When I first embarked on my authentic author adventure I set lofty, unrealistic goals, such as writing 3,000-5,000 words a day. In essence, I shortchanged myself and cut my own wings before I could even learn to fly.
I aimed so high I missed. I felt amateurish, ashamed and embarrassed by my own inability to put pen to paper.
Deeply harboured shame quickly escalated and let to a writer’s block. Reaching my daily word count became this inner battle that no matter how hard I tried, could just never win.
The resentment and regret became all-encompassing.
I invariably set myself up for failure.
I quickly realised that setting tiny, incremental goals that are measurable, attainable, specific, and action-oriented is what ultimately leads to lasting behavioral change.
Small, incremental changes over a longer period of time accumulate and lead to a compound effect – habits. Habits lead to more desirable outcomes. Outcomes inevitably lead to success.
Did you know that a task swells up in direction proportion to the time allocated for its completion?
If you know you have a 3,000-word long chapter to write, all of a sudden spring-cleaning kitchen cupboards, organising my inbox consisting of 11,527 emails or meticulously folding my laundry becomes almost irresistible, right?
The turning point came when a fellow writer shared with me a piece of advice that completely changed the trajectory of my business and life.
“Just write 20 words a day”, I just stared at her as if she had 12 noses. Her prescription sounded absurd.
Sceptical at first, I put it to the test that same day.
To my surprise, rather than dread my daily writing routine I started looking forward to it knowing that ALL I really had to do was just to write 20 words a day.
Not twenty thousand, not even two thousand but just twenty.
What actually ended up happening was that I not only hit, but routinely exceeded my daily word count time and time again.
There was no trepidation. No apprehension. No resentment.
In my mind, I just knew that even if I felt particularly “creatively constipated” I could still churn out my magic 20.
Without fail, I surpassed all my expectations. This in turn made me feel like a masterful virtuoso, boosted my confidence and inspired to keep scribbling.
Before I knew it, I became a five times bestselling author by the age of 34 with just one goal in mind – writing just 20 words a day.
In case you wondered, I still write ONLY twenty words a day.
Give a try. You might just as well surprise yourself.
I know I did!