Tuesday, June 6, 2017

One Bite at a Time

Posted by: Joely Sue Burkhart
I'm sure you've heard the saying that to eat an elephant, you should start one bite at a time. I resist that idea a lot because I'm so impatient. I want results now. e.g. if I'm starting a new diet or exercise program, I have to go full-out gangbusters. Tackle it 110% percent!

And you know what happens almost every single time?  I burn out long before I get to the goal and just give up.

For a variety of reasons, 2016 and 2017 have been a writing bust for me. But I'm trying to get back to the elephant in the room and finish the @#%&*@ book.  I even took a class last month to help.  (Write Better Faster with Becca Syme at Margie Lawson's Writing Academy)  It helped tremendously, though not in the ways I expected.

Just talking with other people about my issues and how to work through them was extremely useful.  I also realized that I have all or nothing thinking.  I have to do this HUGE THING or OMG FAIL.  That's not true at all.  I can start small and slowly work my way up to where I want to be and it's not failure if it takes me a bit longer to get there.  Failure is just sitting here not doing anything.

One thing that's helped me get back on track is to start extremely small.  I know I'm fully capable of writing 500 words in 30 mins. I can write thousands of words a day, *when the story's going well.*  When it's not going well, that's a whole other story, pun intended.  So I went back to using Kanban Flow, which has a 25 min timer that I really like.  I can lay out all my goals for the month, break them down into tiny pieces, and tackle them one by one.   Yes, it's a bit redundant to put 100 or more "draft 500 words" to-dos on my board, but something about the act of creating it, putting it in the In Progress column, and then clicking the timer, makes me do it, instead of just *thinking* about doing it, and dreading it.

It's funny, I still get anxiety about setting that timer.  Something about it sets my alert button to GO.  Like a race, I don't want to get beat. I don't want to waste my time.  I have to beat the buzzer.  Even if it's only words in 25 minutes.

So little bites are working for me this time around.  I actually wrote 2353 words today using this technique.  I got up Dark & Early and got 2 25-min sessions in, and then got another 25 mins in over my lunch. I knew I'd be busy all night with the monsters' basketball games, so I had to hit my goal early.

I ate the elephant!

~ * ~

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