On the first day of the new year, Jeff Goins' 500 Words A Day Writing Challenge began. Jeff's posts on this challenge had entered my inbox. I read them, and I thought: "I already have goals set. Probably shouldn't sign up."
With each post I read, I was tempted. Jeff makes a good case for his challenge. You'll note in his post at the link above Jeff shares the following:
Here’s what I know about writing: It happens in small bites. Step by step. One little chunk at a time.
This sounded easier. I pondered the possibilities for three days and on January 4th I began the challenge.
I talked with friends who had signed up. And Jeff's rules for the challenge made it seem like a reasonable challenge to help shape a new habit of writing daily. After all, Jeff's own philosophy of 500 Words says it all:
My 500 Words is a 31-day challenge designed to help you develop a daily writing habit and become a better writer.
I will be the first to tell you that I didn't write every day. This is obvious since I didn't begin until January 4th. But there were other days where life did intervene, and I didn't write. A longstanding rule in our home before and after retirement, Sundays are reserved for family time and to honor the Sabbath. I knew those days I wouldn't be writing.
At the end of January 31st, I had written a total of 16,011 words, many more than I had written per month when I started the challenge.
And the challenge goes on even with Jeff in Africa and February underway. A strong community has grown on Facebook where we gather to record our successes and not so successful days. With January's success, I intend to stick with the challenge in February.
No matter the context of the writing challenge you choose to take part in, the following tips may be helpful to you:
- Set aside a time each day specifically for writing, hopefully away from distractions.
- Do not edit as you write--free write. There'll be time later for editing.
- Remember: This is to help develop the habit of writing every day.
- If you miss a day, don't beat yourself up. Life intervenes, and there's always tomorrow.
- If you don't make the goal each day, at least write something.
- Hopefully, your writing will be on a specific project but perhaps it won't. That's OK too.
- Allow yourself freedom to write and let the words flow.
My takeaway:I now realize I can sit down and write almost every day, and I can forgive myself on the days that I don't. And I finished the 31-day 500 Word Challenge!
And for you, why not consider coming along with us in February to get a feel for how this challenge works? You just might like it!