I made it to the middle of the challenge! Today marks day 15 of 31 which means we are due a mid-point review. As this is my first 30 day challenge, I will be sharing how I have managed to keep up with it, how I feel about continuing it, and what I will do when I enter the next one! But first, what have I learned thus far?
1. I can write more than 500 words a day.
I have written over 500 words every time I have sat down to write. Given the right inspiration, time, and environment, I have been able to write more than I had hoped to. I found that this made the challenge more achievable as I was not limiting myself or trying to constrain my creativity.
2. Just writing was enough.
This time around I was quite lenient with my expectations. As it was the first challenge I had done and I was just returning to work after a Christmas break, I wasn’t sure what I would be able to do and what I would be writing about. So when my 500 words were for a blog post or a chapter of Eleri’s Kingdom, rather than a section of Book One, I didn’t panic. Many great writers say that you should ‘just write’, whether that is in a journal, in a newspaper, a diary to recollect the day’s events, it counted. It meant that I was practising my writing skills regardless of the subject and at this early in the year I was happy with that. So I guess that brings me to no. 3…
3. I’m much more productive when I am doing it for myself.
As much as I love writing for my blog and posting on social media to the hundreds of people that think my work is worth their time (and I do love you all, really!), I do this for myself first and foremost. The very fact that I chose this challenge for myself is reason enough to stay motivated. Like I mentioned in my post 7 Reasons Why You Aren’t Sticking To Your New Year’s Resolutions, if you aren’t doing it for yourself it won’t work. It isn’t just about the 500 words each day, but also about how I manage that around a career, a social life, family life, and my other interests. Doing it in the pursuit of my own happiness is why I can do it at all.
4. Structure is only helpful if I have flexibility.
Anybody who knows me personally will know that I am not the biggest fan of being told what, when, or how to do something. However, I love telling myself to do things. I love planning my diary, setting myself goals, organising my life, so long as it is on my own terms. The second somebody starts to nag, I am out. So setting myself a daily challenge works insofar as me being able to work around it. I do wonder what will happen when I have to create an entire routine to incorporate all the different challenges…
5. A 30 Day Challenge is something I am definitely enjoying and getting the hang of.
I know I’m only halfway through the first challenge, which essentially means I am through phase one of twenty-four, but I do feel as though this is something I can use to keep on top of what I want out of 2019. The challenges are enjoyable and they keep my interests at the forefront of my mind. Knowing that I chose this challenge because I love writing and want to make something of it keeps me working at it. We’ll see how I feel when we get to the January Wrap-Up!
So how did I keep to it?
I made time. I took a look at my routine and checked myself. One of the best things that has come out of this challenge is a new mindset. Every time I panic that forgetting something and having to go back to get it or sitting on my phone is taking up too much time and making me late, I stop. I stop and think ‘how long is this actually taking?’ ‘How much time is this setting me back, or taking out of my day?’ ‘Is this something I’m doing deliberately to be unproductive or is it something I enjoy doing to relax?’.
I tend to realise that actually I don’t need to be concerned and that I have twenty-four full hours in the day. Spending ten seconds running back upstairs to grab something before work isn’t going to make me late. Sitting on my phone for five minutes before I write a blog post is actually relaxing me, it isn’t wasting time that should be better spent. This mindset meant that I realised how much free time I can dedicate to this challenge. It also meant that I didn’t berate myself or get frustrated with things unnecessarily. My mood noticeably improved as well as my productivity.
Will I do anything differently going into February?
I think February’s challenge (that I’m not giving away) will require me to allocate a timeslot each day to ensure that I stick to it. The element of discipline and preparation this next challenge will feature will mean that I will definitely take my new mindset into next month, too.
If you have any questions about my challenges or want to share your own progress, let me know in the comments or on Instagram!