Small Goals, Bite-size Pieces

I don’t know about you all, but I get easily overwhelmed by big projects. Spring cleaning, training for a marathon, raking all the leaves in my yard every fall…

So I always break things down into smaller pieces. It don’t clean the entire house at once; I go room by room. I don’t run 26 miles; I slowly add miles over time. I don’t rake all the leaves in one go; I make smaller piles all around the yard.

And when I’m revising a book, I don’t tackle everything at once. I instead look at each individual component of story: plot, character, setting, pacing + scene level conflict, and line edits.

Of course, all of these things are ultimately inseparable (character creates plot, and world creates character), but it’s helpful when revising to try to tease them apart as best I can. That makes the actual act of making changes to the text more manageable.

And hey, it lets us color code! Who doesn’t love using highlighters and post-its and pens to stay organized? (I mean, probably some of you don’t. But hey, you also don’t have to color code. I just like to because I find it helpful for my own brain.)