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The 500-word challenge

The 500-word challenge

I’ve accepted a challenge to write 500 words a day for 31 days. Today is the first day! Writing 500 words is not an overwhelming task. It’s about the length of a short newspaper article.  When I finish this blog, I will have written about 500 words.

No, what’s daunting is to do it 31 days in a row for a total of 15,500 words! I’m taking this challenge to improve my writing skills.  Like anything, if you want to do it well you need to practice. I don’t play an instrument. I don’t compete in sports…at least not anymore! I write. And to hone my skills, I need to practice.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write a book. A novel…perhaps a young adult novel. But for 57 years life has gotten in the way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great life. I had an incredibly rewarding career in the non-profit and journalism industries, raised two boys of whom I am immensely proud, volunteered with groups about whose missions I am passionate and fulfilled a life-long dream to live on a lake in the north woods. I’ve traveled extensively in the United States and have ventured out of the country several times.

So, what’s the big deal about writing a novel? It’s just another dream that I’d like to fulfill…but it will take practice.

Before I write the “great American novel,” I need to read more, write more, experience more and listen more…most importantly, listen more. You all have so much to say. And, I can learn so much from each of you.

Some of the greatest minds have written about listening…

 “Spend your leisure time in cultivating an ear attentive to discourse, for in this way you will find that you learn with ease what others have found out with difficulty.” 
― Isocrates

 “It takes two to speak the truth – one to speak and another to hear.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

“Edward knew what it was like to say over and over again the names of those you had left behind. He knew what it was like to miss someone. And so he listened. And in his listening, his heart opened wide and then wider still.” 
― Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

“You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” 
― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

And so, I’m going to listen…and I’m going to write.  And, perhaps, when I’ve listened enough and written enough, I’ll find the knowledge and the words to write that novel I’m dreaming about. Just maybe.

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