30 Days of Writing: Write Every Damn Day.

30 DAYS FEATURED - 3 TAGS

You know the scariest part about living?

Not living your life.

Being trapped in someone else’s story — instead of becoming the protagonist of your own novel; a tired actor on a pixelated screen instead of the director of your lifetime movie; a sad employee in an endless chain of productivity instead of the CEO and Chief Designer of your dynamic reality. GetmeawayfromhereI’mdying!

In an eye-opening conversation with my friend & colleague, Kirk Hensler (Kale & Cigarettes) we were wondering why the should, would and could, weigh so heavy on our shoulders and why our routine often takes the place of our passion. Why, even if many of us seem to be aware of our individual passion and we keep trying to practice it every day, we still are, to some extent, trapped by the lesser good, by the okay but not the best, by the so and so, but not the extraordinary.

I believe it’s because of fear. A fear of our own greatness, installed in our hard drive long before we had a chance to refuse it. A deep belief that life is pain, that instead of thriving, all we have the right to is survive, to the best of our ability. But the point of living is not survival — it’s aliveness.

We have inherited a world that worships efficiency and doesn’t often honor our most life-giving essence — that of creators. A modus operandi that tricks us into making a living instead of making a life. A system that seduces us with neon lights and distracts us with everything but what we’re supposed to be doing.

Our purpose on earth is not some light we find at the end of the tunnel; our greatest to-do in this lifetime is to practice our most burning passion through our most enjoyable form of expression — and try to make it sustainable by all means. We deserve to be alive every second of the day and, at the end of our journey, look back and say I fucking lived and it was beautiful.

b32525d58340c5c271fabbf237d0a41c

But you don’t. Your life is passing through your fingers and at the end of it, will you have lived?

your passion is the only deal - andrea balt quotes

It’s easy to say No to people, things or activities that don’t interest you. But it’s the hardest thing in the world to refuse the good for the best. And you can only find the strength to do so, if you have a greater-than-you Yes, burning in your chest, which must express itself no matter what, even if costs you your smaller so-called life.

With the intention of rewiring our brains and re-prioritizing our life to seek and taste the creative freedom we deserve, we’d like to propose a challenge to you (hosted by Creative Rehab + Kale & Cigarettes):

Drumroll…

30 Days of Writing!

 

Yes. 30 Days of Writing. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…30.

If you’re not an everyday writer, this will definitely kick your writerly ass.

If you are, this will add a twist to your regular writing routine and help you get more deeply into the practice.

The Challenge: Write for 30 days, first thing when you wake up in the morning, from 1 to 3 hours.

Why first thing?

Two reasons…

1. The way you start your day determines not just the outcome but also the journey. If you start your day with to-dos that — although necessary for survival — aren’t your top priority, the rest of your day will be determined by more to-dos. Think of the first hours of your day as a compass. The way you spend them marks your North.

When you start your day with honoring your superpowers you surrender to your highest, truest self and get back the reigns over your life. Who knows what miracles will be born out of this?

2. Because a life priority (a.k.a. your passion — whether this is writing or if it comes as a result of this written self-discovery) should be put in the first place or it will never get done and the overall quality of your work will suffer. 

What we ask of you and of ourselves here to have a little faith and trust that if you wait a few hours to check your email, get started with the daily work, talk to your partner or house mates (cats & dogs don’t count), or turn on the radio, TV, news and other daily noise — and instead, you try to put your self-discovery and self-expression in the first place, you’ll give your creativity permission to take over your day, and as a result, experience a deeper satisfaction with your life, no matter the circumstances.

As Thoreau realized,

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. 

Depending on your (always busy) schedule, you may think you don’t have the time for this treat  – and you may even be right. So make it. Wake up an hour earlier, whatever it takes, make any arrangement necessary with your self and life companions, so that for the next 30 days, you can get at least 1 hour of uninterrupted time with yourself and practice your writing.

Don’t wait for the stars to align and magically offer you this extra time. That’s never going to happen. Time can’t come on its own — because, actually, you are that time. Your stars are anxiously waiting for you to align them. You lead your way into your Renaissance.

Why you should do this even if you’re not technically a “Writer:”

Because see, deep down, you are. You are a story-teller. You tell your story to yourself and to the world, and write your truth every day, on this piece of reality you’ve been given for a short period of time.

Putting your truth into words will expand your understanding of yourself and your journey, and it will at least help you figure out what your deeper story is — whether it’s through journaling, or an article you never have time for, or that unfinished novel gathering dust in your head, or a memoir, or that book that you have always known, deep down, you have to write. You can write anything about everything, the point is… just write.

