“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde



Million Word Challenge: Day Eighty


Hiya folks.

A huge apology from me; Mel and I have been travelling through a bunch of places lately and battling some pretty hard core sleep deprivation and jet lag.

Today would be day 90 of the Million Word Challenge, but instead I’m finally posting up a bunch of blogs I’d written before and, below, what would be the update for day 80, but until today I’d lacked the energy and time to post.

I hope it doesn’t disappoint anybody; for me, it’s a liberating step!

A new day, a new dynamic (and a major change)

I have been working for the last 80 days towards a grand goal; in my attempt to write a million words this year, I have sacrificed sleep, social events, relaxation and, at least to a certain extent, other (more important) work.

I feel like I have lost track of the purposes for which I commenced this challenge – at least in part – because, despite my best efforts to be organized and prepared and write as much as possible as early as possible every day, life just doesn’t always allow that kind of a regimented approach. Especially when you’re traveling.

I’ve been wrestling with this for a while – a sense that, better focused, I could use the time I presently allocate to writing huge amounts of content to write less, but have a greater impact with what I do write through better planning, strategy and conceptualization.

But it’s clear to me that I can’t do both – I can’t write 3,000 really good words a day and also do all the things I want to do in our businesses, and have time left over to have a life.

It’s a bridge too far.

Instead, I’m going to try and approach things more smartly. The million word challenge, and its updates, will remain – and I hope to have some more insanely productive days in terms of words written, but I am going to drop the one year time line.

Instead, my focus is going to shift to committing more effort to quality over quantity, mastering a craft over producing output for the sake of it, and hopefully being able to do more of the things I want to do, but haven’t, because the words are more difficult or will take longer to write.

At the end of yesterday, I had written a total of 192,636 words as part of this challenge; I feel pretty good about that – an average of 2,438 words per day across the first 79 days.

From now on, I will write regular updates (I’m not sure if they will be daily) but the focus is going to be on work with a purpose. No more writing to fill up blank spaces on a page. And it will all fit within a bigger plan; that, I feel, is the piece of the puzzle I’ve been missing.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-Nine


I may have to post this up on day 80, seeing as the internet connection in our room here is letting me down in all kinds of fun ways.

It’s been a decent day for writing, with the bulk of it complete by mid afternoon.

But it’s been an even better day for exploring – we got up bright and early and climbed a hill on the edge of town here to watch 80 or so hot air balloons cruise past, gracefully and expertly, at 7 o’clock.

Later in the day, we explored up around the other side, where it turns out there is a lookout on top of one of the cliffs, with a cafe that has pretty reliable Wi-Fi. Of course they do, right? It makes total sense.

The view up there is unbelievable. The closest analogy I can think of is the surface of Mars. It’s an incredible sight.

So onto the words, then:

I did provide a legal opinion to a friend of a friend for free; I don’t like to get into the habit of it, but for certain people I make an exception. This constituted 343 words, but every little helps, as my Great Grandma was fond of saying.

The remainder of the words were adding some body to the Berlin Coffee Guide; that was 2188 words for the good.

This post is 245 words long, for a daily total of 245 words.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-Eight


Heya folks

You probably have a decent idea already what many of my words today are going to be. However, I’m going to run through it here, because that is what I do in these updates.

So, the small surprise is that I wrote 950 words of updates for previous days today.

In addition to those, which finally brought me up to date here (sorry for the delay), I have finished my second Kapadokya post, which contributed 448 words to the mix.

Finally, I got to start a project that I’ve been excited about writing for a while now, and which I really want to get through before the memories fade: “The Coffee Snob’s Guide to Berlin”. That’s my working title anyway.

On that project, I’ve already powered through 1210 words.

This post is a total of 143 words, which makes for a daily total of 2751 words.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-Seven


Today, we made the epic trek from Guzelyurt to Goreme; about 2 hours as the crow flies, but a touch longer when you catch three public buses with two intermediate towns in between.

I might write more extensively on the experience at some point, but suffice it to say we were pretty proud of our efforts; despite the fact that we encountered a grand total of zero people with any English ability (and no tourists at all!) we didn’t make any directional mistakes, we arrived with our kidneys and our baggage intact.

And we saved quite a bit of money, in comparison with the cost of a hotel transfer. That money will be applied to fresh orange juice.

