At Least One Thing A Day: Keep the Momentum Going on Your Writing Project
by Amy O'Quinn
We start out with a bang! The topic is engaging and fascinating, and our interest is high. Research is happening, and resources are agreeing. This is the kind of writing we love to do, and everything is moving along at a nice pace.
Then—life happens. Or a deadline on another project hits us between the eyes. Our ‘perfect writing project’ comes to a complete stand-still. And worst case scenario, we shelve the research and work or save it in some generic file on the computer. Out of sight. Out of mind. The momentum is lost, and sometimes it is a long time before we recapture our excitement or even remember where we stored all of our resources and work in the first place.
Solution? Don’t let it happen!
Keep It Going
When I graduated from college and started teaching way back in the late 80’s, the state of Georgia still implemented the Teacher Performance Assessment Instrument (TPAI) which was intended to assess teacher competence. It involved creating a very in-depth portfolio labeled and referenced to standards and also extensive observation and evaluation. Failure to pass might mean termination. So, in other words, it was a big deal! Thankfully, new teachers had several months to prepare.
However, creating the portfolio was very time-intensive, and it had to be done while still teaching full-time every day. But a friend of mine gave me some very good advice. She told me to do at least one thing on that portfolio every single day, whether it was something big or small. The point was to keep the momentum going and not let the whole project sit idle while I was learning to teach a classroom full of second graders. Otherwise, I would be making a mad dash near the end in order to finish the portfolio.
Use That Advice for Writing
The wise advice of doing one thing every day—no matter how big or small—on our special project transfers well over into the world of writing. We just need to keep the momentum going and retain the topic in the forefront of our minds. Even putting a book on our subject on hold at the library, bookmarking a website page to refer to later, watching a documentary, or revising one short paragraph can help us make progress.
Yes, it may be a snail’s pace at this point, put at least the snail is still in the race. And eventually, those little efforts do add up—even while we’re in the midst of bigger or more pressing projects or life changing circumstances. We are moving forward inch by inch. But when we are once again able to devote our full attention to that special project, we won’t be trying to restart a cold engine—we’ll just be giving it a little more gas! And that is whole lot easier.
Any Action Is Better Than No Action At All
Another benefit of doing at least one small thing a day on a project is that is fosters confidence. We feel as though we are getting something (even if it’s a small something) done on things we want to continue working on, even while we are required to travel on more than one track. Below is a great quote to remember:
“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”
~Norman Vincent Peale
Always keep in mind that doing just one little thing a day will reap big rewards in the long run. Although other things may take precedence or we might only have a few minutes each day to devote to our special project—we won’t lose our momentum! We’ll retain focus and confidence. And we will get there eventually!
One thing! It all adds up in the end!
*Article originally appeared on The Work Writer's Club website HERE.