December Writing Challenge

Confession –– I shopped on Black Friday.

The frenzy and crowds kick off the Christmas shopping season for me. It all started years ago when my husband and I began taking our kids to see the holiday windows displays on State Street in Chicago. The lights and animated puppets never failed to put us in a festive mood.

While there are no windows displays in Atlanta, the people watching never disappoints. I always come away from our Black Friday shopping amused though often empty-handed.

It’s a horrible day to actually shop.

That said, I did manage to buy something this year –– a pen. I probably paid more than I should have, but I couldn’t resist. As I walked through the mall with my new purchase, I promised myself I would write everyday in the month of December. It wasn’t until I got home that I started to feel more than a little guilty. Did I really just spend that much on a pen? I contemplated taking it back, especially in light of my lower than average percentage of follow through with writing promises.

Then I wrote with it.

The way the ink flowed on the paper was almost magical. It made me want to start a new project. I suddenly wanted my writing life back.

The past year has taken its toll on my writing life. Mostly I dabble. And though I write in my journal regularly, I haven’t been able to finish anything other than my editor letters for Minerva Rising. It would be easy to blame the change in my writing life on grieving or life in general, but the reality is I haven’t said yes to writing. I have allowed other things to take over. While I don’t have much control over the grieving process, there are some things that don’t require as much attention and time as I give them. I spend a lot of time doing things that don’t add value to my life. And many of those things actually deplete my energy.

Facebook comes to mind.

Though I don’t post very often, I’m on everyday. I have watched more mindless videos and read more pointless articles than I care to admit. Rarely do I come away from the activity feeling better about myself or having moved any closer to my goals. And yet I say yes to spending my time that way everyday. That’s time I could spend writing. Why don’t I?

Writing is a lot like exercise. Not only is it good for me, I always feel better after I do it. But much like exercise, I procrastinate and create 99 excuses. I have good intentions, but allow my momentary comfort to circumvent my long term goals. It’s only after my body starts to ache or I can’t button my jeans that exercise becomes critical. My discomfort moves me to action.

The same holds true for writing. The decision not to say yes to my writing time creates negative energy. I find myself feeling guilty about all the things I should be doing, especially when someone ask about my book. The stress of unfinished projects blocks new ideas. thoughts, anxieties and doubts swirl around my head with no place to go. And when my head feels as if it’s going to explode I know I need to start writing again. I need it as much as I need exercise. It feeds my soul. Clears my head. It opens my eyes and heart to the world around me. And most importantly I spend less time obsessing over minutia –– which is another thing I spend way too much time doing.

All of this came to me while I was journaling with my new pen. I even had an idea for a writing challenge. What if I blogged every day for the month of December? It would definitely get me back on track with my writing life. It would stretch me and take me out of my comfort zone. Then I immediately came up with a ton of reasons (excuses) why now wasn’t the right time to start a writing challenge. It’s December. What about the preparation for the holiday party I’m hosting? And Christmas shopping for my family?

When would I possibly have time to write?

But what better time to challenge yourself than when you know that you are going to be busy. And lets face it, the rush of the holidays has never stopped me from watching television or scrolling through Facebook. Why should it stop me from writing?

So there it is. I’m announcing it to the world. I am writing a new blog every day for the month of December. Here are the ground rules.

  1. Each blog will be at least five hundred words
  2. It will be posted everyday by 8:00 p.m.
  3. There will be no interaction on any social media –– Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc until it’s done

I’ll admit I’m nervous. But the more you write, the better you write. So it begins. . .

If you would like to join me in the challenge to write more this December, email me here. We can encourage one another as we take our writing to another level.

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