Why Thinking Small Can Help You Reach Your Writing Goals

There’s nothing wrong with having big sweeping writing ambitions, like wanting to see your name on a best-seller list or being asked to sit on a panel alongside some of the top names in the business. Success starts with believing in yourself, so we’re all for reaching for the stars.

That being said, becoming too fixated on the outcomes of making it big can end up having a detrimental impact on the work it takes to get there. Let’s look at how scaling back your thinking can help you get to where you want to be.

Visualization can only get you so far
Regardless of what field you’re talking about, you’ll often hear experts in the subject talk about the importance of visualization. There’s no doubt that this can be a helpful process, especially for those who have trouble believing in themselves or are suffering from imposter syndrome. The other side of the coin, though, is that imagining the success and the “perfect” finished novel can end up preventing you from actually writing a not-great-but-it-can-be-fixed first draft. Although no one will claim that writing is always fun, you shouldn’t ignore the pleasure that can be found in the process. By looking at each time you sit down to write as having value in and of itself, rather than just as a stepping stone to your future achievements, you’ll be able to lead a more balanced life. Focusing on where you’re at right now and being thankful for it will result in a happier and ultimately more productive approach to your work.

Smaller goals lead to more frequent wins
Rather than just breaking a bigger goal down into a smaller one, but actually scaling back your mindset and establishing small, independent targets—you’ll be able to generate and sustain positive momentum. If your goal is to “write a novel,” – change it to “write at least 200 words every day for the next week.” By thinking of this task as a separate goal, not “write 200 words of my novel every day for the next week,” you’ll feel less pressure and might even up producing better work. Regardless, you’ll get a few wins under your belt and will be in a better mindset to stick with your targets.

You’re able to focus on the words, aka the building blocks of what you do
As noted above, 100, 200, or 300 words might not seem very ambitious when it comes to daily writing output, but it is essential to remember that your efforts are cumulative and that the numbers will add up! 200-ish words a day is about one typed, double-spaced manuscript page and can give you a full-length novel in a year. The publishing process will involve many other steps and obstacles, but you won’t be in a place to contemplate them until you get something down on the page. Once you’ve got words to move and play with, then you’re talking!  

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