I was on Facebook the other day and I saw something called #inktober. The basic idea is for all us artsy types who work in ink, to create a piece each day. I decided, since I usually already create at least one piece every day, to participate. I think it will be fun, but more than that, it gives me a goal and a challenge. Where before I might put creating off for a day or two, now I’m more likely to put something out.

Last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo in November. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind the challenge is pretty simple, by the end of November you should have a 50,000 word rough manuscript. They have a pretty great website where you can log your daily word count, get inspiration, encouragement, etc. My book Enough, while not technically a novel was the result of my participation in NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure if I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, as it is a lot of work at a pastor’s busiest time of year, but I do have a screenplay/novel that has been gnawing at my brain, and a Master’s thesis that could probably be blessed by a challenge, so you never know.

The point in sharing these things is this. If you are a person who finds yourself stuck creatively, or you just want to do something fun, a challenge is a great way to break the creative ice. I’m sure there are challenges out there for just about every creative discipline if you know where to look. They really can be helpful. It all comes down to that idea of how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time. Large challenges can be so intimidating. If I told you you had to create 31 pieces of work this month, you might be tempted to throw up your hands and say no way can I do that, but to do one a day is really not terribly difficult. If I told you I need you to write 50,000 words in a month, you might have a similar reaction, but 1500 words a day feels much more manageable.

I will close with the words of speaker/author Andy Andrews. When asked if he likes to write, he said, “I like having written.” Thousands, maybe millions of people want to write a book or create great art. The ones who succeed are the ones who do the work. Challenges can help us in that regard. Find a challenge and get involved. On a related note, what kind of challenge might we offer here that would be beneficial to you in your ministry.

By the way here is day three of #inktober for me. I’m really into car art these days, so probably more than a few of these will probably reflect that influence (like this one), while others will be from ministry presentations, posters, etc. Sometimes it’s more about creating than it is about what you create.

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