Lately I’ve been feeling particularly challenged by many issues in my life. Maybe you can relate.
It is a fact that in the past few weeks nothing seems to be happening easily – most things are requiring a lot of concentrated time, work, and effort, at least more than usual. Oh I know that this happens from time to time – there are times when some things seem to be a lot harder than others and even harder than they should be. I have even blogged about a similar topic already in the not so long ago past. It’s also a fact that not all of my challenges are completely mine alone – I share in the challenges of my friends and loved ones, often as if they are my own, taking them upon myself as well. I guess it’s just what I do.
Having said that, I think it’s important to note that not all challenges are bad, it is often good to be challenged as well. Some challenges indeed do ‘challenge’ us to the point of discouragement, frustration, maybe even despair, but other challenges can also cause us to push ourselves harder, dig a little deeper, and go a little farther than we ever thought we could.
Challenges, both positive and negative, can be character building, but only if we can view them as such. Sometimes the realization that we’ve learned something, that we’ve become better somehow through this challenge, only comes later, much later, after the challenge has passed.
I’ve recently accepted a writing challenge. For those of you in the writing world, November is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). I had heard about NaNoWriMo last year, but a little too late to sign up. This year, thanks to a fellow blogger’s post on how she has accepted the Writing Challenge again this year, I was able to sign up myself in time.
(image courtesy of nanowrimo.org)
NaNoWriMo is an internet-based project that takes place every November. It challenges participants to write a new novel in one month with the slogan ‘Thirty days and nights of literary abandon! No Plot? No Problem!’ The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing through to the end of the first draft. Dozens of novels written during NaNoWriMo have been published (Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen to name one), not including self-published works. To win NaNoWriMo, participants much write an average of approximately 1,667 words a day. Anyone who reaches a 50,000 electronically submitted word length by November 30th is considered a winner. The prize is the satisfaction of having written a novel. (information with help from Wikipedia.org)
NaNoWriMo is a pretty loaded writing opportunity. As a participant, I will be required to write a novel of 50,000 words or more in a month and that’s not a long time. Yeah, I know, it’s a huge challenge to undertake. I will log in my word count as often as I wish: daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or whenever I see fit. I will be required to give my novel a title (they recommend this as a first step), and even upload a cover photo. I will have to set some serious goals for myself, and it will take a lot of dedication to make sure that I meet these goals daily.
This challenge is not for the weak of heart. I will be spending many hours on my laptop and, I’m guessing, consuming many cups of coffee from November 1st to November 30th. But, I will, when I succeed, have written another novel. It may be not be a great novel, it may never be published, but at least I’ll be writing.
So while I may be inundated with other challenges in my life right now, I’ve decided to accept one challenge which I am really excited about and to embrace it with open arms. I may be pulling out my hair and questioning my sanity in accepting this challenge during the long (or maybe short considering how much I will need to write?) month of November, but I really think that this may be the push I need to make writing a dedicated focus in my life again.
Maybe you aren’t a writer and maybe you’re not interested in NaNoWriMo. Find another positive challenge for the month of November. Maybe your challenge will be a fitness plan, to make healthier choices, or to lose weight. Maybe you will challenge yourself to speak up for what you care about and eliminate some negative elements of your life. Your challenge could even be to have a better, more positive self image, and to strive to do more of the things that you love.
Whatever your challenge is, I welcome you to join me. Write your own ‘challenge plot’! Share your challenge with me. Let’s motivate each other to achieve our goals. Let’s make November a month of positive challenges and fantastic changes!
We can do it!