Posts Tagged With: daily writing habit

I did it!

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!

Advertisements
Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sleep vs. Adventure

Day five of my writing adventure has begun. Still not as early in the day as I would have liked, but I’ll continue to work on that. Getting up early has always been a struggle for me. I’m one of those people who likes sleeping a little too much – definitely way more than is normal, and probably more than is even healthy! Most people who know me well know that if given the chance, I could easily and happily sleep most of the day away, every single day (especially during the winter!) Sometimes, I like to joke that I’m a professional sleeper. That’s how bad it really is!

However, this passion for sleep that I’ve been blessed (cursed?) with tends to interfere with my other interests at times, particularly those of travel and writing. I’m sure you can see how my wanderlust might bump heads with my lust to hibernate from time to time!

As much as I enjoy sleep, I can usually be coaxed out from beneath my warm, cozy blankets by the promise of an adventure (or coffee, of course). The promise of my computer screen waiting for me to finish writing my 500 words for the day has not yet become quite as enticing – but here’s to hoping it will by the end of this challenge!

My first four days of this commitment have already been eye-opening for me. Each day, I’ve produced something that I’m happy with; maybe even proud of! Each day, I sat down, I started writing, and I didn’t get up until I had written at least 500 words on the screen in front of me.

Some days, I sat down with an idea or topic in mind. Other days, I just started writing, and amazingly, a topic seemed to come to me as the words started to fill up the page. Sometimes, 300 words in, I discovered I actually did have something in mind to write about that day, I just wasn’t aware of it at the time I began typing!

I’m realizing more and more that it doesn’t matter so much what I write about, as long as I write. It’s amazing how easy it is to develop a new habit. All you really have to do is decide to do it. Make a commitment, and then stick to it, no matter what. I’m only five days into this month-long commitment, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll have no trouble completing it successfully because of one simple reason; I finally made the decision to start.

During the last few years, I’ve spent too much time putting writing off for another day, thinking it was too hard or that I had nothing worthwhile to write about. I kept telling myself that I’d start tomorrow, and then when tomorrow rolled around, I’d put it off yet again. At the same time, I was telling myself that I should really try to develop a daily writing habit if I ever wanted to be serious about writing. I would often read articles about how easy writing becomes when you make the commitment to do it every day and think “How nice! Maybe that will happen to me someday.”

In reality, all I really needed to do was start.

Now that I’ve tackled that monster, I want to work towards creating another habit: getting up early!

For a professional sleeper, I think this habit will prove to be a little more difficult to develop. Any ideas?

Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Goals? What are those?

Here we go – day two of my writing challenge! So what’s today going to be about?

Goals.

Everyone talks about the importance of setting goals. Lots of people read books about goal-setting, some write lists, and others even make detailed plans about how to achieve their goals. If you’re really into it, there are even workshops and classes you can attend about this very topic.

It’s clear that there are many resources available to those interested in setting (and hopefully achieving) some goals. So why do so many people still struggle with this? (Or is it just me!?)

When I returned to South Korea in March to try my hand at another year of teaching English, I’ll admit that I secretly had some other motives as well. Yes, I wanted to save money. Yes, I wanted to travel. Yes, I wanted to experience another culture. I also wanted to try new foods, meet new people, and perhaps even attempt to learn a new language. (That last one hasn’t worked out as well as I’d originally envisioned). I guess these motives are really not-so-secret after all. I would imagine that many people in my position had similar ideas in mind when they decided to embark on an adventure to The Land of the Morning Calm.

There is one thing, though, that I didn’t tell many people about before I left. Something I promised myself I would do during my second year abroad – something that, unfortunately, I have not honoured.

That thing is writing.

I had so many writing “goals” for this year, almost none of which I’ve actually met.

I remember sitting in my living room at home in Canada a few weeks before flying back to Korea. I thought about all the things I wanted to do this year, and made mental lists of my writing goals. There were many. Some were personal; keep a daily journal, blog at least twice a month, communicate better with friends and family, send frequent updates by email.

Others were more professional. I wanted to explore the idea of a future career in writing and try out options like travel writing. Specifically, I wanted to write and pitch an article to a travel magazine at least once a month. It didn’t matter so much whether they got published or not, or how many I got published. It was more about getting some practice and experience to see whether I enjoyed this type of writing or not.

As I said earlier, most of these things didn’t quite pan out. For one reason or another (none of which are very good ones, of course), I put off writing in favour of doing something else. Probably something that required less time and effort.

