Monthly Archives: April 2020

Sustaining your writing during stressful times—two:

Using small steps

In the last post, I mentioned four ways that help me maintain momentum. For me, momentum can be a fleeting thing. I wake inspired with big dreams and plans. I map an outline on how to achieve that new dream and get a running start.

Or so I think…

It doesn’t matter whether it’s learning Spanish to communicate better with friends and family or writing my next book, momentum is a struggle. Don’t get me wrong, I finish stories…eventually. They take way longer than I’d like.

In addition to being slow, there’s self-criticism.

It took a long time to stop comparing my progress to other writers, ignore negative voices both internal and external—negativity grows if not kept in check.

Wanting to accomplish goals on time, which gets me closer to being a full time writer, I turned to the internet – being in quarantine allows for such internet habits to develop—and came across Stick With It: A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life by Sean D. Young.

In short, the book highlights why we break the goals we set for ourselves and using science, the author provides guidance to breaking the cycle. At least that’s my watered-down understanding. I’m intrigued. With time on my side, and armed with the knowledge that it takes time + executing small steps to stick to goals, I’m giving this theory a try.

After sharing my thoughts about this process, a friend of mine who also happens to be a writer, Laurie Hazel, mentioned Susan DeFreits’s series of post on, Developing a Writing practice. Based on the same book, she goes into greater detail.

My Progress: Week 1

Small steps: Can be accomplished now.

Write daily (no matter the word count). Ended the week by completing another chapter and 2 new blog posts.

Short term goals: Can be accomplished in one week.

Work on marketing twice per week. Worked on book cover for book 1—hope to share it soon

Long term goals: one month

Finish book 2.

Dream: three months or more

Publish 1 story a month starting May – October

Publish 6 titles in six months

What is my hope for this process you ask? That by the time normal exists again I will have formed new achievable, measurable habits. I have no idea if these steps are small enough, so I may have to readjust as I go.

What I’m reading: A Scientifically Proven Process for Changing Your Life by Sean D. Young.

Feel good story: Dogtor Loki is a therapy dog delivering ‘Healthcare Hero Kits’ to nurses

Indie Publishing Question:

Q. Is it a good time to self-publish?

A. I’m currently embarking on the same journey during uncertainty. The good news, as business owners we can test the market anytime. Internet usage is up. Subscription services like Scribd and KDP select are up (if you choose that path.)

Sustaining your writing during stressful times

Like many of you, I’ve been in quarantine for 25 days. I’m in that high-risk population because of my Cystic Fibrosis.

The first few days were spent making lofty plans to finish a project, start projects, and edit existing works.

By the second week, I was stressed. I was afraid of getting sick, overwhelmed by the news, and becoming frustrated by my lack of writing progress. I had to take a step back and refocus my energy on the things I could control: what I did with and how I spent my time.

What do you do to help refocus your writing energy?

  • Tap into your writing community

Tapping into my writing community keeps me focused and inspired on my goals. It is a hub for all things writing, marketing and motivation. An added bonus is being surrounded by like-minded creators.

  • Show up

Skipping writing time because of lack of motivation is easier than planting your butt in the chair. But I can assure you, one hundred new words consistently each day is better than zero. You can’t edit what you don’t have.

  • Get inspired

I don’t know about you, but this pandemic has given me new perspective. I suspect millions of people are going to devote time into pursuing their dreams. I also imagine some of those dreams are of being self-employed and not dependent on a 9-5. 

Some of us are realizing how vulnerable we are and want to change that.

The good news? Authors are already on that path of entrepreneurship. 

For others, getting inspired isn’t anything as drastic. It’s outlining a new story, developing a simple marketing plan, or designing a new cover.

  • Small steps

Part of my frustration was making a huge list of things to accomplish during my quarantine time. Instead, focus on small achievable goals that can be celebrated when completed.

Write for short periods of time each day or on consistent days each week. Depending on your output, 30-45 mins might be enough to feel productive. With the kids home, 15-30 mins of speed writing will suffice. The goal is forward movement using small recognizable steps.

How are you maintaining your creativity?

What I’m reading: Become a Successful Indie Author 

Feel good story: After 13 years of social distancing, giant pandas finally mate

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