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This Daily Challenge Will Kickstart Your Writing Habit for 2019

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You’ve tried timers and headphones, writing on laptops, surface pros, paper, planes, subway trains, and auto-correct on mobile phones. But you haven’t tried this.

  1. Create Space

Before diving into a creative habit of any kind, you need to know what you are getting into. The number one reason that people who say they want to write do not end up doing so is because they 'don't have the time.'…

How much time do you need? That answer will vary, but what if you just start with 10 minutes?

A lot of people create when they’re feeling inspired. But when I ask, well how do you know when that happens, it’s like “You know, something just hits me.” So, before inspired creation occurs you first need to be conscious of it.

Your brain has a lot to say when you stop and get it quiet. But the idea in creating space for yourself is literally, just being present--waiting until the mind clears from the passing clouds of mental calamity.

Beyond treating illnesses such as depression and reducing anxiety, meditation is a creativity primer. Since is this the birthplace of every good idea that ever was (and well yes, shitty ideas too), you want to have a clear space for the ideas, solutions and everything else that needs to enter your consciousness but your mind has been too loud to receive answers. So start creating this habit first and foremost.

First thing in the AM, before checking your phone/email/social media, I do what I call the Wake, Shake, Take 10 to Begin Method!


20 minutes early--set an alarm (preferably one that is NOT on your phone)


Do a little physical activity to get the blood flowing.

Pull up Spotify playlist and alternately do jumping jacks and modified / regular pushups for the length of a song or 2.


… to settle in. Check my Guided Meditation Playlist including Zen Jen's Yoga Nidra on Soundcloud.

Find a cozy spot that is not your bed to either lay down or sit upright on a comfortable rug (shag rugs are my favorite).


… your day with ease .OK NOW look at your phone / e-mail.

2. Know Why You Write

So many of us jump into a new project or habit that seems fun and good for us and have trouble staying consistent with it. There are a lot of reasons why someone quits something, but if you are not truly aware of WHY  it is that you started it in the first place, then it makes sense that it falls by the wayside to make space for other priorities.

You don’t ‘quit’ your job, ‘cause that’s what makes you income.

You don’t ‘quit’ your family ‘cause even though they drive you crazy, they are those that you love and care about you the most.

You know WHY you intuitively know why they are in your life and consistently dedicating time to your job and your family makes you a better contributor.

Why should your creative habit be any different?


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Having a ‘WHY’ Card posted somewhere you see everyday can make all the difference when you’re tired, hangry, or otherwise not truly in the mood to make magic.

Pro tip: It never hurts to make it pretty. Use markers, graphics, or calligraphy. Or print it out and glue it to an index card with some other decorations. I don’t know, get crafty with it.

Questions to ask yourself to find your WHY:

What do you truly and deeply believe about your work?

Who do you most want to impact with your words?

What does the world need to know that only you can share?

3. Align Your Values

What’s MOST important in your life?

Yes, your creative habit is important, but what about your job, your family, your commitment to your volleyball team? Now you’re going to get really clear just where your writing fits in to the big picture.

A. First, what are your top five values?

Example: Freedom, Love, Expansion, Wellness, Fun

B. Define what each of these values mean to you.


Freedom means the ability to take the actions that honor your truest most authentic self.

Love is the most powerful energy that lives within each of us and connects us all … etc.

Expansion is continuously nurturing myself through awareness, acceptance, learning and teaching, etc.

C. Based on the definitions, what value/s do you honor by writing?

Example: Freedom, Love and Expansion

D. What needs to shift in your life to align your life with these values?

Example: I’d like to find an accountability group to help me stay on track with my writing habit which honors Freedom, Love and Expansion. I’d like to get up 15 minutes earlier so I can start my morning meditation routine which honors my value of Wellness.

4. Go With The Flow Goals

While many type A’s (like me!) think of SMART goals to create an action plan for their goals, I had an interesting discussion with my friend, artist and teacher, Anne Koller, who just published her first poetry book entitled Free to Feel. She offered a gentler and completely novel method to create goals that are more aligned with your purpose and lifestyle.


