I’ve always loved a good challenge. In fact, I kind of thrive on challenges. I set out to accomplish a task that feels monumental and unattainable and I just push forward.
It’s the smaller challenges in life that I can’t seem to handle, like writing this blogpost based solely on the word “challenge,” and just getting into the writing life that I claim to want so badly. The challenge here is to be consistent and to not worry greatly about what I am writing. I need to work on my writing as if it was something monumental and crucially important, because that is what it is to me, or is it?
I have always had trouble setting a schedule and keeping to it when it comes to things like writing. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s just hard. I lack self discipline for it. A big part of the reason I went to journalism school was that I felt I needed to be forced to write, and it actually worked. As a reporter for a weekly newspaper, I sometimes wrote 10 to 12 articles a week. There was a deadline and the stress to get it all done well and accurately was intense, but I never submitted anything late.
When I wrote 50,000 words this past November during a NaNoWriMo challenge, I stuck to it and got it done. It was so exciting. I was driven. I wrote the “first draft” of my book. The problem is that I haven’t picked it up since. I have also been talking about writing query letters for magazine article ideas that I have, but I do not do it. I have lots of prospective proposals, and I know exactly what I need to do to work on my book. What stops me? Nothing that I could say, “Well that’s a good excuse.” It’s all me, my fault. It’s not that I think I don’t have the skill. I’ve written many, many articles.
I am always so busy doing other things like teaching online classes or just scrolling through social media posts and I take the time away from what I want to be my retirement career. Have I lost the drive and ability for a good challenge? Whenever I have really wanted something, I have gone after it. I need a deadline. I need someone telling me you have to do this. I need a competition. But why? I know what I want to write. When I wanted to study abroad and later live in Rome, it was really difficult, both financially and otherwise, but I was determined.
While I was living in Rome for a one year study abroad program, I fell so in love with the city that I never wanted to leave. I devised a plan for my return that was a bit challenging.
I had to go back to New York to finish my bachelor’s degree. I needed 18 credits to graduate and, of course, I needed to work full time to be able to live. The 18 credits were pretty specific. Without two math classes and one gym class, I could not graduate and to make matters even more difficult, these classes all had to take place in the evening as I worked 9 am to 5 pm all week.
There were not many math classes that fit the bill so I took one basic, easy class and then the dreaded calculus. I’ve always been good at math but taking calculus a decade after I had taken trigonometry, and with 15 other credits, full time work, and a social life, it was what seemed to be an insurmountable task. It didn’t help that the only open gym class to fit my schedule was a Judo class. I would literally run from work 20 blocks to my class to be thrown around in the Judo class. Not fun.
Calculus was so tough that I feared I would not pass. I asked my professor if he would call me collect when he graded my final so that I could learn if I had passed the course. Failing would mean not returning to Italy for another half year or so, and the thought of that was unbearable. I passed the class with a “C” and I was thrilled. I left for Italy shortly thereafter with enough money to last two months. If I found a job I would stay and if I didn’t, I would have to leave. I found work immediately and stayed for a couple of years. Living in another country by yourself is a challenge, but a welcome one and I absolutely loved it.
What makes writing different? Is it the lack of certainty? For example, will anyone want to buy my article, my books? Will anyone care to read my blog? The thing is, I will never know unless I just do it, just like if I hadn’t taken the chance to move to Rome with little funds, I would have missed out on a couple of the best years of my life, and some very dear friends that I met in the process.
So here is my challenge for myself right now. I am committing to writing two hours a day, four days a week, so that I can work on my book and submit article ideas for publication in magazines and newspapers. You read it here first. Ask me how it’s going?
Writing Consistently is a Challenge by Regina Marcazzo-Skarka
The Motherhood Penalty Challenge by Ashley Olivine
Insomnia With Anxiety and How to Overcome the Challenge by Epigen Wellness Group
Challenging Times and 3 Ways to Endure the Struggle by Lindsey Gibson
Jar Full of Manna 31 Day Discipleship Challenge by Kelly Heath