What I’ve discovered this year is that the word “goal” doesn’t mean much, unless you plan to actually do something about it.

That’s where this writing challenge comes in. By accepting this challenge, I have officially set a new goal for myself: to develop a daily writing habit.

And this time, I’m going to achieve it!

Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The challenge begins!

So, here I am on the first day of this new adventure. For the next 31 days straight, I’ll be writing at least 500 words every single day. About what, you ask? Who knows! It’ll be a surprise for you and me!

I didn’t get up early this morning like I had planned – but, I got up. Here I am, typing away behind my computer screen. That’s the most important part. That’s what counts.

I’ve already accomplished the hardest part of this challenge – actually starting.

So now that I’ve done that, what will I write about?

Well, I want to begin by talking about the hardest part – the part where you actually start writing something. It seems silly when you think about it. How can simply writing be the hardest part of a writing challenge? It doesn’t make much sense.

But, it really is true. This is something I’ve struggled with for months. Maybe even for the last few years. Believe me – if I had an answer for you, I’d tell you. There’s something about writing, especially for the web, that’s intimidating. For a writer, it can be hard to share your writing with others. What you write can be very personal at times, and you’re afraid that if you put your thoughts, ideas, or feelings out there for the world to read, somebody might take it as an opportunity to pounce on you. Somebody might disagree with you. Someone might tell you you’re wrong. Someone else may hate what you write.

These are all major concerns for someone who cares a lot about what other people think of them. In fact, it’s a recipe for an ego-squashing disaster.

You want to post an emotional story about that amazing thing that happened today, but in the few moments that your mouse hovers above the “Publish” button, an anxious string of thoughts arises. What will people think if I post this? Will they think I’m lame? Will they think it’s stupid? Will they even read it? What if NO ONE reads it!? Then I will look even more lame!!

If I’m being honest with myself, these kinds of thoughts are probably the worst enemy I’ve met along my writing journey so far, not the angry mobs who hate my writing that I imagined in my head.

For many people who want to be writers (myself included at times), the fear of how others will perceive them is what holds them back the most.

This is something I’ve been working on. It’s not easy to put yourself out there. It takes courage to share a big part of yourself with someone else, let alone offering it up to the world! But, that’s what writers do. They write – and regardless of whether they write fiction, fantasy, or an autobiography – those words come from their minds. They reveal a big part of who they are.

It’s time for me to fully embrace what it means to be a writer, and to give myself the opportunity to find my voice. It’s time to stop worrying about what other people will think, and just let myself be free to write, whatever and whenever I want.

I’m finally ready to make a change.

That’s why I signed up for this challenge. How can I call myself a writer if I don’t write?

————————-

Are you ready to make the leap, too? Join Jeff Goins‘ 31-day writing challenge, my 500 words!

Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

My 500 Words

The other day, I came across an article that made something in my brain “click.”

Jeff Goins, a writer and writing coach, has an excellent blog geared towards people who want to be writers. I’ve checked out his blog many times and always enjoy reading his writing advice. I usually find his writing to be very helpful, and often motivational.

In his article, The Secret to Developing a Regular Writing Habit, he writes that most people fail at becoming writers simply because they don’t actually write. “They talk about writing, think about writing, even read about writing. But they do not write,” he says.

This really hit home for me. It struck me how often I do all of these things, except for the actual writing part! All of a sudden, I realized how ridiculous this really was. Luckily, there was something I could do about it.

In this article, he encourages writers to try a 31-day challenge called “My 500 Words.” Every day for 31 days straight, you must write at least 500 words, regardless of whether you publish them or not. Every single day, you have to get up, put your fingers on the keys, and write something. It doesn’t matter what you write about, or even what you write. You just have to write.

When I had finished reading this article, I knew something was different. Rather than just reading the words on my screen and trying to log away snippets of his advice for future use, this time, I felt compelled to act. This idea was the motivation I needed. I knew I was ready to accept this challenge!

After all, what do writers do? They write.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be tackling this challenge one day at a time.

I have no idea what the next 31 days of writing will bring, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

Categories: My 500 Words, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Allison Burney

"To live will be an awfully big adventure." - Peter Pan

ideas.ted.com

Explore ideas worth spreading

home hopper

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tales of a Travel Addict

Wandering the world one country at a time

A year of reading the world

196 countries, countless stories...

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

She turns coffee into books so she can afford to buy more coffee. And more books.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

David Gaughran

Let's Get Digital

Anne Peterson

I write stories and goosebump poetry

%d bloggers like this: