If you follow me on social media, you might have seen me using the #30hourswriting hashtag this month. I’ve committed to working an hour a day on my current book project every day in April 2017. I’ve also been posting daily videos of my progress with this writing challenge.
Carving out an hour a day hasn’t always been easy. Since I work full time, it has meant getting up early, working over my lunch hour, and/or staying up later than usual to make sure I fit it in.
So far, and I’m 13 days in, I haven’t missed an hour yet. (I’m also happy to say that I’m making pretty good progress on the book manuscript.)
During this month, I’ve also read several essays from a new (fun) book, started a new Netflix show, listened to several podcast episodes from The Good Life Project, attended my niece’s birthday party, and celebrated my partner’s birthday.
In other words, I haven’t locked myself in my office and away from normal life to accomplish an hour of work a day on my book.
(Despite the #30hourswriting hashtag, I feel I should clarify that I’m not actually writing during all of these daily sessions. Sometimes I’m reading a book related to the topic of a chapter. Other times I’m revising work that I’ve already written that needs to be cleaned up. And some hours I’m interviewing people that I’m profiling in the book as practical examples of some of the content I’m talking about. The goal is to spend the hour making progress on the book, and sometimes that means doing tasks other than writing.)
To accomplish my goals, and still have time to have some fun, I’ve had to get really intentional about scheduling my time this month. I’ve needed to meal plan better, schedule in my 10k steps a day, and negotiate chores with my partner so that I can ensure that at least an hour a day can be devoted to the book.
I’ll admit, the laundry is starting to pile up.
The daily videos I’m making are certainly helping to hold me accountable to the work. Whether people are watching them or not, I know that they are serving as a record of my success or failure with this challenge. Sharing these out on social media has served as good motivation to keep going. (I’ve learned over time that book writing doesn’t have to be done in isolation and I intentionally try to create community around book projects.)
But there’s something even more significant that I’ve found during this time that has helped me to do the work:
I’ve given myself permission.
I’ve giving myself permission to let other things pile up.
I’ve giving myself permission to, temporarily, make my partner less of a priority.
I’ve giving myself permission to go to my office at the end of the day and close the door.
I’ve giving myself permission to do the work.
And it feels REALLY good.
I had no idea how much daily work on the book would improve my confidence about the project and reinvigorate me after a few months away from it.
I had put this book on the back burner to focus on other things instead of trying to squeeze it in. I told myself that it deserved more time and energy that I could give it. I stopped working on it because it was too important, not because it wasn’t important enough.
I have to laugh a little at my logic. Feel free to join me.
Stepping back, I can see that no one was in my way but me.
Although it can feel kind of selfish to do this kind of project where you have to really focus your energy in one direction to accomplish your goals, I’m realizing that it’s actually not that big of a deal for most of the people in my life.
My partner has been nothing but encouraging this month. My family has enjoyed watching the daily videos. A couple co-workers who stumbled across the challenge are also rooting for me.
The world hasn’t crumbled because I’m taking an hour a day to devote to something that I deeply care about.
I’m not always going to have 10-day writing retreats like the one I scheduled last December. Instead, I have to intentionally find the time to write this book in the midst of a lot of other projects, tasks, and obligations.
Sinking back in to working on the book regularly has been both a joy and a relief. Seeing the pieces come together with this manuscript is exciting and rewarding.
I’m going to give myself permission more often.
To think on:
- Is there anything in your life where you are withholding permission?
- What’s your latest creative challenge for yourself?