Do you ever feel behind life’s cue ball, always struggling to catch up? Perhaps you believe everyone but you is flying high and achieving all their goals and dreams.
Maybe you feel as if the train has left the station and you’re not on it. The wind is not at your back, but instead has been let out of your sails.
You’re the tortoise, not the hare—and you’re not winning.
We’ve All Been There
Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt
We’ve all felt left in the dust at some point. So…welcome to the worldwide club! There is joy in the journey, but you must keep traveling to find that joy. There’s so much good ahead in your life. For some needed inspiration, read this open letter to anyone who feels they’re falling behind.
I’ve been where you are, and at times, I still must coax and pray myself out of a slump. Many years ago, I felt depressed and defeated and didn’t know what was wrong with me. As a recovering perfectionist, I’d freeze up and not begin anything until the very last possible moment. I’d sweat and stew over the details and become completely immobile.
Why did I torture myself so? Because I wanted everything to be just right, and I knew it could never be as perfect as I envisioned.
What is The Answer?
What is the answer? How do we unfreeze and get on with it? The solution to your problem may be surprisingly simple. You might laugh at what I’m about to say, but laughter is good medicine.
In addition to memorizing Joy and Laughter Verses to spark joy, there’s a phrase I pull out of my hat over and over. The phrase consists of two little words. Easy to remember, but powerful. Whenever a project looms like a mountain in front of me, I repeat the following words:
These two words were the theme of the delightful, off-beat comedy What about Bob? Starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss, the movie was filmed in 1991 and directed by Frank Oz. Dreyfuss, (Dr. Leo Marvin) is a successful psychotherapist who cracks up after Bob (Bill Murray), an obsessive-compulsive neurotic, tracks him down during his family vacation. Here are some funny You Tube Clips if you haven’t seen it before.
Dr. M, as Bob refers to him, has written Baby Steps, a new and groundbreaking book. He attempts to treat Bob using the techniques in his book, and any time Bob freaks out, or about to, Dr. M speaks these soothing and calm words, “Baby steps, Bob. Just take baby steps.”
Bob repeats these words to keep himself moving:
“Baby steps to the door.”
“Baby step down the steps.”
“Baby step into the street.”
“Baby steps down the sidewalk.”
“Baby steps onto the bus.”
Of course, the movie is full high jinks, and most everyone—except Dr. Marvin— loves Bob, (including Dr. M’s family). Bill Murray is so utterly believable as a lovable neurotic, and as he’s making tiny baby step progress, Dr. Marvin is quickly losing it and turning into the patient.
Are you paralyzed in your writing? Or something else? You can use this short phrase to guide yourself through whatever you want to accomplish. Writing will be our example. Fine tune it to whatever suits you.
Take the first step. A baby step.
Brainstorm 5 Topics
You say you want to blog. Or write a short story. Or a book.
Brainstorm five different topics you will write about. List them. 1,2,3,4,5. If you’re drawing a blank, help yourself to 365 Creative Writing Prompts. One for each day of the year!
Exhausted from this exercise? It’s okay to put away the writing until the next day. Do something else. Go ride your bike or take a walk. Go to the store. Many times your subconscious will kick in and give you the answers you need.
The next day open up your document or pull out your sheet of paper with the numbered topics.
Remember, baby steps.
Write Down a Working Title
Write down a possible title or brief description of the topic. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. There will be a time for editing.
Start with #1. Expand on the Topic.
Write a topic sentence. What is the theme or message of your book, article, or blog post? If you have more. Write more. If not, move on to topic #2. Repeat.
Baby steps again.
Write an Outline
Now, see if you can come up with at least five items you want to cover. Just a word or two will suffice.
Set a Timer for 5 Minutes
Finally, the last step is to write as fast as you can, as much as you can during that time without thinking too much..
Keep repeating to yourself: baby steps.
You can’t write a book without writing the first word, first sentence, first paragraph. Next thing you know, you’ve written the first page, second, third, and so on until the end of the book.
It’s truly that easy. You’ve created forward momentum. Your brain will be free to spark more ideas; your pen will begin flowing across the page.
Think of Bob. Think of baby steps.
And remember this wonderful quote.
I’m pulling for you! Let me know in the comments what you do when you feel stuck.