December Sell-a-bration #21: Small Steps = Progress

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.

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6 Responses to “December Sell-a-bration #21: Small Steps = Progress”


  1. 1 Donna McDine December 21, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Maureen…completing 20 minutes of writing time a day is key…before you know it you will have your task completed. Many times 20 minutes easily turns into more! Best wishes for a successful 2009!

  2. 2 anniegirl1138 December 21, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I can identify with #3. I feel sometimes as though I lost my imagination when I got married and had a child.

  3. 3 writerinspired December 21, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Maureen, great tips, small bites, easy to swallow. Isn’t this what we teach our kids? Thank you for reminding us! I can so relate to #3, as well.
    Mary Jo

  4. 4 Sarah December 21, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Maureen,
    your story is very encouraging. I, too, can relate SO much to #3. I know that in order to keep from becoming overwhelmed, I have to just take everything one step at a time. By doing so, I usually end up reaching my goal before I know it! Thanks!

    Sarah

  5. 5 dundeewriter December 22, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Great goals, Maureen, and congrats on acheiving them! I tend to be fabulous at setting goals, and then not-so-fabulous about meeting them (because I am side-tracked by new goal-setting). 😉 So, thanks for the straightforward advice and encouragement.

    -Katie

  6. 6 Maureen December 31, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks for all of your comments! In Writer Mama fashion, I get my encouragement from all of you! Happy New Year! Maureen


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