100 days and Xeno’s Tortoise

Xeno’s Paradox lives!

It’s the old Greek tale that demonstrates it’s logically impossible to overtake a tortoise if you give it a head start. Because to catch up, you’ve got to travel halfway to him first. And when you get there, he’s a bit further ahead. You’ve now got to cover half the remaining distance. As you do, the tortoise plods a bit further. And so on.

Of course, it’s a fallacy. But it has some parallels to the writing process of 100 Days, 100 Grand.

In the middle of 2016, I spent three months solid on a big surge of content, with enough now there to start testing it as an actual work plan. (In other words, becoming a six-figure freelancer myself.) Did it work? Yes – and how. A single sales letter to a small list (fewer than 40 prospects!) led to a fully-booked September, with initial projects turning into new retainer clients at the rate of one a month. A situation still in progress now, six months later. (One reason I’m blogging on a Saturday afternoon.)

But of course, each new client took up days on the calendar…days I couldn’t spend on the book. In fact, September to December I completed barely one chapter a month. This has happened several times in the long slog to publication, and I expect it to happen again. It’s great for my own freelancing business, but no good for yours.

The book’s now 80% done: 235,000 words of 250,000 or so and 1096 pages of a planned 1200. (I know that’s not 80%, but I expect a great deal of current content to disappear in editing.) But each time I test a process, it reduces the amount of time I can spend on that last 20%. Pure Xeno’s Tortoise stuff. It’s both frustrating and exhilarating. Because I can see the finishing post… but my own actions are preventing me from reaching it.

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