As you might have noticed it has been pretty quiet on the blog lately. The past couple of months I have been struggling to find the energy, inspiration and motivation to do the things that normally gives me energy and make me feel happy. I haven’t felt like blogging, even when I had things to blog about and although I have been working a little bit on two new writing projects I haven’t been consistent with it.
Winters are always really hard for me and as a Dane I’m very sensitive to the changes of the season, especially changes to the light. This year in particularly, I think fall and winter has been really dark and gloomy. Sure, it hasn’t been very cold but it has been very very cloudy and dark, and the lack of sunlight has really worn me down.
So about a week ago I decided to do something about my lack of inspiration and to kickstart my creativity I decided to give myself a 7 Day Writing Challenge. The only criteria of the challenge was to write every day for a week but I did not set myself any other limitations about what I could write, how much I should write or for how long. Limitations can be really helpful and I often set them to help me along but for this I felt that the challenge would be to force myself to write every day. Not just when I feel inspired or in the mood but to train “my writing muscle” to help me improve.
Day 1, Monday: I woke up really excited about the challenge and eagerly grabbed my notebook to start writing. I decided to write a piece for one my new writing projects called “The Archive of Memory” (I will write a seperate blog post about that project later!) and I spent a good 2 hours working on it, really enjoying taking the time to write. I actually wrote my favourite piece of the week that day!
Day 2, Tuesday: After the success of the first day, I was just as excited about writing on the second day. I wrote down another memory for my archive project and spent another 2 hours working on it. It was a little harder to write for me that day and the words came less naturally, so I ended up with a lot of scratched out sentences but I didn’t really mind.
Day 3, Wednesday: I woke up and did not feel it, people. I had other things to do that day and decided not to write anything in the morning to cross some things off my to-do list. But when it became bedtime and I still hadn’t felt like taking the time to write, I was in serious trouble. My boyfriend encouraged me to write just a little, so I grabbed my copy of 642 Things to Write About and picked out two of the prompts that inspired me. By the time I was done I felt really good about having accomplished it through my determination and even felt more inspired afterwards.
Day 4, Thursday: I completely, completely forgot everything about the challenge that day. I was pretty busy and it just slipped my mind. I felt a little bit bad about it but decided not to. I forgot and that’s ok.
Day 5, Friday: I knew I was going to have a pretty busy afternoon and evening, as I was headed to London to pick up my dissertation and go to a meeting at the V&A, so I decided to write in the morning while I had time. While I didn’t love what I wrote that day, I felt good about doing it anyway.
Day 6 and 7, Saturday and Sunday: I had gotten into a pretty good routine by then and it wasn’t too hard for me to pick some prompts in 642 Things. It was easier for me to come up with something to write about and it took me less time to get into “writing mode”, so I ended the week pretty pleased with my progress.
I really enjoyed the challenge, even though I struggled a bit in the middle of the week, when I had a lot of things on my mind and didn’t feel naturally inspired to sit down and write. It showed me that I don’t have to be inspired to get things done (although it definitely helps) and that, as the week progressed, it became more and more easy to find the words I was looking for. It felt good to accomplish something and when I woke up the Monday after I had worked myself into such a good writing mode that I immediately felt like writing again, even though the challenge was over by then. The challenge definitely helped my motivation, as I have been writing every other day since then and I hope to keep it up through the Christmas holiday.