Let me make the case to you for setting micro goals. Writing a book is a complicated process. Some days, 100 words are more than doable. Other days, it feels a gargantuan task. When I have days like the latter, what helps is telling myself I only have to write one sentence. It’s almost impossible not to talk myself into doing just that much. Usually, once I have that one sentence down, it’s enough to motivate me to keep going with the work.
Take this blog post, for example. I told myself I was only going to write a topic sentence. But a minute or so has gone by now, and I am still writing the post. I can’t keep this little sprint going for much longer, but it’s given me a solid start. That’s the power of micro goals.
When I’m working on a draft of a novel, I set a word count goal for 2,000 words per day. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember, maybe since college. But on days when writing feels impossible, like the last thing I would ever want to do, I lower my expectations.
On days when I’m struggling, I focus on a much lower word count target, say, 500 words, or 100. Once, I even set a target for like, 50 words (a Very Bad Day). Still, it counted as writing, because I was getting words down. Even if my word count goal was lower than I wanted, I still got something done. That is the power of micro goals.
So, the next time you’re struggling, lower the bar. Decrease the word count goal. This is not only good for morale, but also productivity. You’ll be surprised how much progress you’ll make.
As I write this, I am dictating it. I’m in the middle of a pretty bad arthritis flare-up, I have it in my hands, so it makes writing difficult. I wanted to get this blog post done, however, so I set a goal to just write the next sentence. Here we are now, at the conclusion of this post. It’s going to be a short one, but I hope it helps someone as much as it’s helped me to figure this out.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
I’ve always loved podcasts, but recently, I’ve discovered a few that really get my creative juices flowing. Now that I work from home, I listen to a lot of podcasts. I was thrilled to have discovered some that trigger my brain to get busy.
For one reason or another, these are the podcasts that ignite my creative processes and end up inspiring my writing. As a result, they’re podcasts that I’m grateful for and podcasts that I feel like everyone should listen to. Regardless of your writing and creative pursuits, these podcasts should be of great use to anyone who needs a little inspiration from time to time–even if it comes from some unconventional places. Whether you’re into podcasts or not, I hope you’ll at least give these beauties a listen.
Here are five new-to-me podcasts that have primed my writing pump.
Oh my God. I don’t know why it took me so long to find this podcast. It’s my latest favorite. Basically, Limetown is a serial docudrama that follows a fictionalized disappearance of an entire town. There’s only one season out so far, but every second of it will leave you wanting more. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. If you love suspense, you should definitely check out this one.
This American Life
Disclaimer: I’ve been listening to this podcast since 2010. I also realize it’s not “new” by any stretch of the imagination. With that being said, it’s the podcast that got me started on podcasts, and it remains one of my favorites. The storytelling methods and the stories themselves are superb, and I’ve gotten story ideas from several different episodes. If you like hearing about people who may be living differently than you, download a few episodes of This American Life.
I write thrillers, which means I also read a lot of thrillers. In fact, I’m a huge fan of thrillers of all shapes and sizes, including true crime dramas. Criminal hits my sweet spot. The episodes are short, stand-alone narratives that cover a single crime in a way that engages you until the conclusion. If you like true crime as much as I do, I can’t recommend this podcast enough.
Note to Self
I love technology. I love podcasts about technology. In Note to Self, each episode explores a different way that technology is impacting our lives. This podcast makes me want to write more science fiction. If you like fascinating stories about cool people and the future, you’re going to want to download this podcast right away.
This is another great storytelling podcast I found only recently. Like Limetown, everything presented by the podcast is fictional. Rather than presenting a serialized story, however, The Truth offers several short radio dramas per episode—some spooky, some heartfelt—but all unforgettable. Some of them even remind me of the TV show Black Mirror. Definitely go ahead and give this one a listen.
Of course, there are more podcasts I could recommend. I thought about including the few podcasts about writing that I listen to, but that doesn’t fit the nature of this post. Instead, I wanted to share with you some podcasts you might not have heard of that yield unexpected inspiration dividends.
How do you feel about podcasts? What other shows should I be listening to?
Listen up, creatives! @brianawrites has some podcasts recommendations for you. (Click to tweet)