One Little Word 2014 | July Dare

As many of you know, my word for this year is DARE and I have been posting here on the first of each month with an update, and to help me keep the word alive throughout the year. 

As you also know, I've been trying to write a book. When I selected the word DARE back in December, it was my writing that was foremost in my mind. I was daring myself to write a book. 

So this month, the halfway point of the year, I'm stepping back to evaluate where I am in this big venture. How's it going, and what's next, as I look at the back half of 2014?

On the positive side, I've built a habit of 1000 words a day that is starting to feel routine, finally, and I've surpassed my original goal of 60k words. Time flies when I'm at the keyboard. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from writing a scene that works. My passion for my story has not diminished. 

On the other hand, the end of my plot is nowhere in sight, despite having reached my goal length. And I am battling fears that the book is a rambling mess, and that perhaps I'm still really only at the beginning, despite all the writing I've done. I experience increasing bouts of self-doubt. Am I wasting time? Am I using this book as some kind of excuse for not doing something else with my days? (Volunteering more? Going back to work? Organizing the garage?) 

But something is telling me to keep going. Maybe it's my word, DARE, and my intent when I picked that word many months ago. Or maybe it's something deeper, inside of me, that just needs to see this through, regardless the outcome. Either way, in July I return to the original intent behind my one little word:

In July, I dare myself to keep writing, despite the self doubt. I will set aside my fears and finish what I've started.

Back in January, I made a little art journaling page, photographed above. On it I wrote "Dare to do something that is difficult or that people are usually afraid to do." I had my novel in mind when I wrote that. Six months later, I'm afraid to do it, and it's proving to be quite difficult. Perfect.


Because I love lists and keeping track of things, here is my running list of the dares I have set for myself this year so far:
JANUARY | In January I dared myself to let my days evolve naturally. A natural goal setter, I wanted to see if I could resist the urge to set new year's resolutions and daily/weekly goals. What would happen if I just went about my days without specific goals? (Find out what happened here.)
FEBRUARY | In February I dared myself to fight Resistance. I'd just read Pressfield's The War of Art, and his concept of Resistance resonated with me, particularly related to the writing of my book. Could I fight off Resistance? What would happen if I did? (I recapped what happened here.)
MARCH | In March I dared myself to prioritize my health. Doing so opened up a new world of clean, whole cooking, (see some examples of what I ate here) and led me to a community of bloggers and instagram posters that I continue to avidly follow.
APRIL | In April I dared myself to participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge by posting a writing prompt, and a response to it, every day of the month except Sundays, for each of the 26 days of the alphabet. It was so much fun, and re-energized my writing habits. (See the prompts I created here.)
MAY | In May I dared myself to read more and to keep up with my daily writing in the range of 1000 words per day. 
JUNE | In June I dared myself to truly embrace summer for the more relaxed season that it is. I wanted each day to be taken as a whole, and I resisted the urge to stake out a list of expectations. 

MORE INFO | As a way of bringing to life my 2014 One Little Word, DARE, I have set a specific dare for myself each month. It's been a fun way to push myself in ways I might not have otherwise. The concept of One Little Word is inspired by Ali Edwards, who runs an annual workshop which I have taken in the past and highly recommend.


  1. Oh Laurel, how I understand your doubts! But sometimes we just have to persevere even though we can't see where we're headed anymore - probably a part of every journey?
    I just had a skype call with a publisher today and they asked me to write a book proposal (it would be a book on gardening)- but I am also consumed with doubts whether I can write something "new", interesting enough... When I go to a bookstore and see the piles of books there, it does not seem there's any reason to add to that. Yet writing a book is something I've wanted for a long time!
    Good luck with your journey!