The Difference Between Starting & Building

Great Writers Build Badge

This is Day 8 in the Great Writers series. Have you picked up a badge yet for your blog or website?

A lot of people launch a blog and think they’ve built one. They start a club and think they’ve created an organization. They’re wrong.

There’s a fundamental difference between starting something and actually building it.

“Building” something creatively happens the same it does in the “real” world — with a lot of sweat and pain and grunting. It’s not easy; if it is, you’re doing it wrong.

So what does this look like when it comes to writing? It means showing up and doing the work, day-in and day-out. If you’re not doing this already, you need to be.

Why do we need discipline?

  • Because one discipline begets another. Take up the habit of jogging or working out and just see how it affects the way you approach the rest of life.
  • Because sometimes the Muse doesn’t clock in until you do. Stephen King pictures his inspiration as a blue-collar guy who doesn’t show up for work until the boss (which is you, by the way) does. Show him you mean business.
  • Because it’s good for you. If you take writing seriously, you’ll do serious (i.e. better) work. I promise.

The challenge

So let’s build something. You don’t need to start another project you’ll never finish. You already probably have enough of those. Instead, I want you to do something truly creative:

I want you to finish something. Anything, really. Just pick a project — an essay, a blog post, maybe even a book — and finish it. Not tomorrow. Today.

It should never take longer than 30 minutes to finish anything. If it does, you’re not breaking the project up into enough chunks. Which will lead to stalling, your worst enemy.

Find something and move it across the finish line. Then do the same thing tomorrow. And the day after that. And so on.

If you’re still doing this in a month, you’re building something. Until then, you’re just managing tasks. Pick a few that are worth your time, and keep with them. Your work deserves this.

Bonus assignment

Was that too easy? Good. You’re growing. Next, I want you to build an essential tool every writer needs: a team. Every book I write, every site or project I launch has a team, a core group. You need one, too.

Pick a handful of people (no more than 20, but no fewer than two) and ask them to come “onboard” for a project you’re working on. What do you do with this team once you’ve assembled it? Anything you want.

Use this group to launch a book or proofread a piece or test your website. Start a conversation on a blog or in a coffee shop and find ways for everyone to help each other. Whatever you do, be specific. You’ll get what you ask for.

To conclude: A writer doesn’t just start things; she finishes them. Do this enough, and you actually build something worth paying attention to.

What did you finish? Share in the comments. And if you’re blogging through the series, share your post in the linkup for today.

170 thoughts on “The Difference Between Starting & Building

  1. I finished my first book outline.  I have started building a team, I have a friend that has a degree in journalism and also has written a book.  He has offered to help me in anyway he can.  If anyone would like to take a look at my book outline so far you can at  Jeff I want to truly thank you for the great writers series, it has helped me grow tremendously.  Thank you for the challenge.  

    1. What an exciting accomplishment, Ben!  I am thrilled for you- not only with a completed outline, but also with what Christ has accomplished in your life.  All the best!

    2. Your Journey, Ben, is very interesting and inspiring! Just read your outline, left a comment, and shared in Twitter. People can learn from our mistakes and our lessons, so it is important to share with  others.  Gongradulations for your accomplishments…God helps those who help themselves, they say, but it is up to us to bring Him into our lives…hand over to Him our problems. 
      My book is also about my journey, actually one year in my life, and I aspire to inspire as many as I can with insights I gained during this journey during a time that I strungled with physical and emotional impairments. God speed to all!

    3. I posted a comment on your site … but thought I would add it here for the rest as well.  As I mentioned on your site … keep writing like you’re training for that next triathlon.  

      Training and “building” (to use Jeff’s word) is where the REAL work gets done.  As I write this I am reminding myself  to keep training and keep building. 

      The other day I read a quote from  professional cyclist Greg Henderson, he said …

      “Training [building] is like fighting a gorilla.  You don’t stop when YOU get tired.  You stop when the GORILLA gets tired.” 

      So keep training … keep building.  It will be worth all the effort when you cross the finish line!


    1. I think he meant by finishing one part or a set goal of it everyday.  Then it will become the ultimate goal, one step at a time.  Don’t procrastinate.  

  2. I’m going to “finish” building my community. I started a blog a while back and kept writing for it, but I never took my vision for a thoughtful community through to fruition. It will take a while, but I will finish.

  3. Well you said to get up early each day and write…and not to check our email first. So imagine my surprise when after my writing time, I check my email, read today’s challenge and realize I’ve just completed it without knowing! When I started my bleary-eyed writing session this morning, I picked up a half-written post from my first week of blogging, finished and posted it. It felt great to finish something that had been sitting there undone. And, last night, a friend and I held our first local writers group with 4 other writers. We are going to be each other’s Team. Today’s challenge? CHECK!

    1.  Hi Rebekah,

      Good job.  It’s hard not to check your emails first, isn’t it?  Congratulations on holding your first local writers group.  Keep at it and don’t get discouraged.  The group I belong to is going strong now after 12 years.  As individuals, we have really grown and are achieving some good results.  Persistence pays off!

