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27.3.19

Small steps get results

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Several weeks back, I fractured my leg. Long story, but suffice to say, I’ve literally been taking small steps (on crutches) as I wait for it to heal (big goal). You’ll see the parallel here with writing a book. It’s a big goal. Achieving it takes small steps. But many thought leaders make this mistake in their approach.

I know this because they tell me. Repeatedly authors say they intend to set aside whole days, weekends or weeks to write. I understand this impetus to do this. The small steps to recovery of my leg have been as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Big steps feel satisfying. Small steps feel frustrating. For a woman who might describe herself as “action woman”, I find frustration a pretty hard emotion to manage.

The risky I’ve-got-time-coming-up trap

Thought leaders are doers. They want to get stuff done. Now. And it is possible to write a book in a weekend. The problem is that, more often than not, the time set aside gets eroded. We set aside a day, weekend or week, and we get sick. Or there is a family emergency. Or we arrive on the day and the task simply seems too overwhelming and we procrastinate all day and waste the time.

Meanwhile, we lose opportunities to make a little progress every day. When we tell ourselves we have time coming up, we don’t do what we could do today. We procrastinate. It’s the I’ve-got-time trap.

Writing in the cracks

Chances are, we never will have enough time to write a book. And, I have found, that even after 20 years of writing, two hours of focused, no-distractions writing is pretty much all I can do productively. Yes, I can keep writing, but the laws of diminishing returns apply.

If you want to get your book done, do it in small steps. I call it “writing in the cracks”.

My leg is nearly better. It’s taken small steps to get there. To be honest, I’ve wasted time feeling frustrated instead of simply getting on with the job of recovery and doing what I can “in the cracks” between physio and doctors appointments.

Have you got a moment between meetings? Write your reader persona. Last minute cancellation? Plan your book outline? Partner out for the evening? Dot point your chapter.  

Tell me how you get your book written in the cracks. I’d love to hear from you.

 

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