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The Price of Failure: How I Failed on My 21 Days ‘Free Writing Challenge’

Finesse Notes

The Price of Failure: How I Failed on My 21 Days ‘Free Writing Challenge’


Would you dare to challenge yourself?

Or simply do things in the same way as you have always done? I chose to do the latter. And guess what happened?

I failed.

I didn’t make it safely through my 21 days free writing challenge as I wished. But guess what came along with my failure? I gained some worthy prices.

For each day I did the free writing or made up excuses, I learned something new about the effect of my commitment or lack of it to the writing outcome. It was a simple cause-and-effect situation. But I will save you the research and psychology insights.

Let me briefly explain about the birth of the challenge and my journey…

I stumbled on some mentally stimulating ”free writing prompts” and decided to do a test drive. It turned out to be quite an exercise for my writing muscles since I’m never one to write randomly without a plan, draft and the works.

After trying out a few of the prompts, I realised it eased the entire writing process for me and did good for my motivation. It freed up my thoughts, eased the flow of my writing, pushed me out of my writing comfort zone, and drove me to a new level of writing experience.

Ok so I didn’t follow through with my perfect plan.

21 days turned into 40 days.

But I made excuses for each day I missed a writing session – from flu days to family weddings; Exams to teaching sessions; Research time to meetings; Watching AJ Stream to experimenting with Hootsuite.

I admit that for every excuse I made, there was absolutely no real excuse. I simply failed on my commitment. Either missing the dedicated writing time – after Fajr (morning) prayers OR wasting considerable time ‘thinking‘ about writing rather than ‘doing‘.

Alhamdulillah, I pushed forward and completed 25+ minutes of daily free writing using close to 20 prompts. At the end of it all, many prices followed, despite the obvious failure. Can you believe that?

Ready to hear about what I gained?

The prices are resilience, discipline, passion, engagement, thinking skills and positive habit building. My writing muscles have been stretched, my thinking got rejuvenated and my motivation doubled or even tripled.

The main idea was to write without editing, checking for grammar, punctuation nor use any of the typical fancy tools in a writer’s toolkit. I would free flow till time was up.

Evernote (accessed either through my laptop or ipad)
– Free writing prompts (accessed through kindle on ipad)
– Timer
– Dedicated writing time (After Fajr [morning] prayer)

What went well
– Experienced a different mode of writing – aiding quick, stimulating free flow of words;
– The thrill of a challenge was motivating;
– Completing the 21 days of writing, albeit much later than planned;
– Consistency was a vital key (little deeds done but with consistency kept the momentum going);
– Regular writing and mind stretching.

What could be better In Sha Allah
– Sticking to morning times for writing challenge, in order to keep up with the blessed early day momentum;
– Creating my own prompts aligned to interest areas eg self and spiritual growth, creativity etc;
– Pay a fine or carry out a consequence for any day missed.

“A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice” (Bukhari & Muslim)

And sooooo, the writing continues In Sha Allah. Strapped with my toolkit of experience from the 21 days (turned 40), I can avoid the holes that sucked me in the first round.

The second round of my 21 days free writing challenge resumes tomorrow morning In Sha Allah.

The Daily Free Writing challenge is an extra exercise in addition to other forms of writing I engage in such as, brainstorming and mind mapping, writing blog posts and guest posts, educational planning, workshops/presentations etc

I ask again, would you dare to challenge yourself?

photo credit: hitsnooze via photopin cc


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