Thirty days.

Thirty days of writing and posting something daily.

Thirty days – without a break – of forcing myself to do what I love.

It seems silly that I would have to force myself to write, when writing is what I’d like to do for a career, but it’s true.

Writing requires effort, and effort requires discipline. Thirty days ago, I was a little lean on the discipline, and as a result I wasn’t making much effort.

Then I started the Write Every Day challenge, and I learned some pretty cool concepts along the way.

I learned that when you practice something long enough, it becomes a habit – it gets ingrained into your daily routine to the point that if you stop doing it, something feels wrong. Every day for the past month, I’ve felt compelled to put forth the effort to avoid that feeling. The challenge was always staring me in the face, always asking me:

What are you going to write today?

The question was no longer ‘Are you going to write?’ It changed to ‘What are you going to write?’ That’s a significant shift, because now in my own mind, I assume that I will write every day. The only question is what.

So let’s look at what I did write about over the past month – and by association, what I learned.

  1. Learn from the experience of others. John supplied the idea, then Bradley took it a huge step further. He makes my writing habit look like I’m taking crib notes on the back of my hand – but he inspires me to bigger and better things by doing so.
  2. Entertainment can kill creativity and productivity. Prioritize it, and it won’t control your life.
  3. Success does not guarantee more success. You still have to work hard, even after you succeed.
  4. Rewards are good. Give yourself a carrot at the end of the stick. The stick by itself doesn’t have much appeal.
  5. Don’t sweat the details – focus on the dream. Focusing on details can convince you not to act.
  6. You can teach an old dog new tricks. The old dog just has to want to learn.
  7. There’s always more than one way to solve a problem. Be willing to try something new.
  8. Worthwhile things may seem impossible, but they’re never as difficult as they seem.
  9. There is no free lunch. Anything worth having is worth working hard to get.
  10. Fatigue is not a valid reason to quit.
  11. Temptation never goes away – so resolve can’t, either.
  12. Building one good habit makes building others easier.
  13. More is not always better.
  14. You can learn from other people’s mistakes, too.
  15. Action doesn’t guarantee success – but inaction guarantees failure.
  16. A change in perspective can boost creativity and understanding.
  17. Bad fortune isn’t all bad. Look for the good – even in the worst situations.
  18. Confident people don’t worry about failing. Proud people do.
  19. Nothing is too hard – if you break it down, you can get it done.
  20. Great customer service is worth paying for.
  21. Don’t listen to people whose job is to criticize others.
  22. Take inspiration wherever you find it.
  23. Regularly take stock of your progress.
  24. Be willing to change direction.
  25. Balance is everything.
  26. Manage your time, or waste it. There is no in between.
  27. Use the proper tools for the job.
  28. Waiting for tomorrow is as good as giving up.
  29. Sometimes life happens in the interruptions. Relax a little.
  30. Numbers don’t matter. Consistency does.

The last one is for today – because thirty posts doesn’t mean much of anything, unless you look at the habit that produced that number.

This challenge has taught me that consistent, repeated action leads to remarkable progress – often sooner than you expect. It’s the miracle of compound interest, applied to life instead of finance.

So where do I go in the next thirty days?

I’m going to continue writing, but I’m going to make adjustments. I want to spread my efforts out between posts to this site and my fiction. I’d like to work on some guest posts for other sites, and I want to keep better track of how much time I invest in each area. At the end of the next thirty days, I want to have enough data to show how much time this lifestyle really takes.

There have been some tangible results to this challenge, too.

It has generated more than 1,000 page clicks to this site.

It brought in 6 new followers (up from zero – that’s a huge jump!)

Not exactly blockbuster numbers, I admit – but still better than nothing, and there’s a lot of room for improvement!

Thanks for reading – feel free to stick around for the next thirty days!