My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge from Jeff Goins

My 500 Words

I’ve been a fan of Jeff Goins for a while. His writing is one of the best around and he really lives up to his reputation as a writer’s writer. I was looking forward to seeing him at FinCon14. Unfortunately a work emergency forced me to cancel my trip. This setback did make me comb through some of Jeff’s most popular articles.

These articles resonated with me. While digging around for more inspiration, I came across Jeff’s 31-Day Writing Challenge. After almost four years of creating content, I never found my voice. I chased topics, themes, and trends. I was seduced by gaining more traffic, comments, followers, and friends.

I jumped into podcasting so I could stay ahead of the curve. What’s that stat? There are millions of blogs, but only a few hundred thousand podcasts. I changed my format and did entrepreneur interviews because it was the hottest thing to do. Don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from the process and am grateful to all my guests who took time out of their busy schedule to share their knowledge. However, my content creation journey, up to this point, never answered the toughest questions.

What is my voice?
What do I stand for?

I’ve avoided blogging challenges before because I felt my busy life couldn’t handle such a commitment. Why start something if you know most likely you will fail, right? Work is getting busier than ever. My toddler is getting more stubborn by the day. Vacations are coming around the corner. I’m trying to exercise more to stay healthy. Why take on Jeff’s My 500 Words Writing Challenge now? I should wait for a better time. I should perhaps build up a few articles in case I run into a rough patch so I won’t fail. Why put myself out there, vulnerable and unedited?

I want to find my voice. I want to know what I stand for. I want to know why. I want to build my writing discipline. I want to challenge myself. I want to improve. I want to take action. I want to end my analysis paralysis, once and for all. Last, but not least, I want to end my addiction to approval, adulation, and fear of confrontation.

In case you are interested, read more about and take the challenge yourself.

Here are the rules in case you want to take the challenge.  I am leaving them up myself so I can refer to them in case I falter and get off track.  I don’t know which will be harder for me.  Letting my writing flow without editing because I so fear making mistakes and being unfiltered or writing 500 words every day for 31 days straight.  It is 6:15 AM and I’ve been going back and forth for about an hour.  Let this remind me of my desire to improve my work ethic, following through, and finding my voice.

  • Write 500 words per day, every day for 31 days.
  • You can write more if you want, but 500 words is the minimum.
  • Don’t edit. Just write.
  • If you miss a day, pick up where you left off. Don’t make up for lost days.
  • Encourage, don’t criticize (unless explicitly invited to do so).
  • Blogging counts, but email does not.
  • All of this is completely free.

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