What do you consider as a long writing project, in your own world and your own words? What would it look like? When you were in primary school, you may have considered filling an A4 page a painful exercise. How about today? Can you write a 500 words essay without straining or plagiarizing? Can you commit to writing and owning the success? What are you willing to sacrifice to produce a 30,000-word e-book on a given topic?
Here is something for you to chew on.
If you were to run alongside Dennis Kipruto Kimetto ; the marathon World Record holder for one hour, would you complete the race alive? This is where the quote, “Practice makes perfect” pops up its teasing face! Not so humble, is it?
If you are beginning your writing career, do not expect to write a sensible and engaging 800-word article. That is a sweet dream to have but the reality bit is fanciful. What is realistic is that you will come up with a 400-word article that may get you excited. You may call that your long writing project for now and it will gladly answer you. (Wink)
Are you discouraged by that? Let it not bully you into submission.
Every great writer you see or know today started from the bottom. They may not have gone beyond 500 words at the beginning, but that didn’t stop them. Today, they can hardly rest peacefully without penning down 5000 credible words in a day. That is the league you belong if you are willing to put practice first. Are you?
What you might need to know about my long writing project
Upwork has been my pledged darling for online jobs since early this year. Through this network, I have received great assignments earning me a good amount of dollars and valuable experience. This is where my long writing project came from.
I got an unusual assignment through Upwork to write a 30, 000-word practical e-book. This was such an exciting deal. Money was not the motivation. In fact, the pay was way below my standard charges. It was the theme that drew me to it. The topic was motivational and being a motivational speaker, the project was quite enticing.
This writing project took the second position after my own book, “Millions of Robots”. It stole my heart.
Unlike Millions of Robots, I allocated a short timeline for this book without knowing it. I had to complete writing and editing the e-book within 14 days since I had promised the client to do so.
The case of Millions of Robots which is over 33,000 words long took me over one year to put together. It required a lot of research because I wanted to painfully crucify the then Kenya’s system of education in a little black book. Do you feel that mix of heat and hate?
My long writing assignment was a 90 days workout in form of motivation. Have you seen a book where there is a daily activity which you are required to do? Great! Think of it like your daily dose of motivation with a hands-on exercise. Writing it meant that I had to think from a one-day-at-a-time perspective. Got it?
As much as I am a writer, I hardly write over 5000 words every day. There is no excuse for that. I just have been a big bad lazy girl. Thankfully, when I got this writing project, I decided that I wasn’t going to chicken out of it. Like the bully I am, I decided to push and show it who the queen was.
How did I actually transform myself to a long project writer?
You didn’t think I magically produce the 30,000 word eBook overnight, did you?
Come on, that would be an unrealistic claim. There were moments of struggle; times when I wanted out and thought I was going crazy. At one point, I even considered telling my client that I couldn’t handle it. The first three days were that nasty.
What changed my narrative?
“I can do it- must do it” attitude
Have you ever witnessed the irony of the unmotivated motivational speaker? It does sound like preaching water and drinking wine, doesn’t it?
After panicking through the first three days, I came across the quote, “I can do it”. Trust me this wasn’t new to me but it did whisper confidence into my heart and mind.
When you focus your mind on doing something you believe is important, your body summons all the power in you to make it happen. You not only have to see the possibility and build the confidence, you also have to make achieving compulsory. Give yourself no other option than to research, think and write. Long writing projects demand this attitude. It is a no mercy attitude; do or die.
Change of diet
Are you wondering what food has got to do with writing? Anything you send into your stomach gets processed and distributed in the acceptable format throughout your body. Does that paint the picture for you?
In my case, I realized that wheat products were slowing me down. Anytime I ate bread or its relatives, I had a lazy start and an ugly end of the day. That ushered in boiled sweet potatoes and tea for breakfast instead of bread. Carrots, cucumbers, green vegetables, steamed beans, boiled eggs, and arrowroots in small portions dominated my lunch and dinner. Reducing cooking oil and processed foods gave me a clear shot of energy that I had not experienced before.
What is getting distributed in your system right now? How is it affecting your writing projects?
Water, water and more water
Does it really matter? Oh yes, it does. You won’t know it until you try it out. I grew from a quarter liter consumer to a three-liter pro in three days!
How did that help? I stayed hydrated, kicking off the unnecessary sleep. Trust me, I could hardly write for one hour without dozing off before I increased my water intake. Then water happened and as I say, the rest is the success. Today I can concentrate for five hours straight without a hint of sleep.
If only my university lecturers would have seen this version of me. The three-hour lectures were divided into two hours of sleep and 45 minutes of wondering what the heck the lecturer was doing in class.
Write or die writing
I realized that my long writing project was an equivalent of hours of delivering a 40-minutes motivational speech per day for 90 days. The main task was to think about my audience and make sure that they went home charged to take up the assignment. I imagined them walking through one door wiped out and leaving through another fired up!
What did I need to say to get them into action for more than 24 hours? I couldn’t wave a magic wand to give them that energy. Written words were the only tool I had to offer and writing I did.
Trusting in God to open my mind
By the 10th day of writing, I realized that I was exhausted. It became really hard to write. This is when it hit me that I had been writing on my own. I needed something or someone bigger than me.
On a Wednesday morning at 5.24am, I prayed. “With God, all things are possible, help me God to believe and deliver inspiration like never before.” I needed to write 22 articles of at about 500 words each. Convinced that I was not alone in this, I wrote down my request and began to work.
As I wrote throughout that day, I noticed that words of wisdom came to me without forcing them to. Taking occasional sips of fresh water and stretching breaks, the day flew unnoticed. Not one of my family obligations was overlooked. When it hit 10.30pm, I emailed the last set of the 30-days motivational workout.
You are never alone if only you choose to trust in God.
No matter how long your writing project is, you have all that it takes to conquer it. Your success will demand a lot of sacrifice. Not everything you have now is necessary for you to win. Give up what you need to let go; sleep, food, pride, comfort and all. Are you willing to let go the unnecessary baggage for your success?