Last Thursday, a publisher called and asked me to write a 32-page book about how to make Rainbow Loom-style rubber band bracelets.
What do I know about Rainbow Loom-style rubber band bracelets?
Yup, pretty much nothing. I mean, I had heard of loom bracelets. And I saw some nine-year-olds making them at the beach last summer. But I could never stretch that story into 32 pages.
So what did I tell the publisher?
"I love Rainbow Loom bracelets! I've been keeping up with the craze for a while now, and I will absolutely write this book for you. I'll have the draft ready next Friday."
I agreed to write the book because...well...why would I not want to write a book? It's extra money, it gets my name out there, and I can add another pretty cover to this page on my website. And I have written books on snowboarding and skateboarding in the past, waaaaay before I knew what an ollie even was.
(Admission: I forgot what an ollie was just now. I had to look it up. I certainly can't be expected to retain info from every single topic I write about, right?)
So, I agreed to write the book last Thursday. I assumed I would get a terrific head start over the weekend, finish up on Monday, and then edit until Friday.
But it was such a beautiful weekend!
I had drinks with a friend, wandered around Union Square, spruced up my bike, and even bought plants and window boxes.
I did not, however, write a single word about bracelet-making.
Monday came and I assumed I would work all Monday evening to get the job done.
But my roommate was home and it was so much fun to catch up with him that I didn't want to open my laptop.
I set my alarm for 6am Tuesday morning. I don't love getting up early, but I happen to be really good at it. And you know what? I buckled down and turned out 15 pages of the book in three hours. Victory! Sweet, sweet (temporary) victory!
As you can probably tell, I am still procrastinating by writing this blog for you, but I want to stress several things about this story that I often forget myself:
1. You can write anything.
Whether it's a research paper, a resume, a college essay, web copy, or a syllabus. Heck, if someone asked me to write a 350-page text on the migration pattern of the arctic wolf, I'd do it. You just need to have (fake) confidence that you can get the job done. In other words, #FakeItTilYouMakeIt.
2. Deadlines save lives.
Okay, they don't literally save lives. But they put a mental stopping point into your brain. So even if you don't have a deadline, give yourself one. And then tell someone else about it so you have admitted to the world that you're going to accomplish a task by a certain date.
I could write a lot more about both of these points, but I've got to hustle and finish the book.
Until next week...
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