Imagine this – you are in the middle of a challenge that you set yourself and you can’t break free for fear of failing, or letting others down. Failing what? Letting who down? If you set the goal, you can change the following things about it:
- Where the new goal post is e.g. change it from 3 to 6 months away
- What the new goal post looks like e.g. describe the new goal in detail
- What new path/direction/steps you are going to take to get to the goal post e.g. attend freelance writing course, write and submit one short story fortnightly instead of weekly, blog progress weekly instead of daily etc.
Then create a new plan, communicate the change (which may just be a note on the wall for you) and continue on the path towards your goal.
My Writing Challenge
As my regular readers will know, I’m so close to finishing my writing challenge (20 more days to be exact) and it’s never felt so clear to me as it did yesterday (in the midst of my scribbled notes) that blogging every day without a break was not a good choice for me. I’ve had this feeling on and off all year but continued, regardless of how I felt, because it was something I had set myself and I felt strongly about sticking to it (and in most ways I’m glad I did as I’ve learnt loads).
- Could I have changed the frequency of the posts? Yes – I was free to reset the challenge at any time
- Did I stop to think if I could have achieved the goal in a different way? Not really – I was focusing on the goal not the path I was taking
- Was I feeling trapped in my challenge? Sometimes – I think that the answer to this one is in the next paragraph.
A writer sometimes needs to be rather than do
Amongst yesterday’s scribbled notes, I wrote “I only have 21 days left of my challenge and I cannot wait to break free as I feel it’s holding me back – I could be spending this time doing something else”. When I re-read these notes today, I realised that my challenge was definitely not holding me back from writing – my passion is too strong for that. I still have a number of other writing projects on the go e.g. writing articles, editing books, updating other blogs; however, what it has stopped me from doing is resting and spend the time just being rather than doing. What I mean by this is that I would have benefited from having a break more often to recharge, which may have stimulated my creativity a bit more.
Consider the following:
- Do you set challenges for yourself, or do you set them to prove yourself to others?
- Have you ever set yourself a challenge and fool everyone into thinking that you are happy about it when really, you want to throw it all in the air?
- Do you encourage others to do the same so that they fall into the same trap (not intentionally of course)?
I spoke to a friend a few days ago who said that during his career he’s broken a few personal challenges, but he trusted his instincts and now he’s truly happy. Those broken challenges are long gone and he has no regrets. He had a focus, he’s following his dream and he’s now doing what he wants to do. Only he knows that he broke those challenges and it’s irrelevant now.
Review challenges and goals regularly and if something doesn’t quite feel right with a particular one, try to find the confidence to change it (even if it’s just slightly). I have found a really good technique on this topic which can help you decide if your challenge or goal is worth continuing with – I will share this with you tomorrow.
20 days of My Writing Challenge to go
- Not Writing Has Taught Me a Lot (samperkins2012.wordpress.com)
- Note 345 – Every writer deserves some time off (mywritingnotebook.com)
- Note 336 – The 7 advantages and 7 disadvantages of daily blogging (mywritingnotebook.com)
- Note 256 – Balancing Writing and Family (mywritingnotebook.com)
- Note 289 – My Writing Challenge Progress (mywritingnotebook.com)
You can do it! You are so close now, don’t give up. Look at it as a year long lesson. Think of all the good things you have learned, discovered, realized (US spelling) about yourself and your abilities. Sacrifice. Yes you have. But you have also influenced many, many people, myself included, in positive ways that you cannot know.
Once it’s over, you can change gears, approach, style, and reflect and relax, and write some more.
Blessings to you,
You are so right Bruce – influencing and inspiring others as well as learning and improving my writing skills are the reasons why I started this challenge. It is certainly easier now that I can see the finishing line. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement – I feel like printing out your response and sticking it in the wall… Best wishes Sandra
It will certainly be an accomplishment for you to cross that finish line. Your will power and perseverance has certainly grown stronger muscles. And I think any writing is helpful.for growth as a writer. We learn from it even if the learning is at times hard to discern.
I too can put myself on what becomes for me a treadmill, and have stayed on them way too long. But I have jumped off of a number of them. I’ve learned to do that.
What’s key to me is doing what actually works, in a blog post, in a story. Or when I am studying writing or practicing. I keep working toward efficient learning. But also, slowing down, taking it easy, enjoying the journey. I can easily get excited and wind up rushing and stressing myself–so not fun.
You have gained some important insights. Your year wasn’t wasted.
20 days. Then take a nice hefty break, will you? Visit Hogwarts castle in Florida, take a cruise to Alaska and dance on the deck, swim under a waterfall in Hawaii, read an epic novel or two, take some naps.., Have some fun!.
Hi Bill Your comments are very much appreciated. I know how hard you work on your writing too but it’s good to hear that you have learnt to take it easy when needed. A ‘break’ to Florida, Alaska or Hawaii sounds tempting – might need to earn some money from my writing first though! Maybe I’ll just use your ideas of just having a nap or reading a novel or two for now. Thanks again Bill Sandra
My problem is that I take on too many challenges lol
I need to learn that there’s only so much I can do in a day 😉