Monday, December 06, 2010

365 Day Challenge

There's a kid named Alex in my town who is an amazing runner. I see him sometimes when I'm walking my dog or driving around the neighborhood, and I recognize him from far away because his stride looks so effortless and fast and powerful. Last week, my son told me that it was a big day for Alex because he had run for 365 consecutive days. Every single day for a year! We live in the Chicago suburbs. Our summers are hot and humid. Our winters are blustery and frigid. Our springs and falls are wet and windy. Can you imagine a 15-year-old boy running every single day for a year in weather like that? With typical teen distractions available to him all the time? It's no wonder his stride is so beautiful. It's no wonder that as a sophomore he's already one of the best runners on the varsity cross country team. His running may look effortless, but it's an illusion. He is putting in 100% effort, working every day, bit by bit, getting better, stronger, faster.

And isn't that true of all great things? The more you dedicate yourself, the more work you put into the creation of something, the more effortless it appears in the end. I really admire Alex's dedication. And I figure if he could do it, I can too. (I'm not talking about running, mind you. I hate to run!)

So, inspired by Alex, I've created a 365 Day Challenge, and I invite you to join me.

Choose something that you love and that you want to dedicate yourself to for an entire year. Working out? Writing poetry? Learning an instrument? Knitting? Singing? Creating a new business? Painting? Meditating? Shooting freethrows? The possibilities are endless. Now get a calendar. And go. No excuses. Find the time every day. And let me know how much progress you make. I bet we'll all have amazing stories of success to share.

My 365 Day Challenge is to write fiction. I'm one of those authors who tries to write everyday but quite often finds excuses why I can't get to it. (It's the weekend, It's a holiday, I don't have enough time, I have a headache, etc.) Recently, however, I realized I can get a lot of writing done in a small amount of time. If I turn off the internet, set the timer on my phone for 35 minutes and tell myself I have to continually write until the alarm beeps, I'm amazed at how much I accomplish. And usually, I can find several 35-minute chunks of time on even the busiest days. Every day I write for at least one 35-minute chunk, I'll mark it on my calendar. So far I'm on Day 6. Only 359 days to go!

Are you in? Let me know in the comments.

25 comments:

Sara Shacter said...

Count me in!! I shall work on a writing project every day. Really. Truly. No foolin'.

Brenda Ferber said...

Go Sara! Thanks for joining me!

Jim Danielson said...

I'm in. At least 12 new lines for my novel in verse project every day. I'm pressing "publish your comment" quick before the negative forces take over.

Brenda Ferber said...

Yay Jim! You can do it. :-)

Jenny Meyerhoff said...

I'm in, too!
I'm setting the even more modest goal of 100 words a day. That's so small it should be impossible not to do. Of course I hope to write more most days. :) But something everyday is the point.

Thanks for inspiring!!

Brenda Ferber said...

Jenny, you are such an efficient writer, I can't wait to see what you accomplish with this goal in mind! And by the way, thanks for giving me the idea to set a timer and write in small chunks of time. It's working wonderfully!

sadler4kids said...

I'm in! This is an excellent idea, Brenda.

The Primitive DIVA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Primitive DIVA said...

My first post, showed that I need to use spell check for everything-or at least slow my fingers down, haha!

I am in....As a new writer, trying to finish my first of 3 (series) I need the challenge. But, I need at leat a 500 word per day challenge to reach my goals!

Brenda Ferber said...

Welcome Sadler and Primitive Diva! Good luck with your goals!

Lori Degman said...

Great idea, Brenda! I'm in but I haven't decided what it's going to be yet. I'm giving myself until Jan. 1 to decide.

Brenda Ferber said...

Good idea, Lori!

Sheila said...

At first I thought, no way! But 100words a day sounds possible. And I won't be fussy about what those words are about. Some of them might even be part of a comment to someone's blog challenge. And I am starting January 1, 2011. :-)

Brenda Ferber said...

Good for you Sheila!

aprilyf said...

This is just what I needed to get me back to writing. Thanks for thinking of the rest of us. I'm in.

April Young Fritz

Susan Bearman said...

Good plan. I was surprised by how much participating in NaNoWriMo inspired me. Am passing your challenge along on Twitter. I'm in.

Diane O'Neill said...

I am definitely in! I do write every day--but I'm not as focussed as I should be. I'm going to aim to work on my middle-grade novel every day for the next 365 days. Thanks for the challenge!

Brenda Ferber said...

So glad so many people are participating! There's strength in numbers. Maybe I'll do monthly updates where we can all chime in on our progress.

Juli Caveny said...

We were talking about this post at our Scribes meeting the other night! I've taken pictures before(one a day...)and made it over 180, but I recently finished NANOWRIMO and am feeling powerful again! I'm going to give some thought to my daily goal, and then I'm in!

Paula Morrow said...

I'm in. Had to ponder whether I could really follow through. My Achilles' heel is marketing ... so I pledge to spend 20 minutes a day on marketing in 2011.

Sallie Wolf said...

I love the idea of committing to something and staying with it for the long haul. There is also a need for time off--I'm a bit perturbed that someone is running 365 days in a row--the body needs to recover and rebuild. So does the mind and spirit. So I am thinking about how to take this on so that there is both commitment and rest. I think the most important thing is to be intentional--not to give in to whims or feelings which undermine one's commitment. Where I would like to see real consistency in my life is with working out. So I commit to being physically engaged and active 7 days a week, 365 days in the year. Some of my days will be devoted to "restorative yoga"--relaxation poses which put no strain on muscles and joints. 2-3 days will be strength training. 2-3 days will be interval training. Thanks for giving me a place to state my commitment have support from an equally committed group.

Sallie

Brenda Ferber said...

Welcome to the challenge, Juli, Paula, and Sallie. Sallie, I think you're right about needing rest and recovery. I sure hope Alex doesn't get an injury. Your plan sounds perfect!

Leone Castell Anderson said...

I'm with Paula. Marketing is my bugaboo!
But I've tried to give it 30 minutes every day...
and so far this month I've succeeded in getting
a middle-grade novel and one poem off to
market. Yay! Lee

Eydie said...

Brenda,

I was enjoying perusing Jenny Meyerhoff’s blog for the first time, and came across your challenge.

Perfect timing for me, and a great reminder on how I want to write in my journal ~~ with no judgment ~~ no expectations ~~~ simply write ~~ each and every day.

Thank you for the gentle nudge and inspiration.

Brenda Ferber said...

That's a great goal, Eydie! I hope it leads to lots of good things. I bet it will.