Writing Affirmation: Every page counts

All too often the enormity of writing a novel or a nonfiction book overwhelms writers. They may have spent a week writing an hour each day, come up with only 2500 words, and think they’ll never finish the task. It’s akin to driving through rush hour traffic and wondering if you’ll ever get through this.

At such times, remind yourself not to focus on the final project. While that ultimately is your goal, instead center your attention on the little goals – a paragraph, a section, a chapter – needed to reach that big goal. It’s like focusing on the mile markers rather than the final destination when driving.

Consider that there really are two types of goals you can have in writing (or any other project, for that matter). An outcome goal is the end result; a process goal is an individual step taken to reach that outcome. So in writing, an outcome goal would be “I will write a novel”; a process goal would be “I will write twice a day.”

Always concentrate on achieving a process goal, not the outcome goal. This shifts the focus from success/failure to taking small steps needed to achieve your goal. If you focus on the outcome, every day until you actually publish your book will be a “failure.” Instead, celebrate your success at accomplishing a process goal, which always is easier to achieve.

Indeed, if you do “less” (a process goal), you can do something more slowly, deliberately and completely. Your mind will not race around trying to think of how to describe the setting in the next scene or what a character will do four chapters from now.

And ultimately, after you’ve achieved each process goal, you will achieve your outcome goal. Every page – just like every nudge forward in a traffic jam – counts!