I completed a “no editing as you go” challenge… and I was happier before

Let me start off by saying: I love challenges. They can inspire creativity, create community, increase productivity, and act as a catalyst for other positive changes. I’ve done many of them, and I typically walk away with an increased sense of purpose and clarity.

At the end of December, I completed a challenge to write 30k words in 30 days without editing any of them. This time, when I hit the word count goal, I felt tired, disconnected, unmotivated…

The magic of writing (for me) is in the process, which has always included editing as I go. Sometimes I write several thousand words before I go back, but ultimately, I go back. I sweep the whole thing, the previous chapter, whatever feels right. Then I continue forward, thoroughly entrenched in the story. While I was doing the challenge, I’d go back over the most recent material and see mistakes I wasn’t “allowed” to fix. It felt like being punished!

It’s been a few weeks since the challenge ended and I have mixed feelings on the value it added to my life. At first, I was mostly frustrated with myself that I kept going with it after I realized it wasn’t working for me. Now I can appreciate that it gave me more confidence in my process and inspired gratitude; I appreciate my freedom to create the way I want to more than ever.

For those who keep striving to better themselves through challenges and trying out new processes: I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. My only piece of advice is to listen to your instincts and recognize you may have to take a different path than others to get to the end.

Signing off for now,

Sam

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