Monday, 14 January 2013

How to Achieve Your Dreams One Step at a Time

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." - Lao Tzu

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev /
Everyone has a dream or goal they want to achieve in their lifetime, but many of us become paralysed by fear. We give ourselves excuses, such as lack of time, for putting it off for the tomorrow that never seems to come.

For the past few years I came up with all sorts of reasons why I couldn't start a blog, not yet; lack of time; lack of knowledge; not knowing where to start. This year I decided to throw all the excuses out of the window and just start.

There are many reasons why we are afraid to start, but the one thing that can always trip us up is looking at the big picture too soon. We think about what we want to achieve and it just seems so big that we panic. Instead, we need to learn to break it down into smaller parts and start there.

The best place to start is to write the goal down on paper and then break it down into smaller and smaller parts. I'll use some common goals as examples.

Writing a novel
If you don't yet have an idea, start off by brainstorming, or keeping a notebook to jot down any ideas as soon as they come to you. If you do have an idea, then start off by taking notes, just jotting down your thoughts, maybe write an outline. After that you can progress to the writing, but again, think small steps, one sentence, one paragraph, one page, one scene, one chapter. Start small and find what you are comfortable with, as you gain confidence you will be able to achieve more in each writing session. Don't worry about the quality now, that's what subsequent drafts are for. To begin with just get it all down, piece by piece.

Improving your craft
Start by making a list of the areas you want to improve and then look for classes, books, or even blogs which cover that element. Just pick one for now and then start. Read one chapter a day. Do one writing exercise a day.

Writing more
Don't set yourself up for a fall. Start small, say 100 words a day, or write for 10 minutes. If that feels too easy, increase it to 250, 500, 1000. It's all about finding a level that works for you, one that doesn't intimidate you.

These are just three common goals related to writing, everyone's will be slightly different but I think you get the idea by now. The sooner you take that one small step, the sooner you will gain confidence and learn to believe in yourself, and the sooner you will be able to make that dream a reality. Take small steps, building momentum as you go, and you will achieve your dream.

So now it's over to you. What small step could you take today that would get you that little bit closer to your dream or goal? Write down what you plan to do in the comments below and then come back and tell us how you got on.


  1. I am in the process of writing my first novel. I've written an outline, and have started the second draft. I have a good feeling about it so far. My ultimate goal, after edits and rewrites, is to query it.

    I've taken the advice mentioned above. Instead of thinking of the whole picture, I concentrate on getting a sentence, a paragraph, or a page done. That is helping me not get overwhelmed by it all. I also try to remember that what comes out doesn't have to be perfect, and that it can be fixed in editing.

    1. Congratulations on getting started with your first novel, it can be a scary time but you seem to have the right attitude. Getting it down is what is important at this stage, perfection (if there is such a thing) definitely comes later on in the process.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, and good luck with the novel. Come back and let me know how you get on. :)