Sustaining your writing during stressful times—three:

Using small steps

I started posting about this topic a few weeks ago because I was frustrated by my lack of progress. As you can tell, these posts are becoming a regular thing.

If you haven’t read the other post you can find them here:

I don’t mind sharing my journey though, because this process does a few things:

  • Commitment—This is especially true if you don’t have consistent cheerleaders or a writing community. I can’t tell you how invaluable having people who offer support are. These people genuinely want us to succeed.
  • New words—Once a week as I write this update on accomplishing small steps, I’m also being creative and adding new words.
  • Accountability—By sharing my outcome, I’ve committed to seeing the process to its completion because, as an added incentive, I have to report my progress. This means continuing to writing. That alone is motivating.

As mentioned in a previous post, I came across Stick With It, while browsing the internet for ways to consistently see my goals to completion. You should note that I do get tasks done—generally…sometimes, but never in a timely manner. Meeting deadlines is necessary (in my opinion) to sustaining a long healthy writing career. If you write for a living or want to write full time (like me) then we are entrepreneurs and our business is writing and publishing.

My Progress: Week 2

Small steps: Can be accomplished now.

Write daily (no matter the word count). Completed one blog post, added one new chapter to book 2.

Short term goals: Can be accomplished in one week.

Work on marketing twice per week. Working on second cover.

The cover I completed last week. Book one took one year to write and book two was on the same path. That’s why I’m trying this process.

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

Feel good story: On this day in history or Instead of selling lemonade, boy sets up drive by joke stand

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.)

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