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500-Word Challenge: A Letter to Jeff Goins

An open letter to Jeff Goins.

Dear Jeff,

So it’s like this. ‘How has the experience gone?’ you ask.

I’ve enjoyed it. It has pushed me into some new territory and it’s been fun to ‘interact’ with a couple of favorite authors, including yourself and Jon Acuff.

I decided to pull out your ‘You Are a Writer’ book to see where your advice and experiences intersect with my encounters with this challenge.

I see that you addressed ‘fear’.

“I wasn’t doing. I wasn’t creating. I was only dreaming.

Long lists of imaginative ideas and potential projects…never finishing any of them.”

And you went on to pinpoint the reason for that inability to finish.


Earlier, I was revisiting some morning flakiness on my part:

“Boy, I am all over the place and I think I need to work on something else. I put in a lot of time last night and this morning churning out some words and Ideas and, for some reason, I seem to have forsaken that material. Am I that obedient that I have to follow today’s challenge when I have plenty of other stuff ready to go.”

So while the challenge has been educational, I’m also wondering if I’m taking it on as another of those safe detours that, once February 1 comes along, will lead to nowhere—keeping in mind, of course, that it’s self-inflicted, not Jeff Gains-Inflicted.

But even with these doubts, what have I taken from the challenge so far?

I would say that it’s been fun to use ten words where five would have sufficed.

I’ve been able to churn out more words more efficiently than in previous months. NANOWRIMO doesn’t count for me, in terms of production as those efforts are afforded absolute free rein, while for your challenge, even though we are encouraged to ‘not edit’, I’m guessing more than a few folks are aiming to produce a piece with a semblance of direction and avoiding word-spurts that lead to a fire-snorting dragon attending a ladies afternoon tea in Cambridge, though, now that I think of it, may not be such a bad idea, especially when I consider the possibility of the ladies tossing their orthopedic shoes and knitted sweaters for black Spandex emblazoned with their own superhero logo.

Whoa, where was I?

Okay, so yeah, I guess there is a bit of a NANO carryover, isn’t there?

Anyway, as your chapter two asserts:


Okay, that works for me.

I liked your anecdote about your friend simply telling you, “You are a writer. You just need to write.”


I’m hoping this is one of the positive results of the challenge. I’ve built consistency over the last seven months, so I’m pleased with that, but I’m hoping the challenge will help me find a clearer voice.

A quote from you regarding preparation for and completion of a half-marathon: “I gave the sport the respect it deserved.”

Later in that chapter, you marveled at how much you had accomplished in a given day and wondered how it all happened.

Your conclusion: “…it happened from doing the work—creating habits and building momentum.”

In other words, you gave the sport of writing the respect it deserved.

I’m hoping the challenge will encourage me to continue to do that as well.

More later…I might have to book a trip to Cambridge to get a feel for my next book. ;-]



P.S. With your books in front of me, I will have no problem finding good content for the rest of this challenge. Heh, heh, heh.

Published in500 Word Challenge