the only topic I can write about for 31 days in a row

When I wrote 31 days of Grace back in October of 2010, I had just turned in my first book. It was a book about grace and I had a lot to say about it. I still do, but it comes out differently now.

Last year when I planned for 31 Days to Change the World, I was feeling brave. Full of courage. Hopeful.

31 days of quiet

Sometimes there is something you need to say.

Other times, there is something you need to learn.

Most times, it’s both.

This October I will do 31 days a little differently. I thought about not writing at all, as I will be traveling a lot in October. But the 31 day practice is good for me. Doing it in community feels right and encouraging.

This time I don’t plan to write on a topic as much as I feel compelled to write through one. Even in the midst of this active season, I can’t shake the pull to stillness. Quiet listening. Spirit submission.

I’m not sure I have a lot to say about it, but I have a lot I would like to learn. And so I’m going to write through the learning during the month of October.

This feels vulnerable, but also right.

I haven’t named it yet. 31 Days of Curious Listening? Quiet Spaces? Soul Breathing? Stillness? Shutting up?

I will write as I go, a little each day. A very little each day.

What is a topic you could write about for 31 days in a row?


  1. says

    I always look forward to your 31 days posts the most. You are so right about the learning. I feel like I’m still learning from the 31 days I did last year on how to inspire a child. Since writing last October, life’s been pulling me in a million directions and I feel max-ed out. I’m a more distracted parent this year. I’ve gone back and re-read what I wrote so many times to remind myself what’s important to me and to refocus that area of my life. I couldn’t have known when I wrote the words how much I would need to read them later.

  2. says

    I’ll be writing my journey to have a holiday-ready heart. I’m one of the few who dreads November and December but would love to love them. I’m hoping that if I pray-pare my heart in October, the my heart will be more open to the real reason for the season this year.

  3. says

    As I’ve known this is around the corner, I’ve prayed about doing it myseld. Have a topic I feel like He gave me. Not sure if I can write every day though. I may pick a topic and focus on it one day a week. It seems overwhelming to write every single day. Loved your series last year btw, look forward to learning alongside you this year too.

    • says

      Shelley, I hope you do write. Don’t feel pressured about the every day writing. I missed some days last year. It was a journey and hard at times, but I am excited for this next round!

      • says

        Yay! Glad you two are writing again. Yep a journey. Yep, hard at times! I wrote 24 days straight last year – a record. Then my daddy passed away. Tears!!! I made it back for the last day. Loved the community and exercise. Can’t wait.

  4. says

    I have been wanting to practice better listening (or perhaps I should say, “talking less”) so I’m eager to read your 31 days. The only thing I can honestly think about writing about 31 days in a row might be Pascal’s journey through potty training, but I’m pretty sure my readership would be about zero if I did that;)

  5. says

    whatever you write and no matter what you call it, i’ll be stopping by to read. your insights are beautiful and fresh and real and transparent. thank you for always sharing your honest heart and encouraging me on the journey!

  6. says

    I have had the same thoughts. Crazy busy month, but it is such a great exercise to (as Jen Hatmaker said this weekend at .dotMOM) to “burrow deep into one topic”.

    I’m torn. I’m draw. I’m crazy.

    And I’ll be reading, of course.

  7. says

    that will be nice to read.
    I will be writing a novella in 31 days, 31 posts. It’s called “Gilded”. It is a story of courage, of grace. Of what happens when one woman tries to do the impossible.

  8. says

    It’s a lovely topic for you to pursue, Emily. We all need the quiet, stillness so we can grow. I know you’ll enlighten me as you write through the process. I love the 31 Days series and read many. But there are so many of them it tends to be loud and noisy. This topic seems appropriate for this “place for your soul to breathe”.

  9. says

    I am going to dissect something I wrote for a women’s retreat and break it into 31 day increments . It is Awake: A Heart to Heart with God, so I will actually be covering different topics under this umbrella. His covering, His Voice, His Presence, His Battle, and His Peace – I may end up covering 3 of the 5 topics. Because I’m needing to transform some of my “talks” into a bible study format, there will be some of that too. At least this is my plan. It seems a bit overwhelming to write every day. I was unable to write all 31 days last year.

