Being an avid reader, it is only fitting that I use my one hundred mile commute to feed my audiobook obsession. I dive into plots of murder and mayhem and families torn apart. Sometimes, I even take trips to other worlds where paranormal fantasies are reality. Anything to escape the stress of traffic. But today, I found myself deep in thought over a mantra I was hearing with brand new ears.
In the story I am listening to, the main character has a multitude of crippling addictions that drive him to the brink of suicide, and insanity. He’s on the verge of losing everything, including his life. Worse, he is in complete denial that his habits are actual addictions, even though he admits he can’t go a moment without thinking about them.
So when a recovering addict explains he’s been sober for thirteen years, the main character is astonished. He can’t imagine abstaining from drugs for one day, let alone over a decade. The recovering addict says it was easy. He has never committed to a life of sobriety, only to being sober for one day. He’s done it every day for thirteen years, and thirteen years later he’s still sober.
It made sense to me. After all, we only have one day – today.
My new ears took this concept and tried to translate it into action. We all know how hard it is to meet a long-term goal. Losing the extra weight and keeping it off – for good. Exercising until we are fit enough to run that marathon. The dream we are chasing is one we want so desperately but always seems to be one foot out of our reach.
I happen to be a person who is motivated by long-term goals. I don’t know if it’s because I like to torture myself, or because I want my experience to be so difficult that when I’m finally rewarded there is no doubt that I earned it. Yet even for someone like me, traveling down long and difficult roads gets exhausting. Sometimes you want to get out of your car and hop into a spaceship that transports you to your destination instantaneously. Or, maybe that’s my commute.
Like any worthwhile goal, novel-writing is a time-consuming and strenuous process. But with a newfound mantra up my sleeve, I’ll get some bits of goal reaching satisfaction along the way. If I focus on my daily word count goal alone, then reaching it will mean I’ve accomplished my goal (albeit short-term). Then, thirty, sixty or ninety (or whatever it takes) days later, I’ll have a completed first draft.
And when I look back, I’ll know exactly how I managed to write a seemingly impossible ninety thousand words. As you will with your goal.
One day at a time.