      1. Great to hear, Nancy. It was almost as if no one knew how thirsty they were for this kind of community until we all met. All of us are so excited. 12 years! That’s awesome. May I ask, how many people you have in your group on average? We are keeping it small to start…less than 8 people. But I’d love your thoughts.

        1. It varies and people come in and out depending on different needs and seasons in life.  On average it’s probably 15-25.  Starting small is probably a good idea to get established, but encourage people to invite others.  Blessings for your growth and for building connections and mutual support.

        2.  Rebekah,  The number varies according to different needs and seasons in people’s lives.  On average it’s about 15-25 once a month.  Starting small is probably good.  We have speakers occasionally, do workshops, critiques, discuss topics of interest, etc.  We encourage and help each other, and make ourselves accountable.  Just let it evolve and build gradually.  Blessings for a good mix and supportive community. 

      1. Hi Tina,
        I think you can start a group even if you know only one other writer. A friend is a writer and had a desire to start a local group so we got together, thought of a few other people that we know who like to write, and invited them. We met last night and all of us have different backgrounds and passions. But we all write in one form or another and we will be meeting monthly to encourage, critique and keep each other accountable. So, call a friend and get your group started! 😉
        p.s. The coolest thing about it was one woman who attended has been searching and praying for a local group for years. She heard me on a radio  interview on Tuesday, sent me a message through my blog that night and I was able to invite her to our first meeting that very next day. You never know…you may be the answer to someone’s prayer!!

    2. Good for you RebekahRuth! Your local writer’s group sound really exciting! The very best of luck with this!

  4. I can echo Rebekah below – I managed to finish something I had been putting off for over a week.  OK, it was a piece of writing I had to do for my professional life, rather than for my creative life, but sometimes that needs to be done too. (I’d been neglecting it somewhat because of this Writing Challenge, not that I’m complaining or anything, Jeff, it feels good to be stretched!).

  5. Good Morning Everyone!

    I hope that everyone is enjoying the exercising that Jeff is giving us as much as I am. I am also tremendously impressed with all of the encouragement that everyone is offering to each other!

    For today, I added a new post to my blog. It’s called “Reducing Stress through
    Journaling and Deep Breathing”

    It started ugly yesterday and looks much better today!

    1.  Hey there ST,  I sure enjoyed your blog post today on reducing stress.  I left you a comment.  It was great to discover you are a journaler.  I am too.  Journaling is a great habit to help deal with anything.  Your other post, Diary of a Madman was also very good and universal.  It resonated with me.  Thanks.  Keep up the great work.   

    2.  I bet tomorrow your new blog will look absolutely stunning! Stress is a killer to anyone and if you can encourage folks to read with interest and practise what you recommend….then you will have achieved something wonderful. Best of luck with this and all your future posts on your blog.

  6. “It should never take longer than 30 minutes to finish anything.”  Lol!  You’re joking right!  Right? I get up early every morning and it’s funny this is today’s challenge because this morning no matter how hard I tried, I could not finish the “About Me” section of my blog before I had to start getting ready for work.  Seems like it should be the easiest part…and it should be, but for the life of me I couldn’t finish-the words just would not come.  It seems like the last couple of days I’m suffering from the worse case of writers block.  It’s ironic that when I am finally getting serious and disciplined about writing, it seems so hard!  Ahhhh!!  When I go back and read some of my earlier work, it seemed to just flow so easily now it’s a serious chore to get a paragraph.  What is that about??

    1. Were you typing? When this happens to me, I switch to pencil, the universal cure.

      1. Yes I was.  I will try this!  When I used to write and the words would just flow, it was always in my notebook and not on a computer.  Thanks!

    2. You are not alone Gonzales. I actually re-wrote my “About Me” section after one year of starting my blog. And I STILL wasn’t satisfied with it. I actually wrote a post specifically on this topic. I think the difficulty lies in trying to capture who we are in a few sentences, because we know that readers will judge us based on our “About Me” section, for better or worse. I hate having to confine who I am in a little blurb. 
      Secondly – I wanted to address your frustration with writer’s block. You should know that you’re on the right track! It’s not irony – it’s RESISTANCE that’s making it hard. That evil force that causes us to self-sabotage the work we’re meant to do. Read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, and you’ll know what I mean. I’m currently reading it myself per Jeff’s recommendation. It’s actually BECAUSE you’ve gotten serious that the force is strongest now, because it wants to stop you. Don’t give in! Like Jeff says – the harder it is, the more you know there’s something on the other side worth fighting for. Sending the creative spirit your way 🙂
      P.S. If you want to read that “About Me” post I wrote, go here:

  7. Hello Fellow Writers!

    Yesterday I felt like a zombie who just needed a break.  Does anyone else ever feel like that?

    I finished my first rough draft for my first book and am now editing chapter by chapter.  It’s all those other pieces I’m working on daily that sometimes overwhelms me…like building my platform and a community, building my base of knowledge by listening to webinars about digital publishing, author summits and secrets, blogging, and reading, reading, reading.  And so goes the building of my writer’s life!

    Maybe I’m trying to do too much at one time but I’m building something here and all these bricks are essential to the foundation for my success.  I figure one of these days all this hard work is going to produce great results…however it can be isolating!