  10. says

    Love this idea. Since I blog about “serving”, writing about it for 31 days seems an easy thing to do. But redundant, I fear. What if, (someday. not today.) I could write about Forgiveness for 31 days? 31 people to forgive. Just the thought of it makes me hyperventilate a little. How sad that I am not quite ready for this to start in 6 days. How telling that I know what needs to be on the top of my prayer list.

  11. says

    I so look forward to your posts, as always. (I first learned about the 31 days series through your posts on art and grace). I am insanely busy travelling and performing in October as well, but I knew I had to press through if I want to grow in my writing. I’m doing 31 days of playlists – and I’m already putting them together–music is as essential to me as breathing, and I learned my lesson last year to write about something I love. Looking forward to reading your posts – hope you come over and take a listen to some music in my post series next month!
    Blessings. :)

  12. says

    I am actually going to attempt to write about a crazy addiction I have and I think by writing about it, it will help me get past it. No I am not a crazy glass eater or something like that. I just have a strange addiction and I am going to try to conquer it.

  13. says

    I love your topic. This year I will be writing about “31 Days of Coffee Talk with Jesus”. If I were sitting across from Jesus having coffee, what would he say to me? I hope to bring those intimate conversations to my readers. And I love coffee so I had to bring that in somewhere!

  14. says

    Ooooo. So excited about 31 days and look forward to reading about your listening.
    Still thinking through whether in or out like Lisa-Jo but so encouraged to see what people are thinking.
    I like your thoughts on ‘a very little each day.’ That makes it seem so doable.
    Thanks, Emily.

  15. says

    I am new to your writings and blog and so this will be my first 31 Days with you! I too have felt the pull to simply BEING with Him… not so many bossy lists or so much over-committing myself in this season! I can’t wait to read and learn more right along with you!

    Hmmm… I hadn’t considered or really thought about blogging along as well… this is intriguing to me and I will be praying this week about what to write about. (I too love the ‘very little each day’ part… definitely releases freedom rather than bondage at the beginning of the endeavor!)


  16. says

    I love the 31 day series each year. :) This year I am going to write about Praying the Psalms! Can’t wait! I’m already working on some of my posts…and see lots of others are as well! October is going to be great!

  17. says

    Emily – that sounds like peace. I look forward to words of stillness and quiet. I’m just doing a very small thing – 31 days of lovely lines…beautiful lines of goodness and truth from my favorite books, hopefully seen in a new way. Yea for October!

  18. says

    Crazy. I’ve been tossing around the my own 31 day theme that’s quiet-ish: 31 Days of Rethinking Rest. It’s what I’ve been doing since January of this year–intentional rest. I’ve scribbled down 20+ post ideas but the more I think and pray {and talk to my husband about it}, I don’t think I’m doing it this year. 31 days of writing about rest is ironic. I think I’m going to choose actual rest instead. And read your posts of course. : )

  19. says

    I’m anxious to read your thoughts on this idea of “being still”. It’s a message that God stirred in me this weekend at #dotMOM12. Praying that He works in all of our lives thorough the words that He lays on your heart.

  20. says

    You are so inspiring to me, Emily. I read your posts, and I feel your heart. I find I am a pot boiling over, so I would have plenty to write about for 31 days. But isn’t it funny how we tell ourself that ‘no one wants to read about that’ and ‘speaking about that would just be too hard’. So, I’m going to try to put on my Brave Girl Shoes, and I might just venture down this path with you. I am ‘thinking’ of what I might say, and how I might say it, and might just join you in your 31 day quest… well, that is if I can convince myself that ‘they’ might want to read about this too. Wish me luck…
    x, Val

  21. says

    Looking forward to hearing from you for 31 days in Oct. Not a writer but a designer here, so not sure I could write about anything substantial 31 days in a row? But I could talk about encouragement, personality differences and spiritual gifting forever!

    Thanks for being courageous and vulnerable in sharing. It matters. It encourages. It makes room for God to shine.

  22. Melissa says

    What you said makes so much sense to me right now. I have been feeling maxed out, stressed out…and a very strong yearing to refocus my life. I am going to do that this Oct. I need to, I’m being told to listen, quietly! I am looking forward to your posts!

  23. says

    I finally came up with my 31 Days topic. I am so excited about it…31 Days of God’s Word for my boys. It has been my goal to highlight a Bible for each of my sons to give to them when they graduate. I want to highlight those verses that have been an integral part of my life. So 31 Days is my motivation to collect those verses and comment on them for my kids. Can’t wait to get started!!

