Eating an elephant in small chunks


Writing a book can be a tough job

Seriously. It can be. I mean, one day you feel inspired and write your first page and then it’s just sitting there and you know you gotta write but don’t know how to force yourself to do that.

Because it’s scary.

Because it’s big.

Because it’s a project.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I always knew I wanted to write and I always wrote: I wrote in my diary, I wrote letters, I started writing books many times and never finished, I wrote a few not incredibly successful short stories, and I actually had an article published in a magazine. The latest was a great achievement and that article stands at my mom’s book case in a frame, already yellow from the sunlight that changed the page colouring. Time to write something new?!

I always knew I had something important to write and I’m sure someone reading this feels the same way. But how to get it done? Jeez, I read a couple of books about writing and did a couple of online courses, but I would still get stuck and not ever finish a book. And so they were: my unfinished pieces, getting collected there in a file at my laptop. A file with the name «work in progress».

So eventually, – thanks goodness for this novel idea, I thought to myself: «The hell with it! I’m just gonna write a book just to finish it.» And so I waited. I waited for an idea to come. And it did! It was an idea about wonders that exercise did for me throughout my adult life. But again I started and was in fear of not fininshing it.

Then finally an answer came! I mean, I already I sorta was applying it but this time it actually worked! In the book «The spartan way» (can’t trace the exact words back) the author says something like: «if you want to write a memoire, write 500 words a day» – and so I thought to myself that that was a genious idea! Yes it would have taken me months to get something actually finished but I’d still be bale to do it in that way!

So I set off to write that book. It didn’t matter how long it would be, the important thing was to get a book finished. My first book ever FINISHED. And I did. It was tough. I had to make myself sit and write every morning, but once I was writing the process was full of joy (as if I didn’t know that).

Photo by Min An on

I got that done and jumped to the next one. The second book had an even greater premise, it was about some special people I met throughout my life. And again it was tough. But why this time? Because I thought if I can do 500 words, I can do 1000 and 1500. That killed it. It was too much. I stopped writing. I know 500 words a day is very little for a «real» writer, but it was too much for me, who was still building the writing habit.

Two weeks passed with no writing and just thinking about the pressure of it.

Then I thought again «The hell with it! 😊 I’m writing those 500 words again.»

And so I did. And that saved my writing. I finished writing the second book (both books aren’t large, they are of the size of novellas, but what matters to me is that I finished writing both of them). I got the projects done. Finished. Not let it hang undone. That is great.

And so again and again I come to this rule of thumb that works so well in writing, in doing exercise, in running, in anything: eat an elephant in little chunks. The big project looks way too BIG and scary, but when you do it a bit at a time and steady – you get it done. And then comes that feeling of accomplishment.

500 words a day, folks.


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