    Yesterday the isolation just ate my lunch.  That’s why I felt like a zombie.  That’s why connecting with this writers tribe is so essential and such a soul restoring break.  Does anyone have any thoughts or words of wisdom you want to share?

    Thanks Jeff for building this tribe and platform for writers! 

    1. No words of wisdom- just appreciation for your willingness to share the “writer reality”.  I love that you can have a day that left you overwhelmed, but not out of the game.  That the very next day, you can pick up and keep going.  This to me is evidence that you ARE a writer!  
      Keep writing!  Keep finding that community that keeps you from being isolated!  And keep sharing- because I have been encouraged by your words today!

    2. Nancy, you are not alone. I’m with Becky, thank you for sharing a reality. Especially, when you are building. Building is not easy.

      My advice is to take it step-by-step. You don’t have to do everything today. This series is a great example of this truth. Additionally, develop a circle of people around you who “get it”.

      You want them to get what you’re doing and can support you . Feel free to contact me. This post will link you to my site. Send me a message and I’ll send you my email address. 🙂 

  8. Damn, I wish I could finish something better than just a blog post, but that’s all I got in me today. Work days are looooooooong and exhausting. New job coming up though and should have some good sober time to write off all over the place.

    Ha! Unless you view the post WHILE I am writing it, than no, it isn’t finished.

    Keep up the amazing blog. 

  9. Jeff: I’m grateful for the shove you’ve given us on getting things done and you building community around writing. Really I am. I’m telling a story now I probably should have shared long ago and people are responding positively to it. But I’m not sure I’m tracking about finishing something in 30 minutes. Could you please clarify what you mean? 
    I have written another hoarding installment and it’s up on the blog. Please be aware there is some strong language aboard this time.

    1. Most creatives start more things than they finish. So find something you’ve begun and move it towards “finished.”

      For example, let’s say you started a book five months ago, wrote half a chapter and haven’t approached it since because it felt too daunting. Today, you should pick that project back up, break it up into small 30-minute chunks and finish one. For example, you could finish a chapter or a 500-word chapter section. Anything, really. What you’re trying to do here is to establish some momentum that builds confidence for you to finish more things. Hope that helps!

      1. Yes, much clearer now. Thank you! You pegged the procrastination and the-starting-more-than-gets-finished thing. I do both with everything from simple household chores to creative projects . Since I’ve already put off two challenges, I’ll pick up on doing this one this afternoon. We’ve needed to write an introductory letter to our daughter’s new principal next year for a month now. Time to get it done before school starts. 🙂

      2. In the interest of accountability, I got a few core sentences to the principal letter drafted and Amanda filled in the gaps, capped it off and sent it. There is one less thing on the to-do list. Now I’m picking up what you’re putting down, Jeff! 🙂 Thanks again for the clarification.

  10. “Sweat and pain and grunting.” Sounds like loading a concert harp into your truck while wearing high heels…(always glamorous, that’s me).

    Sometimes I’ll think of a “scene” or a memory I want to include in the storyline of my book and I’ll sketch notes down to flesh out later. I finished one of those scenes. In first draft form, but I finished something. (I might have grunted a few times during the writing of it…)

  11. I love when I’ve already done the assignment before reading it. This morning I finished a rough draft of a project I’m working on with a group (I even did the bonus assignment. Do I get extra credit?) and a blog post I had started the other day about this writing challenge. And the blog post is kinda ugly, so there ya go. I’m rolling several days into one.

  12. Thirty minutes. 
    Some of us have to possess far more discipline than that. It takes 25 minutes just for the Internet service to load, for some people. Some of us have to multi-task, and some of us have more than one project to finish, forcing us to multi-multi-task. And for some of us, right at that moment the baby wakes. Ah well.
    So we write (pen, or better yet, pencil) in tablets (that’s paper) while we wait. And we position a laptop on a lecturn, not on our laps, because there is too much to do to afford time for sitting.
    There’s also no time for writer’s block, and plenty of projects waiting to be finished in the next set of 30 minutes, to keep the creativity flowing unhindered.
    However, I have managed to complete answers to all the entries in my inbox in the last 45 minutes.
    Fair enough?

      1. I love when I think of something to say that I thought was funny, and someone else gets it. Thanks, Nicholas!

      1. Better’n that!
        I have a dongle (which they call a card, but looks lots like a zip drive) plugged into the side of my laptop (PC has too many sensitive files) and it pulls something out of the air from the nearest town (pop. 275).
        Would not trade the country life for another 30 minutes, ever.
        Oh, and I had a thought just after I clicked publish (as usual; too big a hurry?) — I’m really more like the manager for several construction sites.
        Think I just broke every rule for good usage of punctuation. But it was fast! Might as well add a winky.

  13. I love Mac Anderson’s stuff from Simple Truths.   His email came just at the right time to encourage me, so I want to pass it on to you.  In all your building, be inspired and encouraged by this simple little


    212° The Extra Degree written by Sam Parker
    and Mac Anderson

    At 211 degrees…water is hot.
    At 212
    degrees…it boils.
    And with
    boiling water, comes steam.
    And steam
    can power a locomotive.
    And, it’s
    that one extra degree that…
    Makes all
    the difference.


