I challenged myself to 30 days of writing. Here’s what happened.
Productivity is my thing. But this time, I wanted to tackle this writing challenge from a different angle.
I’m used to writing daily, but writing creatively was something I’d put on the back burner for twelve years.
Yep, you read that right: Twelve years.
So, when my life took a turn for the unexpected (worst…), I realized I wasn’t doing enough of the things that make me happy.
I was “working for other people”, even though I’m an entrepreneur. I put everyone else’s desires and needs and requests before my own.
Although my still undiagnosed disease may be lifelong, it’s not [entirely] a death sentence. But it did put my future into full view.
I saw more money, I saw greater recognition, I saw more responsibilities, but what I didn’t see was a life I wanted to live.
It was the same damned thing I was doing in direct sales prior…
I’d lost the initial motivation when starting my business back in 2014 and seemingly handed it over to my audience to do with what they pleased.
(And boy did they.)
Sure, sometimes that’s what needs to happen to succeed—you cater to your audience, because they’re your customers after all. But when every single move you make is for them, and your only real benefit from the exchange is monetary, you’ve lost the passion for what you do.
Now I leave my business site—GoffCreative.com—up as a resource and randomly contribute to it when need be.
(I’ve gotten such great feedback from the site, it was worth keeping up.)
As a regular contribution to keep the site as fresh as possible, I update and re-vamp older posts once a week, and re-publish them with an “Updated” date.
Anyhow, this creative writing challenge was…something.
Even for a writer, it was tough to keep up with. Life, right now, is super-challenging, so finding the time, energy and focus to sit my ass down and write creatively was difficult.
But I learned a lot from this 30 day challenge. And I’m doing it again this month, only this time instead of writing “musings” each day, I’m going to contribute to a novella for the next round.
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What’s the point in challenging yourself to 30 days of [X] activity?
Like any new, good habit, it takes time to develop a routine. I’ve found 60-90 days ideal to form a solid habit, but if you’re anything like me you need to start with “smaller bites”.
1 Start with the habit you want to form. Write that down in big, bold, obnoxious lettering, even.
Maybe you want to form a solid writing habit too, journal daily, challenge yourself to completing 3 “most important tasks” each day for 30 days, or whatever else you want to accomplish.
Write it down.
2 Brainstorm all the ways you think you can achieve it or what you need to achieve it. Set a timer if need be, but seriously, jot them down.
Let’s say your goal is to write daily. Think about things you need to prepare for, like:
- What are you going to write about? Will it be short stories? Contributing to a novel or novella? Brief musings? Blog posts?
- Are you going to require a specific word count? Like 500? 1,000? …2,000 or more?
- Do you need to have a story bank set up to draw from for this challenge? An outline? Outlines..?
What are the details, the daily steps you’ll use to tackle your challenge head-on?
List them now.
3 Research how others have achieved your goal, habit, or challenge. This way you can gain a better understanding of how to approach it, how long it’ll take you (roughly), and help you to steer clear of a few experienced pitfalls here and there.
Add these researched bits to your brainstormed list.
SIDE NOTE: Not everything will have blog posts or other forms of documentation written up about them. Think about this, too, when you’re going through your challenge—you could be the first or strongest voice of your activity.
So, what happened?
I’m writing, creatively, every day. Even past the allotted “thirty days”, I feel compelled to finish my writing work first thing in the morning because I’ve started forming a positive writing habit I don’t have to think about—like I can’t move forward in the mornings until I’ve written at least 500 words.
Doesn’t seem like much, but when you multiply that by 30 days you’ve got 15,000 words a month. (And 500 is just a baseline example here.)
What could 15,000 words mean for you or your business or blog or short story or..?
What could forming a natural-feeling habit do for you?
This is the beginning, the detailed mapping of how you’ll tackle your habit, goal, or challenge for the next 30–90 days.
By breaking any goal, habit or challenge down into easy-to-digest actionable bites, you’re essentially creating a roadmap to your end-goal.
This isn’t a new concept, but it’s not exactly easy, either.
I found several things I didn’t prepare for when starting my first 30-day challenge. Like not having enough content ideas logged to sustain writing full pieces daily for 30 days.
So, as I went, I decided to re-incorporate an “ideas brainstorming session” after I brain dump my tasks list each morning.
- Every Sunday I record a basic list of the main tasks or project(s) I need to accomplish during the week.
- Ever Sunday I schedule up to 5 daily habits (not counted as one of the tasks) that may help me maintain my business, writing, and good personal and work habits. Things like writing, [checking and filing] emails, reading, and more.
- Each weekday morning I sit down before cracking open my MacBook Pro or anything else work-related and fill in the 3 most important tasks for each day.
- After the tasks are recorded, I take a peek at my story bank of ideas or hop on Medium and start reading others’ work. They inspire me really get the creative juices flowing. Then I just add those new ideas to my story bank with enough details to be able to go back and start writing about that idea with little “strain” like, where was I going with this?
It’s a simple practice that when replicated and used in conjunction with your 30 day challenge can light your road to success.
Call To Action
(I feel so weird writing that, but I’ve heard it works here on Medium so might as well wrap it up for you!)
- Write down your habit, goal or challenge now.
- Brainstorm ways to or ways you think you can accomplish it.
- Research how others have achieved a goal or challenge similar to yours. (Google Search, Baby.)
- Schedule a daily habit(s) that can help you get closer to seeing your end-goal within the next 30–90 days.