Over a week ago, I started a 7 blog posts in 7 days challenge called the “Your Turn Challenge” hosted by Winne Kao. Winnie, who works as the Special Projects Lead for Seth Godin, was encouraged to put together this challenge after she failed at her previous attempt to post to her blog everyday for a month.
After not having posted anything here for a month, I felt that this was a good way to get back into the swing of things and joined the hundreds of other writers who also participated. As you can see by the title of this post, I almost made it through the challenge and here are 7 things I learned along the way.
1. Goals are more fun when other people are involved.
When you step out to journey along a path, having others going in the same direction is definitely motivating and enjoyable. You have others to look to for inspiration, you can be helpful to others and you feel less alone.
2. In the end, you must do the work.
The flip-side to this togetherness is that you still have to do your own work. After the initial excitement wore off (around day 4 for me), I was faced with the realization that I had to find the oomph within myself to keep going. It didn’t matter as much what other people were doing because I still had to sit my butt down at a computer, think of something to write and then get to typing.
3. Failure is in the eye of the beholder.
When I didn’t post a new blog on day 7, I was very tempted to consider the whole thing a failure. I mean, Winnie considered posting “only” 29 out of 31 days in December a failure, so surely I should do the same with my 6 out of 7. Right? But that didn’t and doesn’t sit right with me. Sometimes failure can be a word that we use to shame ourselves and shut down any introspection around why we might not have finished what we started out saying we would do. Instead of considering this a failure and ending it there, I consider it a situation to learn from. In the end, I think I didn’t finish because I don’t really like writing on such a short timeline. I like to sit with what I write, sleep on it, come back to it and tweak it. That works for me best and doing this challenge made that clearer. To me, that is not a failure, but wonderful insight.
4. Sometimes you don’t know what you want to do until you try it.
Like I said above, I didn’t realize how much I liked to write and sit with things a little bit longer until I did that challenge. Doing so allowed me to learn what I wanted to do more than if I had just sat and thought about it. I also was reminded that I love writing things when I have something I want to share and dislike writing things because I just have to get something out.
5. Sometimes you don’t know what you can do until you try it.
I also wondered if I could write a blog post every day. Being a person who likes to sit with things, I wasn’t so sure I was even capable of coming up with new things to write about on such a quick time table. Again, thinking about it didn’t help me figure it out. I just kind of assumed that I wasn’t capable. Experience proved otherwise. Even though I realized that I don’t really enjoy writing like that, it is a good feeling to know that, for the most part, I’m capable of doing it.
6. Resistance is a powerful procrastination machine.
After day 4, I noticed some resistance coming up. Resistance can mean many things (fear, doubt, anger…), but the end result seems to be procrastination. As I resisted finishing the challenge, I noticed that my posting times got later and later in the day. I wish I could say that I was more aware of this in the moment, but in hindsight, I see it a lot more clearly. I think if I attempt another challenge, I would like to do a better job of practicing mindfulness techniques to notice when I am acting (or not acting) from resistance and see if I can tell why.
7. Doing something every day primes the pump for more.
I will admit that writing every day did help get me back in the flow of writing more. I think it’s a bit like exercising a muscle. Even though I am not going to continue on with the daily posting schedule, I have noticed that I have been writing more personally. Writing every day made it easier to write every day, even if it was in a different way that I imagined.
So that’s what I learned, I hope you found it helpful or at least interesting! Leave a comment to share your thoughts on the challenge or a time when you tried to do a challenge.
And if you missed any of the other 6 posts, check them out here: