A lot of people entertain the idea of writing a book, but odds are they’ll never finish writing a book if they can’t finish writing a chapter, and they’ll never finish writing a chapter if they can’t finish writing a page. So the real solution to the challenge of writing a book is simply write one page.
If you want to write a book, write one page
Then write another page.
And then write another.
A few years ago I really got into running.
When I started, I was incredibly bad at it. I was huffing and puffing and my legs felt really heavy. I kept thinking I was going to run a mile or two every morning before I got ready for work. I’d get frustrated because it was harder than I expected and I didn’t seem to be improving all that quickly.
At some point I decided I would forget about running and just get up and walk a mile in the morning. That was a lot easier. Simple in fact. After a few days of just walking and counting it as a “win” because I did it. Every morning I got up and I walked around the block four times (which was just a little over a mile).
Then one day I decided I would just run from the corner of the block to the first driveway and then return to walking. I started doing that every time I turned the corner of the block. I’d round the corner and break into a jog until I reached the first driveway and then I would slow back down into a walk.
A week later I would run from one corner all the way down to the next corner and then I would walk again for the next three streets until I got back to my starting corner, and repeat. This means that all total I would have run one entire block and walked three.
Then I started running down the first street corner-to-corner, walk the second, run again on the third, and walk the fourth. Pretty soon I was running all the way around the block, and then walking around the entire block, and then running around the entire block, etc. until I could finally run my entire four blocks.
It took time for me to reach that point. Weeks. Maybe months.
I didn’t keep very good track — I just promised myself I would do it. Frankly, keeping track would have probably been depressing if I dwelt on how slowly I was improving. I just did the work.
Now think about how you’re going to write one page
Start by deciding you’re going to get up every morning and write one page.
A page is basically four paragraphs (four times around my neighborhood block was one mile).
If you can complete one page (one mile) when you start, then make a deal with yourself to write one paragraph (one block). Break it down as far as you need to in order to start creating that habit of getting up every morning and writing. Slowly increase your output until you’re writing one page every morning — and then start working your way up to two pages every morning.
Just know that you’re allowed to walk as slowly as you need to, until you feel comfortable enough to begin running.