One of the writers in my 5-day writing challenge wrapping up tomorrow posted a marvelous piece in our Facebook group. Michelle Monet—self-described “Author. Essayist. Vocalist. Composer. Guitarist. Streisand impersonator.” cat-lover (and, one has to wonder, comma-hater?)—reminds us why the most important moments in a writer’s life happen when butt meets chair. Repeatedly.
Monet credits Seth Godin with inspiring her to blog daily for a year. He inspired me to blog daily, too. In fact, I got the idea for The 5×15 Writing Challenge while attending a day-long workshop Godin led back in December. (Best investment I made all year.)
While Godin was talking about gamification, I started wondering how I could gamify what I do. And before I climbed back on the train home, I had the whole Challenge sketched out in my head.
But I digress.
When butt meets chair: a discipline, not a hobby
I learned a ton about good writing in school. But as fine as my teachers were, none of them taught me the most important thing about being a writer. Yep, when butt meets chair.
Monet quotes writer Jeff Goins:
“The idea is repetition — developing a discipline of showing up, making this a priority, and working through The Resistance.
If you want to get this writing thing down, you need to start writing every day. No questions asked, no exceptions made. After all, this isn’t a hobby we’re talking about; it’s a discipline.”
I’ve been amazed and gratified to find how quickly my Challenge participants take to the daily discipline of writing. Of course, it’s easy when you have something on the line—something more than pride and a vague hope of improvement. That’s where the gamification comes in: finish the Challenge and you win a donation to a global literacy nonprofit. And to help as many people as possible across the finish line, Challenge participants cheer each other on in a private Facebook group. I’ve been astonished at how quickly they’ve formed a community around their shared goal, and how sensitively they praise and comment on each other’s work.
I’m going to be upping the stakes in a program we roll out tomorrow. How many days in a row can butt meet chair? How many writers will flip from hobby into discipline?
I can’t wait to find out. If you can’t either,Click here and I’ll keep you posted.