The Now Habit – Just start!

Sitting here on a quiet Sunday afternoon, reading through some stories I need to critique and then off to finish my revisions on Small Town Ghosts. Yesterday was an excellent revision day and I’m in the home stretch. Believe me, I didn’t want to do it yesterday. My mind had a hundred reasons why I shouldn’t go and revise – laundry needed to be done, dishes were in the sink, my bedroom looked like a Jupiter-sized hurricane raged through it. But I did and am just a few pages from my goal.

All I needed to do was sit down and start.

And that, my friends, is always the hardest part. I recently read a book called The Now Habit, by Neil Fiore. Now, usually I’m not a big fan of self-help books. I don’t need a cheerleader – I need an assistant. But one thing in this book struck me, one point, which has slowly led me to change the way I work.

You don’t need to finish every time you start a task – you only need to start it. It may seem elementary but in some ways it was a shift in my focus. I always want to sit down and finish the story I’m working on but that’s not always possible. Sometimes it’s just about getting a page written or a chapter revised. There’s a whole lot less pressure on me when I sit down and say, I’m only going to read through this one scene and see how I can make it the best it can be rather than OMG I NEED TO REVISE ALL 212 PAGES OF THIS NOVEL RIGHT NOW.

This shift in focus has helped me accomplish quite a few things since January 1. Just start. Do 5, 10, 15 minutes of whatever it is you need to do. Chances are, I find myself either being able to accomplish more in concentrated 15-minute bursts of activity or I’m able to concentrate for long periods of time and really move a task along once I get over my fear of starting (which is really a fear of not finishing).

So, just start. You don’t need to finish a scene, a page, or a book. Just start and do the best you can for 15 minutes.

Next time, I’ll be talking about The Now Habit, writing, and my training for a 5K zombie run. Somehow it all comes together.

What goal are you set to accomplish where this now habit can help you?

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6 thoughts on “The Now Habit – Just start!

  1. This works for me, too. Only I call it, “Just do a little bit.” Often enough, “a little bit” turns into a lot, once I sit down.

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  2. Fear’s got me. I know it because I haven’t done any writing in two days, and I’m angry with myself. So scared to write crap. I know, I know, I gotta write crap. Crap! Here I go. Thanks.

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  3. I struggled with this all through last year, and a little bit in the beginning this year. I kept looking ahead, searching for the “best time to start this” date and if I missed it, I felt like a failure. There is only now. Just start now.

    Thank Krista!

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    • You’re welcome! I really think that for a lot of people part of their block or fear maybe from the pressure we put on ourselves for polished, finished pieces. Just planning on doing 10 or 15 minutes can relieve some of that pressure and hopefully open the floodgates of creativity (at least on some days!).

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