Two days ago — Wednesday, July 15, 2015 — was a very special day for me. This is the day that I reached exactly two full years writing at least 1,000 words per day. Two whole years! 730 consecutive days! Honestly, that’s so amazing to me. Sometimes I can’t even believe it’s been that long, but it has. I’m quite proud of myself for sticking to this daily habit for so long. It’s truly been life changing for me.
While I was celebrating this milestone on Wednesday, I thought (and wrote!) about what I’ve learned over the last two years. It’s not only about the writing, but it’s also about habits, commitment, and dedication to a craft. Of course, I also wanted to make this milestone about you as well so I figured that sharing my learnings would be the perfect way to do that.
What I’ve learned by writing daily for two years:
First and foremost, after writing every day for two years, I’ve learned that persistence pays off. When I started this daily habit two years ago, I didn’t even consider myself a writer yet. I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t really writing much at the time so it was hardly a moniker I’d yet earned. However, through consistent and persistent work, I realized that by writing each and every day, I could truly consider myself a writer. I was doing the deed. It became a matter of accepting the fact that I was a writer. By the beginning of 2014, I owned the title of writer. It felt authentic to me because at that point, I’d been writing daily for nearly six months.
An interesting aside: within the first year of my daily writing habit, Jeremy and I wrote our book and turned in our manuscript. So, not only had I been writing my 1,000 words per day, but I also produced an entire book within the first year of that time. Yes, Jeremy and I did split authoring duties, but I ended up writing about 60% of the 60,000 words we published while he eloquently rounded out the other 40%. Through taking on all of this writing, I learned that I’m capable of much more than I thought. I researched and wrote a book! That’s huge! Believing in myself and staying true to the course I’d set helped keep me focused and motivated during that busy time.
I also learned that if you want something, you have to be willing to choose yourself. I wanted to be a writer so I decided to just start writing. I didn’t wait for anyone to pay me. I didn’t wait for someone else to say that I was a writer. I just started writing one day and kept doing it every day thereafter. It was as easy as that. If you want to do something in life — whether it be writing, painting, photography, whatever! — just start doing it. Let’s be honest: you’ll probably be terrible at first. I was! For sure! But I stuck with the writing, and I improved. I dedicated myself to my craft, showed up, did the work, and here I am today, a writer. You must be willing to invest your own time and resources into honing your craft before you can expect anyone else to do the same.
Finally, through consistently writing 1,000 words per day (or more), I’ve learned that it’s really not a big deal to do something daily. When I clear the distractions and get serious about writing, I can finish my 1,000 words in 20 minutes, easy. As I’ve practiced and engrained this habit into my brain, each day seems like less and less of a “big deal” to sit down and get the work done. I no longer lament on what to write about. I just write. Sometimes it’s awesome. Sometimes it sucks. That’s just life. Writing like this helps to clear away the cobwebs in my mind so that when I need to produce something meaningful, I can connect with the right words much more quickly. I keep my writing pump primed so that when I need that precious “well water,” I just start pumping. That’s not to say it’s always easy, but daily and regular practice sure helps the process overall.
In closing, I’d like to say thank you so much for being here to celebrate with me today! I hope you’ve found inspiration here to apply to your life and/or your own creative pursuits. If you’ve been putting off starting a creative project because you’re waiting for the Perfect Time, stop fooling yourself. There is no perfect time. Just dive in and get started. Count on it feeling icky at first. Expect that you’ll flounder. Know that it’s likely that you’ll hate the work (and perhaps yourself) at times. Those are some of the challenges you’ll face when dealing with creativity and a creative life.
In the end, though, also count on the time and effort paying off. Giving yourself a place to explore and practice your craft will allow the true genius of your work to surface much more quickly than if you just tackled the project in a more willy-nilly, half-hearted way. Trust me. I only saw progress when I committed full force. So, be brave. Seize the day. No more waiting. No more putting off. Choose yourself. Start your project today!
If you’d like some help figuring out what your creative project is or if you simply need an accountability partner, let me know. My coaching specialty is helping people connect with and get fulfillment from their creativity. Email me for more information or to simply start a conversation. I look forward to hearing from you!