Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Little Steps not Big Leaps

Most of the time when I have a huge task ahead of me, like cleaning my house up for some guests that are coming, if I focus on everything that needs to be done as a whole I will often freeze. I won’t know where to start or even how to get started. It’s too much. I can’t do it.
Sometimes the goal of 50K words can seem like a heck of a lot. How are you supposed to accomplish this lofty goal when you have work, school, kids, etc?
The answer is fairly simple. Don’t look at the big picture. Focus instead on one small aspect. Something simple, something you know you can do. If I am cleaning my house I focus on clearing off my coffee table first. It’s not much, but when it is done everything looks so much better already. With writing it is the same - focus on a small easily accomplished task.
Like the daily goal of 1667 words.
If you type about 30 wpm you can do that in about an hour.  At 20 wpm that is less than 1.5 hrs of writing. At 10 wpm that is 2.5 hrs.
Small goals are what gets the job done. Words turn into sentences. Sentences turn into paragraphs. Paragraphs turn into chapters. Chapters become a novel. What stops so many people from accomplishing that first draft is the fact that they are focussed on the big picture of a first draft, but you can’t have a first draft without a first word, a first paragraph or a first chapter.
Break it down. If you can only write 10 words per minute then break up the time you write. I don’t know about you, but I cannot write for 2.5 hrs straight without a break. Still, what is that? 30 minutes in the morning. 30 minutes over lunch. 30 minutes when you get home from work or school. 30 minutes after dinner. 30 minutes before you go to bed.
It’s really not all that much to do. And most people can type or handwrite more than 10 words in a minute.
Focusing on small, manageable goals can keep you from being overwhelmed at what you are about to do. Focus on what you know you can do and everything else will follow suit. If you have more time then give yourself more time. If you can get one extra word over your goal, then do it.
While your energy is high, while every word feels new, shiny and awesome - write more. If you can, get that buffer of extra words early. Things will happen, some days you might not write as much - and that is okay! Just don’t worry about that big picture until you get there.
Do what you can with what you have. It is truly all any of us can do.

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