By Maureen Mirabito
I’m a firm believer in small steps–small steps turn into bigger steps, turn into strides–and I’ve taken several of them. In Writer Mama “list article fashion”, here are a few:
1. Submission of a personal essay to a magazine contest. The only expectation I had for this challenge was to do it. And I did. I set aside about four hours one afternoon–avoiding cleaning, cooking, laundry, and other distractions–to get a first draft in black and white. I revisited for the next couple of weeks to fine tune and adjust before circulating it among a few close friends for an objective read. Finally, I sent it, well in advance of the deadline. It felt good.
2. 20-minutes of daily writing time. I had been pressuring myself to write full articles with this time, but when I fell short of that expectation, I started avoiding it altogether. I had a stern talking with myself and gave myself permission to use the time to write observations, ideas, and even dabble in some fiction writing. Abandoning self-imposed rules regarding my writing (unless the rule is to do it) has really made the whole experience a lot more fun.
3. Reviewing high school and college writing. I was so creative before adulthood. My words were emotions, feelings, experiences and mine. They were my words. Somewhere along the way I became a little too concerned about how my words would sound, agonized over their choice, their placement, their impact. Similar to #2 above, I’m trying to relax the rules and put to rest that nagging little voice over my shoulder.
In three small steps, I’m positioning myself for a breakthrough. It takes some work everyday but at least it’s fun work.