    To your success!

  14. I am in the middle of writing my first chapter of my book and my book proposal but have never completed a concrete working outline–time to do that today! I also have many encouraging people who believe in my story. Now it’s time to get their input as I write. I tend to go it alone (under my own strength you know). Time to get enlist the help of others.  Thanks for the encouragement to just do it–one step at a time.

  15. I have two people on my team.

    Jeff, I so appreciate your sentence “If you’re still doing this in a month, you’re building something.” I’m in my second month . . . so I’m building something. Wa-hoo.

    Everyone keep hammering away!  

  16. I finished an “ugly” first draft of a novel. Too short right now, lots of other problems, but it’s  a start. Thanks for the advice and inspiration, Jeff. 

  17. I love Mac Anderson’s stuff from Simple Truths.  
    His email came just at the right time to encourage me, so I want to pass it on
    to you.  In all your building, be inspired and encouraged by this simple
    little principle!


    212° The Extra Degree

    by Sam
    Parker and Mac Anderson


    At 211 degrees…water is hot.
    At 212
    degrees…it boils.
    And with
    boiling water, comes steam.
    And steam
    can power a locomotive.
    And, it’s
    that one extra degree that…
    Makes all
    the difference.


    To your success!

  18. 30 minutes. Okay…I finished a blog post. It’s up. I need to get my head wrapped about this time. I want to get faster. My plan is to do a better job on planning my blog post. I am building my blog and have not yet built a cushion with a few posts in the pocket. As for the team, I’m working on this. Thanks for another great post. 

  19. I’m in.  Been struggling to finish a new guest post (my first) … probably have rewritten the thing 20 times.  I will finish it TODAY … and SHIP IT!  Will let you know when I’m done.

    Time to join the Community of Done! Stolen (Habit #6) from Subvert Magazine:

  20. “It should never take longer than 30 minutes to finish anything. If it
    does, you’re not breaking the project up into enough chunks. Which will
    lead to stalling, your worst enemy.” This is good.  I sit down look at the clock and think, “I couldn’t possible do this in the amount of time I have.” So, I don’t start.  Well… lately, I’ve realized that the little amounts of time add up. It’s like doing laundry while waiting for the coffee to brew or putting dishes away while the pot boils. A lot can be accomplished in little chunks of time. Having a time limit even helps me work faster.  Thanks, Jeff!

  21. You are right about the unfinished projects… I have way too many!

    I finished a blog post AND a poem for my daughter about her adventures at summer camp. I am so glad I did it today, too- we are off to the next vacation tomorrow, and I know the ideas and the inspiration for this memory-keeping project will be gone! Thanks for the push to finish something!

  22. I finished my book summary! Now I am going to start working on my site! Thanks Jeff!

  23. I finished my blog post today and work on a chapter of my upcoming book.  Jeff Goins has inspired me in so many ways and I am glad to be creating, building and publishing.

  24. Ok. I finished something. It’s one of two guest posts I’m SUPER excited about doing. And now on to the  team. Hmmmm….I’ll get back to you! Woohoooo!!!!

  25. Started and finished my blog post. Will be considering who I want to join my team. 

  26. I consider taking an idea and initiating a blog (maybe not posting yet) completing something. For me, to get my ideas down is a big step. Marathon training takes priority currently and I often get inspirations while I am running.
    I think the process Jeff is taking us through will make sense when it is complete. Step by step, then integrate all the practices. Counting on the finish line and the training along the way keeps me pressing ahead.

  27. I love it here.  The inspiration and high level of energy just oozes out of people.

    What a great place to be.

    Kudos! to Jeff and the #15habits community.  You all rock!


  28. After reading your post, I finished one I’d started 2 days ago, a day I felt unfocused & didn’t want to write. Then I got interrupted and had to leave it hanging. Since it was something I wasn’t pleased with, I didn’t feel drawn to it today, but you spurred me on with your comments.  It took me just under 10 minutes to finish it (w/o editing yet, but that’s the easy part). Thanks! And thanks to you, Jeff, I am saying to myself daily, “I am a writer!”  Now I’m making myself act like one–consistently.   I have a very unfinished–and accidentally published–website.  I wish I could just take it offline until I figure out some things (not sure if that’s possible even). But your site has given me motivation to plug on.

  29. Maybe I’m misunderstanding but where did you come up with the “it shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to finish” rule of thumb? I’ve got plenty of projects that I’ve been working on diligently that will take more than 30 minutes to finish. Or did you just mean finish the next step?


    1. Katie, in my experience, the longer a task is, the less likely it is to get finished—ever. So yes, I think you need to break every project up into short, manageable chunks. Mini-projects, if you will. Try it, at least for the duration of this series. See if it helps.

      1. My experience is that I’m more productive in long chunks of time. The problem is finding a long chunk of time. If I don’t have a few hours, I tend to avoid the project because I don’t want to start and have to stop. I’ll try the 30-minute increment thing to see how it works. Thanks for clarifying, Jeff.


