Compassionate Writing

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Writing requires compassion. Writers not only need to show tenderness for the characters and people they write about but compassion for themselves through the creative process.

As the year comes to a close, perhaps you, too, find yourself frustrated by the state of your manuscript or creative project. I want to be ready, but I know I am not. It doesn’t mean I haven’t put in the work needed to progress, but it hasn’t been enough. That much is clear.

I made a big mistake in goal setting for 2017. I wanted my book published, but I failed to acknowledge all of the enormous tasks required along the way. I was ambitious, but set myself up to feel overwhelmed by everything I set out to accomplish.  I focused on the view from the top of the climb rather than the ascent.

How do we get to the state where we feel that we have done enough? How do we know that our efforts have been sufficient? It is a messy dance between our goals and how we spend our days.

Tim Ferriss, author of three bestselling books, offers valuable advice when it comes to setting goals. It is important to set the right goals and then establish a daily bar for yourself that is achievable so you can focus on the progress you’re making rather than the end result.

When we don’t give ourselves small daily goals that move us toward the larger accomplishment,
​we feel heavy under the burden of all the big tasks still to be done. We make it harder than it needs
to be.

We should see the forest as one or two trees planted each day. Rather than committing to a chapter per week, perhaps commit to writing two pages per day. This may seem challenging in our fast paced lives, but you might be surprised after a week to see a finished or nearly finished chapter.

As you reflect on 2017 and get ready for 2018, start with being kind to yourself. Set two to three big goals and determine several small steps needed for each one. Then, give yourself reasonable daily tasks to accomplish that will bolster your confidence and keep you motivated.

This is where compassion comes into play. Compassion and passion. Pursuing a creative dream not only requires daily passion, but also compassion to allow yourself the patience for each step it takes to achieve the bigger goal.

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