A reflection on my 30 day writing challenge.

A few days before August began, I felt a nudge.

You need to write. Get serious about this passion of yours and simply show up.

I decided to go for it without really thinking much about it a la Cheryl Strayed on her solo Pacific Crest Trail adventure chronicled in the book, Wild. Okay, well it was like that, but without the divorce, loss of toenails, former heroin habit, and monsterous pack. Though, it can be said that figuratively many of us are carrying a pack that contains things we don’t need. Mine contained fear of being seen and resistance to feelings of discomfort. But more on that in a moment. It was that quick decision to simply say, yes! to my soul without weighing the pros and cons – that lead me to today, my 30th blog post in 30 days. And let’s be honest, if I would have considered how challenging this could be, I would have talked myself out of it.

Plus, I was afraid. Afraid to be seen. I was comfortable hiding within my little square of the blogosphere without ever having to share it with people I knew. It was comfortable, sure, but it was also unfulfilling. I knew my writing was worth more than a silent space with which to pen my discoveries on how to live a more meaningful life. Because where is true meaning if you’re afraid to share your gifts?

I was afraid to start from the beginning. While I have been blogging for 3.5 years, I had never consistently blogged. Was I to become someone who shared new content regularly? Was there a demand for this? Regardless of if there’s “a demand” or not – I chose to believe that my writing is important. Not necessarily to others (but maybe so), but important to me. And I’ve found that this was undeniably true. I felt like I didn’t have enough to show. I realize now that I don’t have to be polished… not every day and not in everything I write. The most vital part is that I just start… somewhere… anywhere.

When I suddenly committed to 30 days of blog posts, I felt empowered. I could do anything. And when I posted my first blog posts of my personal challenge, I felt nervous.

And then I got over it. It didn’t matter how many people read or liked or commented – what mattered was that I created and published. And most importantly, I began to see growth in other areas of my life.

As I became more fearless and felt a greater sense of balance, I realized that this challenge was the most important thing I could do in my life at this very moment. And as I’m coming out on the other side of this challenge (the first of many), I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned – both as a reminder to myself and a testament to those reading who may be considering their own “big leap” into something that’s met with resistance. Here are 5 things I learned from blogging for 30 days in a row (that can really be used to reflect on any goals you set for yourself).

1. It’s important to set a goal that feels exciting. The thought of waking up early to write each morning was something of a dream world. In fact, I think my ideal self does rise each morning to a pen and paper. It didn’t happen this way for me in these 30 days, but it was that initial imagining of how things would be and how it would make me feel that allowed me to do quickly agree. And once I agreed (and publicly comitted), there was no turning back.

2. Be prepared to talk yourself down. You’ll want to quit some days. There was a day that I worked 13 hours, not getting home until 10:30 pm. I considered “skipping it” because I had a good excuse. But I thought about how I would feel after completing all 30 posts on all 30 days just ask Planned and I quickly decided missing a day was not an option. I outlined a post in my head on my 30 minute drive home and got right to work when I wasked in. And every other day that felt tiring or stressful, I was met with the same decision. But there really was no decision to make because I had already made up my mind. I could do this. The hard part (of sharing it) was over. The writing – that was the part I knew.

3. Do one thing each day that scares you. Throughout August, this was easily fulfilled by sharing my blog posts with people I knew on Facebook. It took several days of sharing in places I hadn’t shared before until I realized my strength and started doing other things that scared me. It happened so seamlessly. I had overcome one fear so I was ready for more. It wasn’t always something monumental, but still important steps toward a balanced life. Hiking when there’s possibilities of bears in the area, a third cookie (cause why the hell not), staying up late on a weeknight without worrying about how tired I’ll be the next day. I feel a certain sense of freedom – one that allows me to say no and share my opinion and explore more and worry less.

4. You’re capable of so much more than you think. One large resistance I held on beginning a daily writing practice was I was worried about what I had to give up. Time with Aric? Could we still spend quality time together when I have my nose in my laptop? Chores? Could I live with a messier house?There were sacrifices. A quick shout out to Aric for cooking dinner through the entire month of August ? So we incorporated a few more “reading/writing” nights. And I spent more time brainstorming and writing than cleaning and instagramming. It taught me balance – something I’m not always good at. But more importantly, this challenge has taught me that I am capable of things, even when there’s resistance and even when it seems impossible. That I have it in me – even when there is fear and discomfort and unknown territory.

5. There’s nothing to be afraid of. As soon as I started posting for all to see, I felt free. It didn’t matter who read or who didn’t. I didn’t need to block certain people from seeing my posts. If they see it, they see it. If they read it, they read it. If they mention it to me, they mention it to me. If they don’t, they don’t. Sure, I’d see someone at work and wonder if they read my super personal blog post (when I’m not at all super personal with them in my daily interactions). But that didn’t matter either. I am proud of my 30-day journey and the writings that came from it. I am not ashamed to own it. To say this is what I think and this is why it’s important. Of course, it’s been wonderful to open up conversations about the things I’m writing and my long-term goals with family and friends who want to know more. It’s encouraging to hear such support and interest in my passions. I hope to always do the same for them.

With this challenge complete, I feel confident going forward with 3 posts per week. I feel grateful for overcoming my fear of sharing my blog with others and for the growth I’ve experienced in this process. I feel joy as I enter my 30s with this accomplishment newly met.

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