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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Monday Morning Check In: Small Steps

I have long been a fan of the author Julia Cameron's suggestion that we write morning pages each day. In her book, The Artist's Way, Ms. Cameron recommends that we write three pages daily in longhand. These pages may contain whatever we want. They might yield nothing better than a stream of consciousness brain dump, but the act of releasing whatever is swimming around upstairs in our heads will free up some space for us to create bigger and better things. For more information about the morning pages and The Artist's Way, visit here.

I used composition notebooks for this purpose because they were small and inexpensive. I bought them by the caseload. I have some difficulty now writing in longhand and prefer typing, so I was delighted to learn about 750words.com. This is a website that follows Cameron's morning pages idea, but it allows us to type in our morning pages. I highly recommend this website. The gentleman who set it up has calculated that three pages of longhand writing equates to 750 words. The website tracks what you write and provides you with feedback that is unique to you.

I started using this website on August 3, and I have not missed a day so far. What really struck me though was when I learned how many words I had written in a month just using this website and the morning pages principle. If you do the math, you will find that 750 words per day equates to about 23,000 words in a month. I did not think I had written that much. I realized that my little steps of writing 750 words per day added up in the end to a monumental amount of material. What a powerful thing it is to take small steps toward a larger goal! But in this instance, I did not have that particular goal in the end. My goal instead was in the front of the process, which was to make a habit of daily morning pages.

I think back to my Central Oregon hiking treks up the South Sister mountain. Over the years I have tried many different tactics to make that grueling hike easier. I finally settled on the tactic of taking it one step at a time, and sometimes I would count my steps as I went along, stopping for water or a breather after reaching a certain number. So too with my marathon trainings over the years. I would take the long runs one minute at a time or a certain number of steps.

I find that by focusing on the small steps of the process rather than how far away the final goal is from where I am in the process of working toward the goal, that I can more easily make progress. One small step at a time. One daily habit at a time.

This week, try looking at your larger goals from the front end. Is there a small daily habit that you can concentrate on, that over time will lead you to the success you want to achieve?

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the link to 750words.com. I just started using it and I think it will be really great for me.

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  2. I particularly enjoy looking through the meta data after I've finished my morning writing. It's an interesting way to see where my head is at. Am I living in the past, the future, the present? Am I happy, fearful, sad? Am I talking about others or about me? Sometimes I use it to work through a problem. Other times I draft out article ideas. Sometimes it is my daily recount of what I did the day before. I save each month's writing, but I don't look at it. Still, it's there if I want it.
    Let me know how it goes.

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