100 Days

Girl Playing Guitar

What’s that one thing in your life that you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to doing? Maybe you’ve always wanted to surf, or ride a motorcycle. Maybe you wanted to travel to Asia or run a marathon. We all have our own mountains to climb. The mountain I tried to climb over and over again was learning how to play the guitar.

I have been an on and off guitar player for years. And by on and off, I mean mostly off. I’d pick up the guitar, play for a few days, maybe a week, and then get discouraged or distracted and stop playing for weeks or months or years. Then I’d get inspired, pick it up again and start the cycle once more.

But something happened last September that changed my entire perspective. I read an article about a 100-day challenge. The author challenged himself to ask for something he wanted – something he really wanted – every day between September 23 and Dec 31 – 100 days. His challenge was to make serious requests of other people.

I have heard of such challenges before without ever considering doing one myself. But something clicked for me when I read this article, and I decided to take on the 100-day year-end challenge. My challenge to myself was this:

Take on playing the guitar, for real. Play every day for 100 days. See if you can really do this. It’s hard, your fingers will hurt, and you may still be a terrible guitar player after 100 days. But try anyway. Commit to it. And do it.

And that’s exactly what I did.

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My practice to develop my practice.

So it’s Day 5 of November, and that means Day 5 of NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month.

I’ve tried this before, and have been unsuccessful.  But this is a new year, a new November, and I’m at it again.

I know several people who are attempting NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month, and I admire their insanity.  50,000 words in a month?  That’s almost 1700 words a day.  (Thank you Dashboard calculator.)  I’m lucky if I can get 500, so I really admire those who are going full-on.  But if I can do 30 posts in 30 days, it will be more writing in one month than I’ve ever done in any month before, and I will consider it a great accomplishment.

Writing is something I have always struggled with.  I haven’t struggled with actually writing – there are always words, and sometimes, they’re even strung together well.  But I’ve struggled with the practice of writing.

And a practice it is.  Or should be.  As with anything else one wants to do well in life, consistency is the key.  And that’s what I’ve been missing.  I’ve not had that in my writing, or in too many other areas of my life.

But 30 days would be consistent.  If it takes 21 days to form a habit, what can I form in 30?  I’m aiming for a practice.

So this is my practice to develop my practice.

There are several things I have implemented to do this, but the most important one is to turn the tv off.

These days, after Amira goes to bed, it is so easy to zone out in front of the tv for a couple of hours before going to bed.  The days are long, and I’m always so tired.  But the simple act of turning the tv off is such a freedom – all of a sudden, there is time to do other things!  The energy to do them is another story, but that’s where having a practice comes in.  And I’m not doing an Ironman Triathalon here, I’m writing a blog post.  I can summon the energy to do this.

And I want to.  I truly want to.  I know what comes with a diligent, consistent practice.  Improvement.  And I’m looking for that more than anything.

And so it’s Day 5.  And I write.