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How to Tackle a Huge Writing Project by Rochelle Melander

13 May 2014

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

My daughter Elly and me.

My daughter Elly and me.

This past weekend, I ran my first 5K, Run Like a Mother. I didn’t burn up the route but I finished, beating my best training time. The cool part: I had fun. Really. I enjoyed running and cheering on so many amazing athletes!

And in honor of tackling a challenge, today’s tip talks about one way to finish massive writing project!

Happy Writing!

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach



How to Tackle a Huge Writing Project by Rochelle Melander

Earlier this spring, we visited The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to view the Arts/Industry exhibition of pieces created by artists while on residency at the Kohler Co. Pottery, Iron and Brass Foundries, and Enamel Shop.

Babel by Jim Neel

Babel by Jim Neel

And wow—the art amazed me! I was astonished by Jim Neel’s Babel, an installation of 50 ceramic chimpanzee warriors, lined up and ready to fight. The artist spent just 11 weeks casting the monkeys and their weapons. He shared the kiln and other equipment with factory workers who were casting sinks and toilets.

As I walked into the room where Babel stood, I felt overwhelmed by the dozens of marching monkeys. I wondered: how does one conceive of something so large and then complete it in a short period of time?

On the wall, just above his army of monkeys, the museum posted this quote from Jim Neel:

I just put my head down and made sure I got those two monkeys finished every day and as many arms and legs as I could. –Jim Neel

Eleven weeks. Two monkeys a day. And as many arms and legs as I could.

That’s so much more concrete than my usual, “I’ve got to work on this book.”

Jim Neel successfully finished his project within his 11-week residency because he committed himself to slow and steady progress: two monkeys a day. It’s not very sexy, but it works.

Try it: Take a look at your current work in progress. What does two monkeys a day look like for you? Declare it and do it!


5 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Jaeger

    Rochelle, this is so amazing! I just went to that exhibit on Mother’s Day and pointed out Jim Neel’s quote to my husband. Thank you for connecting it so wisely to my work!

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