Reading and Writing in 2014

Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions for 2014?

If so, have you broken them yet?

If you have, give yourself a break and pick it up again tomorrow.

Reading and Writing

I have set a couple of goals and what you are seeing here is one of the results. My challenge – not really calling it a resolution – is really officially just for the first 31 days of the year but I hope, if I can persist for that long it will become a habit I can continue. If you are a regular visitor and reader here you will know how I fare in this endeavor.

A couple of authors I follow and happen to have a great deal of respect for invited their followers to participate with them in a couple of challenges to begin 2014 and I signed up for both. I believe they will complement each other but the proof will be in the execution.

30 Days of Hustle

First was Jon Acuff and his 30 Days of Hustle Challenge. This challenge has no specific subject or topic except for the hustle. For those near my age I suspect you have a song stuck in your head right now…sorry about that. The hustle can and should be unique for everyone who participates, although some will likely be similar, the requirement was only that it be your own goal.

My Hustle Goal is to read for two hours every day. Chances are I was already doing this but I am trying to be more intentional and read more books during these 2 hours and I am trying to time myself. I had a goal last year to read 25 books. I only read 21 but if I add the audio books I listened to that does put me over 25 at 27 so I did pretty well.

Reading for two hours is the WHAT of this goal. The WHY of this goal has many facets. I wanted my goal to be a positive goal and not a ‘NOT’ goal. If I do follow through with this one though a lot of positive NOTs will materialize.

First the positives

Reading is how I learn so I expect this to expand my knowledge and also give me new ideas to share here on my blog, as well as help me on my job and in my personal relationships. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “In five years you will be the same as you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet.” I don’t want to remain the same. I want to improve a little every day and be a much better person in five years. Reading is one activity that should help me accomplish that goal.

The Positive NOTs

Some of the positive NOTs reading for at least two hours a day will accomplish are NOT wasting time browsing the internet, Facebook and twitter, waiting for the next “You’ve got mail” notification, and NOT wasting time browsing channels on the TV trying to find something to watch, which would probably be a waste of time if I found something.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

My 500 Words

The second challenge I signed up for was started by Jeff Goins. If you have read some of my earlier posts (See A Peculiar Perspective Begins!) you would know that Jeff is the reason I call myself a writer.

This challenge was pretty simple, to write 500 words a day for 31 days. That is what I am doing now and if I continue should provide many posts for your reading pleasure or consternation during 2014.

I have no aspirations or goals to publish a new post every day as some bloggers do. I don’t think I have that much to say. However I do want to be more consistent in 2014 and publish on a more regular schedule instead of just randomly as I did last year. I would like to publish at least one new blog a week on the same day and then will sprinkle in others, probably regarding current issues, as they arise during the year.

Well, there you have my goals for the first 31 days of 2014. I think breaking the traditional New Year’s resolutions down into smaller units like this is a good approach to help them seem more achievable. My expectation is this approach will be better than just breaking New Year’s resolutions.

If the first month is successful then you can either continue, since you will have built a new habit, or come up with something totally new for the next month. Time will tell. As I said earlier, the proof will be in the execution.

Midway checkpoint

I wrote this several days ago as part of my 500 word challenge. Since I am publishing now at the halfway point I can report I am batting .733 for both reading and writing so far this month. If I was a baseball player I would be in the Hall of Fame.  I would like to be 100% but am not going to beat myself up about that. I have accomplished much more both reading and writing than I would have without these challenges. I have read three books so far this year and published three blog posts, counting this one, so my year is off to a good start. Starting today I plan to get back on track and finish January strong.

If I can do it anyone can do it so you can start today and finish January strong yourself. I hope you choose to do just that.

Whatever your goals are for 2014 I hope you are off to a good start and are able to achieve them and make this your best year yet.

If you like any of what you see here or it makes you think, which is one of my goals, enter your email address in the sidebar on the right and subscribe. If you do you will receive an email in your inbox whenever I publish a new blog. I know many of you see these when I share them on Facebook or twitter but if you subscribe then you will be sure to NOT miss a single publication, another positive NOT. Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time…

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18 thoughts on “Reading and Writing in 2014”

  1. Thanks for being so real and for forging ahead to new paths …that’s so awesome. Your post is inspiring:) I really need to read more books this year, I didn’t read as much as I wanted to last year;( I’m also doing the 500 words/day with Tribe Writers and so far I’ve only missed one day(for me that’s pretty good). It feels like I’m developing a new, better habit ~ and I feel better about writing…than when I did things so sporadically. Keep up the writing and reading…and learning Stan and inspiring others to do the same 🙂

    1. Thanks Lorna. I am glad you liked it and it was inspiring. You are doing better in the 500 words a day challenge than me. I think I have missed 3 days so far. Keep up the good consistent work. Finding the time to read, the 2 hours for me, is a challenge but most things worthwhile are. I find 10-15 minutes here 30 minutes there and then try to get a longer session in at least once a day. It really makes me feel like I have done something worthwhile instead of wasted my time when I do. You can do that too. You will probably find the reading will help your writing too.

  2. I started late in the game with Jeff Goins challenge but I am really enjoying the comradeship amongst the writers in the group. I appreciate the insight I gain from others in the group and also the encouragement. Stan, you are an inspiration for me to read more! I have NO excuses. I love the baseball analogy because although as you point out your are not 100%, or in other words, not perfect, you would be in the Hall of Fame. I think as writers we are best served to look at what we HAVE accomplished rather than what we have NOT. I would be interested to hear how you deal with discouragement or what you do that improves your craft that you find most helpful. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks Teri. I am glad I could prompt you to read more. I agree looking at what we HAVE DONE instead of what we haven’t is the better perspective. That, in itself, minimized discouragement. As for improving my craft this challenge and if I can develop it into a habit will go a long way in that. Reading about others challenges and how they worked through them is a big help too.

  3. Hey Stan. Another good post! My family and reading are what keeps me sane. As far back as our Hillcreast days English has been a mystery to me. The order and neatness of numbers have always made much more sense to me. However, in my adult life I have worked very hard at the English lanuage. Hopefully, I have made some progress.

    Last year I accepted a challenge similar to the ones you are talking about. I started writing a blog for our family website. Its a lot harder than one thinks. I finally came to the conclusion that as long I was communicating and exchanging ideas the lack of command over the English lanuage would be ok.

    Altough your command over the English lanuage is far greater than mine. What I really enjoy about your blog is the expression of ideas and communication.

    Keep challenging yourself!

    1. Thanks Bryan. You know if you are communicating and exchanging ideas then that indicates you do have a pretty good command of the English language so don’t sell yourself short. The 500 word challenge is really helping me to more consistently write something. Whether it ends up in a blog or not it is a good discipline to learn if I can stick with it.

  4. You have always been an encourager. I am proud of the way that you continue to challenge yourself, grow, and pursue your goals.

  5. Good stuff here Stan! I like the idea of a 31 day ‘goal’ so you can evaluate and tweak on a more regular basis. Kudos to you on already reading 3 books and posting 3 articles!! Keep it up!!

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