Prepare.

Great Writers Prepare

Well, today is one of those challenge days where it does not help that I’m trying to start at 9:00 at night.

The past two challenges have allowed that comfort but not today’s.

The challenge

Ship it. Put something out there, anything. Don’t wait; move something forward.

You don’t need to know everything, just the next step. If it’s a big project, you don’t have to finish the whole thing; just finish part of it. But for crying out loud, do something.

Then tell us about it. Heck, share it here with this community; you might be surprised who’s willing to help you and whom you inspire. Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing more than stalling. There’s enough of that already.

Because the work you do is practice for the next thing, preparation for tomorrow. And if all you’re doing is stalling, what are you really preparing for? Exactly. Nothing.

HAD I gotten my act together and prepared the post I wanted to submit to a few certain sites, perhaps that would have been something I could “ship.”

But right now I got nada.  I’m not working on a book.  I’ve started blogging again and that’s a huge enough step in itself.  No other projects.  I just want to write.  Here.  In my own little quiet space on the web.  And maybe a few more spaces.

But at this hour and facing three work days ahead of me, I am calling it quits.

But just for tonight. 😉

I’ll come back to this day later on in this challenge!

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Practice.

Great Writers Practice

I was laying on my son’s bedroom floor after a long–albeit–fun day.  I was close to the conclusion that it would be okay to skip today’s challenge in order to fulfill my intense desires to put head to pillow.

And that’s how you know when something is working.  Your even more intense desires override all other notions of lethargy and you hop on a computer to get done what needs to get done.

And so it was fitting that in today’s 15 Habits post, Jeff wrote:

Real writers practice. They show up, every day, without excuse or complaint (okay maybe some complaint).

Today’s challenge was to “find a way to practice in public.”

Some time ago I was a guest blogger over at (in)courage.  I haven’t tried to submit anything anywhere else again, beating myself up over the fact that I fell off the blogging wagon and did not have anything worthwhile to share.

But there has been a post brewing in my head for the past two months that I knew I would attempt to submit to a few sites if I actually got to writing it.

And so there is the challenge accepted in a nutshell.  Commit to writing that post and submit away.

Until you do that, you’re just practicing in private. Playing around. Kidding yourself. Don’t do that. It’s time to put your work out there — not because you’ll succeed. Quite the opposite, in fact. You’ll probably fail. And in the failure you can learn.

So do it. Now. Today. Fail fast, and then tell us what you learned. This will be messy, no question about it. That’s okay. Because practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes habits.

-Jeff Goins

Initiative.

So a great blogging buddy/Twitter amiga/sort-of-but-not-really-though-one-day-soon IRL friend alerted me to a 15-day challenge on mastering the habits of great writers.

I do not know if this is cheating or what, but I have missed Day 1 & Day 2.  In order to keep up, I am going to begin with Day 3 {today}. In fairness, the first two days did not require a blog post and I did accomplish both days on my own.  But after the 15th day, I’ll go back and write about the Day 1 & 2 experiences.

Jeff writes in today’s post:

Every day, you have a decision: to start or stop the things worth doing. To continue building habits that make you more of your truest self, or to break the ones you’ve been doing for awhile.  As it turns out, this is all life is: subtle, gradual habit-forming. Becoming who we are through the things we do (or don’t do).

This really stuck out to me; so much so that I re-tweeted the first part.  I feel I have come a long way in stopping the things that are no longer worth me doing.  But I still have a long way to go, because I know there are more than enough time-suckers in my life I still hold on to.  But where I’ve really been stumped is in the starting.

Since I was a child, my days were filled with activities.  And once that time period of my life ended, I went directly into being a wife and mother.  Then I was a teacher, and finally I am in a place where I actually have time–which had been a foreign concept to me for the majority of my life.  I savor it way too much.  I savor it to the point where I don’t want to add anything to my plate.  And honestly?  It’s because I’m lazy.  So all these aspirations I have to write a book, a play, start a professional business, craft, cook, etc. etc. gets pushed into the Don’t make me get out of my comfort zone zone.  Maybe it’s a fear of failing.  Perhaps a struggle to know if these are things I should be focusing on.  I don’t know.  But I know not adding anything fresh in my life is wasting the very life I’ve been given as well as the gifts I know I have and chasing the dreams within my heart.  It’s time to break bad habits and start forming good ones.

So start writing. Not just what’s comfortable, but what you were meant to write. Do it today. But before you can do that, you’ll have to do something else.

And then there’s this.  Because the truth is I’m not ready to write what I know I am meant to write.  I’m just not ready, mostly emotionally, to share these life experiences.  Also, a lot of it affects other people and what I’m trying to decipher is how do I tell my story while protecting the sanctity of the privacy of others involved?

So what’s the “something else” alluded to by Jeff above?

Today’s challenge:

Choose yourself.  Stop jumping up and pleading, “Pick me, pick me, pick me!” and look yourself in the mirror and say: “You. I pick you.”

What’s something you’re questioning about yourself?  For some, it will be the simple choice to actually call yourself a writer (but I hope we’ve overcome that by now).

For authors, it will be a seemingly more elusive term: “author.” And for others, it may be “novelist” or “best seller” or something else.

Here’s what I want you to do: Write down in some place secret, “I am a ____.” Do it and do it now.  We’ll come to it later.  For now, pull it out every day and read it. Yes, this is hokey, and yes, I want you to do it, anyway.

Then, I want you to start something you’re scared of.  Maybe it’s a book, an article for a magazine, or something else. All I want you to do is begin. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about where to go from here.

So, something I am questioning myself about is easy: Do I pursue something in writing?  And there are many sub-points under that including the never-ending battle in my mind of whether to go back to school or not.

I’m not at home at the time I am writing this, so later on I’ll have to write the statement in my secret place.  And as for the starting of something I’m scared of…honestly, I’ll have to think about that and so this exercise is probably not going to be accomplished just in Day “3”.

Just starting this challenge was scary enough though.  When Jenn shared it with me, I immediately thought, “Well, I just don’t have time for that” followed by, “What if I start and then stop just like everything I try to do?”

So maybe I have accomplished that bolded part for today.  I’m jumping in, head first into very cold waters, to say, “I can do this.”

And from there?

Who knows?

But it’s going to be great to find out where I do get there.

P.S. Part of yesterday’s challenge was to commit to waking up two hours earlier than you normally do to commit to writing.

NOT.GOING.TO.HAPPEN. 🙂

Not because I’m unwilling.  Because oI’m 32 and waking up at the time I’m supposed to has never come easy and trying to wake up earlier for other reasons has never, ever worked.  I won’t go into the reasons why, lest it just sound like I’m making excuses. 🙂  I’m being serious in saying that if I were to get up two hours earlier, it would be to spend time with the Lord and in His Word.  There would be nothing more important than that.  And if I can’t make the sacrifice for that right now, I can’t do it for this challenge.  What would that say?

SO, as a compromise I am challenging myself to give up a few sites I visit over the next few weeks and to spend that time writing instead.  I would opt to also give up Facebook and Twitter, but those two social medias may be needed for this challenge.

Here goes nothing!