge instead. Each day, you’ll write an “Atomic Essay”: an essay focused on a single idea, written in under 250 words, and able to fit into a smartphone screenshot.

And if blogging isn’t your style but creative writing is, modify this challenge to a microfiction one: Write a new 100-word story each day in March. ServiceScape has a fantastic prompt generator (based on dozens of genres), and Reedsy can give you a plot outline, if you get stuck.

April: A Poem a Day

Skills it targets: ​​Using imagery and metaphorical expressions and conveying emotion in your writing.

​​​​Celebrate National Poetry Month by writing a poem every day in April. 

Write about whatever you want, in whatever poetic form — anything goes! Just challenge yourself to use strong imagery, metaphors, and emotions in your poems.

Even if you don’t plan to become the next poet laureate, improving your poetry can make you an all-around better writer in many unexpected ways. 

If you’re new to poetry or want more guidance throughout this challenge, check out these resources:

May: First and Last Lines

Skills it targets: ​​Crafting memorable beginnings and endings and experimenting with narrative structures.

On May 1, you have total freedom: write anything you want in as many words as you like. Then, on May 2, you’ll use the last line of your writing from May 1 as the first line of a new piece of writing. Continue this method each day for the rest of the month.

June: Journaling Challenge

Skills it targets: Injecting personality and authenticity into your writing.

​​For June, you’ll focus on self-expression by writing a daily journal entry. Reflect on your emotions, experiences, thoughts, and opinions. Write in your own unique voice, and be as authentic as possible. 

By the end of the month, you’ll have done what prolific writer Joyce Carol Oates has for decades. She’s ‌kept a journal since her early 20s and recommends regular journaling to writers of all levels

July: Parrot Challenge

Skills it targets: Understanding tone of voice and adapting your writing for various audiences.

Each day in July, pick any topic you'd like, choose a random author, and write about your chosen topic in their tone of voice. You can even explore new genres. 

The goal is to “parrot” the writing you’ve chosen each day. For example, if you mainly write horror stories, pick a romance novelist and emulate their tone of voice in a new piece of writing. Or, if you do most of your writing in an academic setting, try writing in a casual tone for a digital audience.

August: Paragraph-a-Day AcWriMo

Skills it targets: Academic writing, research skills, and communicating ideas clearly. 

Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) takes place in November, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it early. (We have something else lined up for November!)

AcWriMo’s central premise is simple: Set a daily goal for your academic writing project and share progress updates on social media using #AcWriMo. For more structure, though, the University of Oxford runs a Paragraph-a-Day AcWriMo challenge

Complete the challenge by selecting a topic that interests you, researching it, and writing one paragraph (200-300 words) about it per day. 

Craft 30 paragraphs on the same topic, or shake things up by writing 30 paragraphs on 30 different topics. Either way, use a formal, academic tone and explain your ideas clearly. 

September: Writing in Reverse

Skills it targets: Structuring your writing well and ensuring all your ideas support your main narrative.

Start by choosing something you’d like to write: a short story, an essay, a blog article, etc. On September 1, write the last paragraph of your new writing project. Then, move backward until you pen the first paragraph on September 30. 

Pay attention to how each new paragraph builds on the ones before it and how they all contribute to your overall story or argument. 

October: Facing Fears

Skills it targets: Writing in different genres and using different forms.

Embrace the spooky season by writing about a different fear — yours, someone else’s, or one totally new to you — every day in October. (Forbes has a master list of common phobias to help you brainstorm.)

Write about each fear differently. For example, one day, craft a short story featuring a character with aquaphobia (a fear of water). The next, pen a 500-word article explaining the history of bathmophobia (the fear of escalators). You could even get meta and write something on graphophobia — the fear of writing!

November: NaNoWriMo Challenge

Skills it targets: Novel writing and maintaining a daily writing habit with a high word count goal.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) tasks writers with penning a 50,000-word novel in November. That amounts to 1,667 words per day. 

Many best-selling books were drafted during NaNoWriMo — including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Emily X.R. Pan’s The Astonishing Color of After, and many more.

To participate, sign up for an account on the NaNoWriMo website, enter details about your novel-in-progress, and log your word count at the end of each day. You can even connect with other participants and attend in-person and virtual NaNoWriMo events with writers in your area. 

If you hit 50,000 words by November 30, you’ll earn a colorful badge and certificate of completion.

Novels not your thing? No problem. Simply write 1,667 words per day every day in November. (That’s close to novelist Stephen King’s daily commitment of 2,000 words!) You’ll still end up with 50,000 words by the end of the month, just like regular NaNoWriMo participants.

December: Rewriting Challenge

Skills it targets: Self-editing, self-critique, using different perspectives, and writing concisely. 

December’s challenge is all about reworking your drafts. It’s split into two parts:

  • Each day from December 1-17, rewrite a draft from another point of view. For example, if you originally wrote your draft in the second person (using you/your/yours pronouns), rewrite it in the first person with yourself as the narrator (using I/me/my pronouns). 
  • Each day from December 18-31, focus on concision. Take something you’ve written and cut its word count in half — without sacrificing clarity or meaning.

Summary

Month-long writing challenges are a great way to establish consistency and discipline, unleash your creativity, and steadily improve your writing. 

You have plenty of challenges to choose from, but our top recommendations are compiled in this guide. Mix and match the ones that interest you most, or complete all 12 in a year to really test (and impress) yourself.

For more info on leveling up as a writer, check out our writing and editing guides, visit our Grammar Hub, and sign up for our Freelance Writing Mastery course.

Photo by Анна Рыжкова: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-rock-climbing-3077882/

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