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.
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.
Finding the time to write isn’t always as hard as finding the focus to write.
My house is full of distractions—animals, chores, deliveries, laundry, phone calls, the list goes on and on especially since this has become as much our bunker as our home.
And then there’s the other inhabitants who are currently working from here instead of where they have always worked for most of my writing career. I am never alone at my house. And even if these people are on a different floor, doing their own thing, not paying a lick of attention to me, their presence stifles my writing.
The hardest part of writing is the first line—it’s just summoning up the gumption to start.
Some days I sit for minutes that drag on and on, finger poised over the keyboard, unmoving. When nothing comes to me, I distract myself with e-mail or Instagram, talk to the dogs, or scroll through Facebook, anything to delay those first words.