This is a blog about achieving a big dream one small step at a time, a philosophy I owe to an interview I read with author John Berendt. Berendt’s novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, was originally turned down by his agent. She said it was too localized (Savannah, Georgia), that no one would ever read it. Undaunted, he found another agent who loved the book and sold it with ease. Problem was, no one was buying it. So he committed to doing one thing every day to promote his book. One thing every day adds up to 365 actions in a year. Midnight eventually sold more than 2.7 million hardcovers, was on the New York Times best-seller list for four years, and was made into a film, making Berendt a rich man.
Moral of the story: Persistence + small simple steps = Success.
I was so inspired by John’s story, as Amy and I are facing a similar uphill struggle with our book, Dancing at the Shame Prom. The publishing industry ain’t what it used to be. Authors are handed their shiny new books, placed on an iceberg and floated off into the deep arctic waters of self- marketing. We’re overwhelmed, to say the least. But one thing every day? That’s something we can do. So Amy and I made a pact to each do one thing every day to promote our book, adding up to over 700 actions in a year. Not bad. And we're keeping each other accountable by emailing what our one thing is each day.
But this method isn’t just for books. It can be applied toward any goal.
For instance, I feel overwhelmed by clutter, and dream of being better organized. So, I started with one pile of mail on my desk. The next day, my jewelry box. The next, the sock drawer. Next up - my purse. Small actions. 365 actions in a year.
I also want to lose weight. I can make one choice every day toward better health. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Skip the second glass of wine and have a sparkling water. Do sit ups while I watch TV. Just one change a day. 365 actions toward weight loss in a year.
Here are some more ideas.
Say you want to write? Write one page every day. 365 pages in a year. Sounds like a book to me.
You want inner peace? One action a day: Take a walk, meditate for five minutes, pray, write in a journal, call a friend. 365 actions more peaceful by the end of the year.
You want to find love? Do one loving thing every day. For yourself. For others. For the world. 365 acts of love can only create a love avalanche.
Anyway, you get the idea. By breaking a dream down into small simple steps, anything can be achieved.And it helps to have a partner to be accountable to, because it's easy to forget small simple things.
Let’s all choose one important goal, take a small step toward it today, and see what happens.
John Berendt’s very kind words about our book, Dancing at the Shame Prom:
"These are startlingly honest stories of deep-down, lingering hurt, bravely and eloquently told. Once you start reading you can't stop. The effect is oddly cleansing."
- John Berendt