A Little Effort Today Can Lead to Big Results a Year from Now

If you’re struggling with writing – find yourself unable to get any creative writing done – you should know that even the smallest effort you make to move forward today can reap noticeable results a year from now.

If you started writing 5 minutes a day last week, after my last post, I bet you’re already writing more than 5 minutes a day. Now imagine where you’ll be a year from now if you keep building on the number of minutes a day you write, or how many words you write from day to day.

Consider this: even if you only practiced your writing craft 5 minutes a day for 365 days, you’d have a lot more written than the prior 365 days (if you didn’t have a goal). I know this is true for me.

If I don’t start slow and build up, slowly, I’ll end up discouraged, frustrated, overwhelmed, disappointed, and most likely will quit all together. It explains why I have several partially-started novels ‘sitting in a drawer.’ When a task becomes overwhelming it’s common to drop and run away.

Ever hear the saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” Apply it to your writing (or any other) goals.

Starting slow, today, can lead to big results a year from now.

Getting started is typically the most difficult part of writing (or anything), and then enthusiasm kicks in, and huge bursts of inspiration and motivation, but then comes the overwhelm and the quick downward trend until you aren’t doing anything any more. (sound familiar?)

5 minutes

Start slow. Get your butt in the chair and write or type for 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes. Write whatever wants to get onto the page. Don’t stress over it. Don’t think about it. Just write. For 5 minutes.

Then stay with 5 minutes a day until you discover you’re writing 10 minutes a day with ease. Then change your goal to 10 minutes a day.

Make the writing whatever you want it to be – whether it’s working on the same story idea each day, or simply getting words onto the page. Once writing becomes a habit, you’ll be able to make more decisions, but for now, just get started.

For me, I think I’ll build up to 20 minutes a day and then stay with that goal (even if I’m writing more than that). That way, if a low writing day comes along, I’ll be in the habit of at least 20 minutes and be able to complete that goal consistently.

What do you think? If you start writing 5 minutes a day today, do you think you’ll be advanced in your craft 1 year from now?

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with manufacturing, software, technology, and realty businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

56 thoughts on “A Little Effort Today Can Lead to Big Results a Year from Now

  1. I completely agree! And I can also recommend 750words.com if you want to keep track of the writing. I have started to use it again lately, and it helps a lot I think.

  2. When I was at the University of NH, Don Murray used to advise us to “speed ahead of the censor.” Just write as quickly as you can – no rules – just write. That concept has always stayed with me. Now as a teacher myself, my students and I frequently write in 7 minute bursts called “quick writes.” We even use a timer. It becomes habit quite quickly.

  3. Very well explained.. The only way we can get something done is to start working on it! Totally agree with you here and I need to do this myself without giving excuses to myself – and 5 minutes is not a lot of time to start with. Thank you sharing this idea 🙂

  4. I once read an article by a young woman who wrote two pages every morning before work. Her co worker was always giving her a hard time about it. Two pages, ha! How could she expect to write a great work of literature that way. But of course at the end of her 18 months at that job she had completed, edited, and had a publishing deal for those completed two pages a day(now several hundred pages).

  5. I wholeheartedly agree. I work on my blog posts in about 5 minute increments. If I didn’t I’d never get them written with how hectic everything happens to be right now. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  6. I agree wholeheartedly. Try and expand if you are writing a novel. 1000 words a day after your initial beginning. Even a couple of words on a bus ticket can inspire. Remember too that life does go very quickly. I’m finding now there is a real impetus because I may not have many years left. (Its incredible how even that thought (not meant to be a negative but a truth) can really challenge how valuable and important is your writing life. I finished my second novel last week. I fiddled around, researched and wrote odd bits and pieces for about 15 years while I rushed around BUT it is finished!

  7. Thank you so much for the tip. I do write more then 5 mins, so I have set my goal to 30 minutes. For my blog I have already installed a goal to always be one posting ahead. I must always have ONE posting laying in the drafts-drawer ready to go. Right now I have two finished posts and two that I have just jotted down from ideas. That way, should life come in the way of writing occationally, then I do have a blogpost ready to publish and my consistancy will not suffer 🙂

    So by adding the 30 mins goal to the be ahead on postings, what do you know – maybe I will have managed to write a book in a year 🙂

  8. If you have heard about Tajmahal and Rome then you must say that they weren’t built in a day.
    Writing is a process which could be completed only if you are satisfied with it otherwise all you can do is to write and edit.
    Inspiration, contemplation and imagination is necessary to describe everything you include in your content. Writing is a continuous process.

  9. I like this! 5 minutes is nothing, off course, but I like the idea you’re trying to get across.
    Small steps at a time will get us to our goal in the end. I should remember that sometimes.

    • True, 5 minutes may seem like nothing to many people, but for those not writing at all, it can hopefully be manageable and achievable. I know I need it to kick-start myself. Just one step today can lead to another tomorrow and so on until we get where we want to be!

  10. Great idea! One of my very favorite books, “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way” ( by Dr Robert Maurer) suggest the same technique. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…Thanks!

  11. I find that writing is very fluid when I use paper/pencil. I can do it via a computer, but sometimes it can be harder to quite articulate what is desired. When I reach a stumbling block – when I find myself unWILLING to write – I take a step back and move through the pain. Sometimes it can be difficult to revisit old pains/difficult parts of our text, but it helps us to grow emotionally. Writing is such a cathartic thing. ❤ Peace and blessings.

  12. I wholeheartedly agree. I work on my blog posts in about 5 minute increments. If I didn’t I’d never get them written with how hectic everything happens to be right now. Thank you for sharing.

  13. I love this idea! My strategy is a word count. I write a minimum of 500 words each day which 90% of the time turns in to more because I get inspired and the writing juices are flowing. The more I write the better I write!

  14. I’ve joined a 500 Words challenge and I’m falling short. I like your idea of a time limit rather then a word count. Somewhere in the middle I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Thanks for the alternative option 🙂

  15. Pingback: Die 5-Minuten-Regel | traeumeteegeschichtenschreiben

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