A 30 Day Writing Challenge

How A 30 Day Writing Challenge Can Change Your Life (Like it’s changing mine)

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Afternoon guys,

Sun 18 Apr

Today marks the 108th day that I’ve been writing relatively consistently (i.e every day).

And I wanted to discuss how writing for 30 days in a row is something that could potentially have profound effects upon your life, success and mental wellbeing.

Once I’ve gone through that I’ll give you a plan of action for how you can set yourself a 30-day writing challenge to see if you can reap the benefits of this process as well.

As I enter my 108th day of writing – it’s become a backbone of my day.

When I don’t write – simply put – I don’t FEEL right.

Furthermore, the multiple benefits my writing is giving me are numerous.

In the grand scheme of things – 108 days of writing is nothing – but the massive returns I’ll get if I stick to this for 1,000 days I’m sure I cannot foresee at the moment.

But, on the basis of companies that have been built on the basis of building incredible amounts of traffic to their website – I’m hoping to do the exact same thing and then same through the toil I put in each day.

I say toil – but it’s been an absolute pleasure.

I feel more at peace. I’ve built a powerful and productive habit. Already my blog is impacting my professional life as the clients of Pearl Lemon get to learn much about me. My personal life has come up more than once in the calls my sales team have had – as our clients have ended up reading our blogs.

And that’s notwithstanding all of the repurposing opportunities that exist. This is in the form of Medium posts, LinkedIn posts, Amazon books and more.

Getting the opportunity to combine writing (a hobby I’m extremely passionate about) with focussing upon a targeted keyword that I believe can rank on Google is such a fun pastime for me…

That it’s stopped feeling like work.

So now – let’s discuss the mechanics of a 30-day writing challenge:

What is your why?

Why

If you’re going to embark upon this journey – it’s really important to consider your why. Why are you even doing this?

  • Are you doing it for a lark? (You’ll fail if you are).
  • Are you doing it just for the challenge to see if you can do it (to build your mental reserve and integrity and to keep pushing your boundaries)?
  • Are you trying to write a book or start a blog?
  • Is there some kind of longer-term goal?
  • Is it so you can journal? (for your mental health?)

Whilst it doesn’t have to be meaningful – I’d urge you to for at least a second think about your why?

If it’s not strong enough it may be you don’t bother with this journey at all.

Time is limited so figuring out why you want to do this is something I urge you to consider.

How will you reward yourself?

Reward yourself

It’s important if you’re going to embark upon a 30-day writing challenge that you map out some rewards. This will really help drive your motivation.

What can you give yourself on day 7, 14, 21, and 30?

Or maybe it’s day 10 that you decide to treat yourself?

However you decide to map this out – most people don’t consider building a reward system to help them in the early stages of such an adventure.

I wish I did when I tried this the first time around (more than 2 years ago)!

The act of writing itself becomes a reward

Writing itself

One of the beautiful things about writing – is that in time – the act of writing itself actually becomes the reward itself.

So everyday, I get a dopamine hit from literally just writing.

It’s a satisfying feeling to have wrapped up a blog or to have hit a certain word count.

And bar a little encouragement it’s a great feeling to just be able to push out some content.

That idea might seem foreign to you now of course – but you’ll see what I mean in about 30 days from now!

The permanency of words

The permanency

This is also a beautiful aspect of writing – that there’s a permanency that comes from writing.

Writing will be around long after you finish.

Decades after you finish.

That idea truly excites me – and I hope it’s the same for you – because none of it – especially if you plan to publish like many do – will be wasted words.

Beginning your 30 day challenge

30 day challenge

So – with all of this in mind – let’s come now to discussing the challenge itself.

Writing for 30 days in a row is definitely something you want to do at least an hour’s planning for.

I’ve started in the past immediately – and I failed because I rushed into it a little too quickly.

Had I taken a moment to think about it – I would have gone way further way faster.

Get A Writing/Accountability Coach

Writing/Accountability

Getting coaches has been massive for my progress. 100% when it comes to writing.

Working with Chris Sowers has transformed my writing trajectory.

Having someone who’s got experience in the nice, that you can look up to for support – is an excellent way to drive this agenda forward.

Have Public Accountability As Well

Accountability

Another important consideration of this whole process is giving yourself some public accountability as well.

Whether that’s publishing a post on Facebook or telling friends and family about your plan – having some public accountability is important for your success.

A time of day to write

Time of day

I’ve been writing this blog post over the course of several days – and here’s the time right now:

Mon 19 Apr

What is consistent about my blog writing – is that it pretty much happens all before 9 am more or less.

Especially on weekdays at least when I’m up ‘on-time’ (i.e 430am).

Creating habits that you execute at specific times of the day will definitely help you fight procrastination.

Each morning I wake up and expect to write as the first thing I do almost on auto-pilot.

