Exactly 410 days ago, Ryan Hicks announced at a Words Count writing session he was going to begin a writing marathon. He planned to journal for the next 500 days leading up to his graduation from the University of Michigan Flint with an MBA and an MS in Leadership and Organizational Dynamics.
He had a plan to downsize his life, sell his home, quit his job, publish a book, and move to another country, all within a few months of graduating. When he started off this writing marathon on day one, I remember thinking how far off this goal seemed to be. Each week when we met in Words Count writing sessions, he would begin by saying, “It’s day 77. It’s day 101. It’s day 149 and so on.”
Writing Marathon Day 180
Life plans and writing plans rarely go as expected. When life events get in the way, we do what most writers do. We adjust our writing schedule. After about 180 days, Ryan announced that daily journaling was no longer fun. This daily ritual turned into a stress-inducing obligation. So he adjusted the goal of journaling daily into something more manageable—writing once a week instead of once a day.
By the time Ryan reached day 410 of his writing marathon, he decided it was time to start a backwards countdown from day 90 to day one. By this time, his plan had materialized into the specific goal of getting a flight from Flint, Michigan, to Florianópolis, Brazil, on April 3rd, 2023. Ideally, he would hand over the keys to the new owners of his house the morning of his flight. And then hand over the keys to the new owner of his car as they drop him off at the airport. All along, he continued his writing marathon noting the many steps he took to make this happen.
Writing Marathon Day 410
His writing marathon revealed the many steps he had to take to accomplish his goal:
- paring down his wardrobe from a closet full of clothes down to only three outfits
- convincing his boss that he planned on quitting his job
- downsizing his kitchenware to just a few plates, bowls, and utensils
- finding a real estate agent to list his house
- scheduling his flight to Florianópolis
Aligning your writing marathon with a milestone can help you prepare for what’s coming. In addition, the documentation gives you a means to look back on your journey when you reach the finish line. Whether your intent is to keep a journal or write a book, your writing marathon will be a transformative experience.
Ryan calls his graduation countdown writing marathon, “500 Days of Madness.”
And one more thing–you’ll be much more inclined to complete your 500-Day Writing Marathon if you share your journey with fellow writers. Join a writing community.
Click here to sign up for a Words Count writing session and share your journey with fellow writers.
Dr. Lorraine Haataia earned six college degrees, including a PhD, by the age of 35. Writing has played a central role in her career as a professor, content marketing specialist, grants evaluator, continuous improvement ambassador, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder of Prolific Writers Life.