“Small and do-able and significant…”

Dear writing sister,

While I was awake in the wee hours of the night last night, I read this passage from Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity:

“When we shift our inner statement from ‘I’d love to’ to ‘I’m going to,’ we shift out of victim and into adventurer. When we know that we ‘will,’ then we couple the power of our will with the power of future events. In this sense, what we ‘will do’ becomes what ‘will happen.’ To prove this to ourselves, we need to couple the largeness of our dream with the small, concrete, and do-able ‘next right thing.’ As we take the next small step, the bigger steps move a notch closer to us, downsizing as they move. If we keep on taking small enough next steps and therefore keep chipping away and miniaturizing what we like to call ‘huge’ risks, by the time the risk actually gets to our door, it, too, is simply the next right thing, small and do-able and significant….”

This passage eased the anxiety I usually experience when I’m awake for hours before dawn. Instead of thinking about how much work I have yet to do on my memoir, which so easily becomes “how much I haven’t done,” which always results in overwhelm, I thought about the next small do-able step. I asked myself, bleary-eyed, “What’s one small do-able next step you can take on your book today?” The answer came easily, and with it in mind I felt like I could work on my memoir-in-progress despite the fact that I was sleep-deprived; I could give it its next small do-able thing. And you know what? Coffee in hand, I did. : )

I found this approach to my writing to be gentle, compassionate, and loving. I also found it to be incredibly productive: the next small do-able thing led to the next small do-able thing led to the next small do-able thing, and before I knew it, I’d done three small do-able things at my writing desk on a morning when I might otherwise have gone kaput. (I have a very hard time writing when I haven’t slept well.)

What’s one small do-able thing you can do today–or this week–for your writing? The smaller and more do-able, the better : ).

Much writing love,

Marilyn

P.S. If the next right do-able thing for your writing is to connect with other women writers in a warm, supportive writing sisterhood, check out the Writing Out Loud Sisterhood, a monthly membership program for women who are done with silence. We write together live twice a month on our teleconference platform–our next gathering is this Thursday!–and we support each other in our private Facebook group between gatherings. Join us here!

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