Or… “Why I Decided to Drive Myself Crazy”
After taking a couple of years off to find my footing in New York City, settle into working a desk job, and learn to take care of myself, I finally decided that it was time to dedicate myself to writing once again.
I have always been a “writer”, it was how often I wrote that was the problem. I was erratic and relied on class assignments and break-ups to generate my poetry, plays, and nonfiction pieces.
Post-graduation it was even more infrequent and I found myself saying, “I’m unhappy, but all I do is drink and watch Netflix” about once a week. It was time kick my own ass and assign myself a beast of a challenge. This is how the 365 Day Writing Challenge was born.
Based loosely around a Jerry Seinfeld story that almost reads like folklore, I decided I was going to write everyday. The key is to not base what you do on the results but on the act of getting words onto a page. I liked this idea of writing everyday regardless of success or perfection. All I had to do was write.
I set my own requirements for the challenge: I had to write for a minimum of 5 minutes everyday and I was allowed to count editing as long as it was constructive and piece-changing. Had I not counted editing, I’d have 365 days of free writing and nothing substantial to show at the end.
The process started slowly. I had lost a lot of my creativity working in an office environment and didn’t even know what inspired me anymore. I wrote minimally for the first month or two without direction. I just wanted to keep the pen moving and build my chain. I needed to stretch before I ran.
While I was stretching, I conveniently stumbled across Chalene Johnson, a fitness and marketing guru. Johnson has a 30 Day Goal Challenge that gives you a crash course in goal setting and ACHIEVING. I had read a lot about how important it is to set goals, but no one ever showed me the way to achieve them and manage them successfully. Until her. It was during this challenge (I love doubling up challenges!) that I began exploring options for my non-fiction and poetry.
While I’ve changed they way I create, focus, revise, and manage those original goals and created my own workable methods, this 30 Day Goal Challenge taught me the basics of how to get ahead or really, how to TRY and get ahead. Having focus and drive took me from free writing daily to actually working on long term projects. It kicked me into full Seinfeldian mode.
If 365 days scares you, start with 30, or 28. Hell, try 7, like a juice cleanse. It is a great way to test your mettle and to see that really, it isn’t so hard to start and change your life or your writing. The hardest part is believing in yourself and placing a pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
By the way, I am on Day 323.