Tag Archives: Challenge

6AM Writing Challenge – Week Three

23 Nov

I am quite possibly the first 20-something to have done gardening at 8AM on a Sunday…in November. I laughed as, covered from head to toe in several layers of warm clothes, I pulled out weeds from our small patch of grass – how many people in my neighbourhood were even awake at this time on their day off? Let alone doing something active, let alone doing something outside, let alone – gardening at 8AM!

The past week of my 6AM Writing Challenge has brought some surprises. On some days, waking up at 6AM brought me a bundle of energy which made me very productive and very optimistic. Other days, waking up at 6AM meant that by mid-day all I wanted was to go back to bed and screw the rest of the working day, which was barely just beginning. And, of course, there were days when I was awake for so long (twenty hours) that I simply didn’t manage to get up at 6AM the next day.

girl stretching in bedroom morning

However, no matter what time I woke up, I still wrote for an hour before starting my day. And this has made me realise that only doing something I love could make me accomplish things I never thought I could accomplish. For example, while working as a freelance editor from home last year, I never managed to wake up at a reasonable time. And I never managed to motivate myself to do it, no matter how much I persuaded myself to ‘wake up earlier tomorrow’. Why? Because my work didn’t inspire me or fill me with joy or even interest me enough to be of more importance than a few extra hours in a warm bed.

But writing is. Because it has been the only thing that has motivated me to get up in the cold and dark for the past three weeks.

So what do I write about while most of the people I know are still sleeping? I have mostly been writing Morning Pages, because it is still difficult for me to get my brain or creativity going so early in the morning. However, I hope that as soon as the habit sets in, I will be able to move on to writing something that requires more concentration and effort.

One more week left of the 6AM Writing Challenge, and this week I am determined to not make any exceptions to waking up at 6AM every day.

Today’s sunrise

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6AM Writing Challenge – Week Two

17 Nov

“She’s just waking up, so I’ll get her to call you back.”
“Just waking up?! But it’s already 10AM!”

I am half way through the 6AM Writing Challenge and the past week has really been just that – a challenge. There were many things going on in my personal and professional lives, which made the early mornings extremely difficult. On one particularly busy day, I was awake for twenty hours, and allowed myself to miss the next morning’s early rise for health’s sake.

I must admit that overall I have missed five days of my challenge, three of which were due to fatigue and the other two due to laziness. Although waking up at 6AM has really made a positive change to my life, I often wake up thinking “Why am I awake at 6AM?!”. In those first moments, when I get out of my warm bed and into the cold dark kitchen, I often laugh at the “crazy” challenge I set myself.

However, after breakfast, a sweet coffee and an hour of writing, I feel very satisfied to have started the day so early and in such a way. It’s amazing just how much time I gain by waking up at 6AM.  I have the time to enjoy my mornings rather than rushing through them. I have the time to savour my coffee, to look at the morning sky and to listen to the birds waking. I have the time to reflect upon the day to come and the days passed, and to finish a few things around the house before leaving for work. I have the time to prepare my bag, to choose my clothes and to put on my make-up carefully. I have the time to take my time.

In addition, during the day, I do not worry about setting aside a time for writing or about having enough time to write in the evening. This gives me a peace of mind and allows me to dedicate my evenings to other, usually home and family, activities.

So, despite my daily doubts about the usefulness of the 6AM Writing Challenge, I have been feeling more satisfied in the past two weeks, because I write every day and my writing time does not interfere with any other activities. However, I will need to plan one or two days off a week, to catch up on sleep!

6AM Writing Challenge – Week One

7 Nov

“It is cold, dark and pouring down with rain. It is a Bank Holiday and I am the ONLY ONE awake in the neighbourhood. There isn’t even one light on in all the seven high-rise blocks that I can see from the window!”
~ note on the second day of the 6AM Writing Challenge

Writer Book Windowsill Window

It has been one week since I started the 6AM Writing Challenge, in which, as the title suggests, I wake up at 6AM to write before starting the day. Have I actually managed to wake up at 6AM during this first week? And, if yes, have I actually managed to write upon waking? Let me tell you all…

So long, snooze: Yes, I have actually managed to wake up at 6AM every day! Although I do wake up groaning and wishing I could press the snooze button just one more time…I believe I don’t wake up in a very good mood, either, but luckily, I can take it all out on the paper.

Nothing Too much to say: My aim for the 6AM Writing Challenge was to do one hour of writing. However, I was anxious that one hour would be too long – what would I write about for so long so early in the morning? By the second day, it turned out that I actually needed more than an hour! On the week-end, I ended up writing for three hours.

Poet by night, rambler by morning: When I was doing the 120-day “Do What You Love” Challenge, I wrote for fifteen minutes before going to bed, and usually wrote poems or short stories. In the first week of the 6AM Writing Challenge, on the other hand, I have been writing articles, blog posts or streams of consciousness in Morning Pages-style. I quite miss the poetry, actually…

Finding the time: On the topic of poetry – on one of the first days of the 6AM Writing Challenge, I sorted out all of my poems, making a special file for the poems that I would like to enter into competitions. I have wanted to do this for months, but “never had the time”.

