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Find Joy and Creativity Again With Small Steps


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I recently wrote the newsletter intro for the WOW! January markets e-newsletter, and I came up with the theme that small steps plus small goals can equal big success. Then, in my friend group, we've been texting a lot (on a group chat!) about feeling stagnant in careers and in life. Those conversations, along with my article for the newsletter and my own recent life changes, made me think of this: 

Empower yourself with small steps. Forward progress of any kind will make you feel better. 

Stagnation is the enemy of joy and creativity!

This past year, I had a job that was not going anywhere--I felt stuck. I knew I needed change, but it's hard being a single mom and living in the U.S. We need health insurance. So I applied at Starbucks, where I only need to work part time to qualify for health insurance. Plus, I can freelance. This would also give me more flexility to help my aging parents. It was a win-win-win plan. 

Then because I was in this forward motion, one of the companies I freelance for had an open position for a writer, and it's a great job. It has room for growth, a wonderful salary and benefits, and I accepted the job. I start that February 1. None of this would have happened if I wouldn't have made small steps to leave a job that was stressful. I was stuck. I got myself un-stuck, and things happened.

This is true in so many areas of our lives, but REALLY true in our writing life. I'm talking to myself here, too, because I have been stuck on a project for about a year now. It's a nonfiction book for teachers and parents, and every time I do pick it up to work on it, I think to myself: This is actually not so bad. Why are you not finishing it?

Small steps plus small goals equal big success. 

I need to listen to my own advice. 

I've decided while writing this blog post that if I can just get one section completed a week on my book, it will eventually be done. Instead of saying: "I have to work on this book every day." Or "I need to edit the whole thing and finish it now." Or "I still need 52 ideas for this to be complete." 

One section a week is manageable and forward progress. Stagnation over. 

This year, my word of the year is joy. I'm looking for joy in every area of my life. And I know it's possible with small steps. 

I wanted to let you know that I won't be blogging on The Muffin for a while. I'm taking a short break with some of my commitments because I also have a goal NOT to overwhelm myself in 2022. I like to say YES to a million things, and then complain about how exhausted and stressed out I am--all the opposite of JOY. I'm sure I'll be back either here or in the newsletter, but for now, I'm focusing on the new writing position, teaching WOW! classes, finishing my own book, and publishing Editor-911 Books. These are the career things that bring me joy--plus for a while, I'll still be making some chai tea lattes on the weekends at Starbucks. 

What small steps can you take in your life? In your writing? Or if you don't need this in your personal or professional life, how about your novel or short story characters? Are your characters stuck in your novel? What small steps can they take to get out and get moving? We'd all love to hear about that in the comments! 

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Margo L. Dill is a writer, teacher, editor, and publisher, living in St. Louis, MO, with her dog and her daughter. To sign up for her next writing class on writing for the middle-grade and young-adult reader, starting on January 26, go here now. Her writing a novel with a writing coach class will be on hiatus for a couple months, but you can sign up for the April session here. Find out more about Margo at https://www.margoldill.com, and about Editor-911 Books at https://www.editor-911.com

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