And this applies to closeted writers, as well. If you’ve always wanted to write and never found the right time or circumstances, or whatever else you thought you needed, take this as a sign that you must do it now. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how late it is. If you can read this, it’s obviously not too late. In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert,

Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it’s not something where – if you missed it by age 19 – you’re finished. It’s never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world – at any age. At least try.

Rules of the Game:  

- I don’t fucking care what else you have to do. You’ll soon be dead and your worries and long to-do lists won’t matter then. You need to write first thing in the morning. Period. Your true life depends on it. If you must get up earlier to do this, then get up earlier. I know I have to. But instead of a duty, now it’s an adventure and it gives me joy. You can pull one hour a day out of all your other distractions. If  in order to do this, you need to sacrifice something else that isn’t a priority, then do it.

- Writing time: 1-3 hours. 3 hours is the ideal amount of time to make you see a major change in 30 days. But for most people, it can’t be all or nothing and in many cases your current circumstances won’t allow it, as hard as you may try. So do what you can with what you have, right here and now. Martin Luther King Jr. just texted me to say:

If you can’t fly — run, if you can’t run — walk, if you can’t walk — crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

Translation: If you can’t do 3 hours a day, do 2,5. If you can’t do 2,5, do 2. If you can’t do 2, do 1,5. If you can’t do 1,5, do 1. But don’t you dare convince yourself that you don’t have 1 hour a day to dedicate to your self-expression and the recovery of your creativity. I don’t believe you. Even if you feel it’s impossible, it’s not.

Don’t say you don’t have time. Time is all you really have. Every-thing else will disappear. You’re not supposed to find the time, you’re supposed to create it.

- It has to be first thing in the morning (not at night or during the day), because in this experiment we’ll measure how the realignment with our priorities affects our life for the better and helps us evolve.

- The only thing you’re allowed to do BEFORE you “sit at your typewriter and bleed” is your physical morning routine: drink water, poo, go for a walk, exercise, shower, have your tea, coffee, breakfast, whatever your body needs to function.

- What you can’t do: Don’t check your email or social media, don’t make or answer phone calls, don’t engage in any conversation beyond a sweet good-morning to your life companion/s (if any) — until your morning writing routine has been completed. FOCUS 100% on making this happen without any interruptions or distractions.

- It can be ANY type of writing, but it has to give you pleasure: your current unfinished manuscript — or start a new one, a blog post, an article, poetry, fiction or just journaling to figure yourself out — any type of writing that gives you satisfaction and calls forth your creativity, and helps you forget time, and makes you a better writer. You can also alternate the writing genre or project, from one day to another. If you already work with words, this time is not about catching up with work, but about catching up with your pleasure.

- Stay in touch via social media / email / etc. and document your progress with status updates, silly pictures, jokes, self-quotes, realizations, musings, tips, suggestions, epiphanies, whatever you feel like sharing. The point of this is: Community & Accountability. Community keeps you engaged and cheers you up. Accountability keeps you from falling off track. Someone is out there doing the same thing as you…and it matters.

Join our Facebook Group for daily inspiration & interaction with those of us participating in the challenge.

Use these hashtags — so we can find each other and exchange a supportive smile — on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram mostly:

#30daysofwriting

#writeeverydamnday

#writeyourselfalive 

 

Cheat Sheet: 

30 Days of Writing - Game Rules

Variables of the Experiment:

This is soul science, baby. And as with any other creative experiment fueled by passion, we’ll be measuring some mind-body-heart factors here, or did you think this was just for the fun? During these 30 days, try to be more sensitive and observant of your whole person in all your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social dimensions — and check on the following:

- Your level of satisfaction with life, your mood and level of energy throughout the day. Does it increase your hope, optimism and belief in your dreams and talents? Does it make you more open to your own creative possibilities? Does it make you feel like you’re being reborn – or taking baby steps into your own Renaissance?

- How this morning exercise affects the rest of your day – that is, putting your self-expression, self-discovery and creation first. How does it make you feel about the remaining tasks you have to perform throughout the day — even the most dreaded ones? Does it make you handle the worst, better?

- What type of physiological effect it has on you. Our mind and heart and soul may extend beyond our body, but they are married to the body in sickness and in health, til death do us all together; and every single thought or feeling triggers a physical reaction. We may not know how to identify this because most of us haven’t been trained or educated to pay attention to our mind-body-heart interaction, but once we tune in to our body, we’ll begin to hear its whispers.

Example: My digestion is better on the days when I’m aligned with my purpose. On the other hand, not being aligned and getting sidetracked by soul-sucking distractions make me need more stimulants (ex: gigantic cups of tea or cravings for extra-salty comfort food — like chips, insane amounts of popcorn, death by chocolate — and all the spy and sci-fi TV shows I can get addicted to).

