They say that in every person is a book, so if this is the case, why is it only some of us go on to write, edit and publish this book? How many laptops have folders with the beginnings of a manuscript in, always started with the very best of intentions, only to be slowly put on the shelf after a couple of months?
The thing is, we all have great intentions but when the effort becomes too much, so many stop being consistent and gradually stop, the result is a half-finished project/objective, further cementing a belief in our subconscious that somethings are just too difficult.
And the reality is that yes, somethings are hard, but once you make the progress toward your goal a habit, and stick religiously to that habit, irrespective of how challenging the goal may be, you have a far better chance of achieving it and being successful.
Now for me, this goal came with trying to increase fitness levels and get back in shape, so during lockdown I decided I would start running. Using a running machine at first, I would run (slowly) for five minutes, getting off the machine and thinking I was going to pass out afterwards. Each week I increased the length of time and distance and then began to road run alongside the treadmill. Now I compete in charity races, running 5Ks every other day and a 10k at the weekend.
My point being, that at first it was hard, I was sore, tired and could always think of an excuse not to go for a run, but over time I turned the running and exercise into my daily routine, it became a normal part of my day and just something I did without fail, I now look forward to it and keep pushing my goals further each week.
Forming a new habit takes about 30 days, so for that first month you have to dig deep and stick to your goal, for the running, it meant breaking down my exercise into something that was challenging but not unrealistic, if I could realistically exercise for 30 minutes per day, then I did that (ensuring that I took Sat and Sun off to recover). Again, every week I increased the challenge/target for myself, this ensured that I grew, didn’t injure myself and kept motivated.
But wait, what has running got to do with writing a book?
It’s comparable with regards to your goals, targets and plan on how to achieve them, no one starts of thinking ‘I have never run, so next weekend I’ll complete in a marathon’, and it’s just the same with a book, no one (who wants to write a well-crafted book that is) thinks I’ll knock out a 90k word book over the weekend and publish it to critical acclaim on Monday.
Breaking down your end goal into smaller steps has been shown time and time again to be a sure-fire way of being successful, and more importantly, a way of ensuring that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the goal ahead of you.
So, if you have a goal of writing a great book of 90,000 words or so, that is well edited and proofread, be realistic in your timeframe and how much time you will spend on it each week. Keeping in mind that everyone’s lifestyle is very different, and our commitments will dictate how much time we can spend writing. But we can all figure out a daily routine which will fit us as an individual, one that we can stick to, and which will ensure we hit our goal.
For the case of a 90,000 word book, it breaks down to writing 1,731 words per week for a year (or 248 words per day), for most people, this is very realistic and something you can make a routine out of, for others they may be able to achieve this with daily writing over a six month period, and for people with very heavy commitments, completing their target would need to be spread out of 18-24months instead.
Whichever way YOU do it, it should be personal to YOU alone, the main point to remember is that goals are achieved by taking one small step at a time.
So, keep taking those small steps, and change your routine to one which will take you to your goal.
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