When it comes to all the tasks writing entails these days--the networking, the marketing, the writing--are you a tortoise or a hare? Author Candee Fick says even the small steps will help us cross that finish line. -- Sandy
Candee: I’ve discovered a secret when it comes to this writing journey. Of course, I’m a slow learner so it only took me twelve years to realize that everything I do—whether writing, editing, marketing, or social media—is done one sentence, email, or update at a time. And that’s where turtle power saves the day.
I used to wait until I had a chunk of dedicated time where my imagination could sprint freely as my fingers flew across the keyword. It was often a mad dash to see how many words I could add to my work-in-progress before the timer went off and I had to stop. And once the writing stopped, I waited until the next available time to get back to writing (or editing or marketing.) Romp, then rest. Skip, then stop.
My writing journey came in fits and spurts…and honestly at times it felt like it never got anywhere.
Then came turtle power and the realization that little steps taken consistently actually got me further faster. Just like the fabled race between the tortoise and the hare, I discovered the power of a few words or a single task in getting me closer to the finish line. Time might be limited, but I could do one thing.
What if I made myself sit down to write ten words? (By the way, that’s one less than the previous sentence and six less than this one.) And just like that, I’ve written four times as much as my goal. Ten words become one hundred in the blink of an eye and those words add up. If I did this four more times during the day, I’d have five hundred words (like the length of this post).
What if I spent my drive time thinking through a sticky plot point? Or dreamed up one perfect piece of dialogue…then wrote it down while idling at a stop sign?
What if I scheduled a single social media update? Hopped online to retweet one thing for a friend? Emailed one potential reviewer or guest blog host? Wrote the rough draft of a blog post? Pinned one image to a Pinterest board? Created a single meme? Did just one thing on my list?
Each small step keeps the writing and marketing muscles from getting atrophied. Turtle power helps me remember how to write, hones my ability to focus, builds momentum, and primes the creative pump for those rare instances when I have extended time to work. The tiny steps don’t seem like much until I look back after a month and see that my five hundreds words a day has become five chapters. That I have 30 social media updates, pins, or memes out there. That reaching out to one person each day has created a network of relationships.
So take one step in the right direction today. Then do it again tomorrow. Just imagine what turtle power will do for you.
Do you block out times for writing tasks or take it as you find it? What helps you most in getting everything done?
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Candee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book. She won the ACFW Genesis contest in 2014 and her first novel debuted a year later.