The perfect way to eat an elephant.

Big hands or little keyboard?

Big hands or little keyboard?

Do you ever read those pithy little proverbs that tell you in a nutshell where you are going wrong with your life? You know the kind of thing; ‘Live life to the fullest, because it only happens once’, or ‘Each new day is another chance to change your life’.

They always make me feel a little bit panicky, like I’m wasting my one and only opportunity to have a great life. I feel like I need to follow the advice immediately and never waste another precious moment. If only it were that easy. The problem, of course, is that changing the way you live on a day to day basis is an enormous task. It’s so daunting in fact that it’s much easier to simply roll over and go back to sleep as it were. So here’s an idea; every time you read another of those messages on a fridge magnet or the internet remember these complementary ones. ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’ and ‘the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time’. You see so long as you make the task manageable I do believe you can make these life changing differences and that’s why I am writing this at 9am on a Saturday morning. I’m also writing it on a silly little keyboard attached to the tablet PC. It’s all because I want to write more, I want to write better and I want to write while we are travelling. I want to make writing part of my life.

I read something on a blog the other day that really caught my imagination. It was written by a poet who said that he had committed to writing a poem every single day. He accepted that not all the poems would be good but that didn’t matter. The point was to commit to the task and to improve. So that’s what I have decided to do. Every day between now and when we leave I am going to write 500 words on this stupid keyboard. Oh don’t worry I have no intention of publishing the vast majority of the drivel I will no doubt produce. I will be strict with myself and only inflict upon you what I consider to be the best of the best and maybe the funny stuff as well.

Here’s another little saying: ‘Practice makes perfect’. I don’t believe that actually. ‘Practice makes progress towards perfection’ would be a little more accurate. It doesn’t have quite the same satisfying alliteration but practice I will.

By the time we are ready to depart I will have written about 37,000 words and I will feel that I have done something worthwhile with a little spoonful of each day. I might also have stopped typing triple letters instead of doubles and joining every other word to its neighbour as well.

It takes about twenty minutes to write 500 words. No more than the time it takes to make and drink a cup of tea. So what are you waiting for? Start eating that elephant. (Or giant squash if you’re vegetarian)

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