This is Not a Promise

by Judy Stone-Goldman on August 1, 2010

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starting out on a path

The first thing I have to say is this: I make no promises.

Today is August 1st, first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I heard about this last year and watched in admiration as someone I knew took on the task of writing one blog daily for each day in August. Then I heard about it again this year, just a few days ago. My first reaction was, “I can’t do this.”

I can’t do this because:

  • I’m going out of town in August (and I don’t know if I’ll have my computer).
  • I’m too busy with other projects that have deadlines.
  • I don’t know if I want to blog every day (I want to be able to blog every day, but do I really want to do it?)
  • I might fail to carry through.

There, that last one…that’s the one that counts. I don’t want to commit to this because I don’t have confidence I will be able to do it. What if I hit the Grand Writer’s Block of all time? What if I have nothing to say? What if I write something and it’s terrible? What if I don’t feel like writing?

These are all good reasons to be afraid, and all excellent reasons for doing the Challenge. The very word “challenge” makes the point: we use the opportunity to do something more than we typically do, to rise above our usual barriers and limitations, to strive for the very thing we are afraid we cannot achieve. We commit without any guarantees.

So is this a commitment? Am I doing the Ultimate Blog Challenge?

When I woke up this morning I had no intention of being here, in this place, on the edge of this commitment. When I started writing this entry I specifically said, “I make no promises.” But here I am, writing words that sound an awful lot like a commitment, because the one commitment I’ve already made is to sit down and write when words begin forming in my head. And while I was washing lettuce and chopping celery, the words began forming, words that included both “no promises” and “Ultimate Blog Challenge.”

I write all the time about using reflective writing as a way to see oneself on the page, a way to explore ambivalences, find solutions, resolve stories. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what I learn in 31 consecutive days of public writing?

I feel myself coming to this reality: I am going to do the Challenge. I may have thought I was still debating within myself, but I realize now that the decision came into focus while I sat and wrote. Whatever time I needed was solely for me to accept the decision that was already made.

My guess is that more than a few first-day blogs have this theme of fear, ambivalence, anxiety. I am already curious about how my feelings and attitudes (and verbal fluency) will change over the next 30 days. But no jumping ahead–one day, one blog. Beyond that, I make no promises.

Questions for Reflection: How do you approach challenges? What do you feel when you make a commitment? Is there anything you shy away from trying because of fear you won’t succeed?

Writing Prompts: “I was most successful challenging myself when I ______” (then keep writing); “Whenever I commit to self-improvement or self-development I ______” (then keep writing); “I would like to write every day but ______” (then keep writing).

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gayle M August 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm

You will do it Judy, and I will read you every day, with admiration. I would like to write every day but…I don’t, yet. I’m thinking about that commitment.


Judy Stone-Goldman
August 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Hi Gayle, Always appreciate your presence and your comments. I feel like you “early responders” are lining the street as I start my race. Believe me, your encouragement is much appreciated!!


Elissa Joy August 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Judy, I can so relate to your sense of challenged by the challenge!

I too am taking it on and at first was thinking it was too much to do a blog post everyday, but when I spoke to Michele Scism on the phone, she invited me to take it, and said at one point.. “you can do all the thirty days, or half, whatever it good for you’. And I thought ( and said) what is the point of a challenge for 30 days if at the start,, even before the start, you decide you are going only to do half of it ?!

Taking things one day at a time is more my style. However, I think if I feel supported and give support, it will be easier to do!

Here’s to supporting each other!
Thanks for the great writing prompts.. they are wonderful!

Peace and light
Elissa Joy


Judy Stone-Goldman
August 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Hello Elissa Joy (beautiful name) – I agree about “one day at a time” being a good motto. It’s a real challenge to maintain balance–committing to the challenge (and all it can offer) but not locking yourself in so as to stress out completely. I do love how we are going to be supporting one another. I’ll “see you” on our various sites.


Jeannie August 1, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Wow! Fabulous first post for the ultimate blogging challenge.

Love the question and prompt at the end – they got me thinking!


Judy Stone-Goldman
August 1, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Thank you so much–it’s so exciting to see a comment! The name of your site is great–can’t wait to check it out.


Jeanine Byers Hoag August 1, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Welcome to the blog challenge! I look forward to reading your posts. ~~Jeanine


Daphne Bousquet, CMP August 2, 2010 at 9:08 am

Judy, this should be easy for you, you are a writer! Just remember, you can write when the inspiration strikes and schedule your posts for later. That’s what I’m doing. That way I don’t feel the pressure of having to write every day.


Judy Stone-Goldman
August 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for the encouragement, Daphne, and especially for saying, “You are a writer”–I need to remind myself that! Yes, writing some posts and keeping them available is going to be one strategy. I’ll be checking out your posts, too!


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