      2. I highly agree.  Set yourself up for SUCCESS.  Projects should be broken down into chunks or pieces.  Don’t overwhelm yourself with the entire project.  Break it down into chunks and then into individual tasks. 

        You’ll feel MUCH better when you get the first two or three tasks into the ‘done’ column.  Try it!

  30. YES! So far finished coffee #1 and a blog post ( ).  Next up: will be completing an apricot tart (making it, not eating it, thought that’s appealing!) and fixing a quinoa salad for lunch.  Enjoying this second half of my recovery leave for back surgery, crossing multiple finish lines every single day.  Thanks for the encouragement, Jeff.  You’re great!  

    PS Started a team with my sister last week, Master(mind)s of the Universe, to support each other with our respective blogs, mine, hers  Even our first phone meeting was super-productive and effective.  Can”t recommend having a support team more highly.  Do it, y’all!

  31. Great post!  As a member of the Class of ’82, I’ve been working on a memoir of my student days at university from a thirty-years-down-the-road perspective.  (I’m waaaaay too young to be that old!)  After hemming and hawing and dinking around for months, I finally finished the first cut yesterday!

  32. I need the app that ties people up and makes them join your support team, please!
    Also, need someone to help me get my gravatar image to show here.

    1.  LOL. I completed fruit salad and waffles for my kids breakfast. can they count as my team too? 2- count them 2 tasks in one. they are also fodder for many a blog or insight.

      1.  Hi Jackie! Well why not? Good on you! Yes, our children/pets and so on are indeed fodder on many a day when inspiration seems to have deserted us. PS….That fruit salad and waffles breakfast is an inspiration in itself. LOL

  33. I have struggled with “networking”. You know what I mean. How do you deal with the “friend” thing on FB?  I have taught my teens, “if you wouldn’t know the person and talk to them if you passed them on the street, do they need to be your friend?”
    I have not accepted many a friend as I really don’t want to manage that. Now I think I probably need to expand my online community.
    Certainly great bunch of co-laborers here!

    1. an option that I recently did is switching my FB personal page over to a “Business Page” and called my business being a “Writer”  Perfect for this #15habits right?!  So that allows you to have “likes” instead of friends… and allows you to save the drama that fb can at time muster.

  34. I completed an article for a later post on my site.

    I completed an ongoing assignment at work.

    Assembling a team – wow – thanks for a that challenge.  I wasn’t expecting it.  Something to add to my to due list.  Any advice on the traits you might want people on your team to have?

    1. Look for people who possess strengths you don’t have. But more important than that, just find people who love what you’re doing and want to help.

    2. DS:  I’m starting a writing ‘team’.  Please consider becoming a part of the group.  Your blog (which I really, really like) is right up my alley.  : – )  If the notion of joining is of any interest to you, please connect with me.  E-mail address can be found on my website.


  35. Jeff, today’s challenge really got to me and I was feeling quite red-faced as I have quite a few unfinished bits and pieces lying around. It’s so easy to put them into a file named “Pending” and forget about them. Today I have finished two short stories and three poems all of which have been sitting in that “Pending” file for more time than I care to think about. Re the team idea. Myself and a friend have been doing this for awhile and it sure does work well. We read each other’s chapters and discuss the pros and cons, often far into the night. Guess we should finish earlier now though so we can get up earlier to start writing earlier! LOL.

  36. I love the addignment of building a team. Totally going to wander off and do that… Wish me luck. Also, I agree. Building is the reality of doing something, and doing it well. Starting is like reading the directions on instant potatoes. It gets you nowhere close to the real deal, skinned, boiled, mashed, milked, and buttered traditional side dish!

    Great post. Bob the Builder it is. 

  37. Well, I finished my waffles and the main course for dinner (we call supper). Finished several emails about submissions, helped a writer with her first couple chapters, finished another authors cover and interior formatting (her book will be out next week), and have the sketch of my next character well on the way to finished. Maybe she’s what I’ll finish today.  As for my team, I have three on mine and love each of them for their different perspectives. They help me see things I think are clear but they think are as fogged as a valley on a hot summer night after a thunderstorm. 

  38. Way to go, everyone!  You guys rock!

    I have to be honest – most moments I’m really inspired with this Challenge, but other moments I’m just trying to keep up with two incredibly active little boys, work, and general everyday chaos.  But, since being busy is something that everyone seems to struggle with, maybe my own difficulty with getting up extra early each day means I’m creatively blocked and am looking for an excuse to stall. 

    I’ve been blogging since November and want to write a book (likely an ebook) – just need to figure out where to start.  So now’s the time to make it ugly.  Maybe for today’s challenge I will complete the outline.   That’s my goal.  Wish me luck!

    1. Good luck Christine! If you’re writing a fiction, I have a suggestion for you…(I mean the outline is good, not saying not to do that)…start by writing your favorite scene. I could be from the middle of your book. That’s okay. Just write it and it will inspire you 🙂 If it’s non-fiction, I don’t know much about that so carry on with your outline! haha.

