I’m smack-dab in the middle of multiple books (The Guardian of Hope series is not all I work on). And it’s hard. Middles of books are hard. But of course, being in the middle of anything is hard.
If you’re not athletic, imagine starting an exercise routine. Initially? Super exciting. You’re pumped to do it, and you often notice drastic improvements quickly. The rate-of-return in exercise is massive at the start. Then a few weeks go by, and the drive is gone.
I think that’s the point when we take our eyes off the goal, and focus on the cost. We focus on the struggle that it takes, every step. Instead of enjoying the adventure as we look towards the “happily ever after” ending, we start to simply narrow in on every dragon we fight, every mountain we climb, and our feet begin to drag.
The other part, too, is if we don’t set enough short-term, realistic, achievable goals, we’re doomed to feel stuck. We don’t get to see any results quickly. We don’t feel any traction. It’s like running as hard as you can, only to look up and see nothing moving around you (we’ll ignore treadmills, since those have a unique feature).
That’s why Dave Ramsey talks about “Baby Steps” in terms of personal finance (I know it’s completely unrelated to writing, but stay with me!) He’s helped millions of people out of debt by using a “Debt Snowball” idea, where you list out your debts, smallest to largest, and then while you pay minimums on everything, you attack the smallest debt with everything extra you can find in your budget. Not by highest interest or anything fancy like that – just the smallest debt first. Know why? You win with emotion. As Dave Ramsey says, “personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior.” Every time you pay off a debt, you get a little kick of energy from it – which inspires you to keep on pushing forward, until you are finally out of debt!
This is very applicable in every area of your life, and I have found that it’s true in writing. While I love writing, if I don’t see any progress, I begin to forget that I’m hard at work and feel like I’m not accomplishing anything. So, I have an entire “Writing Tracker” spreadsheet that shows me I’m making progress. Even when I feel like I’m spinning wheels, I look at that sheet and see that, “No, I’m not being lazy, I’ve written thousands of words every week, and I’m making progress!”
So if you feel stuck, no matter whether it’s writing or exercise, try tracking your progress and give yourself small, realistic, achievable goals (with a much bigger, grander goal in mind). You can do it!