My 365-Day Queer Publishing Challenge for 2020


In the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at how I’ve worked in the past year and how I want to work in 2020, specifically concerning the time of day when I do the “best work”, and what I want to accomplish. I’ve broken things down and have created what I hope is a highly efficient daily schedule for 2020.

That preparation and planning work was the first part of significant serendipity. Last Thursday on my way home from visiting family, while sitting on the train, I had this idea that I should write and publish every day for the next year. I knew this would accomplish many significant things for me including,

  • Showing my work as it progresses;
  • Keeping me on track to keep reading and researching;
  • Sharing my work publicly, instead of just talking about it with my partner and friends, and;
  • Doing what I know works best for me to create new opportunities, i.e. publishing my thoughts on my publication Th-Ink Queerly and recording new episodes of the Think Queerly Podcast.

On Monday morning I received an email newsletter from Steve Pavlina.

I have been following for 10–15 years now. Whenever he publishes, I usually read his work that day. The timing of one of his latest posts could not have been better, “365-Day Challenges.” In short, he announced he had decided to blog every day in 2020. Really? What a perfect sign that everything is lining up and conspiring to help me make this same decision.

I expressed my ideas and fears to my partner who said simply, “You should do it!” He offered more feedback of course, but that was one more validation I needed to realize that my fear of doing it is the reason enough to do it and that the character stature I want from this experience is of someone who will come full-circle (there is a back story too long to tell here) to publishing a book about queer leadership.

I plan to publish every day about something queer or LGBTQ related.

This may be a written post, a newsletter, a podcast, or a video. The idea is to share my work while I am in the process of creating. What a fantastic way to connect with new people, as well as receive helpful feedback and constructive criticism. I don’t necessarily need to write every day, although though that’s a great habit I have wanted to work on for years.

In case you missed it, I started my challenge yesterday with this post: Queer Liberation vs Assimilation: On the Need for Creativity and Critical Thinking.

This will keep me thinking critically, leading queerly, what that means, and why it’s so important. My focus will be primarily on researching and working on my book, “The Way of Queer Leadership” but I will speak to other topics as needed, be those insights from my research, relevant LGBTQ issues or news, a book, an article, or thought leader I’ve discovered, and so on.

Discipline only means remaining true to who I already am.

Discipline is not about forcing myself to do something I don’t like or that I don’t aspire to accomplish. This 365-day publishing challenge (366 days actually: it’s a leap year) will force me to take more risks, to write and speak more off-the-cuff, and in some cases to write shorter pieces. It doesn’t mean I will be producing content every single day. Rather, I might produce a few pieces on a single day and then schedule the work to be released over time.

I’m not concerned about being perfect.

The practice is more important than the goal of 366 days. It doesn’t matter if I fail or complete the goal of publishing daily. It’s the journey of one step at a time, every day moving closer towards publishing my book, or whatever it manifests as. It is simply a plan to move forward, to remain focused on my greatest intention, to aspire to my inspiration, and to share my work and ideas as a queer thought leader and a messenger for change.

This is about me sharing my work, which is in part the personal discipline and commitment to myself to be the thought leader that I am. That is not meant to be hubristic or egotistical. The other night I was reading the final chapter of “The Tao of Abundance” by Laurence G. Boldt and a line jump out at me:

“The question isn’t, What do I want to be? The question is: Am I being what I am?”

My greatest freedom is being who I am, especially when I am most afraid to be so.

Fear can be viewed as the experience of knowing you are about to embark on being most authentically yourself. One of the main reasons for fear comes from wasting our precious time worrying about what other people will think of us. And as LGBTQ+ peoples we have been conditioned to “care” about what others think of us. But if it is only the opinions of others, be who you are and ignore the critics who are allowing themselves to be held back by their fears.

How can you be more of who you are?

Is there a 30, 90, or 365-day challenge or practice that you would like to take on, not to become better but to reinforce, strengthen and explore more of who you already are and your creative potential?

What could you practice that will help you to be the change you want to see in the world?

If you feel you need some coaching to help you get there, let’s have a conversation.

By Darren Stehle

Darren is a leadership coach in Toronto, Canada who helps his clients to connect and embrace their uniqueness and freely create the life they want. He writes and podcasts regularly about Queer Leadership.