This blog post is not for the people who leap out of bed every day ready to take on the world. It is not for the people who face a challenge with eagerness and a certainty that they are up to the fight.
No. This blog post is for the people who hear the 6 a.m. alarm and wonder how they are going to get their feet to swing onto the floor. It’s for the people who face a challenge withe a groan and a certainty that one more problem in their lives will do them in.
I am very much a member of the latter group. I don’t do major changes or challenges well. But since they will come after me anyway, I’ve learned a very important lesson: small steps.
We are halfway through the school year. When the alarm rings in my ear, I hit it and consider the next two hours for getting kids ready for school. The though is overwhelming. So I’ve coached myself to say, “All you have to do is get up. Just get out of bed. That’s all you have to do.” Once I get my momentum going, I can work through the run to school.
When I was told I needed to build a social media platform to get published, I sank into despair. I’d never done social media personally, let alone professionally. So I started small. I got on Facebook and started a blog on writing tips. For four months, I wrote content for my blog before I let people know it existed. I experimented with topics, adding writing prompts, and deleting others. I eventually branched out onto Instagram, and I’m still learning how to use it well.
But if I had gone into platform-building with the idea that I had to construct a skyscraper as fast as I could when I’d never even slapped together a hut, I probably would have given up.
Right now, I’me trying to write a YA mystery novel that’s a sequel to my short story, “A Rose from the Ashes.” I’ve written a novel before, but that was when I was single and I wrote it over years. I want to get the novel finished as quickly as I can. But unlike a short story, I can work for hours and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.
So I’m taking small steps. I wrote in long hand my first draft of my first chapter, typed it, reviewed it, sent it to my critique partner, got her responses, and I’m reviewing it again. I’ll get one chapter in good shape and move to the next. Each small step takes me closer to my goal.
What challenges have you overcome by taking small steps?