I joined the My 500 Words writing challenge and made a commitment to write at least 500 words a day for 31 straight days. I can keep going after that, but I have to do it for at least 31 days.
And last week I was supposed to write a post and make a public commitment on my blog that I was participating in the 500 Words a Day challenge.
I did not write that post.
I waited a week.
I waited, because I honestly didn’t trust myself to make it past day three.
I was afraid that I would make the commitment and falter on day two. I thought that if I never announced my commitment and I failed, then nobody would even notice. And that was a lot better than making an ass of myself and letting myself down.
I was pretty stunned by that reaction and surprised that I had so little faith in myself. It was a powerful message and one that I’ve been thinking about over the last week.
I’ll be brutally honest with you. For all the talk I do on this blog of kicking ass and taking names, of writing like a bat out of hell and making no excuses, I struggle just like the rest of you. I struggle to create routines and stick to them. I struggle with the same nagging inner critic that constantly tears me down. And I struggle with the dread that I’m fooling myself and that all this work is for nought.
I don’t have it all figured out.
But I’ve built up years and years of experience, of trying and failing and pushing forward, of showing up and doing the work even when it’s afraid and even when I feel like I’m the last person on earth who should call myself a writer.
I have times where I have a great streak going. I’m getting it done, and it feels fucking fantastic. And then something comes along and knocks me off course, a new work project, a change in my routine, or catching a stupid cold. And then I have to start from the bottom all over again. Sometimes I look inward and all I find is the Nothing sucking up all the light.
But I keep at it. I possess this stubborn, bull-headed perseverance that keeps going. When I’m doing the work, I feel as if I’m fulfilling my purpose for being on this earth.
I keep at it. I push forward and take imperfect action. Above all else, I persevere.
If this is a familiar feeling to you – fear, disappointment, or guilt, or if you feel like the Nothing has consumed all the light – take imperfect action. There is no need to be so hard on yourself. Try this instead: write for one day, 500 words or 15 minutes. Then write for one day more.