Want to Increase Your Productivity in Writing? Stay Small to Become Big

Photo by Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash

Completing Running Marathons

While training to run 21 km in blazing tropical sunlight with humidity as thick as a steam room, I heard advice from a former Marine to help extend our endurance. The trick wasn’t to demand that we endure the remaining entirety of our run. The trick is to focus on finish lines in front of you.

“You see that lamp post over there? Just focus on reaching there. Then, once you reach it, focus on that noodle cart right beyond it. And then once you get there, focus on the cafe at the end of the block.”

Eventually, those series of in-front-of-you finish lines becomes the actual finish line.

Completing Writing Marathons

Writing 20,000 words for 8 hours straight is intimidating. I wouldn’t even want to start. I know that I would probably give up after the 2nd hour, because I would think about the remaining 6 hours. I would probably feel the strain of stressing my brain for more ideas and words by the 2,000th word.

But writing 200 words? I’d truly not want to write if I was unwilling to just write 200 words. And just for 20 minutes? Am I so busy that I can’t invest 20 minutes into a long-term project?

If you can focus on just writing 200 words at a time, it’ll take 100 writing sessions before you write your 20,000th word. But focusing on just writing 200 words per session, it’s just a matter of time before you get there. And a matter of time sounds a lot more encouraging than just a matter of endurance, resilience, and perseverance.

Minimal diligence. Minimal because you still need something. Diligence because you just need something consistently.

Not instant brilliance. Not tremendous creativity.

Just the slow chiseling away at a sculpture. Bit by bit, it’s how you’ll do it.

When you go microscopic enough, the infiniteness of the universe is built by atoms. To maintain productivity, give yourself micro deadlines and word counts. You’ll write what you want to. It’s a matter of time, even if it’s just 10 minutes per day.

--

--

--

Head of Admissions Consulting | Point Avenue

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Black Like Me Publication Plans to Publish Comments from Readers

Photo of hands typing on computer keyboard for Black Like Me publication, story about readers’ comments.

Tips for Making a Writing Space That Fosters Creativity and Inspiration

Writing Means Editing

Find What Works & Stick To That.

If You Want to Be a Writer You Must Follow this One Basic Rule First

This week’s three things: on cat bellies, Jason Mott and never solving my mother angst

cat lying with its belly up to the sky

3 Ways to Change Your Mindset as a Writer and Fail Faster

Want to Level Up and Have Better Relationships? Try My Free Newsletter

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jason Lam

Jason Lam

Head of Admissions Consulting | Point Avenue

More from Medium

What are best apps for home tutors?

Ezibuk app for home tutor

How I started being productive at the age of 18

The Daily Routines of Creative People: How to Be More Creative and Have a Better Day

The Daily Routines of Creative People: How to Be More Creative and Have a Better Day

The Ultimate Productivity Hack is Saying No