My Brain on Challenge
I don't think I have ever written and published anything for 30 consecutive days. I have two book drafts in various states of completion. Even in my most productive bouts, I could not bring myself to do this.
So how did this happen? And what did I learn? What are my take aways?
I was inspired by a teacher colleague and her brilliant blog. She told me about the March blog a day challenge and even though I was late, I decided to do it too. If she could do it so could I. So there is the fact that someone inspired me.
I also had a desire to work on my writing. I wanted to see if I had the discipline to make this happen.
I wanted to overcome my fear of having my opinions and thoughts out there for all the world to see. I wanted to practice being exposed.
My most productive times are my mornings. So I knew I had the best chance of completing the challenge if I gave my best thinking/production time to the challenge. I stopped doing frivolous activities such as washing dishes or watching the news during that window of time and instead, I wrote. Some of these blogs took a day or more to pull together, but the bulk of these blogs were done in my golden window of opportunity, between
5.30am - 7.30am.
I knew that single focused time was the most efficient way for your brain to complete a task, so I eliminated distractions, except for coffee. I will readily admit, my coffee consumption went sky high during this challenge. I am too embarrassed to give you a number of cups but let's just call it a bucket even. I closed as many windows on my computer, eliminated noise, and me and my bucket of coffee tippity tappitied on the keyboard until something reasonable came out.
I would think about what to write throughout the day. I had a notebook nearby so that every time I heard something, read something or saw something of interest, I would write it down. Actually, I loved this part of the blog challenge. I loved the challenge of thinking about stuff. I was writing blogs in my head all the time. I forgot most of it.
If I didn't write it down, it was mostly gone. That was good learning too. I got better at writing my thoughts down, the moment I had them.
I sometimes would have an idea, put the title down and start writing. And then, another completely different theme would come pouring out. I let it come out, and I would just change the title, and reshape the thought. I got better at going with the flow of the words, without trying to control the outcome. I find this a good idea in writing, as well as in life by the way. I am working on both.
I let my fears and worries happen, but I tried not to pay too much attention to them. I treated them like one of my six year old students who was struggling with an activity. Yup, you are having a difficult feeling and let's go through our tool kit to find a way to take care of that uncomfortable feeling. And now let's get back to the activity. Put your big girl pants on and let's get to it!
So there you go. I got through this while working full time, training for a half marathon, organizing a sizeable cultural event, going on a blissful beach vacation, going through American customs, and continuing my Energy Medicine practice. Not too shabby! I am proud! I am planning to write 3 a week as a follow up. That feels doable.
Now your turn. I am leaving you with a list of suggestions that will help you with your next challenge. It is never too early. It is never too late. And then you can write me all about your successes and it will be my turn to read.
Strategies to Complete a Challenge
1. Get inspired.
2. Define your desire. What do you want? Create a goal.
3. Overcome a fear.
4. Find the conditions you require to be the most productive and then set those conditions for your goal.
5. Eliminate distractions.
6. Stay ready for inspiration throughout your day. Record your ideas.
7. Go with the flow of the creative process.
8. When fear and worry happens, take care of your feelings, then put your big girl pants on and do it!