The Courage (or Insanity?) to Say, "Next!"

Today just happens to be the 30th day of a 30-day Blog Your Brand challenge I participated in,  sponsored by Indie Business Network.  The challenge required thirty consecutive days of writing a blog post, minimum 300 words plus at least one graphic.  When I complete this challenge, the primary reward is that I accomplished something that 1) was pretty scary to me (every day is a big commitment!), 2) required a fair amount of discipline and planning, 3) helped to hone my writing skills, and 4) will help me to build my micro-business by providing my customers with helpful and interesting information that’s absolutely free.

Now at first glance you might think that I am the primary person to benefit from this endeavor.  It’s true, in the sense that whenever any of us extend a helping hand to others, often we also get unexpected rewards.  I did a lot of volunteer work when my kids were little, and one of the personal benefits was getting to know other people in the community and making new friends. 

I started out with a plan, and stuck with it for about the first two weeks.  After that I just went with the flow – if I felt like it was a good topic, I ran with it.  At least a couple of times I looked at my list of topics and thought, “That was dumb – I have nothing to say about that,” and then just started typing; within a few minutes, I had a paragraph written and then the rest of it seemed to write itself.

This weekend I spotted something on my Facebook feed that grabbed my attention: Amanda Aaron was starting a new coaching business, Makerpreneur, and looking for some lucky volunteers to form a beta group.  This small, hand selected group would be coached on how to write an ebook, with lots of planning structure, guidance, and general hand-holding, so that in eight weeks a finished product would be ready for publication.

Me, me, me!  I want to write, I’ve been talking about writing ebooks for years!  As fast as I could type, I responded back with the required answers and waited to hear back.  Yes, I was accepted into the group – this is fantastic!  Just one little thing.  The start date for this amazing opportunity to get coached by an experienced blogger, book author, speaker in the soapy industry was August 8 – the same day as the last day of the blogging challenge.

When I announced that I was starting a new group writing project with deadlines, the reaction from the two humans that live with me was less than enthusiastic. (Side eye does speak volumes, doesn’t it?)  It just might be because I’ve been counting down the last few days of the blogging challenge with comments something like, “Only five more days and I’m done!”  “Only three more days and I promise I’ll cook dinner again!”  “Two more days, unless I have to get checked into the psych ward!”  (No, just kidding about the last one.)

Today was a busy day, and I even made dinner (notice that the word "cooked" did not appear in this sentence.)  So far, I’ve picked a topic and title for my ebook, and I’ve also made a mock up for the book cover.  I wasn’t too happy with the cover, but after posting in our little group, and explaining what I didn’t like about it, I was sent a re-worked version that I like a lot!  By the end of this week I have to get an outline done.  I can do this.  And I know that I can do it because I’ve just spent the last 30 days writing, anywhere from an hour to 2 ½ hours every day.  Instead of letting my fears crush my dreams, I crushed my fears: I finished the blogging challenge.  This isn’t the end, though – it feels more like the beginning, and I’m saying, “Next!”