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What’s in your lunchbox? How the #yourturnchallenge surprised me

January 24, 2015
ReedLunchbox

My 6 year old son on one of the first days of school 2010 with his Scooby Doo Lunch Box.

 

What’s in your lunch box?

Last Saturday, I announced that I was joining the Your Turn Challenge with the goal of blogging daily on at least one of my blogs for seven days straight.

I wanted to know what was in my lunch box.

And I also shared that following the lead of Jason Calacanis and Seth Godin, I had already challenged myself to blog daily starting on Monday Jan. 4, and with a Sunday series of posts for a year and one week titled “53 Interesting Facts about the Number 53.”

So far so good: I’ve blogged on Art Predator every day except for the first day of school and on a Friday that got away from me. I had drafts but just didn’t ship. And I blogged three times this week on Wine Predator. Again, I have drafts of posts but didn’t ship them.

While I haven’t decided which one of the 53 facts about the number 53 I will write about tomorrow, I have decided that I might as well roll both prompts for today, Day 6, and tomorrow, Day 7  into one for today.

Day 1 Mon. Jan. 19: Why are you doing the Your Turn Challenge?
Day 2 Tues. Jan. 20: Tell us about something that’s important to you.
Day 3 Weds. Jan 21: Tell us about something that you think should be improved.
Day 4 Thurs. Jan. 22: Teach us something that you do well.
Day 5 Fri. Jan. 23: What advice would you give for getting unstuck?
Day 6 Sat. Jan 24: Tell us about a time when you surprised yourself.
Day 7 Sun Jan 25: What are you taking with you from this Challenge?

Read a few of the over 3000 responses to the #yourturnchallenge here.

 

I actually surprise myself often.

Each day that I teach, I find that I surprise myself because I allow myself to — I allow myself to follow my intuition, my gut, my internal guidance system–and I respond to the wind, the zeitguist, the energetic field of my students in the room, the readings, and most importantly, the writing of my students and how that fits into the swirling world of words around us, and I find myself saying things that I didn’t know, wise words from a source so deep within that it connects to all.

And each day that I write–that I blog–that I tend my dreams– I surprise myself in the same way.

Because it is in the the process of putting ourselves out there–as writers, as teachers, as members of a community, as activists, as artists–that we learn, we grow, we discover, we come to know our own minds.

We come to know our humanity.

We see ourselves in others.

We see what’s in the shadow. 

The process of writing brings to light what we know but what we can’t see. We find out what’s in our lunchbox.

And the reminder of this wisdom, of the importance to me of writing, of telling stories, of making meaning is what I am taking away from this challenge. I mean, I had a general idea of what was going to be in that lunchbox, but it can still be a surprise.

For me, this experiment has been a great success. I’m pleased with the thinking, the learning, and the writing I did. I figured a few things out, and I put some words down that are important to me. I found some new friends in writing and social media.

For at least one person, the #yourturnchallenge was a failure. It failed. The lunchbox was empty. Someone forgot to pack it.

The measure of failure for that person wasn’t whether he discovered something about himself or the world by participating.

No.

This person is measuring the success of the Your Turn Challenge by whether or not someone read his writing. And responded in a way he or she could recognize. Measure. He thought someone was packing that lunchbox for him.

I get it–no one wants to be that voice wailing away. I think about two weeks ago when I fell and was lying there in pain outside in the dark on the concrete not sure how badly I was injured.

Writing can feel like that–like you are wailing your heart out and no one hears you. No one cares. They forgot to pack your lunch.

This person hasn’t learned yet about the pleasures of doing art for the sake of doing that art. Hasn’t learned about being patient. About finding an audience. And even if more than one person read the posts, like me, they may have not had a way to respond. I’m not on Tumbler and it’s not set-up for people to comment who aren’t on Tumbler. It’s also not set-up so we can see our stats, and whether anyone read or clicked on our posts. This writer is on Twitter,  and blogspot but it’s not easy to comment and people are lazy. So this writer may have more readers than it may seem. The infrastructure of the #YourTurnChallenge failed; it failed for me too but that doesn’t mean the experiment itself failed.

I know how to pack my own lunch.

Granted, I wish I had a larger audience. I wish I made a lot of money and I did a lot of wine travel. People judge what I do here and on Wine Predator as futile–the whole exercise of blogging as futile.

Do you get paid to write that thing? they ask.

And it can be hard for my husband to see me spending hours preparing for a wine twitter tasting, taking photos, taking notes, washing glasses, washing glasses, and washing glasses, then to write and write. At least as a wine blogger I get sent “free” wine.

But is it really free if I spend 5-10 hours writing about a $30 bottle of wine?

It’s not about the money. It’s not about the eyeballs. And while the wine part is great, I’m storing loads of samples because I want to be sure that I ship. So no, it’s not about any of that.

It’s about what goes on inside. And that’s not good. Not bad. Just is. Getting to know your own mind. And maybe serving others as I talked about with reference to Martin Luther King on Monday. And maybe learning more about humanity.

From my cat’s perspective, blogging is what I do while he sits next to me on the couch.

Paid in cat purrs and love.

Can’t you just see my kitty in a lunch box?

 

BTW, this post my Art Predator blog post #1577, it’s 1100 words… and let’s see if anyone comments!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2015 10:55 am

    I will! Anatoli from talk a vino got me that book on his recent visit. Ive been caught up in other thins but may have to accept this challenge soon.
    I agree, the time and energy that goes into writing (and the pressure to get them written)makes samples anything but free, but i love doing it, which makes the payment more than just the wine, right?

  2. January 25, 2015 2:42 pm

    Yes, exactly! Which book did TalkaVino give you? Thanks for commenting!

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