In the afternoon, we camped in a local cafe/restaurant with decent food, fresh juice and a mostly stable Wi-Fi connection. In fact, we stayed there all afternoon for a work session that encompassed lunch, dinner and drinks in between. It was nice to get some real work done, for the first time in over a week.

I didn’t write that much there though; I left the bulk of that for my sorry self to complete in a dusty armchair in our hotel room. It was a strangely comfortable and productive experience, though, I have to admit.

During the day, I managed to eke out a hefty 298 words for my Aunt’s web project that Mel’s been kindly leading and then, in the evening, I added 2555 words to the tally by fattening out part 2 of my Kapadokya update. Good times. Between parts one and two, I’ve now got it up to 7,400 plus words. I hope it’s entertaining; otherwise bloody nobody is going to want to read that.

This update is 302 words, which will count towards day 78.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-Six


The day of the second, and better, tour – not only because it was shorter, but I am sure that factor played a part.

I largely uneventful writing day, I managed to add some words to the tally, but alas the night got away from me a bit and, scared of keeping Mel awake as well as causing myself an even greater headache, I packed up early and clocked a meagre 1552 words on my Kapadokya posts (part one and two) for the day.

This update is 94 words, which will count towards day 78.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-Five


Our first full day in Kapadokya, we were on a tour from 9am until 7pm, which made for a long and exhausting day. I’ve written about it extensively in my second post on Kapadokya, which will be put up soon – probably on this blog. In this post, I wrote about our experiences with the trip to Kapadokya and the hotel – so while I won’t repeat it here, needless to say it was a lot of fun to write, which explains why I was satisfied staying up writing until midnight and completing a hefty 2838 words in a pretty brief writing session (of well under two hours).

This update is 117 words, which will count towards day 78.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-Four


Day 74 was a pretty hard core travelling day. Waking up at 5am, heading out to a random, predetermined point on the street and waiting for our airport transfer, then zooming over to the new Istanbul airport, catching a 90 minute flight to Kayseri and a 2.5 hour drive out to our hotel – that was pretty exhausting.

Needless to say, the tiredness, combined with the immense beauty of the surrounding countryside, provided some strong disincentives to work.

But work I did – a little bit. I wanted to keep writing about our Turkey experience while I was still fresh, so I did manage to add 525 words to the second Istanbul post before I collapsed in exhaustion and emotional overwhelm.

This update is 141 words, which will count towards day 78.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-Three


Day 73 was a marginally less disastrous day for writing, I am glad to say. On this day, I managed to add a not completely insignificant 671 words to my second instalment on Istanbul.

In addition, I wrote 578 words for Fair Marketeers, mostly around the publication of our weekly Ethical Business Podcast episode and 321 words for our education business.

This made for a day 73 total of 1570 words; just over half the rate I need if I’m going to do this.

This update is 95 words, which will count towards day 78.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-Two


I know I batched together my last few days of updates – and I fear I’m having to do it again. I have been writing, a bit, but we’ve been all over the place and often with poor internet at best; so the updates have been lacking. For that, I am sorry. You can blame a combination of me, the Turkish communications infrastructure, circumstances and a lot of Wi-Fi blocking stone caves.

Of course, however, I have been tracking my progress and am now ready to publish writing updates for days 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, and 77.

Today is day 78, so all these words will count towards day 78.

For the 72nd day, then, what did I achieve? Ummm, not a lot. I wrote 86 words on a product description for our education business. I think I’d made the decision that I was going to prioritize the experience of being in a foreign country and not kill myself trying to write. Kind of contrary to the purpose of this challenge, but I suppose everybody has their limits.

Have I seen my deficit blow out to over 20,000 words? Sure have.

This update is 104 words, which will count towards day 78.

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Million Word Challenge: Day Seventy-One



This update coming at you from day 4 of our Istanbul leg.

I’m in the midst of writing an update for Istanbul, as it happens – but it’s a little way off yet.

Toad, I’ve written 2232 words for the autoresponder series for our education business, which I have almost now finished.

In addition, I have completed 448 words on my post ‘Istanbul – the Second Impression’.

I’m a bit perplexed as to where it’s going; this place really confuses me. But we’ll see.

In other news, I’m toying with a recalibration on this challenge; I’m thinking of amortizing the current shortfall over the remainder, so I can have a slightly higher daily target, but a more motivating zero balance.

Might work, we shall see when I’m less tired.

We walked 13km today, up and down hills and all over – 20,600 steps. Crazy people.

This post: 146 words.

Total for day 71: 2826 words.


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