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Why Write-A-Thon? Hard Goals Transform You

The marathon lifestyle promotes doing rather than watching…by adopting the marathon lifestyle you can confront your own lions, be your own hero, fight your own battles, challenge yourself.

—Richard Benyo

When I did my first write-a-thon in 2004, I had no idea what I was doing. It was National Novel Writing Month, but I was not writing a novel. A friend and I had been hired to write a book in two weeks. And we did. I noticed that something interesting happened to me that month: I became more disciplined. It wasn’t just the book. I walked every morning. I ate better. And, in addition to completing the book, I wrote an article for a national publication and continued my schedule of seeing coaching clients. Working hard on the big goal of writing a book seemed to impact everything I did

Research backs up my theory. When we work hard to master a single project, we exercise our “self-efficacy” muscle, our belief in our ability to accomplish our goals. When we accomplish one hard goal, it has a ripple effect on our life, and it becomes easier to accomplish the other things we want to do.

And here is an added bonus to working toward a wild and crazy goal like writing a book in a month. According to research by Ryan Howell of San Francisco State University, when we exert effort to learn or achieve something, we feel better at the end of the day. The study has been called the “no pain, no gain” rule.

So fear not, weary writers! Sign up for National Novel Writing Month or do your own write-a-thon. When you end up with an aching butt or a sore brain, trust that it is good for you. You’ll achieve more than you ever thought possible and feel good about yourself on top of it. Who knows, you just might transform your life! Sounds like a win-win to me.

Need more encouragement to write-a-thon? Check out my new book, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). And come to the book launch at Boswell Book Company on October 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM. There will be cake and prizes!



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  1. Pingback : The beauty of the short term goal… | threecatsandabunny

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