I accomplished a major milestone in my life this week. I participated in a writing challenge called NaNoWriMo, which honours National Writing month by having brave souls write a ‘novel’ of 50,000 words in 30 days or less. And, I did it! In 29 days, no less. There is no financial compensation involved in doing this NaNoWriMo. In fact, as a charitable foundation committed to encouraging writing in young people , they ask you to make a contribution to their program.
So, in the words of my husband, ‘Why did you do it? And, what did you get out of it?’
That was an interesting question he posed. Much of the time people do challenging things because we will gain financially or professionally. Even when doing volunteer work, there’s a sense of purpose, for example to help others or gain experience on a resume. It’s a rarity to be presented with the opportunity to do something JUST TO DO IT. And to me, that’s what NaNoWriMo was. I wanted to challenge myself, and see if I had it in me to write more than 600 words at one sitting. I also wanted to know if I could maintain a challenging, yet intangible project for a whole month. There was no feedback involved with this writing. No one was going to see it. The only place I had to hand it in, was to the NaNoWriMo.org website to have the number of my words validated. As a result, this was a completely self-driven project. It was up to me, and just FOR me to complete the challenge. I have to say, I learned some interesting facts about myself in the process:
- Dreams are there for a reason. If you dream of doing something, its because you really want to do it. So, you should find a way. And jump in with two feet while you’re at it.
- I can do ANYTHING I set my mind to do.
- When faced with a daunting task, I need to employ a cheering committee who won’t let me quit.
- I need to be accountable to someone. For example, I told Twitter and a million other people that I was doing NaNoWriMo.
- In order to complete a large task, I need to be organized and set targets for myself. Daily word counts were my saviour.
- Focus on the actual purpose and goal of the project, and not your own perceptions of those. The goal here was to achieve a word count, not to write the best book ever. When I kept that in mind, I didn’t keep going back to edit, which would have held me back.
- Triumphing over your character flaws is extremely GRATIFYING. I have now trounced the naysaying, confidence lacking, start/stopper in me. And, I like what I see.
- Push through things that are difficult. Sometimes I just DIDN’T WANT TO. But, I sat down and did. And it felt amazing.
As I’m writing this, I realize that often times we need to go through the hard to make things easy. I now know that as long as I believe in myself, I’m one step closer to achieving my dreams. What have you learned about yourself lately? And what are you doing to take yourself one step closer to achieving your dream?