I’ve been avoiding my writing all day. Which is unusual, since every day for the last 30, I’ve been eager to get to my writing. I feel like it’s the last day of camp, high school graduation, and my best friend moving away all at once. Today is the last day of the 31-day blogging challenge I’ve been participating in all month.

As my husband pointed out, “It’s not like you have to stop writing. You can keep writing on your blog as much as you want. And you should. Your blog is really good.” He’s right about not having to stop (and sweet about saying my blog is good).

But still, having this lovely, like-minded community of readers and writers for a solid month has been like having a tailored, ready-made set of 145-ish BFFs. I’m sure all 140-something of us are pausing to reflect today about what we’ve gotten out of taking the challenge this month. I certainly didn’t know what to expect, and I’ve been surprised by more than a few things along the way.

I started the month with a Top 5 list of reasons why this challenge didn’t seem to be such a great idea for me to try; I think I’ll end with a Top 5 reasons why this challenge has been worth ignoring my kid, my husband, my friends, my work, and my television to participate in.

  1. I can fit writing into my day. It’s not as hard as I thought. And also way harder than I thought. I wrote on the subway on the way to work; at my desk at work (Shhh… Only on my “lunch break”!); after putting the baby to bed; while the baby played on his own (Shhh… Only a few times!). Having a deadline made it a priority, so I found the time… (But, having a deadline also meant de-prioritizing other stuff, which was sometimes hard.)
  2. I actually like writing poetry. But it turns out it’s not any less time-consuming for me than writing a prose post!
  3. I have way, way more ideas of things to write about than time to write. This is probably because I spend way more time living and thinking about life than I do writing. (As it should be!!)
  4. I came. I wrote. I read. But I didn’t have to give up everything 😉

  5. Writing daily and reading others’ writing has simply made me more generous in the world. It’s helped me feel truly connected with others and the struggles we all face, no matter where we are or where we’re from. I feel like I’ve been kinder to myself and to others this month, because I took time daily to reflect on the experiences that make me most human.

I have a silly story that illustrates this generosity. I recently had a book published, and I feel a little insecure about it—Will people like it? Will anybody even buy it? Before this challenge, walking into Barnes and Noble was a field day for my insecure inner voice—Look at all of these people who wrote books! They’re probably all better writers and way more successful than you are! But after starting this challenge, I began to see the shelves of books at Barnes and Noble with a very different lens. I became thrilled at the thought of all of these authors, who were just ordinary people, fulfilling a dream by finding their voice and putting pen to paper to let it out. Just think of all the lives that will be touched and changed thanks to their passion and dedication!

And so, to all those slicers out there: Thanks for being a part of this special experience–I know that my life has been touched and changed by your passion and dedication.