Why Challenges are Good for You

Why challenges are good for youChallenges as a kid scared the heck out of me. I didn’t want to lose, and it’s not because I was a competitive person. I was afraid the other kids would make fun of me.

Of course, challenges back then were silly things like climbing a tree or riding a bike through a mean neighbor’s yard.

Challenges as an adult don’t scare me. In fact, I won’t take a challenge unless it’s something I’m truly interested in.

For instance, I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month. That’s a challenge. I’m writing whatever word count goal I choose and will work toward achieving that goal. In November I take a challenge of writing 50K in a month during NaNoWriMo.

I’m in the 365K Club for the 10 Minute Novelists. While it’s not really a challenge, I am supposed to write 274 words a day since I’m in the 100K group.

So why are challenges good for you?

1. Kicking in motivation

Motivation gets you moving, and hopefully it gets you moving in the right direction. Does motivation help you work harder?

I work harder when I have motivation — someone or something to push me toward a goal. One of my goals this year is to get some freelance jobs so I have extra money to pay the bills and stash for emergencies.

But I’ve been stuck for a while about what I need to do to get freelance writing and editing jobs. I’ve tried looking on job boards, and I’ve done research on other ways to get jobs.

Only two jobs, one of which fizzled out quickly when I didn’t get paid in a timely manner. When you feel like you’ve tried everything you can repeatedly and keep getting no answers or rejection emails, where do you think the motivation is?

The motivation doesn’t happen. The frustration sets in because the harder I try the more nothing happens.

2. Learn new things

A challenge helps you learn new things. At least the challenges I’ve done as an adult have.

As an adult, I’ve learned the Camp NaNo and NaNo help me set aside time to write every day, which is something I had never done before.

Most of all I want to learn new writing skills. I want to be the best and successful writer I can be.

3. Develop new habits

Depending upon how the challenge is set up, you can learn new habits. It helps us set up a routine that you can keep going after the challenge is over.

Like the 365K Club, I try my best every day to write those 274 words per day. I’m doing much better than I did last year, but the club was set up differently.

Last year we had to write 1,000 words each day. Some days that was nearly impossible for me. However, with the smaller daily amount this year, I’m able to do a better job of hitting the daily goal, which, of course, motivates me to keep going.

While I don’t always hit the smaller word count, I’m keep going and trying to hit it every day. At least I am writing on a more regular basis than I ever have in my life. I won’t give up until the end of the year.

4. Build confidence

Most of all, a challenge builds your confidence. My own confidence isn’t the greatest. As I mentioned above, I’ve applied to many writing and editing jobs hoping to get at least two or three of them.

Of the thousands of emails I’ve sent, only two of them became reality. What am I doing wrong? Do I not have the skills needed? Did my email sound horrible?

Some of those jobs were perfect for me. I’m sure the competition is fierce since freelancing is becoming more and more popular.

Why am I writing about taking a challenge? What does it have to do with writing?

I’ve started a 60-day challenge, which I hope will help me finally give my freelance business the kick in the butt it needs. Each day the group receives the next step in the process. We get an explanation of the step and the action plan — what we need to do.

As this continues, I hope to update you here and let you know how it’s going. And if you’re interested in participating, you probably still can sign up here.