It’s February 1st, and you know what that means … it’s time to begin my quest and rediscover my voice in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. (UBC for short.) Those of you who have read my blog for a while now know that I attempt this challenge quarterly. But, really… what is this challenge? Let me break it down for you.
There are two definitions for this word. It can be used as an adjective, like the ultimate – or final – goal. It can also be a noun – like this blog challenge is the ultimate – or the best of its kind. For me, both of these definitions are true. My ultimate goal is to post a blog 31 times throughout the month. Ideally, I will wake up each day and prioritize writing over everything else. As you may guess, life will get in the way at times, but I will do what it takes to reach the end successfully.
It’s also the “ultimate” because it is one of the best writing challenges I’ve participated in. This is thanks to our fearless leader, Paul, and all of the bloggers who write posts and offer praise and comments. Any writer will tell you that they need a community to lift them up and support them. When I write and post, the ultimate compliment is when someone comments with their own stories and thoughts. And I encourage you, dear reader, to do so.
This blog is important to me. It’s an extension of who I am as a writer and a person. I keep saying that someday I will string these blogs together into a book of essays. Creative nonfiction and essays are big sellers right now. We all want to connect, and I believe that these types of posts and books create community. I just need a little more confidence and a big push to turn this dream into a reality.
Writing also helps me think. Some people like to run great distances to clear their heads. Others like to take long showers and sort out their problems. I write.
While I’ve been writing for years, the process does not come naturally to me. It can take me half an hour to write a post, or it can take days. Sometimes, I wake up and think I have nothing to say. Years ago, my writing coach taught me when that happens, I should put pen to paper anyway and start writing – “I don’t know what to write.” over and over again. And guess what, it works every time! Eventually, a topic will come to me out of nowhere. Like magic.
Speaking of magic, there was an article in the latest issue of Poets and Writers called “The Button Chair.” In it, the author writes about a workshop she attended with this title. She wondered what this magical chair was and did it have superpowers that enticed the right words to come out on paper. Spoiler alert – it wasn’t that at all. There is no such thing as a button chair. There is only “butt in chair.” Meaning, sit down and do the work. Don’t be distracted by laundry, dishes, and errands. Put your butt in your chair and start writing.
This is exactly why I need UBC in my life. It is where the magic happens. UBC gives me a place and a purpose to discipline myself. I’m held accountable by my fellow writers and readers. And in time, I establish a regular writing habit.
So, I’m ready. I have everything I could ever need – my favorite pens, pristine notebooks, a good laptop, my button chair, and you.