This is a bit of a different post and probably of more interest to my fellow writers, though it applies just as well to non-writing activities.
I was struggling to make progress in The Kingdoms of the Core. With all the ghostwriting to pay the bills and other responsibilities on my plate, I found myself with very little consistent time to write “for me,” meaning in the series. I’d have an hour here or a half-hour there, and find myself saying things like, “That’s only enough time to get X number of words down. I’ll just do more ghostwriting, make more money, and free myself up to write more in the series later.”
The problem: Days go by, unexpected things emerge affecting your schedule and finances (as they always do), and “later” never comes. Before long, I’d strung weeks together without making any progress in the series. This had happened many times before.
The solution: A principal I call The Greatest Small amount. It works like this: Whatever your goal is, you commit to doing a small bit of it every day, only an amount that you know you can get done on any day. If your goal is to exercise, maybe you commit to ten push-ups and ten sit-ups every day. For me it was making consistent progress in the series, so I chose 500 words as my commitment. I knew that I could write 500 words on even my most hectic day if I dedicated myself to it.
The result was immediate and amazing. As it turns out, the most difficult part of doing anything is starting. It’s the part that takes the most thinking, the most battling with procrastination, the most overcoming of internal objections like the one I constantly gave. But realizing that you’re only on the hook for a small amount of effort removes much of that barrier to begin. As soon as I made the decision to write 500 words per day, I never missed that goal. That alone was a huge step forward. But something else happened. I ended up writing way more than 500 words. Without even thinking about it, I started averaging around 2,000 words per day in those small little gaps of time that I thought weren’t big enough to use.
Now, I’m ahead of my self-set schedule for The Five Endure and still exceeding all of my other responsibilities. Instead of dreading the thought of “whether I’ll be able to make any progress in the series, today,” now I look forward to those “500 words” every day. It’s a bright spot and I make sure I get it done before anything else. I’ve even begun applying the same principle to my ghostwriting and find the same results. Without that looming shadow of procrastination and doubt, I get more done at a higher quality.
If you found this helpful (or even if you just made it all the way to the end), I hope you’ll let me know in the comments. Or, share how you have been able to overcome one of your writing hurdles.
Cheers and happy writing/reading!
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As always, you can visit that world by clicking the links below. The entire series is available for free in Kindle Unlimited or for purchase, individually.
The Five Awaken
The Five Emerge
The Five Endure preorder