- How much your productivity increases. When your heart is nourished and satisfied, it doesn’t call for distraction. When the life you imagine becomes the life you are living, you don’t need to waste time talking about other people’s lives or watching them on TV. You begin to be interested in your own adventure and discuss ideas, instead of people or things.

So measure what you get done. Does this practice make you waste less time and manage your remaining hours better? Does it help you advance in your creative projects? Do you feel like you’re moving forward? This goes hand in hand with your self satisfaction.

- If it triggers new ideas and opens new doors inside & outside of you. There are doors that can’t be opened unless you: A) Knock, and B) Invite yourself in. Within the infinite field of creative possibility, one door leads to another door. And when your world expands, it does it as a whole — your reignited creativity will light up the whole house, not just one room. So, can you hear your cells multiplying and your aliveness catching fire and expanding in ways you never thought you could?

The Hypothesis of this Experiment:

Your Purpose = Your Passion. That your passion is the language through which your purpose communicates with yourself and the world. That your only mission in life is discovering, nurturing and practicing this passion at all costs. That by making a priority out of your passion instead of merely an option, and surrendering to your purpose in the hands of that wise old universe that imagined you into existence, little by little, you’ll create the life your heart wants, and needs and must become.

Soul fuel to get you through the 30 days:

We’re screwed without inspiration, right? Thank god we’re not alone. It’s the most contagious diseases and the one virus you absolutely need to catch and hopefully die from — only to your smaller limited self — and be reborn into a hotter, wiser, cooler, phoenix version.

For added soul fuel, check out my Writing Lab collection: short articles containing Tips & Tricks & Wisdom Bites from writers and for writers. In addition to these resources, we’ll be posting juicy tips, articles & bonuses weekly, to keep us motivated.

Additional, recommended reading for this adventure — the modern classic, an inspiring must-read and unputdownable Creator’s “Bible” — The War of Art by Steven Pressfield:

the-war-of-art - steven pressfield

 

Also, some extra mind snacks to put on your desktop:

 

Ernest Hemingway

 

ray bradbury on writing

 

Join us?

 

30 Days of Writing - Join us!

When?

The challenge starts on Monday, February 24th, 2014 and ends 30 days later, on Tuesday — March 25th, 2014. But you can hit Play and Repeat any time.

Where?

Planet Earth, Your City, Your Home, Your Computer / Laptop / Notepad / Journal, Your Fingers, Your Heart, Your Story.

How?

This is a FREE open-house 30-days challenge. You don’t have to sign up anywhere or pay anything in order to participate. We’ll be posting daily updates about our own journey via Social Media, to hold each other accountable and stay connected. We hope you join us and share your journey with us through your own updates.

For inspiration, tips & updates, you can stay connected with us by subscribing to our 30 Days of Writing mailing list, joining our Facebook Group — and/or staying in touch via Facebook (Here & Here), Twitter (Here & Here) & Instagram (Here & Here).

You can also use the following hashtags in your social media posts. We’ll be checking,  updating & replying on these topics daily. Bookmark them & join the conversation.

Social Media Hashtags: 

#30daysofwriting

#writeeverydamnday

#writeyourselfalive

 

Remember this: 

Stephen King - Writing Quotes

And this:  

d2dd220b78bcd31b8445b8fd0bb38969

So chill out and…

keep calm it's only a draft

Monday, February 24, 2014

We have a date. Don’t bail.

We know where your heart lives.

  CR - 30 Days - Last
 

STAY CONNECTED WITH US!

Sign up for updates, resources, tips & tricks on Writing & Creativity, during and after our 30-Day Writing Challenge.

Enter your sexy autograph below:



 

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P.S. Are you IN? What will you be working on? I hope that by setting this time aside, I get to finish two e-books that keep getting pushed at the end of my never-ending to-do list. Check out my daily logs with short updates & inspiration on my own progress.

NOTE: CHALLENGE COMPLETED. READ MY RECAP & CONCLUSION HERE.

 

{Photo credit: Bigstock}

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Comments

  1. Hi Andrea,

    I love this and I have NOOO time for this. However, I am doing it anyway.

    I need the pressure and the fun. I have lots of unwritten stuff inside and this will let me get it out.

    Thank you.
    Melody

    • Andrea Balt says:

      Hi Melody! Yes! It never gets done otherwise. And if it’s our passion (or one of them) it should have priority – or be among our top priorities.

