1000 Days of Writing

I am celebrating a big milestone today! With the completion of this blog post, I have written for 1000 consecutive days. If you are doing the math, thats 2 years, 8 months and 26 days of writing….and counting. 

This is a huge accomplishment for me, beating my former record for number of consecutive days of writing. That old record was…four days. Yes. As in 1…2…3…4 days…quit. 

This is how the journey unfolded. 

In July of 2013, I attended a Keller Williams workshop in Kansas City, MO. The company founder, Gary Keller, spoke about doing the ONE thing. Sharing from his own experiences as an entrepreneur, he explained that it takes 66 days to create a new habit. Practicing that  ONE thing daily is essential to forming a discipline. 

Gary asked each of us to write down the ONE thing that we deeply desired to do, and then he encouraged us to commit to doing that thing daily, to create a new habit. I was at a workshop sponsored by the biggest real estate company in the US. I was, and am still, a realtor. I know many people wrote down real estate related goals to focus on mastering, one day, one step at a time. 
Not me. 

I wrote down Writing. That afternoon I committed myself to writing, every day, for the next 66 days. I had been contemplating the direction my life was going. And I felt ready to return to a former passion of mine. My desire was to create the discipline of daily writing. 

I was excited. I was determined. I wrote for exactly four days. The problem was, I didn’t have a purpose for writing. 

What I love about that experience was that in spite of my apparent failure, the desire to write every day had been acknowledged and the thought went out. The Divine responded. 

A few months later my word for 2014 had been given to me – Beyond. With the word came the realization that I needed to focus on moving beyond my comfort zone. But how was I to do that? 

I’ve shared many times how life works for me. I ask a question. I get an answer. Shortly after I asked about living in a beyond kind of way, I read online about Lu Ann Cahn, author of I Dare Me. Lu Ann’s book chronicled how she got out of a rut in her life, by experiencing something new every day for a year. 

There! There it was! The way was shown to me, the path laid out before me, that would move me beyond my comfort zone. I bought and read Lu Ann’s book, and decided to have my own Year of Firsts. As 2013 wound down, I prepared to kick off the new year by doing things I’d never done before. It seemed natural to keep track of my daily firsts. The Going Beyond blog was launched, as a way of remembering what I had done and to ensure accountability. 

At the end of 2014 I had experienced 365 new things AND I had written 365 blog posts. I wrote, every day. What I couldn’t do before, I was able to accomplish now because I had a purpose connected to the act of writing. 

My Year of Firsts transitioned into a Year of Journeys and then flowed into a Year of Surrenders. And still, I am writing, every day. Writing has indeed become a habit, one that brings me great joy. 

Along the way, I have made wonderful new friends, met other amazing writers and bloggers, and found my voice. I am excited about next year and the direction my writing is going. And it all began with the challenge to find the ONE thing that I most wanted to do…and committing to doing that ONE thing every day. 

I am grateful to Gary Keller. And I am full of gratitude for the Divine for guiding me to the perfect manifestation of my desire. Here’s to the next 1000 days of writing. 

Journey 140: Cindy 500

Cindy 500

I’ve been in a playful mood, thinking about my blog post for today. It’s been a week with a couple of milestones so far: the completion of Aubrey’s first year of school, Dayan’s 16th birthday. I decided to write about a milestone that I’ve reached as well, while making a play on words for the blog title, this weekend being the Indy 500 race.

I’ve reached 500 posts on my Going Beyond Blog…507 posts, actually, over 505 consecutive days. 505 days of writing…every day.

The amazing part about this accomplishment is that two years ago this summer, I was challenged to do one thing, every day, for 66 days. The idea was that by doing something every day for 66 days, a new habit would be formed. I thought for only a moment before jotting down this word: WRITE. I wanted to write every day for the next 66 days, creating the habit of writing.

Cindy 500 if you wish to write, write

I’ve long had a interest in creating in this way. One of my gifts as a young child was a typewriter. I’ve had story-telling modeled for me my whole life, my mother being an amazing creator of stories. She told them to my sisters and me, as  children, and later wrote stories for our children, eventually publishing stories in books such as The Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She’s also had three children’s chapter books published. I started on that tiny typewriter, and wrote for years, into early adulthood….stories and poems primarily…later writing with a pencil in notebooks.

And then life got busy, with a husband and children. I thought, When the kids go off to school, I’ll write again. And I did, for a short time. Then I made the decision to bring my children home and educate them myself. We became homeschoolers and life shifted in huge ways. I set the writing aside, with no regrets. I raised my kids, taught my kids, was taught life lessons, by my kids. And when they entered college or married and left home, rather than return to writing, I entered real estate.

Cindy 500 youve got to write

No excuses. I could have made the time, structuring my day so that I had plenty of time for writing.  I did keep my desire to write alive. I created a monthly homeschool newsletter, with a feature article about what adventures the kids and I were involved in, and included samples of their work or cartoons and drawings they had done. In real estate, I created a monthly email as well, for several years, writing in an informational way. I even started a real estate blog years ago. Strangely enough, I found myself writing not about real estate in that blog…but life. Seeing the dichotomy, I posted in it infrequently, confused, I think, about what I wanted to share.

Life kept offering invitations, though, kept reminding me of my desire to write. That desire grew, fed by speaking and teaching opportunities. It is so beautiful, so amazing, that the challenge that was issued to me, to pick one thing to do, and do it for 66 days, came at a workshop led by Gary Keller, the owner of Keller Williams. That reminder came through real estate. I shouldn’t be surprised. It was where I was, and life meets us exactly where we are and invites.

Cindy 500 writing quote

I’d like to say that I nailed it two years ago…writing for 66 days. I wrote every day…for four days. And then I quit. It was difficult. I dawdled. I floundered. I let other things get in the way. I failed at that attempt at writing daily, however, the intention went out, the desire went out. I want to write…every day. And life, or the Divine….to me, life IS part of the Divine…brought me the perfect way to accomplish my intention.

I had no purpose connected to writing every day, when I made the first attempt. I had nowhere to go with it. For me, it wasn’t enough just to say I was going to write every day. I had to have a reason to write. So one arrived. As 2013 was drawing to a close, my new word, Beyond, came to me. I heard of Lu Ann Cahn and her amazing year of first things…doing something new every day. I embraced her idea, knowing that doing something new, daily, would definitely push me beyond my comfort zone. And to be accountable, to capture what I was doing each day, so I wouldn’t forget, I began the Going Beyond Blog…and wrote in it EVERY DAY….for 365 days. What I couldn’t do before, I was able to do with the blog, because I had a reason for writing. I linked creating with purpose.

Cindy 500 alchemist

The amazing gift of writing every day for a year was that I learned the discipline of writing. Full days, being busy, not feeling like writing…none of those excuses deterred me. I just did it. And I loved it. I reconnected with that creative energy that I had as a child and teenager….and I wrote. A laptop, and sometimes my cell phone, replaced my little blue and white typewriter. The sheer joy of writing became the force behind my daily posts…so much so that as 2014 was winding down, I knew I wanted to keep going, keep writing.

505 days of writing, and counting…that’s 501 days longer than what I was able to do before. I am so grateful that as my intention went out….life answered, and the Divine presented my word, my symbol, what I would do, as a way of offering me the opportunity to live my desire. There’s no stopping me now. I don’t know where this path is going to take me. I don’t need to know. I just need to write. And the Divine, and Life, will arrange the rest.

Cindy 500 box of crayons