Wattpad Contest Season Crash Course: 4 Obstacles to Winning the Watty’s and How to Overcome Them
With the Open Novella Contest in full swing and the Watty’s coming up, I’m ready for contest season on Wattpad! It’s the time of year when dreams are accomplished, or hopes are dashed. Not everyone can take home the title, but I’ve put together a month-long Wattpad Contest Season Crash Course to help anyone who sticks to it feel more prepared. Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro, you’ll want to stay tuned to my blog throughout March for these must-have tips. We’ll tackle the four hardest parts of competing:
· Obstacles to Getting Started in Course 1
· Putting Your Best Foot Forward in Course 2
· Gaining Traction with Readers in Course 3
· and What to Do in the Aftermath in Course 4
To begin, what are the biggest obstacles to getting and keeping the ball rolling during contest season? Let's break them down.
You’re in Your Own Way. Can you win this thing? Whatever you think, you’re right. Try replacing ‘probably not’ with ‘maybe’ and note the difference in your willingness to push through self-doubt. (Now, try replacing ‘maybe’ with ‘there’s a good chance!’) In my Instagram TV show, “Behind the Scenes w/ LK1,” I discuss how dream-chasing requires a little imagination. When you hear, “There’s No Guarantee of success,” don’t stop at the word No. Whatever is holding you back—whether inexperience, under-confidence or a busy schedule—can be overcome when you plan how, what, and when you will write.
-How to write? Wattpad makes it easy to write from your phone, tablet, laptop, or PC. Experiment with different devices to see which works in your favor. (For example, phones are great when you’re constantly on the go.)
-What to write? Even if you don’t rely on outlines, a beat-sheet requires just a line or two about important plot points.
-When to write? Schedule in writing sprints, as well as longer periods of time for editing and/or revising. Knowing in advance that on Tuesdays you write from 11 AM – 2 PM solidifies the likelihood of you actually getting it done.
Here’s a tip: There are tons of writer’s circles and clubs posting regularly in the Wattpad forums. Become a part of a community where you can set word count goals, check-in with your progress, and discuss your struggles. Having a robust support network can get you over the hump on your tough days.
The Internet is Blocking You. What are doing? Don’t touch that app! I know social media is a shiny bobble distracting us from epic-greatness, and sometimes you can’t avoid it. The modern author must be a dazzling influencer and a dull hermit, by turns. But during contest season, try not to get sucked into the internet. Your focus should be on writing, editing, and presenting your best work. So, how do you live without 24-hour notifications?
-Schedule a block of time for email correspondence and social media, then turn off notifications.
-Use smart apps to stay focused and monitor or limit downtime. (See below).
-Have an accountability buddy to nudge you when you get off-track.
Here’s a tip: Author Jane Friedman curated a list of 10 Apps to Help You Stay Focused on Your Writing. Some of her top choices include Anti-Social, an app you can set to block you from social sites for a prescribed amount of time, as well as the diabolical Write or Die, which will either gently prompt you to keep writing, play an annoying sound if you stop writing or unwrite what you’ve written if you pause for too long. If that doesn’t motivate you to get to work, then I don’t know what will.
Drafting is a Hurdle. It’s been said you should ‘write fast, edit slow.’ What that means from one writer to the next varies. According to “The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors” from WritersWrite.com, Anne Rice of Interview with a Vampire reportedly wrote about 3000 words a day, while Ernest Hemingway of The Old Man and the Sea only cleared about 500 words in the same timeframe. Whatever your numbers, what will definitely slow you down is trying write, rewrite and edit all at once. It’s a common mistake, but there’s a way to avoid it.
Here’s a tip: Get in the zone and go with the flow state. When you achieve flow, your productivity increases, and you tap into almost superhuman abilities with an influx of norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin, and endorphins. This practice teaches you to leave the editing for later as you hammer out your word count goals. Personal Growth Lab offers these 10 Flow-State Triggers to help.
Editing is Hell. Although some of us mull over a draft for what feels like forever, others breeze through the writing only to get stalled editing. We add a word, take a word out, change a name, reconsider the murder weapon, delete a kiss, add a description—but the heavy lifting of content and line editing gets put off in favor of nitpicking with minor details. Editing involves correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting, as well as fact-checking. However, it also involves checking for plot inconsistencies, weak characterization, stilted voice, and underdeveloped setting. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. And you’re on a time crunch to complete your manuscript before the contest deadline. Therefore, you don’t can’t get hung up on the words instead of the story. As with writing, create an editing schedule to ensure you stay on task to achieve measurable results.
Here’s a tip: I’m just going to sit this here.
That’s the end of this week’s Wattpad Contest Season Crash Course. I’d love to know which contest(s) you’re entering and how you’re progressing. Drop a comment below or reach out to me on Wattpad, Twitter, or Instagram. Remember, when it comes to whether or not you’ll achieve success, whatever you think, you’re right! Stay confident, friends.