      #letsdothis

  2. Hi Andrea, This is an amazing idea as ever! Is there an event page for it or how do I join?..Can I smoke in the morning? Like Bill Hicks, I like to think of my life as a highway flowing through the universe and I need the tar to fill the potholes in my soul ; )
    Maurice

    • Andrea Balt says:

      Hi Maurice! That. Bill. Hicks. Never. Dies.

      Thank you so much for your comment & question. I realized this info wasn’t all that clear so I updated it at the bottom. See When / Where / How. Check now. :)

      You don’t need to sign up anywhere, just stay connected with us via social media (see links in the How section – and use either one of these hashtags: #30daysofwriting #writeeverydamnday #writeyourselfalive in your own posts /status updates / musings / etc. – to contribute to the conversation.

      It’s an “open-house”, free, 30-day challenge. A sort of do-what-you-can-with-what-you-have thing — And do it NOW because LATER never comes. And stay connected via social media for inspiration & accountability.

      C’est tout. :) Hope to see you around on this highway.

  3. I’m in. I’m sooo in my mind is already writing.

  4. Monique Golden says:

    This challenge comes at exactly the right time. I am so on this. And, I can’t wait to see what develops. The inspiration, challenge, and support is everything I need to really transform my life. Thank you.

  5. Count me in too! Perfect timing :-)

  6. great idea….thinking about joining in….

  7. I also “have no time” but I have friended you on FB, Instagram and just opened a Twitter account just for this ;)

    SO looking forward to writing again!

    Di

  8. ok sweetness, i’m in. first sampling: http://www.graceyogaretreats.com/2014/02/30-days-of-writing-writing-myself-alive.html

    staring a day early, it’s 23 feb in Malaysia… :)

  9. been so bothered by the sterilized love that’s been served up lately. realizing it is partly my own doing and this little scribble jaunt is likely to unhinge that issue and set some Wild free! joining you with joy ~ 5am + coffee + computer + morning hush = the key to open the cage door. thanks for this nudge!

    • Andrea Balt says:

      yes! My sentiments exactly. Since it’s our own doing, we must be the first ones to start undoing & rearranging the furniture. :)

  10. I love you. Every word. Mahalo for the sign and invite!

  11. I’ve posted my first “shortened” writing project on my blog. I really don’t have time to do this . . . but I’m going to make it happen anyway. http://thekreativelife.blogspot.com/2014/02/predictable.html

  12. Yeehaa!

  13. Could I write for 3 hours? Would it be torture? I’m intrigued by the challenge and curious if my writing would evolve. I see the same words and expressions repeated over and over again in my writing. It’s as if my brain is locked up and unwilling to spew forth anything that would surprise me. I wonder if my words and concepts will be a regurgitation or if this commitment will unearth unexpected creative jewels.

    • Andrea Balt says:

      Loving your doubts & self-questioning Patti. And the expectation is that new creative pathways should open up through this experiment. I guess you won’t know unless you join us. :) Sticking to it is the hardest – for me – but I’m committed to making it happen.

  14. I NEVER subscribe to blogs because I get enough crap in my email, but I couldn’t fathom missing out on your inspiration. I also joined the Facebook group and followed your IG… I’m just a girl that wants to write, and you seem to have become my muse in about five minutes time. Thanks for that ;)

    • Andrea Balt says:

      Thank you so much, Janna! I truly appreciate it. “I’m just a girl who writes.” :)

      Glad my words can help in some way. Love!

  15. I went from being an occasional journal-er to a writer. Now I find myself writing without cease (if only in my head).

    • Andrea Balt says:

      Lindsey – that’s awesome. Well, that’s where it starts anyway. :)
      BTW, I don’t think I’ll ever stop being an occasional journal-er. I enjoy handwritten notes-to-self way too much, regardless of all my other writing projects.

  16. Stéphane Pilon says:

    Hi!
    Hey, I had written stuff for some time, maybe a bit less than the hour requested maybe, then I pressed the enter button and there was a puff of smoke and everything disappeared into the dark recesses of the malfunctioning internet. The message said “wrong verb” or something like that.
    I did use some French but not that much, I swear.
    Anyways, if this works at all I will try again later… or tomorrow. Now I have cramps in my back since I am writing in my little camper. If there was a way to post pics I would show you. It is cute but very small.
    Hasta la mañana,
    Stéphane

  17. Hi! I just want to say thank you for the inspiration :) Writing is one of the things I’ve always wanted to do. For years now, I’ve been frustrated with myself for not trying to develop my skills and for being too lazy to try and write the stories in my head. Today, I decided to change and push myself to write again. I was looking for topics on the internet when I came across this blog of yours and I feel very fortunate that I did. Your words gave me the encouragement that I needed. I don’t think I’ll be able to follow all the rules of the challenge, but I promise to always write.
    So again, thank you :)

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