Right after you exercise when you have endorphins still running may be a perfect opportunity to express yourself through words. Also, instead of giving yourself, say, six months to write your draft, choose a date that is emotionally significant. Anne set a goal for her book around the anniversary of her dad’s death, which made her accomplishment especially sentimental since she was honoring him as well.


Setting goals that are achievable allow you to feel good about your progress along the way and allow you to continuously have a milestone to reach.


Make it easy for yourself to write ‘in the moment’ and to share it. Start connecting with your audience and community before anything is ‘done’. It’s incredibly motivating!

5. Manifest Success

“Everything that you see was once just a thought in a man or woman’s mind.”

-Wallace Wattles

Every aspect of our experience is a manifestation of the mind. That is why imagining the outcome of your writing goal--getting your book read by someone who’s life you are about to change--is a powerful way to fast-track you to getting there.

So write this down:

[Title]  is Done

  1. What does it look like when you are done?

  2. How does it feel when you are done?

Visualize what comes to mind when you’re done with your piece. Feel the feelings of what happens when you’re done.

Doing this on a consistent basis will literally align you with the “good feels” and will allow you to reach greater creative heights and will align the universe to your goals. It’s part magic, part quantum physics.

Once you choose to believe in manifestation and experience it for yourself, you will never choose otherwise. Suddenly, you play the leading role in the grand saga of your incredible life. You have a say in your fate; ain’t that great?

So, now you have an opportunity. Join a community of fellow writers that will keep you accountable every day while you gain confidence and traction in bringing your literary dream to life.


Saying NO as a YES person.


Do you know how and when to say "no" when you're a "yes ma'am" or man?

He looked at me sideways, quizzically. 

“Is there anything you DON’T like?” 

“Seriously?” I countered, “of course!” Does that question count? I thought, agitated. I hesitated. 

I had been enjoying an enchanted evening in NYC, dining with a man I glorified, but Lord, this man was no ordinary man. He was a “NO” man. He was the most successful and discerning man I knew. And in this No Man’s Land, the following activities are taboo:

  • karaoke

  • heights

  • poetry readings

  • any performance with “modern” in the description

  • an event that invites audience remarks

  • drinking alcohol

  • sparking up a joint or smoking of any kind

  • water parks

I don’t know...that last one might be a lie, but it seems like it could apply... 

Now for kicks, let's take a look at what's at the top of my FUN list:

  • karaoke

  • slam poetry

  • spicy margaritas

  • pun competitions

  • anything involving audience participation

  • rowdy dog runs

  • anything with big salt flecks

  • Jimmy Fallon’s lip synch tête-à-tête

  • aerial yoga —> have actually never done but looks beautiful and fun

  • conversations with people I enjoy so much that I hold my bladder till its about to explode, then awkwardly and quickly shimmy to the commode...

That list could go on forever. It is WAY easier for me to supply things I like to do than don’t. Probably because I’ve stopped feeling that sinking feeling saying no to things that don’t float my boat. So there is seldom a time when it’s on my mind. For the most part, I’ve arranged to be consistently in an environment that pleases me. My 2-mile commute to work is minute, I love my bedroom’s fuchsia wall. I’m a creatively thoughtful optimist which is just semantics—I’m a romantic

And yes, perhaps I see the world through rosy-hued lenses, but I’d like to think they lend to my thoughts and maybe thinking pink ain’t so bad. Or drinking pink, for that matter. My fave mocktail is club soda + bitters and a lime and it’s refreshing taste and pale crimson color gives me joy every time.  

Some might even call me a Pollyanna, defined as an excessively cheerful person and being perky has it’s perks. But if your chin is high, you will nod off eventually. It’s gravity, and being a YES human is depleting. Because you’re opening doors, they swing both ways so a lot can escape when you live in ‘yay’. Knowing if you are a YES person foremost, helps you preserve your energy where you need it most.

