Write fifty words.
It’s such a small amount that you could knock it out in a minute. But it’s just long enough to get your creative mind ticking over.
I know where you’re at with your writing, because the title of this post jumped out at you. Finishing that book you’re writing feels like a marathon through quicksand. Every page so far seems hard-won, if it’s won at all. I’ve made the same mistake – in thinking that book I’m writing is one huge task.
But you’re not writing one gigantic book. You’re writing one sentence, then another, over time. Just as best you can, until the result happens to be a full page. Repeat that process every day for a while, and the result happens to be a book.
To cure that dreaded sense of massiveness, just break it all down really small. Break it down to fifty words, right now, no excuses.
It’s said that the hardest part is getting started. But if “getting started” each day involves rattling out a mere fifty words… is getting started really that hard?
Wake up early, write down that small goal for yourself, and complete it. Cross it off your list. In two minutes, you’ve given yourself a win. Small wins like these are the key to motivation – especially if a whole book seems like an insurmountable task. Just break it down smaller.
(For your reference, that last paragraph was fifty words long.)
The trick here is creating momentum. Momentum is key to finishing a book, so it’s vital that you write something every day. And even if that’s all you do, writing fifty words on your book each day is better than writing no words at all.
But I’ve never known any writer to be satisfied with just fifty words. Surely there’s enough time to get in another fifty before you get ready for work. Hell, make it another hundred. When it takes longer to clean the dishes than it does to work on your book, “not having time” just isn’t an excuse.
It’s something I’ve realised over time: the extent that we can break things down into smaller achievable tasks has a direct relation to our level of success.
Think about this: while the old workshops could make one new-fangled automobile every once in a while, Henry Ford had the idea to break it all down into small, specialised, repeatable tasks. While “making a car” is complex and multi-faceted, all the small jobs involved are relatively simple and quick. So it was the ease of process that really mattered… and the end result just happened to be an affordable, high-quality car.
Even shipbuilders work one bolt at a time, since there’s really no other way to get to that huge end product. It’s the same for your book: just bolt on another fifty words at a time, as many times as you can each day.
Focussing on the easier process of small repeatable tasks – like sitting down with the intention to write fifty words on your book – means that motivation is never an issue.
Even since you started reading this post, it’s grown now to five hundred words. If you can start with fifty and end up with five hundred, and do that twice each day before and after work, after a month you’ll have thirty thousand words. Three months like that, and you’ll have a good-sized novel at a finished first draft.
The drafting process is another beast entirely… but at least with that you’re working from a finished foundation.
It’s all in that motivation, to start out writing fifty words a day.
Need some more advice on how to write that book? Take a look at How to Write a Novel in 5 Steps right here.
Unless it’s crazy alien action you’re looking for? With space dragons, superpowers and the end of the world? If that meets your very specific fiction criteria, take a look at my Tabitha books for Kindle right here.