Thirty-one days ago, I started a writing challenge called “My 500 Words.”
Since then, I’ve been writing at least 500 words every single day. While every day has been significant in its own way, today, January 10, is the most special.
Why? Because it’s day 31 of my 31-day challenge. That means: I DID IT! Day 31 is finally here – the finish line!
The fact that I accomplished this may not seem like a lot on the grand scheme of things, but to me, it means so much – and here’s why.
For the past few years, I’ve been playing with the idea of being a writer; mulling it over in my mind, entertaining it, but never knowing for sure if I could really do it. Sure, it sounded nice – being able to work at home if I wanted to, or from anywhere else in the world, for that matter.
In recent years, my interest in and desire to travel has increased significantly, and I began to wonder if maybe there was a way to fit writing into some sort of travel lifestyle. The idea that if (or, more likely, when) my wanderlust got too strong, I could take my work on the road with me, became more and more appealing. A career in writing might just give me the freedom that I’ve always craved; to be able to pack up and go with relative ease, at any time.
Go where? Who knows! Everywhere. The answer is everywhere.
So, there I was, with all these ideas swimming around in my head; dreams for the future. That’s all they really were – dreams – because I didn’t have the confidence to see if I could make them come true. I didn’t have the guts to see if I could really write. I just thought about writing, and imagined how it would feel to be a successful writer someday. Maybe one day, I’d write a column for The New York Times. Maybe I’d be sent off to explore the globe on assignment for National Geographic Traveler. Or maybe, I’d build a successful travel blog with a massive audience. People all around the world would be following me religiously, awaiting my every move with baited breath. Where is she off to next? they’d wonder. What adventures will she get up to this time?
Okay, I’ll admit it. Maybe that last one is a little extreme – but you get the idea! My dreams had no limits.
I realized something when I stumbled upon Jeff Goins‘ blog, though. Miraculously, I discovered that the key to being a writer of any sort…was to start writing!
If I never got any words down on a page, I could be absolutely certain that I’d never get the chance to write for any of those esteemed publications I’d been dreaming about. In fact, I’d never even be able to call myself a writer at all, regardless of whether I wrote for a living or just for pleasure, with no one ever seeing it.
That’s what this writing challenge has done for me. It’s given me the motivation I needed to start doing the real work – to start writing. Each day, I wake up knowing that at some point during the day, I need to write. And knowing that I will.
Now that I’ve gotten into this habit, it’s not so much a question of whether I’ll write today, but a question of what I’ll write about. During the past month, I’ve written about all kinds of things – some of which I’ve posted to my blog, and some I’ve written just for myself. I’ve written about my travels, my struggles, my thoughts, my questions, and my feelings. I’ve written about books I’ve read, holidays I’ve endured away from home, and people I’ve met.
While not all of my writing this month has been earth-shattering, I’m still proud of it. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’m even proud of what I wrote on the days when I just didn’t feel like writing, because those days were the hardest, and yet I still managed to get something down.
This journey hasn’t been easy, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in awhile, and it’s something I know I’ll be grateful I accomplished 10 years down the road.
Now, it’s time for me to celebrate.
Happy writing, everyone!