Here are some characteristics of YES people:

  • lots of energy

  • extroverts

  • curious

  • open-minded

  • involved in many activities

  • a desire to be physically moving

  • risk-takers

  • have trouble with boundaries

  • talkative

  • attract others to them

  • "life of the party” personality

  • can't hold their bladder (ok maybe that's just me)

YES people are who you call when you need a 'plus one.' YES people are who you go to help cheer you on or when you need a hug. They are human spark plugs. But if they’re not careful, YES people will burn out. They are like those fabulous roman candles that burn burn burn across the sky—the mad ones, according to Kerouac.

Image credit: Scott Cleary of

Image credit: Scott Cleary of

I know what it’s like to be on a YES binge. I thought I was making everyone’s lives brighter if I gave my light away and stayed super busy, but it just made me dim and extremely dizzy. Seriously, I got vertigo and couldn’t see straight for 10 days. Click here to hear more about burnout and the price I paid. 

So how do you be the best of both no and yes? It’s being self-aware and taking care to only do what’s important to you.

Success to me means knowing when to say no and having full control over YES.

This means—saying YES to things that fall into your YES-ZONE. 

The Yes Zone aka Derek Siver’s “Hell Yeah” = items in your “prior rights.” Prior rights are well, you guessed it—priorities. 

So here’s what you can do to get there—this is taken from Day 2 of the #5DaysofFocus (Click here to get all 5 days—it pays dividends, my friend).

Try writing out your Prior-Rights THIS WEEK. The following make their way into my ‘zone', use them or write your own:

  • Income - Full or part-time income

  • Health/Wellness — Meditation and physical exercise

  • Environment— Home / workspace that’s habitable

  • Relationships — Friends / Lovers / Family

  • Creativity— Creating / Taking in beautiful / inspirational / thought-provoking stimuli like art, theatre, literature, comedy

  • Spirituality—Worship practice

  • Growth—Expanding your mind, adding additional skills to your arsenal

Now date it. Number them. No more than 7. And you can Yes the Hell Yeah outta these. Anything that doesn’t fit into one of these buckets this week, you have full permission to dump. Next week you can re-evaluate—in no way are these set in stone. Does giving yourself control over YES make you feel closer to success? Tweet and tell me @alisonperrie what’s front and center in your YES zone.

#100DAYSOF - A Tactical Guide

What if I said in 100 days you could create major change in your life? Here’s how to pull it off with minimal strife in an hour or less. We address your #100DaysOf project one step at a time.



Creative Journey map by Lena Umezawa /

Creative Journey map by Lena Umezawa /

Habit is a GOOD servant but a BAD master.
— Gretchin Rubin

Got a bad habit to be late to the life you want to create? Make a habit of the behavior you'd like to emulate. Start by doing something small to progress every day and you will be well on your way to being the writer/author/speaker/teacher/genius that you already are. 

Want to hear more about Why 100 Days Matter? Read this. Otherwise, let's get to it. Maybe you want to start drawing again. Or write everyday. Well, let me be the first to congratulate you for committing. Now commit this to memory-- you're gonna want to quit. The following are 5 tips to keep you IN IT when the shit hits the fan.

I tell you the facts that no one told me when I embarked on my project, #100DaysOfCopyThat. It  would have been nice to know what to expect and find ways to not fight but dance with Resistance. Resistance is the force that will always show up whenever you attempt to level up in life. Pursuits in creativity, education, health, and career will undoubtedly stir up resistance, i.e., fear. So let's not stumble over the hurdles that it as well as life throws down, let's RUMBLE.


SOUNDS LIKE: “Ummm…::staring at blank screen:: this is hard and I think I have last night's dishes to clean...

YOUR MOVE: Push through. Trust me. Or tweet me. I’m happy to help keep your creative engine running. ’Cause after around day 28, the inspo will START FLOWIN’ and it WILL feel great.

Unlike toilet paper when the need is most severe, you will never run out of excuses why you can’t do your 'thing', m'dear. But if you’re like me and had ‘phone it in’ on speed-dial in the past then maybe JUST MAYBE you’re finally fed up with NOT getting anywhere than actually putting in the miles.

