I was recently reminded of the value of taking little steps to achieve a big goal. If you’re a football fan, you are probably familiar with the phrase, “It’s a game of inches,” made popular by a screaming Al Pacino in the 1999 film, Any Given Sunday.
I truly believe that writing is also a game of inches. That’s how I wrote my very first novel. I had no idea what I was doing and it would be another ten years before that book actually became a published novel, but I started by simply telling myself to write a few paragraphs every day.
Writing a book seemed impossible, even writing a chapter, but a paragraph? I could do that.
It’s down to the wire now on my Goodreads goal. How about you- will you make it?
Last year, I upped my Goodreads goal number to 100 books this year. (and for those of you uninitiated, if you are on goodreads, you can set an annual goal and Goodreads will track your progress all year, letting you know if you’re on track to reach your goal).
I raised my goal this year because I wanted to challenge myself to read more and mess around on my phone less. I’ve still got six books to go, but I’ve got three weeks (and four books in progress) so it seems doable.
On Wednesday I attended a book fair at our local community college to represent and sell my books.
I have to tell you that as a writer, these experiences are the worst and the best. The worst being the preparation (packing, finding everything, schlepping it all over there) and then sitting there hoping people will stop at my table. Many people hurry by, averting their eyes, or smiling apologetically, making me feel like a sleezy salesman pushing overpriced, cheap products.
I feel awkward, uncomfortable, ridiculous, and I pretty much always tell myself I’m never doing this again. The handful of sales I’ll make are never worth the time and torture. And really, why do I have to do it? Will it make any difference in the big scheme of things? Will it make or break my ‘success’ as a writer? Probably definitely not.
But then there are moments that remind me of the best part of writing. A little girl, probably 10 or 11, appeared in front of my table with twinkly eyes and a shy smile. “I found you!” she said.
Are you wasting all your time with all these words? #areyoustillwriting #amwriting #writerswrite
I have gotten out of the habit of writing.
And serious writing depends on just that—habit. Not waiting for inspiration or time or a good night’s sleep or a better outline or the dog to shut up or until you take some class/webinar/retreat.
Writing requires that you sit down and do it. No matter what. As often as possible, every day if you can. You start where you are and spill your jumbled thoughts, wandering storylines, and vast emotions on the page. Your fingers tap along as your heart and mind try to make sense of it. (or maybe that’s just how it works for me.)
If you keep going, pressing past the doubt and frustration and discouragement and that little nagging bird fluttering all around you chirping that you’re wasting so much time, if you wave her away and type on, I promise something will come of it.
Once again, my bad boy horse has outworn his welcome. This is the fourth time, I’ve sent him to a new home, with great hopes that this would be the one, but like a furry boomerang he is coming back. Only this time, I don’t have a pasture to put him in.
All I can say is that ever since visiting the Shenandoah Valley fifteen years ago to run a trail race, it’s had a hold of me. I came home from that first trip having run the mountains, discovered wineries, stomped divets at a polo game, meandered through tiny downtowns, and soaked up the quiet and peace, I told Nick, “You have to come to Virginia with me.”