Tag Archives: 500 word challenge


The Best Excuse for Breaking a Promise to Yourself


Kate on her birthday

Since committing to the 500 word challenge, I have been setting the alarm earlier and only hitting snooze twice (I can’t conquer all the bad habits at once) in order to write before the rest of the house wakes up.

If I’ve had a restless night’s sleep, I’ll skip writing in the morning if I expect a chunk of time later in the day. (I’m a shrew when I’m tired).

Friday was one of those days where I knew I would have at least 3 hours of down time after dinner in order to write my 500 words. Three of the kids had plans and Mark always works late on Fridays. Kate, my 13 year old, likes to watch the “Modern Family” marathon on Friday nights so I knew I would have uninterrupted time to write. (I know I’m going to hell for all the TV this family watches since we upgraded the cable from basic only).

I was all set to take the laptop into our new finished basement room for some quiet when Kate asked if I wanted to watch “Modern Family” too. I really didn’t but I knew it was important to spend that time with her. I could have brought the lap top with me when I plopped myself on the couch next to her, but then I might as well have been alone in the basement typing away.

You might be thinking, “That lady’s just rationalizing, who wouldn’t rather watch ‘Modern Family’ than stick to a commitment?” Well, you may be right on point A, but not point B. I may be rationalizing but I don’t enjoy watching TV that much-even “Modern Family”. Oh, it’s hilarious, but there are a hundred things I’d rather do than sit and watch TV.

Here’s the thing, though, my first priority is always my family, especially while the kids are still here. First on my list of responsibilities is nurturing relationships. As you can imagine, life with almost 4 teenagers (11-16) can sometimes be…..volatile. A 13 year old girl is often in the eye of whatever storm happens to pop up. Kate’s been feeling picked on and misunderstood lately and she needs all the relaxed interaction she can get. Although TV is a passive pursuit, when a person wants company, it becomes an opportunity to connect and relate.

I’ll never regret being intentionally present with any person in my family. To be honest, I probably don’t make time for it often enough. Which is ironic because the kids are home all day for school. If writing suffers for it, I’m totally fine with that.

Kate and I laughed together, talked about other things and when she asked if I snored like Gloria while I was pregnant, I admitted a symptom much more embarrassing that horrified and amused her at the same time. She may use it against me one of these days in the heat of a teen microburst but it’s worth it if it strengthens our connection.

As I wrote before, I made the 500 word challenge a priority. Obviously, I’m hoping to improve my writing skills but I honestly think making time for it will make me a better everything….wife, mother, friend, sister-you get the idea. The practice of writing must light up a part of my brain that helps me be more organized, calm and focused. I credit the act of writing an ebook this summer with helping me to truly enjoy an unusually chaotic 3 months. I typically don’t deal with chaos and extended time away from home very well.

Although writing is a priority, the burden is on me to carve out time for it that doesn’t interfere with my primary vocation as a wife and mom.

So, I’m forgiving myself this time because I was reminded that life, especially with kids, is unpredictable. Clearly, I need to be more disciplined to wake up early if I want to write.

If you want to establish the habit of writing, check out Goinswriter.com. In addition to the chance to join in the challenge, there’s lots of inspiration and practical advice to help you write better.

My 500 Word Challenge and an epiphany


500 word challenge


Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

The 500 Word Challenge

I accepted the #my500words challenge, invitation, inspiration, whatever you call it, issued by Jeff Goins over at Goinswriter.com. Basically, it’s a challenge to write 500 words a day during the month of January. Write….every….day….for 31 days….fun, right? I jumped in when I learned about it on January 3rd.

As a result, I’ve been waking up earlier or otherwise making time to write 500 words every day. Some days, it’s been easier than others. I love to write and look forward to any opportunity to sit down and do it. I haven’t dreaded it yet but these past couple of days were disappointing because I wrestled with what to write and struggled for words.

I figured out that my approach was all wrong. I was treating this challenge the same way a high school kid might view a writing assignment with a minimum word requirement (which, by the way, is absurd). The fact that I was approaching it like an assignment turned it into a chore.

But now I get it. The purpose of the challenge and the reason I accepted it was to get me back into the habit of writing. Making a point to write every day puts it back on the radar and I’m telling all those other things that take up time in my day that writing is a priority. I don’t need to convince anyone else but my own brain needs to get a clue.

At this point, (with no boss or other work obligations) I have complete freedom to make writing a priority.

I don’t have a job outside the house and as the manager of our home, I have a lot of discretion to decide which tasks and activities take priority. Ideally, those are ordered for optimal wellness for each member of the family. Naturally, that will shift for everybody and there will be conflicts but overall, the biggies will take precedence. I can put writing on the priority list and practicing the habit will help me remember to do that. If I had a job, admittedly, finding time would take more discipline and I admire people who squeeze it in to more demanding or less flexible schedules than mine.

The content of what I write is irrelevant within the suggested guidelines of the challenge (emails don’t count). It’s just important that I write….everyday.

I was sabotaging this new habit before it had a chance to take hold because I was forcing myself to engage in productive writing. (Sometimes being practical can be a curse). If I didn’t have a blog post or an ebook chapter planned for the daily session, I was struggling to get around to the writing or not motivated to make time to do it at all.

I took the advice of another participant who suggested opening a word, text edit or drive doc and just start typing away. More specifically, he suggested typing with my eyes closed (which I might also try) but just writing whatever comes to mind with eyes wide open is working fine for now.

Whether I end up putting those words to work isn’t important. If it’s junk, I can either edit later or ignore it. The point is to…as they say…get #assinchair and get the words down.

Practicing the habit of writing will help me discover things about myself and the craft of writing that will propel me forward and help me understand when I’m most productive, how to brain dump without editing and how to write even when the conditions aren’t ideal, among many other things, I’m sure.

If you’re reading this, you must have some inclination to write. It’s not too late to jump into the 500 word challenge. Thousands of people have been motivated by it and are sharing their progress, which is inspiring. Formally signing up adds an element of accountability and you’re more likely to follow through. Check out the details at Goinswriter.com.