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Ridiculous Competitions to Boost your Creativity/Time Management/Tiredness

First of all, I should start with an apology. Four weeks ago, I took a break from blogging. I then posted twice, and haven’t returned since. On the Wednesday night, after writing the Digital Flashcards post, I went and got myself knocked in the head at soccer. So Thursday I spent at home, and Friday, I was drugged up on painkillers at my school’s swimming carnival. The weekend went towards recuperation, and sometime between Wednesday night, and Monday morning, I attracted the wrath of a flu/virus/cold combination. So, I apologise profusely for my illness, and then laziness in the previous weeks.

Onto today’s post!

If you’ve ever read any of my other blogs (I beg you, don’t look them up), you’ll know that I participate in NaNoWriMo, in which you write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days, typically November. The idea for NaNoWriMo was conceived by Chris Baty, in 1999, and 21 of his friends. Each year, their success increases in epic proportions. Last year 200,530 participants wrote 2,872,682,109 words, with 37,479 winners. Isn’t that amazing?

Thanks to the success of NaNoWriMo, there are many copy-cat events, not just in the writing field, but I won’t let too much away, as we’ll be looking at these in a few minutes.

Why on earth would you consider do this though? It’s crazy, it really is, take it from me. Despite all the obvious side-effects, like tiredness, mood swings, periods of craziness and caffeine or sugar addictions, doing one of these events can really turn your world upside down, in a good way. For starters, you’re doing something absolutely unbelievable, and there are going to be plenty of people who will tell you that you’ll fail. Won’t it be awesome when you prove them wrong? Then, there are all the friends you’ll make, who are also competing. And not only internet friends. Many of the events out there have catch-up events. Hopefully there’s one in your area. And finally, the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, week, month, whatever, when you reach your goal, far outweighs any A grade, decent night’s sleep, or social life you would normally have in that month.

So what does the world have to offer you.

First of all, there’s the mother of all month-long challenges, NaNoWriMo. Run by the Office of Letters and Lights, it is undeniably the most successful of all those listed here. The aim is to write 50k words in November. There is a huge community, all over the net of NaNoWriMos, so you’re sure to find someone to be your writing buddy. There’s a great crew there as well, pushing everyone through.

Script Frenzy
NaNoWriMo’s younger sister, Script Frenzy, also run by OLL, involves writing a 100 page script in the month of April. What type of script, you ask? Screenplays, TV shows, stage plays, short films and graphic novels, or anything else you want. As long as its a script. Just like Script Frenzy, the aim is quantity over quality. Shut that inner-editor away, before it hurts someone. If you’re interested, SF 2011 starts in 19 days.

This has to be one of the most open challenges you will see in this list. They’re a lot more relaxed about what does and doesn’t count, and you can target for upwards of 50k for the year. Be warned though, this website, and it’s forums, is difficult to navigate, and poorly designed. Other than that, it’s a pretty good idea.

February Album Writing Month
Write 14 songs in 28 days. Sounds simple doesn’t it. From the outside anyway. If song writing is your scene, try out FAWM, and be mildly surprised by what you pull out during the month.

National Picture Book Writing Week
The goal? Write seven picture books in seven days. Easy, right? Wrong. It’s tough, it’s gruelling, it’s writing seven books for muddy, screaming, hungry little terrors of doom. It’s NaPiBoWriWee. It’s definitely not as organised as most, but if you don’t mind shifting through photos of the organiser and her cat, this is for you.

National Epic Poetry Month
No, epic poetry is not for just for ancient history. This is your chance to write your own Odyssey. The goal is to write 5000 lines of epic poetry, during May. So get planning.

Solo Photo Book Month
Budding photographer? Then check out SoFoBoMo. Just as a side note, I love their website. All you have to do is take 35 photos, in 31 consecutive days, somewhere in July and August. This fuzzy month, as they call it, is a great way for it to fit in your busy schedule.

24 Hour Comics Day
Plenty of students are great artists, so if you’re one of them, sign up for 24 Hour Comics Day, which inspires you to create 24 pages of a comic book in 24 consecutive hours. It’s probably best if you save this one for a long weekend!

48 Hour Video Project
You and a bunch of friends spend the weekend writing, filming, editing, and whatever else needs doing, a short film. This is an event which travels around the world, and you can see if they’re coming to a town near you on the website. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t pull a bunch of friends together one weekend, and start filming. Go on, I dare you.

750 Words
Just like its website, the purpose of 750 words is simple: write 750 words every day for a year. Unlike most events, you actually do your writing on the internet. Its simple, its plain, its perfect for hammering out 750 words. There are also some cool features, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Go and check it out.

This one’s particularly close to my heart. Not really. Anyway, its National Blog Post Month, where the aim is to write one blog post every day for a month. Obviously not one I’ll ever be able to do :). If you’ve ever wanted to get into blogging, this is a great place to start. If you sign up, send me a link to your blog, I’d love to see it.

That’s it for the stand out different events. Of course, these are definitely not the limits. Do a search, and see what you can find. Are you a better writer in September? I’m sure if you do a search for NaNoNoWriMo September, you’ll find something to suit you. If not, who cares? Grab a few friends, and start your own events. It’s tons of fun, you’ll be ridiculously exhausted at the end of it, and will have accomplished something at the end. Go for it.


iOS Apps: Best? of the Rest

Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed three apps for the iPhone/ iPod touch. Of course, these are only the tip of the iceberg. So today, we’re going to look at the ones that didn’t make it, and towards the end, I’ll tell you which one I think is the best. Read More…

An Introduction: Habits of Mind

I first came across the Habits of Mind when I began high
school. They are an integral part of our education, and I firmly
believe they help students reach their full potential, whether they
realize it or not. Although the Habits of Mind are mocked by
students, the teachers persist in using them in assignments and
lessons, and they eventually reach students. Habits of Mind are not
a quick-fix solution like dieting pills and any product you may see
on any current affairs program. They are meaningful tools that
require effort to make an impact. Like any worthwhile solution, you
should not approach the Habits of Mind as a simple get-smart-quick
scheme. You need to be prepared to put the effort into learning,
incorporating and noticing the Habits.

Read More…