      1. Rebekah, thanks for your suggestions – much appreciated!  🙂   And I may write fiction at some point, so the favourite scene idea is excellent.  What I want to do right now is put together a non-fiction survival guide for new moms.  Something that is a compilation of real-life stories, wisdom and experience from other mom writers (and maybe a bit from myself… the limited wisdom that I have… hee hee).  I’ll work on the outline for now… but after that, I haven’t a clue on how to approach this thing – bringing in other writers, how to structure that aspect, etc.  Any ideas, Rebekah or anyone else? 

    2. Christine, I wrote when my incredibly active kids were little to try and keep some sanity in among all the chaos. You can and will find your way. And before you know it, those little ones will be out on their own and other things will be clogging up your time allotments. Do what you want when you can and keep setting those goals 🙂

  39. There – I finished a project for work that I’ve had in mind for several months, finally started writing this week (with your prompting) and “shipped” or posted today. Whew. that feels good, and hopefully will be productive for the people who received it. And now the hard part is over, because next month should be easier. Not sure about the second part of the challenge…

    1. I had to follow up. This was the hardest part of the whole challenge for me. I’m okay with solitary work. Maybe I’m afraid to get feedback. Anyway, I took a chance and sent an e-mail to some friends who I hoped could be my Feedback Friends. The first six responded positively. More than that, they thanked me for the privelege and said they were glad I was using my gift. Thanks for pushing me. Now I have a team!

  40. Okay.  My ‘project’ for the day (another blog post) has been published.  You can check it out here.

    Also…I’m looking for 5-8 people to become my writing/blogging mastermind group.  If you’re interested, contact me via email.   No, I don’t have all the details figured out as to how it will work.  Basically:  we’d help each other out by critiquing each others writing, blog design, etc.  Much like we do here in the #15habits community, but on a more detailed level.  I’m open to suggestions.  : – )

    1.  Count me in Michael! This is a brave step for me, but I like the energy and sense of community I’m feeling in this group! (My blog is fledgling, but I’ve been writing for a long time.)

      1. Happy to have you in the group.  I’ve been a WordPress user for many years.  I know a thing or two about it and would be more than happy to lend a helping hand.  

        Your writing expertise sounds like something I can draw upon.  That’s what this mastermind thing is all about:  sharing our strengths with each other.


  41. Now I’m going to finish all my pending works and create a small team of people to manage my tasks and my blog. Thanks for the inspiration Jeff.. 🙂

  42. And now I have invited people to join my team. I thought you might like to see my “invite” 🙂

    I’ve come out of the closet as a writer now, as you already
    know. Now that I have “gone public,” I am feeling more at home in my own skin. I am a writer.

    I’ve learned something recently about writers: we don’t know
    everything. We need other people around us to teach us and help us improve.  If I want to serve people with my writing, I
    have to know the people that I am
    trying to serve.

    Friend, you are one of my “people.”   Will you help me?

    Will you share your mommy brain with me?


    Mommy Brain Posse Official Flexible Negotiable Duties

    some of my stuff (future blog posts, articles, possibly books, maybe
    children’s books)

    Give me honest
    feedback (I’m serious. I want more than smiling and nodding. I need your honest
    opinions! )

    Tell me
    more about YOU- Help me write for people like you by telling me more about YOU.
     I want to get inside the mind of a ‘normal’
    mommy brain (Yes, we have a lot in common,  but I am not exactly normal… in fact, I’m
    pretty weird. I need to learn more about normal people.)

    Tell me
    when you don’t have time for this. This is why I am forming a posse- if there
    are several of you, nobody has to feel the teeniest bit guilty when life gets
    too busy for you to read or do or think about whatever I’ve asked you to
    do.  You can take this off your plate at
    any time. I just ask that you tell me when you need to!

    Tell me
    how awesome I am every so often


    (That last one is optional.)


    So tell me, friend, are you in?

    Simply reply to this email and I’ll add you
    to my official Mommy Brain Posse email list!


  43. Nothing beats taking on an old procrastinated project and finishing it.  The best thing that ever happened to me was to realize that taking it on first thing in the morning and dedicating 5 minutes to it.  This can mean up to 5 minutes but no more than 5 minutes if it turns out too tedious.  Fascinating thing is that in the majority of the cases is that I get the task done and delivered in about that time, or I get to know that I need more input from others.  Either way, I get something done and thus gain momentum.  Very rewarding in more than one way. 

  44. I just started the challenge so I’m scrambling to catch up!  Um…I am a writer!  I just wanted to say that, from reading the comments here, I am impressed by the support within this community.  Very cool.  I will start working on building a team (not my strong suit) and I’m happy to report that I did another blog post today!  I’m glad I found this place.  Good luck to everyone! 

  45. Unlike previous challenges, I struggle with this one. I’m a budding blogger, trying to build a half decent site, but aware that’s it’s missing some bells and whistles. It’s not as cool as others’ blogs, I haven’t finished the design side of things. And maybe I’m running out of ideas.

