Just do it.

Day 14 of a 30-day challenge: write every day. Morning pages and writing for clients don’t count. An hour minimum, but five minutes are better than no minutes. Laptop or journal, your choice. Go.

This isn’t the first challenge of the summer. In June my friend Kathy and I signed on after hearing a guy at Mile High TEDx talk about how challenges are changing his life. We were less interested in changing our lives than in believing we had one takeaway from an otherwise mediocre conference. So Kathy took a photograph every day. I wrote morning pages and meditated. More or less.

Thirty-day challenges are pretty much elongated versions of deals I make with myself all the time. If you get that brochure written by end of day Thursday, you can hike on Friday. If that job from a new client comes in, work on it over the weekend and earn a day of personal writing. Bike the errands that bore you to death and call it an urban adventure. Work like a dog for three weeks and escape with friends to Aspen for four days of hiking and biking. Is this everyone’s craziness, or just freedom-hungry, over-functioning baby boomers who never figured out how to play without working first?

At challenge midpoint, I’ve learned again what I already knew. Writing makes me crazy. Writing brings me joy. The possibilities for distraction are infinite. The hardest thing is getting started. Writing about a client’s business is easier than writing about life. The loudest voice is the judge who has threatened, criticized, cajoled, manipulated and otherwise had her way with me since I got out of diapers. Ignoring her takes work. Writing is the answer to a dream and the makings of a nightmare. It does not help to read Seth Godin, Anna Quindlen or Anne Lamott. Their words roll onto the page like show tunes spilling from a player piano filled with quarters while mine make the arduous journey from some deep, half-hidden hole whose contents take forever to uncover and then only reluctantly climb onto the screen. Surely I am right about this. I know I am.

I’ve missed one day in the first fifteen. Halfway home to a life forever changed by doing something every day for a month. That’s the theory, anyway. What’s your 30-day challenge? If you haven’t tried one lately, go for it. Summer is waning.

PS, a nod to Mom who moved to the other side a few minutes after three, ten years ago this afternoon. Missing you.

12 thoughts on “Just do it.

  1. hi becky!
    first of all, a loving nod to your mom, my auntie alice, as well. wow. ten years ago today? i think of her and orlin and uncle bill and hope that they are with me in spirit when i do. it wasn’t just a week ago that they were on my mind. interesting. i am not aware of dates of beloved’s parting. i tend to forget these things.
    i have been challenging myself to do yoga every morning again per my usual routine, but it’s not so easy with a crying baby beside me. i suppose i should make the challenge to do the yoga whilst baby is sleeping, but that time is for playing with ezra, putting this away,stacking the dishwasher, and oh so many other things i wish there were someone else here to do them.
    oh! and there he is. my crying call to duty. love you! xo

  2. Rebecca. Your writing never fails to challenge me to dig deeper and think in different ways. It also always reminds me of how I wish we had time together on a regular basis. Love to you. Xoxo t

  3. I can speak to the challenge and rewards of taking that photograph every day for 30 days. The collection reflects the mundane to the surprise. The sad sights to the joyous. And yet, in the end, I had a flash of images of 30 days of my life, days I will never get back, and each image now represents a memory. It’s a way to hold on to time a little more closely. Now my camera is always at my side, and I don’t wait for that special shot, realizing everything is a snapshot of what is in my world view!

  4. As always, your words inspire me. In my head, they bring me to the reminder that a thirty day challenge is indeed something which will fulfill me and encourage me to work on a virtual book of flowers which can be shared online. In my heart, your words massage that part of me which is moved by humanity. It is hard to believe your Mom has been gone 10 years. Alice was an amazing force in life – and, she brought you to us in this world.
    Amen to that.
    I love that you keep on writing. I long for the day when we can once again bring your words and my photos back together to tell a story or two.

  5. Late getting back to you, Anushka… Raising little ones, your days are packed. Good on you for squeezing in the downward dogs. Your yoga practice benefits every male in your house, even the crying baby at your side. Enjoy your days up north. Love to all, xo

  6. Hey Kathy, what’s the challenge this month? Another 30 of photos? You’ve inspired me to try it, thanks!

  7. Hey Kates, I’m confident there’s a project out there for the two of us. How grand would THAT be! Any forward motion on the flowers? Great idea.

  8. Rebecca,
    Your words have just found their way to me this late August day. I checked my scrolled up emails after a long summer of checking them on iphone and ipad. I always find “lost ones” when I finally get to my mac.

    You have once again inspired me! Now, will I write or photograph? I actually love both. I love your challenge and now the summer is almost over and fall is teasing at our door, my life is begging for a routine to settle into.

    So for today and the next 30 days…I shall write and photograph!
    Love to you always and in all ways,

  9. Carole, So good to hear from you. Yup, summer’s winding down… a great time to settle in with new routines. Good luck with writing and photos!
    hugs, Rebecca

  10. Rebecca – this is the first time I’ve ventured to your blog. I find it inspiring and frustrating at the same time. Envious of your project on behalf of NYF, inspired by your 30 day challenge…hmm, what will my challenge be? see you soon. N

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