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Monday, November 28, 2011

One Day At A Time

“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all that I can permit myself to contemplate.”—John Steinbeck

For four weeks now, most of my posts have been on the NaNoWriMo theme. How many of you thought about participating, then decided not to because how could you ever in a million years write 50,000 words in a month? Especially with a big ol’ holiday in the middle of it?

Have you ever thought: “I want to write a book.” Then sat down at your computer to start, and after a few minutes realized there is no way you could ever hope to write 400 pages. It’s too long. Too hard. ‘Real’ writers must have something I don’t.

Without dissecting the term ‘real writer’, they have one thing you may not – short-term goals. Even greats like Steinbeck needed interim goals because the main goal (completing a novel) is just too overwhelming to hold on to while you’re trudging through the trenches of daily life.
Completing NaNo probably seemed impossible to many, right up until they did the math and realized that you can reach that goal by writing only 1,667 words a day. If you single-space, that’s less than three pages of text.

Try it. Every time you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself, the only goal that counts is today. Worry about tomorrow’s goal when tomorrow gets here. (This actually works pretty well to manage stress and worry, too, but that’s another blog . . .)

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