Multipod Friends, Don’t Let me Lose $1,000!

Multipod Friends, Don’t Let me Lose $1,000!

Written by Emilie

Topics: Goals

Dear puttyfriends,

I’ve made a bet. I am going to complete my book – the big comprehensive book that’s going to bring the concept of the multipotentialite to bookstores (and people) everywhere – by July, 2014.

If I finish the book, my good friend Rami is giving me $100. But if I don’t finish the book by July, 2014, I owe him $1,000. (Yes, 10:1 odds. Not in my favour.)

I’m making this public because I want you to hold me accountable. Over the next twelve months, and especially in the new year, please email me, tweet at me, ask me how the book is coming, tell me how badly you need to read it, whatever it takes. I need you.

This book is a massive undertaking. For the last year, I’ve been procrastinating, toying with it, writing on and off. It is time to take this project seriously and commit to it.

The Plan

Long term goals like these need to be broken down into smaller parts. We need to be careful though. We can so easily obsess over the plan, mapping out every step in detail and not see that we’re using planning as an avoidance technique. Having too many rules for ourselves can also make it more likely that we’ll become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing.

I’m keeping it simple. For now, the only plan is to wake up 15 minutes early every single day and write. Daily action is what counts. If you do 1% every day, after 100 days, you’ll have a complete work.

I’ve done my 15 minutes every day since making the bet last weekend. It’s been eight days so far, and at this point I’m simply trying not to break the chain.

The reason it’s working is that 15 minutes is laughably easy. It’s enough time to get into the flow, but not so much time that it burns up creative energy that you might need later. Plus, because you are thinking about your project a little each day, your ideas get to marinate in your subconscious even when you aren’t writing.

Accountability & Support

Okay, I suppose there’s a bit more to my plan than a daily practice. I’m also setting myself up to win by creating a new huddle group in the Puttytribe for anyone who happens to be writing a book. We’re going to meet every other week to discuss how things are going for each of us, work through any sticking points, and brainstorm together.

If you are working on a similar long term project and don’t have access to a group, you can just work with one support/accountability buddy. You don’t get the same variety of opinions and ideas as you do in a group, but it’s still incredibly helpful for staying on track.

Your Turn

What important long term projects are you working on right now? How are you making sure that you stay on track?

21 Comments

  1. Jo says:

    Similar goal, but focusing more on taking writing seriously than on getting my novel finished. So far I’ve done 15 mins a day for 6 days, and I’m wishing I could spend more time on it! You’re completely right about the ideas marinating – I had two great ideas yesterday while I was on the bus!

    • Emilie says:

      Sweet! The 15 minutes a day thing is working super well for me too. I’m starting to look forward to it when I wake up in the morning now.

  2. Rami says:

    HURRAY! Breaking it into small steps is in fact the way to go. Nice job on being consistent, you’re going to win this bet by a mile.

    I found that doing those 15 minutes let me get my creative juices going, and I was more productive at work later on as well. It’s why I do it in the morning :D

  3. Mien says:

    Do you know this website: http://750words.com/ ?
    it will tell you every day to write 750 words at a time you pick. Ideal for an initimidating project like this ;-)

  4. Leah says:

    Accountability is a huge motivator! And it’s a big confidence-booster when you get done. I recently finished up a project that involved a couple of other people, and I basically was working with them, while at the same time all my friends knew about it.

    It was a just-for-fun project (a song based on a game), but that didn’t stop me from getting a “who the heck am I to be trying something like this” complex, and procrastinating big time near the end. What kept me going was the fact that I knew I’d be letting others down, as well as myself, if I quit before seeing it through.

    And I’m really glad I DID see it through, because I have something to show for it and I get to say, “See, I did it!” Plus it was a great experience overall, working with other people like that.

    • Leah says:

      Oh, I hit the submit post button before I said good luck… so GOOD LUCK, Emilie! :) I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your progress, ups and downs. Hopefully mostly ups, though. :)

    • Emilie says:

      Awesome, Leah. Accountability is key, but so is “positive accountability,” which is being able to run back to people and say “look what I got done!” That’s almost more motivating to me.

  5. Holli says:

    So excited to see you win the bet!

  6. Josh says:

    You can do it, Emilie! I’m not writing a book, but I am putting out a single each week until september on my little record label, so I am with you in solidarity!

    Plus, I can’t wait to read this book! Hit me up if you want any cover art design ideas!!

  7. Annie says:

    I really can’t wait to read it! Please can you release it as an ebook, cause the price to get it in a book shop in Norway or get it sent here would be around 40-45 dollars more than the price of the book in the USA, not kidding!

  8. Kate says:

    Such serendipity that I read your post today Emily. I just drafted a blog post which goes out to my database on Monday making a commitment to write my book!

    I love the idea of 15 minutes a day. I had planned to do a few thousand words each week but maybe this is a better approach. I’ll give it a go!

    I look forward to sharing the journey. All the best with it.

  9. cathwrynn says:

    Are you there yet? Hows it going? I would so love you to meet your deadline!!!!

  10. Devil’s advocate: while I think it is great to start small, will you be able to generate the volume with just 15 minutes to have enought to cut?

    Having written my first book in a 9 month window, I did the “little bit every day” thing to the tune of 1500 words. It wasn’t enough. I needed a few days (6 total) where I just let it pour out onto the page and did pretty much nothing else except eat. Naturally, being an overachiever, I wrote 2X the number of words that I needed for my first draft. But that was fine, because as I slashed and burned on the second draft, I had plenty of raw material to work with. Therefore, the editing process went more quickly both for me and my editor. Yes, we sailed right through that part, which gave me time to laser in on some sections that I felt needed added emphasis and more research.

    Think of writing like sculpting. You need a big old chunk of marble to find the full form hidden beneath. And good writing is writing.

    So, for the first draft, go BIG! I would set aside at least 45 minutes per day for a good four weeks. See where that gets you.

    • Emilie says:

      Oh I’m planning on slowly expanding my time. The goal with the 15 minutes is simply to get me started. I can’t (or won’t rather) commit to 45 minutes per day right now. It’s just not going to work and I’ll fall off the wagon. Always key to start with itty bitty steps and work your way up.

  11. Arnold S. says:

    I watched a TED lecture about writing a book in 30 days. If you go full blast on 1500 words per day for 30 days, you will have finished a complete novel first draft. If you want it to be fast, this is a very intense but rewarding route to travel.

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