Tiny Goals = Major Momentum

This is my first post on my new blog, which I technically launched more than a week ago. The website's not done, but I have a landing zone.  It's a start.

I'm a stay-at-home-mom with a toddler, and time is a rare commodity.  I have to carefully prioritize my work, attempt to fit it all into the few hours a day where I can sit down at a computer.  Namely, nap-time and nighttime.  When I have lofty goals, like writing a publication-worthy novel, developing an online platform to one day launch that novel, and ultimately building a career as an author...well, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming.

Which is why I've changed my focus.

It used to be that I said, "I want to write and self-publish a novel.  I'm going to have it complete and ready to publish by [insert date here]."  But I never broke it down into the tiny, easily digestible chunks that would actually, realistically, achieve the goal.  I would hit a roadblock -- usually in the form of a stalled plot point or a baby who refuses to sleep -- and find myself cringing away from the computer as the wordcount requirements to reach my randomly assigned deadline got ever higher.  I would miss the deadline, then get swallowed up in self-loathing for failing.  Not pleasant, nor productive.

The change came a few months ago, when my daughter (finally) starting napping fairly consistently, by herself, in her own bed.  Miraculous!  My initial goal was simply to spend that time writing, whether it was fifteen minutes or two hours, it didn't matter.  I needed to get in the habit.  The habit made things easier.  The habit made progress, no matter how small.

Eventually, I was not only writing during the elusive nap-times, I was writing at night instead of watching TV.  And on the weekends.  Reading less so I could write more.  It doesn't feel scary anymore, or overwhelming.  It's my go-to activity.

When I decided to set a new deadline for myself, I didn't just pull a date out of the dark recesses of you-know-where, I took a real look at an actual calendar.  Surprise, surprise...if I wrote just 550 words a day, five days a week, I would have the first draft of a 90,000 word novel by the end of the year.  Thanks to Scrivener's wonderful little Project Targets window, I could easily track my progress for each writing session.  You know what I discovered?  550 words is EASY to achieve.  In fact, nine times out of ten, I write way more than that.  Which actually meant I was able to bring my first draft 'deadline' forward two weeks.


So now I'm adding in something new.  I'm building my author platform and trying to generate an online presence.  In an attempt to follow the same logic that led me to my 550 words a day, I'm starting with tiny goals.

  1. Buy a domain - check
  2. Set it up in WordPress, so that I have a page with my name on it - check
  3. Start a blog - (after publishing this post) check
  4. Write the "About the Author" page - next up

It might take a while for you to see any real changes around here.  I probably won't post often, and information might be a little slow, but I will be accomplishing small goals each week.  Who knows, if it's as easy as writing my 550 words a day, I might make bigger strides than I can envision now.  Regardless, I will have some major momentum.

By the way, topped 70,000 words today.  Woot!