The Power of Small Steps

October 20, 2017

Recently, I’ve been thinking about small steps and how they can accumulate.

For me, the most obvious one is writing. Every scene, every paragraph, every word written is a small step toward completion and publishing. A phrase I say to myself literally every day is, “Just write the next sentence.”* If I can encourage myself to write the next sentence, then it’s a win. Writing is rewriting, but you can’t rewrite something that does not exist. I find there’s a real power in taking the one small step, and then the next small step, and the next.

I’ll share a secret. Right now, my daily writing goal is just 300 words. That’s in the face of the Day Job and taking are of the sanctuary. Normally, I get in more, but I won’t go to bed until I’ve scrawled out at least that amount for the day. That very doable pace yields around 110,000 words a year, which is two short novels or one and a bit longer ones. Step, step, step.

Worthwhile small steps are everywhere, if you’re willing to take them. Like making the effort to vote “yes” in a marriage equality referendum. Or figuring out a small change to the meal you’re making to make it healthier. Or increasing your step count goal on your fitness tracker by 200 steps (literally, a small step of steps). Or fasting once a week or 13 hours a day. Or choosing to be nice to that irritating person for just this one conversation. Or donating a small monthly amount to a charity you like.

Or or or.

So this week, I encourage you to simply think about a new small step you could add to your life that will move you in some way in the direction you want to go.

And then take that step every day for the coming week, and see what difference it makes.

*(I like the phrase “Just write the next sentence” so much, I stuck it on merch up on Redbubble. If you know anyone doing NaNoWriMo, it’d be a nice gift.)

(Also published as part of my weekly email.)