How often do you sit down to work on your book and the words just coming pouring out? Are you one of those writers able to dump their story on the page, every single time? Or, like me, do you have those times, when listening to the dishwasher run its cycle seems far more interesting than the slog of pulling words out of thin air? For many creatives I know, the deluge of inspiration does happen, but the sledging forward one word at a time often seems more the truth. The issue, at least one of them, is not the actual writing, but the sheer magnitude of the project. Standing at the foot of an uphill battle, which in this case proves every stage, covers us in overwhelming shadows of doubt, frustration, fear, and a myriad other emotions. So much so it becomes daunting to start, continue, and finish. When you really sit down and consider what goes into writing a book, let alone promoting one, the amount of effort involved should send any sane person fleeing. Yet, here we are, slaves to our craft, masochists willing to push ourselves again and again. Not unlike the thousands of athletes out there signing up for marathons each year.  My friends who’ve crossed the finish line tell me that you don’t run a marathon by legging 26 miles, but with a million little steps. My best who happily endures such events told me that it’s all about setting small goals. “I’ll run from here to the trashcan. Then I’ll run from the trashcan to the light post. And so on.” At times, when I’m writing, it’ll feel like I’m exhausting all my mental endurance, but nothing moves on the page. I’ve had my fair share of these in the past. Not so much any more once I started reframing how I come to the chair.  Taking Jen’s perspective on racing, I’ve broken down my approach to the smallest increment possible. And I have to say, this has made a huge difference in my productivity. Whenever I find my writing thick with resistance, I set the timer on my phone for five minutes and pick a paragraph that needs help. For that short time, I focus only on making those sentences the best I can. I worry about nothing else.  Some days I need the full five. Others, I end up rereading the same lines over and over with little change. Either way, that paragraph moves forward, and somehow so does the book. Try this the next time you find yourself struggling and tell me how it goes.        Shout out to Alex Iby for the image from Unsplash. Nice shot. 🙂