Yes, it’s that time of year again. When we all make our resolutions, set up goals with every intention to carry them out. But do we? It the case of writers, how many of us have projects that have been wallowing in limbo for what seems like ages? At our last meeting of notorious 2020, we had a spectacular Zoom presentation by IWOC member Scott Winterroth, entitled “Make 2021 Your Most Creative Year Ever.” If you missed it, do try and catch the podcast on our Members Resource Page. The tips are inspiring, invaluable and innumerable. But as Scott likes to say, even picking up just one tip could make a huge difference in achieving those goals. Here’s one I’d like to share, personalized in the way I applied it. It has to do with baby steps:
For several years, my husband Ken had suggested I write a one-woman show about my songwriting experiences. What? The idea frightened the wits out of me. I’ve never written a play before. So, I conveniently tucked the idea away in my brain cells – but not so deeply that it didn’t keep gnawing through. Then, out of the blue, in July of 2018, I thought, “Wait a minute. If I can just write one page a day – that’s it! Just one page! – in 30 days, I’d have a play! The next day, I started it. One page. That alone seemed like a tremendous feat. I felt I was on my way. On the 2nd day, I wrote the 2nd page. I continued this, sometimes writing more than one page per day, until at the end of the month, what do ya know. I had an 80-minute one-woman show: “Nashville Notes: The Diary of a Mad Songwriter.”
To me, the accomplishment was startling. Even more so when I realized that Lao Tzu, the Chinese Wisdom Warrior whom I happened to quote in my play, was (unbeknownst to me at the time) also the originator of a different famous quote which embodied the very principle that guided me to the finish line: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
It’s such a beautiful concept. It makes the biggest challenges – the ones we shy away from, the ones that riddle us with self-doubt – all suddenly seem so doable. It is kind and understanding. It empathizes with our fears, but gently reminds us that anything is possible. And cajoles us, in bite-sized increments, into getting through it. Before you know it, you’re standing on top of the mountain, looking back at all the steps you climbed. Remarkable.
As we stand at the threshold of a new and hopeful year, I wish you all the courage and confidence in taking that first step towards your goal. It might be the scariest step. But once taken, funny how the rest will miraculously follow.
Happy, Healthy, Safe & Prosperous 2021, everyone!
P.S. If you have any experiences in achieving your goals, please click the 3 dots next to the headline to leave a comment!
- Laura Stigler
Copyright 2011–2022, Independent Writers of Chicago
332 S. Michigan Avenue, #121–W686
Chicago, IL 60604-4434