    Today I’m committed to finishing this endeavour, but it’s a bit nebulous. When have I really ‘finished’ building my site to an acceptable standard?Writing and posting a couple of blogs today is part of the building element. It’s a work in progress yet I’m unsure if I can say that I pass today’s challenge.

    1. When I was setting up my  blog, I was amazed at how time consuming it was.  It took me a while, but I just take a little time every now and then to update the format.  Mine is pretty elementary in format, but I try to focus more on the content.  I don’t know if you ever really finish building.  

  46. I’m learning to finish by writing in my blog DAILY due to the encouragement of this challenge. I haven’t written daily in my blog since its inception about 4 years ago.  I’m learning not to listen to the fears of “what will I write about?” “I’ll run out of material” “I’m too inexperienced to write about writing” and things of that nature.  I just sit and write.  Mostly about this challenge right now,but it’s launching me into things to talk about even once the challenge is over.  And..I’m getting some comments and some “I love to read your daily writings!” feedback.  That feels better than anything!

  47. [UPDATE to Earlier Comment]:  

    First Guest Post Done and Shipped! 
    (As his heart pounded inside his chest .. he took a breath and hit the “return” key! 3:32pm. )

  48. I am amazed at the progress I have made during this fifteen day challenge! I have a blog now, I’m writing everyday, the words come faster, and tonight I’m attending my first ever Writer’s Group. Loving the challenge…..grateful for the people here! 

  49. This will be easy because it’s a standard that I already hold myself to. I write and post a blog every day (except Sunday). So today when I hit the publish button I will be satisfied that this challenge was successfully completed.

    But today’s challenge does make me itch to have a whole lot more stuff in production. Something in addition to my daily blog post to finish. But with my crazy schedule it’s all I can do to get my daily blog post written and published, and then make a comment or two on blogs that I follow.

    But if I am honest, I could find ways be more efficient with my time 😉

    And that’s one thing that I am enjoying about this challenge –  it’s helping to ignite the spark of desire in my heart and mind, and find ways to create more.

    Love it!

  50. I am so excited to report that I’m making progress on this one!  Partly because the format of my book allows me to know exactly where I am.  Thanks to getting up early to write, I am certain that I am 1/3 of the way through my first draft.  I also have a team of 2 (my husband and a friend) set up so far to be my readers.  I will work on building this to three.

  51. Emily Cook, I love your example of how to ask for feedback friends. Do you mind if I adapt it?
    Also, I find, since I work alone at writing, I get stuck because of technology. I have my blog on blogger which I think I can navigate, but I just started wordpress and can’t even figure out how to retrieve comments and post them after I’ve approved them, or how to make a table of contents along the side, things like that. Then I got Scrivener, which seemed like it would be great, but the tutorial moves way too fast for me, so I end up not even using it. Arggh! I need tech support, that’s what I need.

  52. Today’s list of finishing consisted of a few necessary emails, repling to comments on my blog and writing promo copy for a couple events I’m in charge of for our women’s ministry. An excellent writer friend and I team up to help each other in our projects, but in light of today’s post realize it’s time for me to get back to the writer’s group in our area. 

    Other than that, I am finishing the laundry and cleaning my appliances – both have been badly neglected. I’ve got Boston cranked (I know I’m showing my age, but don’t care) and making progress on many levels. While polishing the stainless steel, ideas whirl in my brain making it necessary to stop, clean the gunk off my hands and write a list before they’re gone. Anyone else process ideas while doing unrelated work?

  53. I have been handing out business cards that have my blog on it and declaring me a writer. If some don’t have the internet, I ask them to pray for me and my writing.
    Tonight, I finish a poem, lyrics and e-mail to a young songwriter in my congregation. My family and friends on facebook are very encouraging to my blog. I reached out to a blogger in England.   I do wish our Penn writers group met during the week. Maybe I need to start another.

  54. I guess I did meet today’s challenge.  I finished the post I started today about finishing things I started and the foundation that is for the next thing.

  55. I was actually just thinking about this the other day, regarding the book I am writing. You got me thinking about each member I will get on-board before I ship the book (editor, reviewer, criticizer, more ideas, emphasizer and a couple other key people)

  56. I have attempted to build a writing group several times in the past, but none have lasted. People move away, get married, have kids, and so on. But I’ll try again! My church is actually just starting up a new group of volunteer writers and photographers for their monthly magazine, and I’m joining! Super excited… and hopeful that this will become my team 🙂 
    As for what I finished today – the rough draft of a guest post for a friend’s blog. There is so much “ugly” in it I cringe :0 but will work on “moving it to beautiful.” 🙂

  57. This has been the week of mini-finishes and victory for me!  Wed I finished a follow-up email to a Literary Agent and scheduled a telephone call.  Today I finished writing out my 11 questions I would ask him on that call.  At the end of the call I finished with asking an excruciatingly hard question – what can I do on my part to make you interested more in me?  And he replied with “Send me all that you have written on your manuscript!”  Wow!  Mini-finishes can up to mini-victories!  

  58. I moved, or dragged my blog across the finish line tonight.  A few weeks ago, my daughters were the first to view it, then a student I had written about, and then I passed it on to two friends, and then, tonight, I put it on Facebook.  After ten years of thinking about it, I finally did it.  Thanks for the push!