The Enthusiasm vs. Time Line Chart for a 100 Day Project

The Enthusiasm vs. Time Line Chart for a 100 Day Project


SOUNDS LIKE: “Hmm Is that [Insert Ex’s New Girlfriend’s Name] in those Maui pics? Is she a model?” Click, click click.

YOUR MOVE: Distraction-proof to prove you mean business. If you are writing, log into the ‘Guest’ account on your Mac if you have one or 'safe mode' in PC. Your attention is expensive--do not give it away for free. If you're social media prone, block it by using StayFocusd--a plugin for Google Chrome. A recent study by Digitrends puts checking social media feeds 17 times a day or more--so that's where a lot of our time is going--in my case, I have an Instagram 'bedtime' for sure.  At 10PM nightly, my alarm persists--stop flipping through Stories and give it a rest!

We can not prevent pitfalls or other peoples’ spills, we can not prevent fires--unless they're the forest-kind. Some we will always have to put out, although try and wait and let someone else use their water spout. What I'm saying is, when new habits emerge, they take time and energy and let's be real--there are VERY FEW REAL EMERGENCIES.

There are, of course, more important things in life than having a fully-activated creative mind. …like the health of your kid. I don't deny that and there may be legitimate reasons why you can't do it one time--just don't commit Habit treason. Miss a day? Add one on to the end, friend. And don't dawdle or worry...BTW your ex's new gf is not really a model. And by the way, by the time you look through all of her vacation pics on Facebook you could have been head down authoring the footnotes for your fabulous book. 


SOUNDS LIKE: “UGH. It's 11:49PM my work sucks and I'm pissed. I AM NOT putting this out into the world--not like this!”

Oooooh..yeah you’re right. Don’t put that out there. Blank stare... 

JUST KIDDING. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg: “Done is better than perfect.” Done will always be better--it's sustainable. Perfection is less than realistic--it's downright unattainable.

During my 100-day project, I copied something--with credit given--or added copywriting to an image for 100 days. Sometimes my posts looked like they were copied left-handed late at night. They were, except that's my dominant hand. I just couldn't get it down right. Others show the smudges, the trenches, the stenches of work-in-process. Even though it’s far from pristine, that’s what makes it interesting.

#100DaysofCopyThat / Day 27

#100DaysofCopyThat / Day 27

Some artists even go as far as to make the journey their end product. Cy Twombly's work is seen internationally, but I first saw it at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Many of Twombly’s pieces are scrawlings of math problems, colorful chicken-scratched color tests, corner doodles of faces with haunting smeared expressions. I was not sure if was his original intention, but the entire process was his work. The pieces were enormous, raw, wrenching and loud, and the coffee stains and punctures are narratives that rupture throughout. I try to keep Cy’s work in mind as I’m creating knowing that there is a way to show the behind-the-scenes without it going in the direction of teen center craft night, but sometimes shit happens and you still gotta ship it.

Think about it. When is the last time that you put something out there, work related or otherwise that was devoid of error, and pristine, the output exactly as you had imagined it? Yeah, that was likely a dream. There will always be the folly of time and human error, so might as well bare it.

OH, and important to note — no one’s looking at you. Very few will care (sorry). But you’re not doing it for them, nor likes hearts or shares. Which leads me to number four:


SOUNDS LIKE: “REALLY? SEVEN Likes? I just made the fricken Mona Lisa out of spaghetti!”

YOUR MOVE: Yes You did and it’s pasta-tively awesome. But before you go scratching your noodle about why you’re not receiving the kind of virtual love that your project should get, JUSTSTOP and keep going. You will keep making regardless. Hearts are not your fuel. And for God’s Sake, turn off the notification pop-ups--it's just cruel.

BUT, #protip: Do add the appropriate hashtags, especially the #100daysof[projectname] so that you are searchable and so that you can keep daily track of the game.

There is an exception to the silly-hearts rule and it's rooted in accountability. I started #100DaysofCopy that in the midst of my typography class, and my instructor was badass book cover designer, Jason Heuer. For at least the first half of the project, Jason ‘hearted’ every single one of my project's posts. Sometimes it takes just one person looking to help you through. That one little double-tap once a day did wonders for my confidence and resolve to continue.

