Monday, June 15, 2015

Progress & Check In

Despite best intentions it's almost been a month since an update here. In May I talked about making small steps towards progress. Today I'm happy to report that things are still on track.

I am not sure how far I have made it from my starting point, but I know I have made progress. Some is small ways. I'm increasing my average amount of steps taken each day using a step tracker. I'm still far from the recommended 10,000, but I am doing better than I was before. I have been writing nearly every day. In fact, a story I started on May 13th is 4 chapters from having a draft done right now. Today I am scheduled to write chapter 36, and yes that means I am averaging more than a chapter a day if only by a little. My living area has recently taken a step back, but not in a large way. I started it back on track just yesterday.

The best part of all this though is that by focusing on small steps I am not feeling daunted  by anything. I'm not looking at the large goals and judging my progress to them, I am looking at the small goals. I have expectations for my day, and people (or person) to help me meet them and keep on task. Every day I have a feeling of progress, and that also is helping my mental state and keeping me move forward, at least so far.

For anyone out there mired in a rut and not sure how to get back on track, try doing it in small steps. You don't need to clean your whole house. Just clean one corner of one room. Tomorrow clean another corner and take a minute to maintain the previous corner if it got dirty. Do it in small steps and enjoy the progress. Don't let the enormity of the final task confront you. Had I told myself on May 13th that on June 15th I would have written Chapters 1-36 of this story I don't think I'd have ever done it. 36 chapters at even just 2k words a day is 72,000 words.

So how did I do it? Well, for starters when I say I intend to write chapter 36 today what I mean is I intend to finish chapter 36 today. I've already written the first 300-600 words of the chapter. I don't need to write 2k words, I need to write 1.5k words. Once that 1.5k words is done and the chapter is finished, I'm done. Except that the blank page is scary and what is another 300 words at that point? So I'll get some amount of words done on Chapter 37. Then, tomorrow I'll just have to finish Chapter 37.

I help myself with this in other ways to. Every chapter has to end at a point that draws the reader into the next chapter. You know what draws the reader? The same stuff that draws the writer. That means my daily writing consists of building up to something and ends with a resolution and the start of the next thing. Resolution and start is easy after buildup, it has a flow, but that also means that when I start writing that the start is already done and I just have to do the next build up.

Small steps are key. Small steps make a big journey manageable. Give it a try. It works, at least for me.

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