It’s a learned response I’ve created through the act of writing in the same window of my day – every day – the morning.

Furthermore, I don’t deviate from this being the first thing. I record videos each morning as well – but you’ll not see me record a video before I write.

So if you can block out a certain time of the day to write – it’ll definitely help you stick to writing each morning

Put In Your Diary

Your Diary

With this in mind then – putting this time in your diary – especially during these critical first 30-days when you’re building muscle memory – it definitely is important to put it in as a calendar reminder.

Even setting up an SMS reminder could help you.

What I find helpful about this also – is that as I look at my calendar entries for the rest of the day – I’ll also see the morning writing in there – so it serves as a visual aid for the next day.

Fence This Time Off

Time Off

When putting a new activity into your calendar (which for me at least is where I live and breathe on) – it’s important to make sure that that time is fenced off.

Protect that time as if it was a critical client meeting.

If you allow external interruptions during your writing time – that is poor planning and will never allow you to build a powerful habit.

If it’s you interrupting yourself – well then it’s a question of your own discipline!

Building a writing environment

Writing environment

The other thing that I do each morning – is I put my headphones in, expand my screen, close down irrelevant tabs, turn on white noise…and start writing.

I also now have my laptop on a stand that I only keep up during my work hours (I work from home) which signifies it’s ‘time to work’ (it comes down between 5-6pm).

This is an insight into my working/writing environment – and I recommend you build one for your own

Deciding your word count

Word count

Word count and what it should be is a challenging question for many writers – and there’s no ‘one-size-fits all’ to this question.

Some will set goals of 100,500,1,000 or more words per day.

This answer will also be dependent upon what is your longer-term aim with writing for 30 days in a row?

If it’s really a setup for writing ‘permanently’ as a fixture of your life – than the word count matters less than the consistency does.

I’ve tried combinations of all of the above, 100, 750, 1500, 2000 – and have had challenges with all.

In the end, setting a goal to just simply write at least SOMETHING each day is all I’d aim for.

Don’t even set a word count.

The word count interestingly – will find you – not the other way around.

I don’t count the words I write, but I statistically know that I’ll push out at least 1,000 words per day.

However – I have the freedom to NOT write that – but rather write however many words I want.

Having a goal (for me) creates pressure, and pressure makes the writing experience less enjoyable, and so I end up doing less, and then not doing it at all.

When there’s no pressure – I write more overall.

Deciding what you will write about

Deciding

This is very much a personal choice. Whether you’re journaling or writing blog posts.

My style of writing is somewhat journaling in style – and doesn’t require a huge amount of external research because it’s experiential.\

Therefore I’m able to be pretty consistent.

So your writing habit’s time needed for completion will expand in proportion to the complexity of the content you’re writing.

It’ll also make the whole experience tougher (which isn’t a bad thing).

It’s just important to be mindful of all of this.

If you’re still stuck I’d definitely say go with ‘journaling’ – as we’re overall most concerned with powerful habit formation here.

Building external support structures

External Support

We’ve made mention of this a couple of times throughout – but it’s worth having a dedicated section on this.

If you’ve come seeking advice on successfully completing a 30-day challenge of writing – it’s obvious you want to succeed, get support and be prepared for it.

So I encourage you to ask yourself – how else could you build support structures to support your 30-day writing challenge in a manner that’s not yet been covered?

You might be surprised with what you come up with!

Never underestimate the challenge of 30 days

Never underestimate

The reason I’ve gone to such lengths to discuss tactics and strategies is that many people underestimate the challenge of writing for 30 days in a row.

Writing itself ultimately involves you tapping keys on a keyboard for a period of time each day.

Getting through say 100 words of content should take you much less than 10 minutes (10 WPM).

Yet – many people fail.

This is also because we’re not specially trained to voluntarily do or NOT do for 30-days in a row.

I invite you to consider this:

What else have you completed a 30-day challenge in?

(If this list is long – great! Incorporate some of the learnings there into this so you come out of this successfully).

If literally, NOTHING comes to mind – then you’ll have realised exactly why the 30-day writing challenge DOES require prep.

You’re asking yourself to do something you’ve never done before at many levels –

Doing the same conscious thing for 30 days in a row

In general – most of the population will never do that with anything that’s productive in their lives that requires independent thinking.

You however will be different 🙂

The First Week

The First Week

So now we enter the actual launch phase!

The first 7-days of writing.

You should be excited by now ready for the challenges ahead.

Day 1

Today excitement should carry you forward – so you should be able to get your word count complete!

Day 2

Same as yesterday – it’s still feeling fresh and you’re making sure you carve out time for it in the morning

Day 3

As above

Day 4

As above

Day 5

Maybe now the glean is beginning to wear off and it’s becoming a little more challenging now

Day 6

Ok – now we’re at day 6, and the excitement with which you read this blog may have worn off – might be some resistance – but you’re still getting after it

Day 7

Well done you’ve reached a milestone! Your first week of writing – what reward is waiting?

