Making New Year’s resolutions pretty much drives me crazy. I’ve never managed to lose weight, get fit, or [insert appropriate thing here] just because January 1st rolled around. By January 8th, I’d already failed, and in most cases, made the [inappropriate thing] worse than it was before. If I was going to lose fifty pounds by spring, for example, I was more likely to have gained ten before the end of the month.
Until last year. Forget about something as trite as scale numbers. Last year I was trying to decide if I could write or not. More importantly, if I would. As I was internally debating that, my newsfeed rolled Jeff Goins’ blog. He issued a challenge on Facebook: write 500 words every day in January.
500 words. Every day. I could do that. And if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t worry about the whole writing thing. I was only dabbling anyway, wasn’t I? Or…was I?
I joined. Our group was small but determined (in other words, perfect for me). It was the most encouraging environment and I wrote every day, even when we were on vacation for our tenth anniversary. I appreciated the online companionship so much that I also wrote with them in February. And in March. We spurred each other on, and in many cases, accomplished more both individually and corporately, than we ever thought we could.
The group started to take on a life of its own, and instead of being a January challenge, it was a join-anytime-we’ll-welcome-you group. Now, there are over 3500 members notching up their numbers in every genre. Several wrote every day for the entire year. I didn’t succeed at that nor even at some of the other challenges we brought to each other–but I succeeded the way I needed to for me.
It was the first online group I joined, and I didn’t really expect to make friends.
But I did, especially within that original group. Christine the Encourager, who helps Jeff the Gauntlet-thrower manage the group. Roslynn the Gentle-hearted, who checks in on me every single day and has taught me to be both a better writer and a better reader. Carolyn the Wise, who’s challenges me to be more socially aware. Tonia the Thinker, who camouflages her depth behind witty repartee. Melinda the Seeker, who catches nuances in what people say and contacts them to make sure they’re really okay. Amy the Adventurer, who has helped me to see differently. Becky the Brave, who faces her life’s circumstances with remarkable courage. Denise, Janet, Angela–so many more.
And I thought it was just a little writing group.
Look what happened! This was a highly successful year for me in regards to my writing. I maintained this little blog, published three short stories, entered three contest pieces, finished two manuscripts and started a third. I finished several freelance assignments too.
Turns out, I’m not dabbling after all. 2014 was a fantastic year. I’m grateful to have shared it with a diverse group of wonderful people.
This post is part of a blog-hop tour with some of the original My 500 Words members. They aren’t dabbling either. Check them out!
- Linzé Brandon–Butterfly on a Broomstick
- Vanessa Von Mollendorf–Humoring the dark
- Roslynn Pryor–Pushing the Bruise
- Stella Jones Myers–Stella’s Starshine
- Amy Bovaird–Amy’s Adventures
- Laura Hile–For the Love of Storytelling
- Carryl A. Robinson–Echoes from the Cave
- Rebecca A. Waters–A Novel Creation
- Tonia Hurst–The Vast and Inscrutable Imponderabilities of Life
- Debbie Simorte–Writing The Life Chaotic
- Melinda Lancaster–Thinking Out Loud on Purpose
- Carolyn Studor, who posts on the My 500 Words Facebook page.