I hate it when life finds a way of knocking me upside the head with something that I already knew. It makes me feel like an idiot.
On Friday I mentioned that I was taking part in a page-a-day writing challenge for the month of June. It’s only the second day and I’ve written 4 pages so far (counting a page as 250 words).
Lesson learned? Small goals are best.
See, my goal in April was “Finish Books One and Two of The Other Mages trilogy.” A worthy goal, but one which has still not been completed.
But a page a day? That’s easy! I can find time to do a page a day!
So, my goal for July Camp will be to write 50,000 words, not to finish two partially-written novels. I’m not even going to say that I’ll finish one of them – although I probably will.
And then in August I might just do my own page a day challenge.
But the small goals thing is important for more than just writing. “Clean the House” is a big goal and rarely gets done. It’s too overwhelming to look at the whole place and realize how much needs to be done and not knowing where to start. Breaking it down into rooms – or even specific things for each room – means it’s more likely to get done. (Not guaranteed, just more likely!)
Because I like to see progress, and small bits of progress (a clean stove, clean dishes, a clean sink, etc) encourage me to make more progress. (It helps that I love lists – crossing things off is a great source of encouragement.)
That’s why I prefer to have outlines when I’m writing. They not only keep me on track, they make me feel less overwhelmed and give me focus – they tell me what needs to be done and where to start and where to go next.
Plus, I can cross things off of the outline once I write that scene.
I do have one problem with that though: sometimes (a lot of the time… okay, most of the time) I overestimate how much I can actually get done and over-schedule myself and it still seems overwhelming and then I get discouraged because I don’t do everything on my list.
That said, I am still addicted to lists, and am now off to make one – or several. (I even make lists of lists.)
I may still be overwhelmed, but at least I’ll know where to start.