Writing has always held an important place in my life. Due to selective mutism, the tricky task of translating my thoughts and feelings into words has not always been easy. Even now, I find the words I use when I speak don’t always represent the original intention of what I was hoping to say. I want to do my thoughts and feelings justice by accurately representing myself in this world, and to do this I’ve always known that I need to work on my connection to my words.
Writing every day is a must for me – if only so that I can explore who I am. For many years I have gone through furious bouts of writing – but that is often followed by a drought of days, weeks, months – sometimes years. I have become more and more aware that I need to develop a habit of writing – and sharing – my words every day, so that I can make the most of this wonderful tool I have been gifted with which to explore my world.
Whenever I write, I am usually unaware of what the expected outcome will be. I write intuitively – allowing my words to create their own path – and I am usually surprised and delighted with the result. When I write I always learn something. I get to know myself a little better each time I put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – as the thoughts I don’t always allow myself to notice find their way onto the page.
Enter the 30 Day Blogging Challenge
Thirty days ago (or thereabouts) I was lazily browsing through Facebook, when a link unceremoniously jumped off the screen at me.
I didn’t need persuading. I was there.
I’d dreamed of having a successful blog for years – but found it too difficult and uneventful every time I tried. I wasn’t convinced anyone ever read my posts, and if they did, spammy comments were the best I had ever attracted. I wanted to find out what I really wanted to write about. I wanted to connect with the words I had that might attract some kind of following. I wanted to put my perspective out into the world.
Most important, I wanted to provide myself a structure that allowed writing to become a part of my daily life, so that I could gently and unknowingly grow the connection with myself and my words that I have always craved.
30 days later …
Over the past 30 days I have written whatever felt right at the time. To begin with I wrote about the struggles I was facing each day – for example this post when I woke up drowning in self-doubt. If I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, I wrote about what I needed to write about – and I left the experience feeling clearer, calmer and with a lot more faith in myself.
After a few days of struggling to come up with topics, and writing my way out of my funky feelings, I realised what I really wanted to write about … it was something I had been putting off for years.
I didn’t want to – but a tugging in my Heart told me I needed to do this. This was something that was incredibly important for me. If I didn’t do it now … would I ever go there? I had just received the email from Sarah Arrow about scheduling blog posts, and creating weekly or monthly themes to help you decide what you should write about.
February 1st 2015, I took the plunge. I opened up my Heart, and I began to explore my life on a deeper level than I ever have before.
For the month of February I explored my experiences with Selective Mutism.
My personal achievements from these past 30 days
It’s out there now, for anyone to see. Memories, feelings, insecurities, vulnerabilities, weaknesses, strengths, goals, dreams … and so much more. My words of the past month have helped me tremendously – and because of this challenge I am now well on my way to achieving many of my secret, heart-felt goals.
- “I have something to say!” – My book about selective mutism finally has a structure. The words are pouring out of me now … so many more than I’ve shared on my blog. I’ve been trying to do this for over two years. Because of this blogging challenge, I’m nearly there now!!
- I won a speech contest! – Blogging has allowed me to connect with my words every day on a deeper level than would otherwise have been possible. Through this, I could organise an okay speech I had previously prepared into a much more compelling format that won!
- I am more connected to Me! – Exploring my life through writing has allowed me to understand myself much better. My major breakthrough this past month has been a much deeper understanding of the anxiety that previously motivated me in unconscious and often unhealthy, self-sabotaging ways. I have learnt how to work with my anxiety through my willingness to face it in the words I have been sharing.
- I have a following! – I have comments on my blog posts, subscribers to my newsletter and a larger Facebook following too. Analytics on my website show numbers are reliably 10 times what they were pre-blogging challenge – and have swelled to more than 100 times what used to be my usual numbers. I have made sales of my children’s books, and I feel like the message I am here to share is beginning to find its voice and audience.
Here’s why I recommend this challenge
As with anything, you get out what you put in … and I made a commitment to myself when I chose to take on this challenge 30 days ago. I do not take challenges lightly – and so if I decide to something, I get it done. Without this challenge, I would still be dragging my heels, wanting something just like this, but lacking the motivation or know-how to do it myself.
I’ve read a lot about ‘how to’ blog, gain an audience, increase sales, etc. in the past, but what was missing for me was having it broken down into bite-size pieces, and also giving me a place to be held accountable. Sarah Arrow has this nailed in her 30 day blogging challenge. Here are, for me, the best aspects of the challenge – and why I think it is so damn good …
- I received an email every day. Each email introduced a new element to introduce into my blogging, so I wasn’t overwhelmed with trying to apply everything at the start.
- I had a place to share my blog and gain followers / commenters. I was encouraged to share my blog on the Facebook group – and straight away I was blessed with comments on my posts.
- I was held accountable and recognised for my achievements. Through the Facebook group, I was able to share my progress, and by doing this I held myself accountable. Every seven days I was publicly recognised for my achievements with a certificate shared on the group.
- It’s free! Nothing to lose – everything to gain …
All in all, I’ve gained bucketloads and I would recommend it to anyone. Now I need a new challenge – because apparently it is how I move!
(If you are keen to try this challenge for your self, you can sign up for it here>>>>)
(Oh! And if you want to hear more from me, please sign up to my fortnightly newsletter – or ‘like’ my page on Facebook. Thanks!)