Dark and chilly fall days can make you want to curl up in your burrito blanket and eschew all human contact and activity forever. Because GACK! *small talk* and EERK! *doing things*!
Yes, these shorter days can suck the motivation right out of one’s soul. And for writers, lack of motivation may elicit painful bouts of writing dialogue as stale as the Lucky Charms marshmallow I found in my shoe yesterday.
But there is help out there for the seasonally-challenged reader or writer...participating in a Twitter-community challenge! It may not cure your acute case of writerly SADD, but it can give you a swift kick in the motivation caboose, along with all the feels of a virtual group hug. Even if you're not on Twitter, you can search out the prompts to use on your own or participate via host websites. These challenges also allow you the flexibility to participate just one day or every day. So, JUST SAY NO when sloth-like tendencies set in or the Harry Potter movie marathon airs again. And again. Here are several legit hashtags (and one fake) to consider following this fall:
#MGbooktober, hosted by MGBookVillage: Follow this hashtag for quirky daily prompts to get you thinking about your favorite middle grade characters and storylines, as well as to find recommendations for some new great reads!
#finishurbookfall: An accountability hashtag for writers who don’t care about spelling “you’re” like “ur” (*fans face, swallows antacid*), this one keeps you honest about your writing productivity and may even push you towards finishing a current project by December 21st.
#anodetocandycorn: For those who live for the day when these triangular conglomerations of pure sugary joy are finally put back out in stores each year, this is the hashtag to follow for writing 250-character poems, stories and odes to the nemesis of dental hygiene!
#inktober2019, @inktober: This tag is actually for illustrators -- encouraging them to whip up new creations each day from a one-word prompt. However, readers and writers may enjoy this one, too. As someone who has trouble drawing a recognizable smiley face, I follow along just to witness the sheer daily genius, which acts as an added dose of inspiration!
#writethewait: Originally created for those individuals submitting work to Pitch Wars (a contest which matches writers with author mentors, which is happening NOW) this hashtag can be used any time you're "writing through the pain" of waiting for responses from contests/editors/agents/critique partners or even for the Friends reunion movie to finally be a thing. (Please?!)
#mgspookytober via Spooky MG: Chime in here about your favorite middle grade villains and creepiest sleepover stories! You can also visit the corresponding website year-round, because "Spooky books aren't just for Halloween anymore!"
#turtlewriters, @turtlewriters – Are you a speed-impaired writer even on your best autumn days? Follow this handle or hashtag for weekly prompts and endless encouragement. Truly, these writing turtles are always supportive (and never snappy)!
#nanowrimo: Finally, most writers know about National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write 50K words during the month of November (which BTW, is a perfect amount for MG writers!). But this organization sponsors writing challenges and chats, and provides prep and pep squads year-round.
There are literally dozens/hundreds/quad-million other reading and writing hashtag challenges to follow (not to mention those found on Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms), but hopefully one or more of the above will encourage you to begin unraveling yourself from your doldrum cocoon. And if you guessed that #anodetocandycorn was the fake hashtag…Congratulations! (But don't you wish it was real?) Happy fall, all!
Are you participating in any of the hashtag challenges above? Any others you think are great? Please share in the comments!