I’m Going to do a #Challenge to Overcome my Fear

It’s that time. It’s time for change. All my weight has settled into one slump and my bones are shrieking for the mercy of movement–any movement. I’m ready (am I? the doubtful mind gremlin asks) to shake things up.

I’ve tried challenges in the past. On this here blog, I did a 30 Day Restart Challenge leading up to my June 2018 residency. I only got about halfway through that one. Whoops.

But I’m ready to commit more to my writing. I’ve been dragging my feet for years now and I’m done. It’s time to pick up these weary bones and park myself in front of Perseverance and Discipline and wait for the blood drops to form on my forehead, if that’s what it takes.

Having taken a step back and looking at myself, I’ve been ridiculous these past few years. What’s stopping me? Why am I not taking this glorious opportunity I’ve been given to make writing my life? To live and breathe it? What’s stopping me?

Fear is very likely the top answer. Well, okay. That’s all well and good but I’m going to refer myself to one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite writing gurus:

Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting–and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are a part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still–your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

My favorite part of that entire passage is “You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote.”

Here’s to not giving fear a vote.

So, what will this challenge look like? After watching Cynthia Koo’s How to Start (And Finish!) Your Very Own 365 Day Project, here’s what I’ve decided.

Starting February 1, 2019, I will write everyday for a year.

I hesitated saying a year. Why not just start with 30 days or 100 days?

But then I thought about it: what’s a year in the career of a writer? And if I can’t write every day for a year, that doesn’t exactly bode well for my aforementioned career.

Also, I feel like I’ve fallen so out of touch with my writing these past few years since I started college, so I want to get to know my writing again.

So with that, here it is: with this challenge, I want to

  • overcome my creative fears
  • become more disciplined
  • up my productivity
  • rediscover my process

Thus begins my #WatchJeanWrite365 Challenge

30-Day Restart Prompt List

Hello all!

If you saw my announcement, you’ll know that this girl will be attending her first residency for Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program in just over a month!

I’ve been on a writing break for several months now* but as residency looms ever closer, I want to start stretching my writing muscles.  The last thing I want to happen is to show up on the first day of residency, be given a prompt, and sit there, frozen.  I want to be warm and loose and ready to go.

So let me resurrect the writing practice I did last October, where I came up with a prompt list for myself and posted my responses here.  I don’t know if y’all enjoyed them, but it helped me, so brace yourselves because–it’s happening again!

*I say it’s because I don’t want to get into a project right before residency but really, it’s writer’s block.  No ifs, thens, or buts about it.  But we can call it creative refueling to keep things PG.

The challenge/goal

  • Every day for the next thirty days, I’m going to post my response (something shortish, maybe 500ish words) to the prompt list I’ve come up with
  • I’m going to remind myself before I write that it doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be done.
  • I’m going to continue using the notebook I used in October, opting for longhand versus typing in order to cut down on my impulse to edit as I go

The prompt list


If you’d like to join me

It’s nice to share!  If you want to take a crack at it, get your muscles loose, I’d love that!  Share your own responses on whatever platform you prefer and leave a link to it in the comments!  Yay for not going it alone!

If you aren’t joining in, that’s totally fine.  But drop some suggestions for future prompts in the comments!  (Coming up with this list was harder than you might think.)

October #DailyMWL Prompt List

art by yours truly!

I’m starting a Thing.

I’ve lost a lot of discipline lately–I don’t know where it went!  One day I was working diligently on my story and next moment–poof!  I’m set adrift, unmoored, unanchored, and I’m in the middle of the ocean with absolutely no clue how to get back to shore.

Well, I’m throwing myself a lifeboat.

I’m going to get into the habit of writing every day.  For the simple reason that I don’t have a reason not to.  I want to return to my writing practice.  I don’t know why I’m adrift from it, but that doesn’t matter right now.  What matters is getting back into it, getting back on the horse, so to speak. Continue reading “October #DailyMWL Prompt List”