Also, when you first begin and start talking about it, people will have either one of two reactions, “Oh hey, that’s cool.” Or “Good luck with THAT. I/person-I-know tried something like that before and lasted 2 weeks.” Yes, but they were weak--that isn't you. There will be resistance from the people you talk to. We as a species are resistant to change. But a funny thing happens when you are 1/3rd of the way this point, you have proven that you’re surious, and have no plans to leave the race. Suddenly you start to accrue a little crew of cheerleaders--sometimes and only including your mom--that really like what you got goin’ on. Use the momentum.


SOUNDS LIKE: “No way--there's an IG for farm-team athletic mascots? Jackpot. 

YOUR MOVE: Doing a project for 100 days gives you a reason to get in touch with people that are doing the kinds of things you’re into for way longer. They have experienced the hills and valleys of their craft and have battled resistance and made it back intact. Create a list on Twitter and keep tabs on them. Engage with them. Be useful to them, and you might find your future employer, client, or couch to crash on next time you’re in their town. Former living statue, musician, and author, Amanda Palmer notoriously has stayed in the homes of her fans while on tour. Throughout her chaotic creative career she has furiously dedicated devotees that will finance whatever endeavor she pursues next and will always open their doors.

Make things, ask the universe what is next, take notes, and share. This is a great way to live. Give this gift and receive humility, confidence, and find like-minds near and far. So now that you know what is par for the course, where will you go?

This is Part 2 of a 3-Part Series:

Part 1 — WHY 100 DAYS MATTERS.

Part 2 — WHAT to Expect on Your 100 Days

Part 3 — HOW to Find Your #100DayProject




silence the bitchy whisperer [i.e. Fear] deep within you with your skinny jeans on that says: “pssssh…you can’t pull this off.”

I am an expert at trying ‘a thing’ on for size, twirling around in it, asking a few people their opinion, and then finding some reason why it’s not for me--too tight, too high-maintenance, not short enough, or not FREE. I was desperate for a self-inflicted project to which I could commit. I was so sick of getting excited about a project and then just dropping it. Just once, I needed to be acquitted of THE QUIT.

Do you keep your side project at bay? Is there a calling that you keep letting go to VM? Or, actually, for me it is more like a tugging at my pant leg that I keep kicking away.

And then there are those people that are DOING that thing you want to do too. The ones that spark *ENVY*. The ones whose work you see that make you say I wish that was me.’ Or, ‘I had that idea in 2,000fricken3!’ Or, that creepy/vulnerable moment where you hear someone’s words and something in your chest shifts and it resonates within the caverns of your soul. That happened to me within the first few pages of Elle Luna’s Crossroads Between Should and Must, given to me by my friend, Missy, whom I loved, and trusted. Elle alongside the Great Discontent ran 100-day campaigns to help creative projects GET 'SENT.'

I read the book which got my inspired thoughts churning but I put the project on the back burner.

A few months later, an art director, Catherine Casalino, came and spoke to my SVA typography class which would banish me from a creative rut. She was doing #100DaysinWonderland inspired by the Lewis Caroll book and the iconic NYC designer, Michael Bierut.

I was intrigued. A Google search revealed that Bierut was behind the FedEx logo and the Saks Fifth Avenue seal. He was also an SVA instructor and had his students embark on a 100 Days Challenge on 11/7/07. It was November 5th--8 years later when I read that bit. I had two days to plan my 100-Day Trip.


It’s memorable, for one. And Jay Papasan, and Real Estate mogul Gary Keller show us in The One Thing that it takes 66 days to make a behavior a 'thing'. As creative people, our drive and resolve to make is met with an indefatigable force that create painstaking delays in delivering our craft to the world. So, think of those other 34 days in your trip as an insurance policy against failure-to-ship.

There is also proof that the first 100 days in an era can dictate overall success in an endeavor. Case in precedence--the gestation period of the newly elected presidents. Michael Watkins, in his HBR article, Why the First 100 Days Matters, explains why this 3 1/2 months is so clutch: “[Leaders] entering new roles can stumble badly and still recover. But it’s a whole lot easier if they don’t stumble in the first place. And that’s why the transition period matters so much.” 

