I’m working on a project this year. A big one.
It’s a novel that I had thought about for years, about a rather obscure Indian teenager who goes to London in 1888 to study law. But I was overwhelmed at the research and the hard work that particular plot would entail, and I was scared (not to mention lazy – all that Victorian details to study! Slang to learn! Locations to visualise! Words to write!).
So, apart from constant daydreaming, I did nothing.
Last year, after the jaundice holiday, I decided I couldn’t die without at least writing that novel that I had been dreaming for a long time. I started the plotdoodling process, arrived at a workable outline, wrote a couple of chapters (had to show something to the visa officers when they asked me why I need to go to UK to write a novel) and spent Nov 2013 in London on live and library research. Finally, I felt ready (and brave) enough to attempt writing a first draft.
Yes, even saying that makes my stomach clench. I already have 12 chapter books and 12 short stories to write this year, so am I biting off more than I could chew? More importantly, am I the right person to pen this particular tale? I don’t know…. but I will never know if I don’t attempt it.
Last year, one of the my worst years yet, I finished one tiny chapter book. Just 10000 words. It was not my big project though. The big project was that I created an author platform for myself. I had bits and bobs of different webpages scattered all over the Net, it was not doing anyone, any good, and I always meant to do something about it, you know… as soon I got some free time.
Soon after I finished the chapter book and was so pumped with enthusiasm (and aware that my ‘writing holiday’ will come to an end soon), I sat down, deleted all my defunct webpages and created the blogsite you’re currently reading now. It took some sleepless nights and it is not 100% done, but in the middle of personal debris and bittersweet life lessons, it was a lifeline to be able to say that, yes, I completed one big project. And it felt GOOD.
You know what they say about being thin? It’s the same with procrastination. No amount of LATER feels as good as one day in the NOW.
In fact that is going to be my plan from now on. To work on one big project a year.
To publish anything, you need to have written it first and that’s where I have always failed. Lots of initiation, no execution. So for 2014, my only goal is to write. Not publish.
And so far, I am doing good. As a happy side effect, I am inspiring others too.
Challenges that ask you to succeed every week or month maybe completely beyond what you can hope to aim for in 2014. But you definitely can work on one big project a year. A book, a blog, a sculpture, that marathon you’ve been meaning to run, a language you always wanted to learn – choose one that’s closest to your heart. If nothing else, it will keep you motivated, interested, engaged. It will keep you drenched in the relief that you have not given up, under any circumstances.
No matter how busy or hassled you are in keeping house, paying your bills or raising your children, one big project – with a time limit of 365 days – will keep your inner muse happy and the Knife content.
Is there a single project that has kept you bright-eyed and excited for a long time but remains unfinished because you are too busy to pay attention to it?
If yes, exactly what or who is stopping you from making it the Project of the Year?