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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

I'm Writing 100 Essays in 100 Days

I’m currently writing 100 essays in 100 days.

A cartoon of a starfish sitting on a rock and writing a long to do list. There is sand beneath him and seaweed behind him.
"Writing 100 Essays" Illustration by Jackie Schuld

It started when my sister recommended the documentary, “14 Peaks.” It’s about Nimsdai Purja, a Nepali mountaineer who sets out to climb the 14 tallest peaks in the world in the shortest time possible.

I loved it. I was enthralled by Nimsdai’s joy, sense of community, and drive.

I wanted 14 peaks of my own. I wanted to challenge myself within a short period of time and accomplish something that took immense amounts of effort.

Since I’m not a mountaineer, nor aspire to be one, I began drawing little mountains on a piece of paper. I started filling in each mountain with different goals, such as “pay off student loans” or “become s-corporation.”

The more I wrote, the more ideas came to mind. Suddenly, I had dozens and dozens of mountains.

It was overwhelming.

And that is when it occurred to me - Nimsdai had a singular goal. He was doing the same thing, 14 times over.

My goals were all over the place.

That moment of clarity helped me to see why I was feeling stuck in some areas of my business. I was spreading myself too thin with goals and visions.

I decided I needed to take a step back and discern where I wanted to concentrate my energy. Given that my art therapy private practice meets all of my financial needs, I want anything I do outside of my business (hobbies, business ventures, business consultation, writing books, etc.) to be something I absolutely want to do.

But I have been having trouble figuring that out.

And so, I decided to write 100 essays in 100 days.

There are no requirements, other than that I must type the essay (I write differently when I type versus when I handwrite) and it has to be polished enough to be posted online (I also write differently when I know someone is going to read it and expect a logical flow of words, which I write about in my essay What Writing For Others Provides You). I have no rules around how often I have to post an essay, but I've been gradually sharing them on my blog.

The intention of my essay challenge is threefold:

  1. I want to see what sorts of themes I gravitate toward when I write daily. Do I write more on coaching topics? Therapy? Other life thoughts? I thought this could help me discern what new business venture truly excites me.

  2. I want to develop my writing muscles. Ten years ago, it felt natural to write an essay. When I decided to write my first blog post for my private practice, it took me almost three weeks. I couldn’t believe how difficult it felt.

  3. I want to accomplish something that I have never done. For me, it’s challenging to write every day and to make it 100 days.

I am now on Day 71.

In these 71 days, I have realized another unexpected benefit. Through my writing, I am stepping into and claiming my power. I am naming and exploring my unique viewpoints as a therapist and business owner. I am creating vocabulary and methodologies that underpin my knowledge, experience, and skills. I am, as Kelly Diels calls it, building my own body of work.

I used to be so scared to be different from other therapists. I now know that fear was due to a fault-proof mentality that is common to most therapists (something I was able to uncover due to my writing). I am shedding layers and layers, and boldly stating my opinions and viewpoints.

I’m excited to see where the next 29 days take me.


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