  24. says

    This, exactly, is why I’ll be writing on humility. Because it’s that topic I can’t shake and the thing I need to learn. So I’m writing through it. SO looking forward to yours as well – I always love your series, and this one rings true for me this season. Less everything, more quiet. Yes.

  25. says

    Good for you, friend. Solitude and silence are two of the hardest disciplines to practice, I think, but two of the most important. Essential. Life-giving. But hard!

    So perhaps the last thing you need is something to read, but just in case. . . Richard Foster recently published a new book (a little easy-to-read one!) called Sanctuary of the Soul. It’s a lovely little book. Richard borrows that phrase from Thomas Kelly, and saying that makes me wonder if you’ve read A Testament of Devotion.

    Okay, I’ll shut up before I start recommending books left and right. But Sanctuary really is easy to read and very helpful. Let me know if you’d like a copy. Love you!

  26. says

    I’m glad to see that so many other bloggers struggle with writing 31 days in a row.. it is much harder than i expected! This year, i’ll be writing about 31 Days of Weakness (the weaknesses that i’ve identified in myself). I’m hoping it will help me in my continuous journey of self discovery and also complement the series that i wrote last year, which is 31 Days of Strength.

  27. says

    Yes… I understand the pull to stillness and quiet listening. Ever since my children started back to school this fall, that seems to be where Jesus continues to nudge me. It’s a wonderful topic to write through and I look forward to reading where it takes you. A little each day… perfect.

  28. says

    I just came across this as Lisa-Jo tweeted about it. I am considering it – it would be so great to write consistently and with intent. Since I changed blogs and blog subjects, I am still trying to find a “voice”. I might write about books, missions and missionaries. That is what I am passionate about… I’ll be thinking and brewing this idea for the next couple days, deciding what to do…

  29. says

    You and The Nester make me think… maybe?
    So strange…
    I have never thought about really doing 31 Days…
    but now I am.

    Thank you.

    Just. Thank you. Always.

    • says

      that suggestion was for you. I am brand spanking new to this concept and upon research, feeling called to a very honest topic plaguing my life right now. 31 days of overcoming anger. wow. it is tough to even write that, so 31 days of brutal honesty should be fun. and purgative. :)

      • says

        I like 31 days to quiet my soul!! All the best to you write about over coming anger – you could always spin it to the positive…whatever the opposite of anger is? What IS the opposite of anger?! Peace? I’ll wait for you to tell us 😉

  30. says

    This is what I am thinking of: 31 Days of Telling my Story for His Glory…there are things I want to write about on my blog and I think this could be a great opportunity to get started on some of those topics. I would love any thoughts or feedback!

  31. says

    I am thinking about doing 31 days on jealousy…dealing with our own jealousy and talking about how God is jealous for us. Not sure yet what I will call it. 31 Days of Jealousy does not sound too inviting. :)

    Excited and a little unsure, just like last year. I was almost a little relieved you had not mentioned it yet. As if I could let myself off the hook if you didn’t do it. So thank you. Thank you for doing this again.

    Looking forward to what the Lord has you share here in this place.

  32. says

    Hi Emily,
    Such a great topic for the challenge and I can’t wait to tune in! Listening is SO much more difficult than talking/writing! At least for me! hahaa :) So many great topics throughout the comments too!
    I want to join the challenge…I’m thinking about writing about how to help children mourn. When my mother in law died suddenly in April 2011 I had no idea how to help myself cope…let alone how to help my husband and small children mourn. I would have never chosen this ministry for myself but I am hopeful that I can help others through my experience.

  33. says

    I’m not sure I could write about anything for 31 days. I’m not sure I have that kind of commitment. I’d been planning for a year to write for 30 days in the month of September about our walk through my mother’s battle against ovarian cancer but I had to stop – it just got too sad to relive that time in that detail. I applaud all of you who decide to do this and then stick to it. I keep saying maybe next year…

  34. says

    Emily, it feels like grace that you’ll share that pressing in here. I hope it’s deep grace for you writing it, grace for us reading. I love this space so much.

  35. says

    This is going to be good! It seems there’s a global need for stillness, except I’m calling mine, “31 Days of Discomfort”. Because that’s what I need to embrace in my desire to be present and still and unmedicated by food, reading and all the other things I run to instead of God. Thanks for the great idea and great blog :)

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