  59. Well, I was discouraged. I’ve been busy away from my house all day, and just got on here to see how much has been accomplished by everyone today! I’m beat, but I sat here thinking, I can’t go to bed until I ‘finish something.’ So I just started writing, and cranked out a guest post that I told someone I’d write. Now I can’t wait to edit it– that will be another day. The words came from my soul, because it’s a subject I had never written on before. So now, good night.

  60. I finished a draft of a children’s story! Now, I’m off to finish a devotion. Thanks for the “finishing” challenge.

    Building a team is a tough one for me. I feel both unworthy of and unable to get the support of folks outside my “circles” of friends/acquaintances.

  61. Finished a first round of edits on the field guide from yesterday! Some technical edits (like finding specific link URLs) remain, but I can now mark that particular unit of work off as done. I started a dialogue with this second draft’s reviewer in regards to providing feedback on their own unfinished work, so that and my existing masterminds count towards the bonus assignment. Thanks!

  62. Thanks, Jeff. The daily routine is helping so much to get back on the blogging track. 

  63. Thanks for the kick in the ass.  I need constant reminders.  In order to finish 100,000 words by Jan 1, 2013 I must write 416 words a day (20k words so far).  I probably do more than that every day between Facebook, Twitter, and text.  So why is it so hard to do on the thing that matters?  No more!  Everyday I will be building. One brick, one word at a time.  I already laid the foundation.  Now I must keep showing up for 416 words a day.  That is 30 minutes of writing at 14wpm.  30 minutes a day at 14wpm and I have a book in 6 months?  Why couldn’t I see this before?  YES!!

  64. Great post! This reminds me of one of the concepts for Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Switch. They talk about “shrinking the change.” The basic idea is that change is often hard when it seems daunting or overwhelming. If we shrink the change by parsing it into smaller chunks, we are more likely to get it done. I finished a blog post today. Thanks for the nudge! 

  65. Good post you must be consistent with anything you do especially if you want success blogging is no different it’s an online business and people need to treat it as such.


    I updated my blog today. I’ve been writing about a seriously awesome adaptation of Pride and Prejudice on YouTube called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I gained a lot of views on a blog entry about Charlotte Lucas and now, with Lydia Bennet having an episode to herself, I wrote another one. Check it out!

  67. I just put the last two blog entries for the week into the system, and scheduled them to be published. I also outlined an approach for next week, in case the Muse fails me.

  68. Hi Jeff,

    I just finished a blog post. I started writing it 2 days ago but was not able to finish it. I was loaded with work lately that I neglected to complete  an article for my blog.  

    Your point: “Because sometimes the Muse doesn’t clock in until you do.”, struck a sensitive nerve. It has reminded me that I have to show up everyday to move my pen, no matter what, to craft art. 

    Thank you for being a gift.

    De jold     

  69. I finished a new blog post. (I’m just now reading last week’s post as we were at a family reunion so no blogging last week.)

  70. Last night I downloaded your FREE book on my kindle, I read through most of it, was immediately inspired and this morning I started and completed a simple blog entry entitled “Just Do It” tomorrow I plan on completing another entry and have committed myself to 5 posts a week.

    Thank you for the tough love, inspiration and nudge I needed to move forward.  By the way, i’m not sure if you knew but I am a writer 🙂

  71. Dear Jeff and fellow writers,
    I took this challenge and dared go public! Thank God a kind soul took pity on me and posted one of my articles. I am sharing the link to this website, asking you to please read my guest blog on Footprints of the Mind, regarding my reflections from my visit to the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece. I would love your feedback! Would you, please, leave a comment and share with your friends? I am very excited as this is my first article going public and I own this to you. I sincerely appreciate your support!

    While you are visiting, would you, please, take a moment to check out this educational site and like it, and vote, so that it could win a grant?
    All my thanks in advance!

  72. Dear Jeff and fellow writers,
    I took this challenge and went public. I am sharing the link, asking you to please read my guest blog post on Footprints of the Mind website regarding my reflections
    from my visit to the Acropolis Museum in Athens Greece. I would love your feedback! Leave me a comment and share it with your friends. I am very excited as this is my first article going public! Actually, I did guest posted one part of a poem., but unfortunately it went unnoticed. Maybe ignored out of kindness?  I sincerely appreciate your support!

  73. (goes off to the corner to sulk in style)

    I feel like calling you a whippersnapper with this assignment.

    Humph. Challenge Shmallenge. This is too hard.


  74. Hey – retract my calling you a whippersnapper and sulking in the corner Jeff, I did it! In 30 minutes I came close to finishing a rough draft of the story that is for my niece, and by doing that, I remembered that I can churn things out in concentrated forms, but your very right…

    I can’t hack much more than 3o minutes, nor is life so lucky as to have lots of un interupted blocks of time…

    I used to use the timer all of the time and only work in 15 to 30 minute blocks on anything – cleaning, sorting, reading, giving closer attetion to the kids…and then switch to something else at the buzz, then go back to the other.

    Looking fwd to connecting with day 9 : )

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