Wisdom and Incremental Goals

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

For any author who, at one time or another, has felt as if you’ve used up every creative brain cell and have little left to give toward your writing dream, I have words of wisdom from famous authors to inspire you. When the road ahead of you feels more like climbing a mountain than coasting down a slope, setting incremental goals will help you apply their wisdom to move forward at a steady pace.

Writer’s block usually is the result of one or more pressures accumulating Incremental Goalsunder the surface. Looming deadlines, keeping up with personal life, problems with the manuscript, and negative feedback or rejections are but a few. These are normal pressures of life that are hard to avoid, but read this sage advice:

“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.” — Ernest Hemingway

When discouragement and self-doubt slow you to a halt, take comfort in knowing all writers are susceptible to these and then profit from what successful authors have learned:

I can’t write five words but that I change seven.” – Dorothy Parker

“Half my life is an act of revision.” – John Irving

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” – William Faulkner

“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.” – Pearl S. Buck

“If you wait for inspiration to write, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – Da Poynter

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” – Ray Bradbury

Failing is inevitable on the up and down road of the writing life. How you deal with it makes all the difference. These enduring authors show us how to respond well:

“A wounded deer leaps the highest.” – Emily Dickinson

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.” – Sidney Sheldon

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce

“You fail only if you stop writing.” – Ray Bradbury

What is the challenge you are facing right now? You might not know what God has in mind for your writing, but if you set incremental, reachable goals for the day, next week, and the month, you will reap small successes on the path he has for you.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — Mark Twain


“It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.” – Isaac Asimov

What challenges are you facing in your writing life today? What will you do to overcome writer’s block or discouragement and failures in the future? Which words of wisdom and incremental goals inspire you most?


Apply the wisdom of timeless authors and use incremental goals to keep your writing progress on track. Click to Tweet.