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How to Focus: Take Small Steps

August 16, 2022

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

I have been working with an accountability partner for several years now. There are weeks when I get tasks done simply because we are meeting—and I promised her I’d write, send a query letter, or submit a story.

It’s always been like that for me. Accountability busts my procrastination habit—big time. Not surprising. You’ve heard me quote the stats. If you have an accountability partner, you have a 65 percent chance of completing that goal. If you and your partner have a regular meeting time, that percentage shoots up to 95 percent.

That’s why I want you to consider joining my writing accountability group. Together, we’ll set goals and hold each other accountable. I’m opening up just six spots for this group, so sign up soon. Check it out: ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP

If you want to chat about the group, sign up for a consultation.

Today’s tip is the third in our series on how to focus and covers one of my favorite topics, small steps.

Happy writing,
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

How to Focus: Take Small Steps

By Rochelle Melander

I’ve had many clients who’ve set aside genius time and suffered through days or weeks of getting nothing done. Oh sure, they’ve put tasks on their schedule. But when they see the tasks they’ve scheduled—work on memoir, write article for professional journal, expand social media reach—they feel overwhelmed.

It’s not surprising. We don’t do well with giant steps or drastic changes. Why do you think so many of us fail at these lifestyle-changing diets? The fear part of our brain freaks out. Instead of cleaning the basement, revising the novel, or writing that book, we will do just about anything to avoid that big, scary goal.

Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. I have a solution for you: take a small step. According to Robert Maurer, author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, we avoid that sinking feeling by taking absurdly small steps toward our goals. Instead of filling our to-do list with big chunk like, “Write book,” we list tiny actions like “write a paragraph about the characteristics of the woolly bear caterpillar” and “research periodicals that take stories about nature.”

Try this: Take that big, hairy goal and break it into small steps. Start by brainstorming all of the steps—don’t worry about the order. Once you have a list, put the steps in the most logical order for now. (You may change your mind.) Choose one small step to tackle during your next writing session.

Pro tip: If your stomach still flips or sinks, then you might need to take an even smaller step. If you get to your work session, and you still have difficulty working—then choose something else from your list of steps.

Your turn: How have small steps helped you? Do you have any tips to offer? Leave a comment.



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