Dealing with slumps

Slumps

So after you get through the first week you may experience your first slump. This is typically when you’re excited for the task has potentially all but disappeared, and so your motivation is low….

And maybe you’ll quit.

This is the first stage of the resistance.

Make sure that you’re aware that this stage (whether it’s day 7 or day 15) is expected as a normal part of your journey.

To embed an ability you CANNOT avoid a slump – where the writing is difficult, you’re not really sure what to put down in words – and any variation of this as you see it happen.

Be strong and KEEP moving forward

Remembering your why

Remembering your why

This is also where your why comes into play. Why are you doing this anyway? What’s the bigger purpose behind this that makes the slump or even reading this blog worth it?

Remind yourself of it.

(Pardon the irony) – Write it down.

Having a why that’s bigger than the slump is critical else you’ll just give up when the going gets tough.

Dealing with writing fatigue

Writing fatigue

Another challenge that comes with writing – is that like anything – there can come times where you just feel sick of it. This is when you need to have an elastic daily goal.

I stopped setting myself a ‘word count minimum’ because my mind and body let me know each day when it’s ‘time’.

Time to wrap up for the day. Time to write much less today because I’m tired.

And whatever these variations might be.

Becoming A Mindful Writer

Mindful Writer

Now we’ve hit upon perhaps one of (for me) the most critical components of this writing challenge. Being mindful.

So contrary to popular belief – creating a keystone habit such as writing ISN’T something that should be very tough and almost break you in the process. In fact, each time you experience anything close to the resistance I suggest you be keenly aware of how you’re feeling and what is going on.

There’s not been any habit that I’ve built that came through ‘hating’ the process of building that habit.

So whenever you experience some kind of resistance each day – push only very slightly into it.

And then back immediately off.

Any time I’ve tried to push through – I’ve usually been able to do that – but then it’s built up such negative associations in my head with that activity…

That I don’t really seek to replicate it much.

So be mindful of how you feel and let that dictate to a decent degree – how you act!

Now let’s get back at it!

Getting to Day 15

Day 15

Another milestone in your writing journey! The halfway mark more or less – celebrate this with some kind of treat. Some kind of public announcement as well to signify those who are watching that ‘yes!’ you’ve made it halfway. 🙂

Day 21

9 more days to go – excellent stuff. Hopefully, all of the strategies tools and techniques we’ve discussed so far have helped you get here – well done – keep going!

Letting momentum take over

Take over

At some point – as you write on a daily basis – momentum should start to become the engine of all of this.

It’s like trying to push a car down the street from a standing position.

Your motivation is the person pushing the car. To begin with, it’s tough, it’s challenging it’s slow – but as you push more, it begins to get easier and easier and soon the car is running all by itself.

This is ideally what you’re beginning to sense right now as you enter the final 3rd of your writing journey.

Day 25

Time for another reward perhaps? You’ve made it all the way through to day 25 with no signs of stopping (or perhaps many signs haha).

But you’re here – and you made it – and that’s what counts!

Keep pushing!

What To Do If You Miss A Day or Several Days?

If You Miss

An important question. It’s very possible that during this journey you stumble. That you miss a day through illness, low motivation or something comes up.

If it does – be gentle with yourself – it happens, it’s expected – and that’s why we call it a challenge.

This is where you set the clock back and start the journey again!

But no matter the outcome – whether you miss a day at day 2, 7 or 29….be proud!

We’ll discuss this more shortly.

Day 30

Congratulations! This is an amazing achievement! Tell everyone, reward yourself, be proud of yourself – you’ve crossed a threshold with an amazing achievement!

Not many make it to 30 days without a break. Many will try, few will succeed – you’re now in a special club of writers who wrote 30 days in a row with no breaks.

That’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and again – repeat!

Celebrate the outcome – no matter what

No matter

No matter where you land with this challenge. If you pack it in day 3, day 25 or even extend it to a 90-day challenge…

Be proud of what you accomplished.

It’s very very important as you go on this journey – that you recognise that trying is the biggest victory of them all.

Just having the cohonez to start and to try this is brave!

You might think it’s ‘not in the slightest’ – but how many of your friends or people you know are on this journey?

How many folks do you know that have attempted to write for 30 days in a row…

Not many I bet – so you should be extremely proud of yourself for making it as far as you did!

What’s next?

What’s next

If you’ve reached this stage – this may be a question you asked yourself several days back.

‘Now that I’ve hit day 30 – what now?’

This is where the most exciting journey begins my friend – it’s deciding what you want to do with your new-found writing skill?

Would you like to continue – and making writing daily a lifelong habit – or will you stop – proud of the steps you made – and either stop it completely or scale it down to 10/20 days a month.

That’s a question I leave to you!

Regardless – what an achievement!

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