The InfoBarrel Monthly Contest
In an effort to compete with all the top notch InfoBarrel authors and try to win the May 2011 contest, I had to stop doing a few things and concentrate solely on writing articles. I was inspired to take-on the challenge by a forum thread I came across about writing 100 articles in a month. I decided I would challenge myself further by attempting to write 100 – 1,000+ word articles; thus my goal was born.
To say my objective was difficult is an understatement. Between work, the requirements of keeping-up a home and taking care of my family, I was pretty much exhausted every single night. To keep from getting overwhelmed, I gave myself 'mini goals' each day and I was always elated whenever I achieved them. I was also motivated when other members submitted several articles, that spurred me on.
I am both satisfied and proud because not only did I achieve my goal but I actually surpassed it by writing 115 – 1,000+ word articles, enough for me to win InfoBarrel's May 2011 contest! I am happy but I don’t know if I will ever attempt to do something like this again.
The 10 Things I Stopped Doing to Compete in the Info Barrel Monthly Contest
Cooking Dinner: While my husband wasn’t too thrilled with this one, my teens liked having take-out from various places. Some of the family favorites were Chipotle Mexican Grill; In-N-Out; McDonalds; and Pei Wei Asian Diner.
Going to the Gym: My husband talked me into going to the gym on a couple of weekends and I'm glad he did because I felt so much better after getting some exercise. I should have made more time for myself and worked-out more often, but unfortunately, as far as the gym personnel were concerned, I was 'MIA.'
Sleeping-in on the Weekends: I didn't even need an alarm clock; I always work-up automatically at around 5:30am every morning. Before embarking on my quest to win the InfoBarrel contest, my weekends usually started out leisurely at around 7:30 or 8am and I would make a big breakfast of pancakes with eggs and potatoes for my family (they missed that!). I would also read the Sunday paper and check-out the local coupons. None of that happened in the month of May and I was more than happy to get back to my normal routine.
Laundry: This went from every other day to once a week and was a big issue with my family. Although they had plenty of clothes to wear, they didn't have their favorites all the time. At times I felt a bit overwhelmed when I would walk into the laundry room and see the clothes piling-up. On the days I did do some laundry, I would do as many loads as I possibly could and I’m so happy that my washing machine held-up!
Having Fun and Social Lunches with Friends: I had to turn-down a few lunch invitations. But I'm lucky, in addition to having a wonderful family, I also have some pretty great friends. They all understood I was working on accomplishing a goal and they were all supportive. Besides, I told them "We can go out to lunch next month and the month after that and after that..."
Watching Favorite TV Shows: There were a couple of shows that I did not want to miss and I did take the time to watch those programs. However, for the most part, the month of May for me was like living in the past before TV was invented, with one exception, I was able to record all my favorite shows on the DVR.
Watching DVDs with my Family: Friday and Saturday nights are family DVD nights at our home and I had to miss a few of them. I didn't miss watching the movies as much as I missed just spending time on the couch eating popcorn with my family. I couldn't wait for our first DVD night after the contest was over.
Reading: Most of the time that I would have spent reading was devoted to researching. I had a large book sitting on my night stand and I felt as though it were calling my name night after night! I'm looking forward to writing an article about the book after I'm finished reading it.
Golfing: I think my golf game has gotten a bit 'rusty' because I haven't been out on the course for at least a month. I must admit, however, that I didn’t miss it quite as much I thought I would. Maybe I'll find a new hobby and reserve golf for playing with my husband on vacations.
Resting: I didn't spend much time resting because it seemed as though I had something to do every minute of the day. In-between writing there was always so much to do! From the time my eyes opened in the morning to the time they closed, I had something to do. Some days my mind was so exhausted at the end of the day that I didn't want to think about anything else. I also had the normal aches and pains in my neck, back, wrists, and hands from typing for long periods of time without resting.
Things I Refused to Stop Doing
While the preceding were some of the things I temporarily stopped doing in order to compete in InfoBarrel's May 2011 contest, there were other things I refused to stop. Things like eating dinner with my family (although it was take-out, we still sat together); reading passages from my Bible and going to church; talking to my husband about his work day, and celebrating Mother's day with my family.
All in all, my experience was a positive one because I didn’t realize I could push myself that much. I had a taste of the workaholic's life and I'm more than happy to give it back. I also learned, just like everyone, I need balance in my life! I will now curtail my writing and begin doing those things I stopped doing in May in order to compete in the Info Barrel monthly contest.
To all those who may be thinking about competing in future InfoBarrel competitions, I wish you all the best! For now, I'll be watching from the sidelines.
For information on other interesting topics see the following articles: