Tag Archives: writing

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.

Laws of Motion

My “Word” for 2014

Laws of Motion

In the past few years I’ve chosen “simplify” and “fearless” and those words were perfect at the time. I don’t think I chose a word for 2013 but I seemed to accomplish a lot so I’m fine with that.

It always takes me a while to decide and I never put the pressure on myself to choose something by January 1. I’ll continue to simplify and confront my fears. My new word feels right and appropriate for all the areas of my life and I can’t explain how it sort of just popped up, but it did.

“MOVE”. That’s my word. For my 2 friends who might still read this blog, I’m not referring to my household. I’m staying put in my 1800 sq. ft farmhouse. I love it here. But in nearly every other category of life, I need momentum.

Mark and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in 2013. That’s all good and I’m grateful to be with him but in some ways, I feel like we’ve let life happen to us.

When you’ve spent 18 years in a house and it doesn’t feel that much different than when you moved in, it can be a little discouraging. I’m determined to “move” on some big house projects so it functions better for our family. With the help of a local contractor, all of us are moving within the house. That plan to make our house more livable and functional for us includes creating a 4th bedroom for our family of 6 without an addition. We’ll be moving people and stuff from room to room. That will undoubtedly be the biggest change but at the end of it the girls will each have their own bedroom and the boys will have a bigger room. The boys don’t mind the room they’re in but it drives me crazy. Their current room will accommodate one person (Kate) much better. Hopefully, the new family room will comfortably seat more than 3 people.

I think it was last year at about this time when I had plans to finish painting the trim in my bedroom (and the rest of the house). Yeah, that still isn’t finished. I’ll be moving on that project. I think I’ve had blue tape on my bedroom wall for an entire year (unless it’s been two-yikes).

I literally haven’t committed to exercising since Hannah was born….16 years ago! I intend to do something to move and sweat on a regular basis. No excuses. If I need shoulder surgery as a result (one of my excuses), I’ll deal with that.

I’ve committed to writing 500 words a day in order to get moving on writing again. Last summer, I accomplished a goal of writing an ebook. I was able to write nearly every morning before the house woke up. I published the book on Amazon on August 29 and two things combined to sabotage my writing for a while. First, I was so sick of words I couldn’t think straight. Second, school started and Mark was up early for a class 5 days a week. I discovered that I have a hard time writing with distractions. It’s also hard for me to write at night.

I’m sure there are other areas which will benefit from some movement as well. I need to move money and move clutter out of the house and garage (that’s a given). I’ll keep you posted.

What are you doing for the new year for a fresh start? Choosing a word? Setting goals? Making resolutions? Starting a new habit? (Speaking of my new habit…I forgot to discuss this with Mark but I’ve been writing down my expenditures. I’m even including mileage to and from tennis -40 miles round trip-so we and Luke have a better idea of the cost). Sorry for the digression…I’d love to hear what you’re doing.

If you want to join the 31 day 500 word a day challenge, head on over to Goinswriter.com to get the details.