On Veteran’s Day 2012 I released a Youtube video announcing the project –> http://youtu.be/fupc1MKv6Sg
It was a big deal for me to do that. I am not one to boast publicly about something that I am GOING to do. In other words, you won’t find me talking about a goal I am going to hit or something I am working on just about ever. Instead, I tend to keep my mouth shut and just work on the goal. The only time you will hear me talking about it is when it is done and I say, ‘I just did this.’
This was true in a sense on this project, I had the idea in 2011 and began working on it May 1, 2012 (memorizing). Yet only a handful of people knew about it until the above video on Veteran’s Day 2012.
In the video, I said I would write the 1st wall out in January or February. Doing what you say you are going to do is a big deal for me. Even if a statement comes back to bite you later you got to follow through. Little did I know at the time how optimistic the January to February time line would be; much like the entire project. May 1st I had set a goal of writing the wall out on the 4th of July. In other words, I was predicting an 8 week window to memorize to memorize the 2,200 names.
At the USA Memory Championship, I will memorize 130 names in 15 minutes so I just did a little multiplication in my head and figured 17 times that with some review days in there…8 weeks is very doable. I could not have been more wrong. I completely factored wrong how much the review process would work. I wasn’t reviewing 2200 names but 7,000 words (rank, 1st name and last). Towards the end of the project it would take days just to review the entire list. I misunderstood how challenging the spelling would be:
By July 1st I wasn’t even close to being finished. By Veteran’s Day I had arrived at 1600 and once again my optimism boiled over and estimated I would be writing the wall in January or February at the latest.
My intensity picked up after I released the video and December and January all I did was memorize. Sometimes 8 hours a day. It was the middle of January and I had no venue, no date and NO WALL. The puzzle pieces began to fall….
I casually told a woman in Ft Worth about my plans and she said, ‘Oh, I know exactly who you need to talk to.’ She connected me and within a few days the downtown Ft Worth had a location for me selected. I opted for the date of Feb 28th. It was the last possible day I could write the names and still stick to my word/goal of a Jan/Feb wall.
I can’t believe how wrong I was with the time it would take to complete this project. On the other hand, I am glad I was wrong. If I had known up front it would take 10 months and $25,000 plus before I even wrote the first name….maybe I wouldn’t have started. I am so grateful I did.
The next challenge was the wall construction. That is for another blog….