It’s here. The Spring 2019 Challenge begins now.
Your goals are set. Your calendar is ready. The words and ideas are whirling through your head.
Writers from around the country and across the world have accepted the challenge to spend the next 100 days committed to writing every day. It’s an exciting thought. Just imagine what we will create during this dedicated time, both collectively and individually.
So what should you expect from this new round of Write 100? What exactly have you gotten yourself into?
Understanding your own expectations is an important piece of how you begin your challenge.
Take some time to review what you think your Write 100 will be like, how you hope it will turn out. Take an inventory of your expectations (I know you have them) and acknowledge them.
Which expectations should you hold onto? Which ones do you need to let go as you start writing? They will shape your Write 100 experience.
Here are a few things I’ve learned during my Write 100 experiences that may help you envision your next 100 days:
Expect to be surprised.
Will a character suddenly appear? Will an idea come together at long last? Will you suddenly discover a passion for poetry?
I can guarantee that–at some point–you will be surprised. Perhaps your project will surprise you. Perhaps you’ll surprise yourself. Perhaps it will come from one of your fellow writers. Collect the surprises as they come along. That’s fuel for your writing fire as you keep up your pace.
Expect to adjust your goals at least once during the challenge.
Give yourself the freedom to adjust your goals. In fact, you should probably schedule at least one goal reevaluation during the next 100 days. Your goals are meant to support you and provide the boundaries you need to be successful. Give yourself and your goals the freedom to do just that.
Expect to discover things about yourself–as a writer and as a person–that you hadn’t noticed before.
There’s no mirror quite like writing. And a challenge like this is bound to teach you a thing or two. You’ll start to uncover habits and patterns in your thinking, your writing, and your reading. Pay attention to these moments. Respond to them. You’ll be a better writer because of it.
Expect to fight for your writing time.
Hint: you’ll probably be fighting yourself most often.
The excuses will come, sooner or late. In my experience, it’s almost always sooner. There’s always something other than writing that you could be doing. You’ll have to choose to write, and you’ll have to make that choice again and again each day. Guard your writing time, and ask your friends and family to help you do just that.
Expect to be challenged.
One hundred days is a long time. This is going to be hard. But it’s going to be worth it. Even those of us who’ve done Write 100 before will find new things to challenge us. It’s called the writing life for a reason. Growth and change are part of the experience and the commitment. Engage with the moments of discomfort, and celebrate how the experience shapes you into a braver and better writer.
But most of all…have no expectations.
I’ve learned that oftentimes in life it is better to enter something new with as few expectations as possible. Why? Because when you go in free from the pressure of expectations you are open to the possibilities.
Why should the blank page be daunting? Instead, see the blank page of Write 100 as an opportunity. Embrace the adventure, and this challenge could very well whisk you away to places and words you could not have imagined when you started out.