Let the record reflect that I showed up to write today. It’s been a very long while since I consistently did. 2016 was, for me, a year of barely any consequential writing. I’m not proud of that. When you’ve gone so long without stretching your ‘inky muscles’ as I’ve seen someone refer to them, the very thought of sitting down to write as I am now fills you with dread. Your writing is interrupted by long pauses as you keep stopping to think of what to write and you keep fighting numerous urges to edit your work, something that is frowned upon by the experts.
Stopping every now and then to edit your spelling and grammatical mistakes as many writers are apt to do is disruptive to the process, to your creative flow, according to many published writers. It’s also something I have found to be true. So here I am, typing away and almost successfully resisting that powerful urge to go back over all I’ve already written to correct my mistakes.
And so it happens that my first piece of writing is about my plans to write, more so, to commit to My 500 Words, a 31-day challenge to write 500 words every day. We’re slightly over 200 right now. Hurrah. Not that anyone’s counting. I certainly am not.
One of my biggest challenges when I think of writing, I find, is that I spend too much time planning to write, then thinking of what to write about, then getting distracted by social media, cooking and other chores that become suddenly urgent whenever I plan to actually write. My most significant hurdle so far has been consistency. The discipline required to show up every day to do the same thing is very difficult for me. Sometimes I think of it as the curse of indiscipline that I have so encouraged in myself until it became second nature. I’m rather adept at putting off to tomorrow what could have been done yesterday.
So, have I changed? Will I suddenly become consistent? Well, that remains to be seen. Here I am making a public commitment to write 500 words (or more) for the next 31 days. It seems that public declarations of one’s intentions to accomplish a certain goal are considered a great motivator for follow through because you are involving other people who can keep you accountable. It’s no longer only about you.
Jeff Goins, an author and the originator of this challenge believes that the key to accomplishing one’s goals lies in daily habits, the little steps you take to get there. Now this is hardly a new idea but it was very encouraging for me to read that at the start of this year. I do not consider myself a great planner, especially with regard to goal setting. I admire (also a little intimidated by) those with five year plans broken down into one year goals with monthly and hourly steps to get there. Writing more, as vague and obscure as this sounds to you veteran goal setters and achievers, was one of the things I set out to do this year, so help me God. This is Day 1.
P.S. I am still mulling over whether or not everything I write will end up here as a blog post and it may not. I do however intend to post about my daily journey on my social media platforms (@edgicovi on both Twitter and Instagram) with the hashtag #Eds500.