The following post first appeared at Sowing Seeds of Grace and recounts the results of my one-week withdrawal from social media a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to share this post here because it also relates to my writing life.
Our hope reached to the edges of seeking to hear God in the silence when free of iPhones, tablets, laptops and other devices connecting us to a world filled with frenzy and constant news from family, friends and the world at large.
Today I am sharing what I heard in that week of silence.
Most of all, let me tell you: It. Was. Awesome!
My days felt free and my own. No “keeping up with” everyone posting on Facebook or Twitter.
Don’t get me wrong. I love connecting with family and friends and learning what’s going on in their lives. But I don’t really need it 24/7, nor do I need to sit down at the computer and before anything else, check in to see what’s new in social media.
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!
My goal now is to write every single day. Writing is my passion, and my passion feeds the rest of my life.
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!
Often life does. Somehow it manages to stay far enough in the background that you don’t sense it moving in to your plans.
2014 started out with interruptions.
My husband and I were both hit with health issues. For him the issues he’s facing are enough to change the “who does what” around our home. I have assumed the tasks he usually does on top of my own. My appreciation for what he does regularly is growing daily.
Each day I have looked at the list of goals I carefully wrote out, and I’ve despaired that I’m falling behind. But I don’t want my husband to feel guilty. So, I say nothing and my mind whirrs with the schedule that’s already off.
But wait — should our goals be so rigid they make us miserable?
Where does it say that attainable goals should be met on a given day, unless an outside source has set a deadline?
Is it healthy to be so inflexible as to ignore circumstances around you in favor of goals?
One can strive to complete the goals, ignoring life’s needs, or
one can be flexible enough to adjust those goals to fit them into the current circumstances of your life.
I would rather have not been faced with choosing to adjust my goals or set some of them aside temporarily. But it would have been my greater choice not to have my husband ill.
When thinking of goals, we must also think of flexibility, patience, and resolve:
Flexibility to accept and adjust;
Patience to wait out the current circumstances; and
Resolve to return to our goals and continuing striving toward the finish line.
Do you have thoughts about the rigidity of goals or resolutions? Are you willing to make adjustments and allow the circumstances to take over temporarily?
Using social media can lead to a love/hate relationship.
We love social media for its ability to connect us with others with like minds and interests.
We hate social media when its allure mesmerizes us into wasting time better used for something else.
Time spent on social media can be made more efficient through the use of shortcuts, or keyboard shortcuts, or as some call them hot keys. Whatever their name, they can increase your efficiency while you try to make the most of your social media connections.
The first step in using these magical shortcuts is finding out what they are for each social media outlet or software you’re using.
Yesterday I spent some time researching these little secrets, and although some of you may have found them already, there are those of us who may be a bit behind the curve or who need a refresher.
Let’s start with social media shortcuts:
The following infographic was created by Quintly, a professional social media analytics service. This infographic includes only Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ shortcuts, so I will follow the infographic with links for social media outlets.
Following are links to shortcuts for the social media outlets listed: