do one small thing
Back to Writing week 5
There’s a joke on twitter that I’m going to mangle, but it basically says that adulthood is just telling yourself “things will calm down after this week” over and over until you die. And it’s October, and that’s where I am. How are you?
When I’m not making the progress that I want with a project, it’s often because the project is too big and I haven’t figured out how to make it smaller. So here’s this week’s focus: do one small thing. Your small thing might be a particular scene you’ve been wanting to write. It could be to flip through an old notebook and collect lines and images for new writing. You could read the poems you’ve written recently and write yourself a list of assignments for new work. If there’s a place you’ve been feeling stuck, make your work in that place smaller.
So for this week, take a look back at the vision you wrote in week 0, or think about the piece of writing you’ve been working on or dreaming about. What’s one small thing you could do this week to move it forward? Do that, then maybe do one more small thing. That’s how the writing gets done.
I’ve been training for the half-marathon in Atlantic City in a few weeks, and my favorite part of the week is Sunday morning after I’m done with my long run and I’m walking home. My legs always kind of hurt, but my brain feels clear, and there’s something so satisfying about setting a really big quantitative goal and achieving it. Mileage is finite in a way that writing really isn’t. A week ago I spotted this little guy on a flower on one of those walks home, and I was so pleased to have cleared my brain enough to really see it that I took a picture. Seeing makes space for writing, too, so this week your one small thing might be the looking or listening that comes before words.
A little programming note: I have a really excellent interview with poet Bronwen Tate that I’m dying to share with you, but I just haven’t gotten it together yet. It’s on the way!
today’s one (1!) task:
Reflect on your vision for your writing, or just check in with the progress you’ve made on whatever project you’re working on. Write down a list of small things you could do to move your work forward. Pick one to get you started.
What one small thing will you do this week? How is your writing going? I’d love to hear from you. You can always reply to this email, comment below, or find me on twitter (@nancy_reddy) and instagram (@nancy.o.reddy).