Picking priorities: It feels great to start the day by doing what I love; by the time I leave the house for work, I feel like I have already fulfilled the day’s purpose. I now also have the whole evening free to relax and spend time with my partner, whereas before I had to pick between the two things I love most: my loved one and writing!

Double Espresso and two sugars, please: On the first two days of the 6AM Writing Challenge I got an energy slump by mid-day and had to take a nap in the afternoon! My body wasn’t used to waking up earlier than the sun! A week later, my body seems to be getting used to the extra few hours in my day, although I’ve thrown my “I-only-drink-coffee-on-special-occasions” motto out of the window.

So, although it’s not easy to wake up at 6AM to write, the first week of the 6AM Writing Challenge has been a pleasant surprise, bringing about many positive and unexpected things. I look forward to discovering the second week!

The 6AM Writing Challenge

1 Nov

Today, I wake up earlier than the neighbours, earlier than the sun and even earlier than the birds. It’s dark outside and cold inside, but I’m smiling. This is the first day of my 6AM Writing Challenge and so far I am doing well.

November is known by aspiring writers as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which writers can take part in a challenge to write a novel (50, 000 words) in one month. I had thought about taking part in NaNoWriMo, but decided against it. My main reasons for taking part would have been to develop a daily writing practice and to prove to myself that I can write a whole novel in a month if I put my mind to it. However, I already developed a daily writing practice with the help of the 120 day “Do What You Love” Challenge, and my main ideas for a novel require a lot of research and planning: it would be a waste of time to start without the necessary information, and a shame to rush through something that requires more attention.

Although I decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo, I still felt that I needed a writing challenge for November, and what I needed the most was time to write. Up until now, I would write for fifteen minutes right at the end of the day, and would not set aside quality time for writing, even though my schedule allows for a couple of hours of ‘free time’.  I therefore decided to make use of these hours for writing, but the only way of fitting in these hours into the day was by…waking up earlier.

So here I am, scribbling away as the neighbourhood and nature sleep. For the whole month of November I will be waking up at 6AM to do one hour of writing before starting the day. The 6AM Writing Challenge won’t be easy (I love sleeping!), but it is the only way for me to fit writing into my day.

Whichever creative challenge you are participating in this month – be it NaNoWriMo or your own personal challenge – I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to finding out how you are getting on!

 

120 Days of Doing What I Love

8 Sep

This is the 120th day of the 120-Day “Do What You Love” Challenge, in which I have written (almost) every day for the past four months.

I feel as if I should be celebrating or congratulating myself, but completing the Challenge has not aroused any extreme emotions in me. I guess this is for the simple reason that writing every day has come very naturally to me.

I had many fears when I started the Challenge:

I was scared that, were I to ‘force’ myself to do my loved activity every day, I would actually cease to love it.

I was also scared that I wouldn’t have the will-power to make time for writing.

Like all creative people, I was scared of discovering that I am rubbish at what I do.

And, I was scared of being so scared of all of these things, that my fear would block me from writing.

Now, four months later, I laugh at these fears and thank God that I decided to overcome them.

I never “forced” myself to write every day – I encouraged myself to do it and really enjoyed every moment that I put aside for writing. I never “forced” myself to write anything in particular, either. Every time I sat down to write, I would let my fantasy, my ideas and my emotions express themselves as they wished. Seeing as I always wrote what I enjoyed, I always enjoyed writing it!

I realised that I didn’t necessarily need to put aside an hour for writing every day – even fifteen minutes is enough. In fifteen minutes, I can write a poem, my impressions of the day and even a very short story!

Seeing as I was writing for myself and using each day as an experiment, I never judged my writing to be good or bad. Every new creation was a surprise and a progress.

Very soon into the Challenge, I realised that I enjoy writing so much that my fears fall away as my joy increases.

writing

Pollyanna Darling, founder of the 120-day “Do What You Love Challenge”, said that we often feel guilty about doing what we love, because doing what we love has no goal apart from enjoying ourselves and feeling happy. This was my case, but paradoxically, after four months of doing what I love every day, it is precisely because of this enjoyment and happiness that I continue to write!

I would like to thank Pollyanna Darling for the wonderful idea of the 120 Day “Do What You Love” Challenge. I thank her for encouraging her readers to take part. I thank her for the happiness that writing every day has brought into my life. I thank her for the amazing writing habit that I have now acquired. I thank her for the release of my fears. And, most importantly, I thank her for having taken the step to do what she loves and for having showed us the way.

I am sure that what started as a challenge will continue as a way of life. I wish for others to give the 120-Day “Do What You Love” Challenge a go to discover for themselves.

What you love is what you’re gifted at. To be completely happy, to live a completely fulfilled life, you have to do what you love.
  ~Barbara Sher 

Tattoo drawing on palms hands

Related posts:

120-Day “Do What You Love” Challenge

Do What You Love – One Month In

60 Days of Doing What I Love

Three Months of Doing What I Love

The 117th Day