Overnight Success or Steady Eddie?

I have three kids and for each of them I’ve written in a journal for the first year of their life. I talk about the world, what I hope for them, their birth story, about their family, what they did with their day and the joys and struggles of parenthood. I pause, just before turning off the lights, to write for ten minutes. It’s been my “blog post a day”, but for them. I bring this up because in three days, I’ll finish my son’s journal.DSCN8360

Often I struggle to find time to write, or at least the allotment that I think works best for me. I search for an hour or more when maybe I should be looking for a small collection of minutes, just like his journal. Over the past year, I’ve put about 60,000 words down without worrying about the time, struggling with not-writing, writer’s guilt, or being emotional about not getting something done.

It’s strange how effortless this was. Many times in my writing life I see the overnight success and grumble. I wonder how they got there. I sprint and burn out and if I’m honest I lose the taste for it at times. I suppose it’s not about the book or the sprint, but the next word and the slow plod. Perhaps I should take my time, write every day for fifteen minutes, instead of moaning about never having time for it.

What do you think writer? How do you get words down consistently?

Write today, even for a minute.



11 thoughts on “Overnight Success or Steady Eddie?

  1. I’ll confess, I don’t Bob. I can have weeks of being productive, writing 1000 words a day, determined, committed. Then I’ll have a month when I write next to nothing. Other things require my time and I just don’t get the chance. I’ve come to accept that’s the way it is, and I try not to get down about the slow periods. I have kids too, and I’d regret not giving them the attention they need in order to write. I think your journal idea is priceless – one day they will really appreciate it 🙂

    1. Thanks Gemma. I think I am in the same boat. I am just trying to balance it all. I know there is a place between feast and famine, I just have yet to find it at least this is what I tell myself. Or, maybe, I am looking for land where there isn’t any. Either way life is good and I’m glad to be back to be blog and in a season of writing consistently.

  2. latayne

    Bob, thank you for the encouragement. Have you read Gladwell’s Outliers? His observations on the amount of time one spends honing a craft are very illuminating.

      1. latayne

        Yes, Outliers is the book that discusses in detail the 10,000 hours that are essential for success, or so Gladwell says.

      2. danielfbowman

        Tim Ferriss is known for shortening the 10,000 hours by analyzing what really matters.

      3. Thank you, Daniel. I looked him up. I think his approach only works if you are not a mom of young children, a caregiver, or other tasks that can’t be efficiently shortened without damage to relationships and subsequent regret.

  3. danielfbowman

    Sometimes it’s easier to focus in the unplanned times because you don’t feel the need for perfection, and there’s not that paralyzing sense of having to do it. Bravo on keeping up on your kids’ journals.

  4. Pingback: The Real Story Behind Any Overnight Success | Part-Time Novel

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