Spaghetti Stains, Dog Bites & A Donut That Slowed Me Down

Before you read today’s post, make sure you read what I wrote yesterday. It will allow the following story to make much more sense, trust me.

A couple of years ago, I was offered a freelance job that involved writing more than 10,000 words about a variety of topics ranging from carpet cleaning to personal injury lawyers. The job required me to finish 21 articles in 5 days. And it paid terribly.

I took it.

Why would I do something so dumb, you ask? I knew it would be tough and not a sound financial decision, but I looked at it as a challenge. I figured that if I could write so many words about things I know noting about, writing posts for my own blog would be a breeze.

I was wrong.

After feverishly researching attorneys and carpet companies, I completed the job with just a few hours to spare. I sent in the work and was rewarded with a paycheck that would barely cover the cost of my dinner.

When I took the job, I had assumed that by doing so much writing in such a short time, I would morph into a writing champion. I envisioned Mr. Pulitzer stopping by my house to tell me he heard about what I did and he would like to name an award after me. I figured knocking out 2,000 words a day, on topics I was not familiar with, would crush any future writers block that came my way.

I was way off.

Upon finishing, I was exhausted, unhappy and in no mood to write. Not only did I feel nothing like a writing champion, I felt more like a writing curmudgeon. After completing 10,845 words, the last thing I wanted to do was write another sentence.

And to make matters worse, I doubt that I improved as a writer. I spent most of a week writing about how to remove a spaghetti stain and why you should hire a lawyer if you are bitten by a dog; neither topic that will ever come up in my children’s books or this blog. Sure I wrote a ton of words, but they weren’t useful building blocks on my path to become a more experienced writer.

I practiced with a donut and all it did was slow me down.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about challenging ourselves as writers. Stepping out of our comfort zone will help us improve in may ways. But when we do, we should try to make sure our effort, as professor DeRenne said, mimics what we will do in the game.

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