“The voices that you hear in your head keep telling you that you are behind and you have to get it all done now. We are going to quiet those negative voices that are beating you up constantly and replace them with a loving, gentle voice that tells you that you are not behind and you can do this one BabyStep at a time!” ~ FlyLady

Newborn Fawn, Photo by Clay Junell

Photo by Clay Junell via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The quotation above is not about writing, but it could be. For anyone not familiar with FlyLady’s approach to taking control of a messy house and CHAOS—Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome—I recommend you visit her website and poke around a bit. Even if you never follow her house-cleaning routines (I admit that I don’t), she offers a lot of ideas and motivation that you can apply to your writing.

Baby Steps

FlyLady advises newcomers to start with her 31 BabySteps:

“Your very first BabyStep is to go shine your sink. Don’t listen to those voices that tell you that it not going to help your messy house. This is exactly where I started, and this little habit has changed my life!”

Her point is that by beginning the simple routine of going to bed every night with a clean sink, we not only take a first step toward a cleaner house, but we also begin to feel better about ourselves. The next day we add another baby step, then another, until eventually we have an effective routine that feels as natural as did the chaos we were living in before.

The same idea can be applied to writing (because, after all, FlyLady is really about taking control of one’s life). What one baby step can you take today that can easily become a part of your daily routine?

You might decide to write for 10 minutes (or even 5) in a writing journal each evening as a way to record any ideas you have that day. You could comment on one other writer’s blog each lunchtime as a way to build your writing community. Or do a simple writing prompt as a daily warm-up exercise, such as using Merriam-Webster’s word of the day in a three-sentence micro story while you enjoy your morning coffee.

Think of all the ideas you will have written in your journal after a year, all of the bloggers you will have interacted with, all of the germs for new stories at your fingertips!

The point is not to choose something big, but to choose something small and measurable and satisfying.

What writing baby step can you take today to take charge of your writing life?