It can feel daunting to embark on something that can feel as though it would claim entire nights, weekends, or precious time away from family, friends, and your 9-hour workday.

But what if you committed just 20 minutes daily? That’s half of an already-shortened lunch break or two showers, sans shaving. Imagine the calories and water you’d be saving! Seriously, though, the length of time will vary, depending on your piece, and can be way shorter like Zak Klauck’s 100 posters-in-a-minute project. We will get to what kinds of projects make a good fit later, but first, the other less worthy reasons for starting a project (other than squashing your fear that is).


Imagine that sensation of starting something new. Snowboarding, for example. Did you suck at it too? You can barely sustain momentum long enough to sneeze and lose balance. You used to have abdominal fortitude before you strapped yourself into a board and headed down what feels like an ice luge. Maybe you are with a few people on the slope that suck worse. That’s comforting for a minute but then WHURRRRRSHHHH….the pro’s whiz past you in a flash of color and sound. And they’re having the time of their lives. You? Dumbfounded. At least that is how I saw it when I tried snowboarding for the first time on the icy slopes at Hunter Mountain in NY with over-aggressive sunshine. Except those pro’s I mentioned before were actually 7-year-olds that come every winter with their fit European mum, dad, sis and bro. I could have phoned it in after my lesson as I had endured enough wipeouts on near zero-degree inclines to earn an adult hot chocolate in the lodge, fully reclined. That is where most of the other slope virgins in my class had gone. But what kept me from hanging with it and long after my comrades had hung up their bindings?

It was finding that feeling that when I did start coasting if only for a second, it was fun. It’s fun!

You feel a slight breeze. It’s thrilling and effortless; you forget that ache in your wrist and for a moment, you are in the flow and it’s bliss. It’s adrenaline, and pride, and excitation, and fear all served up in this flaming high-flying cocktail and you glide down the slope until BUMP, you’re down again. If only you could sustain that momentum for a moment longer, multiply it by 2, you just might make it down the hill before the trip is through.

It is similar with creative pursuits. You start making a thing, getting into the groove, and what you make isn’t that good at all. But you improve. It has good bones. And though you notice the Gap between what you’re making and what you want to make, the best way to get to where your heroes are is to JUST START MAKING. A lot. And the more you make on a consistent basis, the faster you fail and the quicker get to sucking less.


When I left my job in September 2015, I did not know exactly what I was looking for next. But I knew who I looked to that were doing things I loved the best. And what do you do when you discover something--or someone--you love? You get to know it. You sign up for their mailing list and read and research. Watch Youtube videos and drink instant coffee in graphic PJ pants with your socks pulled up. And then you attempt to emulate it, despite the suck. I admired the sharp-tongued wit of copywriter Ashley Ambirge, the vulnerable hand-lettered poetry of Debbie Millman, design thinker. And the principles laid out by best-selling author, Austin Kleon, in Steal Like An Artist gave me permission to tinker. That is when my project, #100DaysofCopyThat was born. And along the way, I discovered so many amazing artists and writers that blew my mind with their creative contributions I felt so blessed to find. And suddenly, we were connected through a shared appreciation of funny coffee mugs, ambition to expresso ourselves, or really awful puns (not a typo above:).


You will notice something strange when you start making every day. Inspiration starts to trickle at first...but then FULL-ON SPRAY. You can’t get the ideas down fast enough. And then the next day the mainline will be dry and rusted and you need to start scratching the surfaces of your swipe file. The swipe file is where you'll go when you start to pout that there is an idea drought.  Later, we will get into ways to safeguard your creative stash when this (and other pesky things called Life) come to pass, but I promise, the more you make, the flow will start to self-regulate.

If this revvs your engine to start your own 100 Day journey, stay tuned for the next installment — What to Expect, where I’ll lay out provisions to pack as you prepare for the days ahead in your creative trek.

Part 1 — WHY 100 Days Matters

Part 2 — WHAT to Expect on Your 100 Day Trek

Part 3 — HOW to Find Your #100Day Thing