April 2014: Write Every Day – Round 2

These experiments are like little sparks.

Sometimes they grow into a roaring fire.

Write Every Day

I’m writing this with a giant smile on my face, and it’s all because of a little book I’m reading.

One of my friends wrote it with his kids; and if that wasn’t adorable enough, it’s a really entertaining story full of fun twists and turns. It’s called “Li & Lu and the Secret of Kite Hill.”

But it isn’t just the story that put a smile on my face, it’s something bigger than that. You see, my friend Bradley was once a professional writer. Ten years ago, he was living his dream of being a writer and he published a book.

But then something happened. Bradley decided to do the “practical” thing and start a web design business instead. His business has been a success, and he’s built a great life for his family. But it was clear that his old dream of being a writer was still gnawing at him.

Back in November 2012, Bradley and I were talking at a cafe in San Francisco. We were talking about what it meant to be a writer, and he said something really fantastic.

He said, “a writer is someone who writes.”

So, I decided to host a monthly experiment of writing every day. A lot of you joined me and wrote every day that November. Bradley joined me too. I think we even shook on it, like we were making some kind of promise to follow through.

About a week into the experiment, I talked to Bradley and could immediately tell that something was different. He was almost giddy. He had so much energy. Ok, maybe he’s usually like that, but I could tell he was turning back into a writer. He said he felt like “a writing machine” … he was unstoppable. Literally.

My challenge to myself was to write for an hour a day for one month. It was fantastic. I felt like I became a better writer, more confident, and even a better thinker. But Bradley took it to another level. He published something every day for the whole month. Then he kept going, publishing something new for 100 days in a row. Then 200 and 300 and 400 and 500 days in a row. He’s got a list of all the things he’s published since he started his amazing streak, and it’s currently at 551 days in a row!

I think it’s fair to say that Bradley is a writer again. Even if it’s not his main business, he’s still living his dream. It’s a part of who he is.

Back in February, he decided to focus his writing habit toward writing a new book with his two sons acting as co-authors an illustrators…  

As of today, it’s only three chapters, but the boys are actually helping me write it and give me ideas for what might happen next. Two boys, their father, and their dog are just walking home from school when their ball rolls into a cave in a public park. We’ll see what happens.

But the absolute lightning bolt of joy came when my 7-year old, after I read chapter three aloud to them (as well as my visiting family) said, “Keep going. I want to know what happens next!”

And they did keep going. The book came out yesterday, 10 years to the day after his first book.

Sometimes people ask me why I do the Monthly Experiments Project. Stories like this are the answer!

Bradley went from wishing he was a writer to being one. He created an unstoppable habit and published a lot of great things and worked on a really fun creative project with his kids.

It all started with one month, and I’m doing it again this month, and you’re invited to join me.

Join The Challenge: Write Every Day

If you want to create a writing habit, you should join me in this challenge.

You can structure your own experiment however you want. 

You can write for a certain period of time per day, like an hour. Or aim for a certain number of words, or you can be like Bradley and actually publish something new every day. It doesn’t matter what goal you set for yourself. In fact, it’s better to start with an easy goal than a hard one.

You could write in a private journal if you want to, or work on a book, or a blog. It’s up to you.

My goal is to write for at least one hour per day. I don’t have to publish what I write. It doesn’t matter how many words it is, or what it’s about.

My goal is simply to strengthen my writing muscles and create a consistent habit.

This experiment is really about discipline, creativity, fear and courage, setting goals, and improving your habits. For me, this is about being a better version of myself. It might sound strange, but writing can do that if you let it.

This is about making sparks for 31 days, to see what catches fire.

I hope you decide to join me! Click here to tweet if you do.

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  1. Oh man, John, thank you. Thank you for (1) this write up, but mostly for (2) starting the Monthly Experiments back in 2012. I can’t believe I’ve been going this long, but it’s now just a part of me and it’s there to stay. I almost forget now what it was like to NOT write everyday, but you know what I used to do everyday instead of write? I used to think about writing everyday or worse, feel guilty for not writing everyday. Now I’m just writing everyday. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? That’s because it is simple. It’s extremely difficult and it’s extremely easy.

    You know what’s even better? My kids are into it. This was really unexpected. They’re now illustrating and even “writing their own books.” They’re having a blast.

    Thanks again for starting Monthly Experiments and especially the Write Every Day Challenge. I can easily say that without it, my life wouldn’t be the same and in case that wasn’t clear, it means that my life wouldn’t be as good, as fulfilled, and now, bonus: as fun.

    • Thanks buddy! Seeing what you’ve done and how you took off and ran with this thing has been a total joy for me to watch. Since I know it’s your favorite word, I’ll just say… keep being awesome! 😉

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