I found out about Gretchen Rubin’s Read 21 in 21 Challenge in late December, when I was listening to her Happier Podcast.

Through 2020, I’d actually managed to successfully revive my long-dead reading habit and thought I’d give this one a go, since reading is something I genuinely enjoy doing. Bonus points if it kept me away from my devices especially if I felt like picking those up when I felt bored.

Last week on Instagram, I shared the idea for the #Read21in21 challenge with my followers and it caught on like wildfire. Huge kudos to Gretchen for making this possible and bonus points for making it easily accessible and accountable with both her free app and the free tracking sheet for the whole year.

I’d already been reading ever since day 1, so it was sheer joy to be able to print that resource and start ticking off the days completed.

Then, it happened.

My coach and mentor, George Kao, commented on that post saying, “You should encourage people to write for 21 minutes daily. Reading is relatively low impact and easy compared to writing. You can’t really READ your way to success but much more likely WRITE your way there.”

Considering that at least 2 other people also asked me to do this and how much I absolutely love to write, this became the easiest and the most fun challenge for me to create.

Recommended Reading (Article): Here’s what I learnt about habit building when I wrote every single day.

It gets better the more you do it.

It gets easier the more often you do it.

It’s also what I teach my students who feel stuck, overwhelmed and un-inspired when it comes to the idea of creating content.

So here I am presenting #Write21in21: A year-long challenge where you need to write every single day for 21 minutes in 2021.

Pink flowers and a gift box on a table. Woman's hands holding a pencil and a notepad

How to Start Writing Daily

  1. Everyday, block out 21 minutes on your calendar, sit down in a chair and write.
  2. You can write in a notebook, a diary or sheet of paper by hand or you can open up your laptop and write on MS Word or Google Documents or on your blog or on Medium.
  3. There is no word limit and there is no word count. Write as little as 5 sentences per day or as much as 5 paragraphs per session. The idea is to write consistently, that’s all.
  4. You don’t need to share it with anyone, if you’re not comfortable. This is a personal accountability tracker. Feel free to publish what you write (or not).
  5. Once you’ve completed writing for the day, tick the box on the attached writing tracker. It’s free to download. (Yes, completely free; you don’t need to opt-in or sign up or give me your email address.) Just click the link at the end of this post and download a copy. You can also print it out and use the tracker to physically tick off each day’s task.
  6. OPTIONAL: Share your progress with me on Instagram by using the hashtag #Write21in21 and tag me on your posts and stories. I’ll cheer you on.

FAQ:

  1. Should I write daily?

    Yes. That is the idea 🙂 21 minutes, on the clock; sit down and write.
  2. I don’t get any time to write. What should I do?

Really? 21 minutes a day? If you cannot spend 21 minutes a day to write, then this challenge may not be for you.

Carve out time to write. Put it on the calendar and fiercely protect it. Put your phone away, turn off Netflix and write. Try it. Go on.

  1. What if I don’t get any inspiration to write?

    Inspiration is a myth. Most writers don’t wait for inspiration. They show up and write anyway. In other words, it’s the regularity and routine that makes writers.
  2. Okay, fine. But what if I sit to write and see a blank page?

    Write a journal entry. Talk about something that happened yesterday- an interaction with a neighbour/ a family member, a walk you took, a movie you watched.

    Open a book and pick a line from it. Use it as a starting point. This is called prompt-based writing. It is a great exercise.

    Imagine you’re writing a status update on Facebook or a caption on Instagram. Now, write that as a longer paragraph.
  3. Oh cool! Can I count social media captions, tweets and updates as writing?

    Technically, no 😉 Social media writing is easy compared to structured writing time. I’d say dedicate time AWAY from social media to make this time count.

Writing is a beautiful exercise and doing it without the possible validation that social media offers is its own reward. This habit will help build that discipline.

  1. What if I miss a day?

    It’s fine. If you’re sick/ travelling/ unable to pick up a pen, don’t beat yourself up. A day missed won’t be a problem. It’s okay to fall off the wagon and it’s okay to start over. But try not to miss two days in a row.


Download your Free Writing Tracker here and get started.

You can print out a copy of it to stay on track.

So, if you’re ready to take this on, I’d love to see how you progress with it. Remember to tag me on Instagram and let me know. Use the hashtag #Write21in21

*If you REALLY enjoy the tracker and would like to get ongoing tips on consistent content creation, join my free weekly newsletter here.

Woman writing in a diary balanced on her knee

Shailaja V

I’m a blogger, content strategist & productivity coach who has been writing online and blogging since 2007. Read my story & more about my work here.

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