Eleven Things I’ve Learned from the 31-Day Blog Challenge

1. You never know what you can do until you try.

The first year anniversary of my first post is this weekend, and the most posts I had ever done in a month prior to now was ten. I kept a twice a week publishing schedule for five months before dropping off in April and then disappearing for four months. When I came back in September, I wasn’t sure about what kind of schedule I wanted to keep. I just knew it was time to jump back in. The invitation for the 31-day blog challenge came at the right time, and I decided that it was just the push I needed. Even though I got a little behind, especially in the last week, I successfully posted 31 times! If I hadn’t tried the challenge, I never would have found out what I was capable of.

2. Once I committed to my intention to write more, I actually wrote more.

This isn’t really rocket science, and it isn’t that big a surprise, but the reality is that once I know I need to write, and I actually START writing, it becomes easier to keep writing. By following the intention to sit down and blog regularly, it was easier than I thought. The commitment kept me motivated. The limited time of the challenge (31 days) made it seem possible. It wasn’t forever, it was 31 days. And I could do it if I set up ways to keep my attention focused on it.

3. Having a specific number of posts to do in a specific amount of time makes a difference.

You may think that I have already learned this from other endeavors in my life, but it’s always amazing to me how often, some ideas have to be learned again and again. But when I make specific intentions about what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it, I have a higher rate of success. Go figure!

4. It’s easier to follow through on an intention with a system of social support.

Knowing other people are also working on the same thing is powerful. Even more powerful is the fact that when like-minded people support each other, the synergy exceeds. I know beyond a doubt that trying to carry out an intention that I keep secret is going to be much harder than it needs to be, and that I am setting myself up to fail. Telling other people about my plans and intentions makes it more likely that I will stick to them.

5. The more posts I write, the more ideas I get.

I found this particularly interesting. I had a few drafts in reserve when I started the challenge. And I wondered if I would have trouble coming up with ideas to write about. But the more I wrote, the more I ideas I had. I now have more pieces waiting in line than before I started, and several more ideas that I’ve got jotted down to do. Writing definitely begets writing.

6. The more I write, the more I learn about myself.

I have discovered that I can explore my own thought process, that I can make discoveries about what’s going on inside this brain. That I am becoming more willing to take risks and try new things, especially when it comes to blog posts. Following up on #2 above, I also discovered that I am now ready to tackle other short-term challenges. I’m participating in a quilt-along in November and December. If I could focus on this challenge and complete it, I can choose another that appeals to me. I choose challenges that are specifically focused on things I’ve been wanting to do, and the results are powerful.

7. Maybe the most significant discovery, is that I can be too “practical.”

Fear of failure is a crazy reason to lower the bar on what I want from life. To limit myself because of potential disappointment keeps me locked in a place where I will always have and be less than I could be. I the dreams and ideas I have for my life. In spite of the fact that I keep the bar too low as a result. I talk myself out of things before I even start. The spill-over effect of succeeding at a challenge leads to other possibilities beyond I thought was possible. For example, I just completed my first entry in a Trifecta Writing Challenge.

8. Taking time for me and what I enjoy energizes me.

It may seem counterintuitive, but being busy can actually be energizing IF the activity is based on things I want to be doing. Most of my busyness before was based on the wrong things, and that’s what wore me out. I need to focus on what will nourish me, what accomplishes the things I want, or simply finding what it is that I want to accomplish. Having an intention like this one has made me feel more alive, more tuned in to the people and events around me.

9. Perseverance really is the key.

I can do what I set out to do if I persevere. Making intentions and setting up ways to keep focused on them has made a huge difference for me. When things don’t work out, it’s much easier to pick up and start again because a system for accomplishing the intention is already in place. This was particularly significant both for the blog challenge (when I went four days without writing a post), and for starting up an exercise routine. In both cases, I had several strategies in place to keep my focus going, so there was no need to throw up my hands in frustration. I just could go back to the plan.

10. The reactions of my audience rarely matches my expectations.

I have been surprised over the last month about which posts get people excited and which ones tend to fall a little flat. Of course, in the blog world, timing is significant. No one can follow all the blog posts that show up on their readers. By the same token, blogs are ongoing. So you never know when someone is going to go back to earlier posts.

11. Blogging is now something I pay attention to.

I am constantly surprised by new ideas, new things I want to try. I’m paying attention to blogging in a way I never did before. All kinds of ideas emerge: I take notes, I try things, I have fun. Now that I’m focused on it, it flows more often than not. Sure, it’s early in this process, but I am finding that the time spent on the blog is making a big difference in the way I approach life. It’s a great tool for exploration and for boosting my willingness to try new things. Who knows, I may be up for another blog challenge one of these days.  .

Not Just Another Day (Trifecta Weekend Challenge)

It is the first day of November and so, today, someone must die.

It happens every year, but today I couldn’t touch my breakfast. Mitch sat across from me–coffee in hand, nose buried in the newspaper. Clearly, he wasn’t concerned. Why was he ignoring me?

This is my first time doing a Trifecta Challenge. I’ve thought about it for a while, but this time, I actually did it. The prompt for this weekend’s challenge is below.

In The Scorpio Races, author Maggie Stiefvater writes, “It is the first day of November and so, today,
someone will die.”  Give us the next thirty-three words of this story, as you imagine it.  Take it wherever you like, but make it original and make it 33 words exactly.

If you’d like to write your own entry for this prompt, click on the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s website for the complete instructions.  Thanks for reading!