The surprising results of tiny good deeds…

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article headlined, “A Tiny Good Deed Can Go a Long Way”….

The article I want to discuss today — A Tiny Good Deed Can Go a Long Way — appears to have nothing to do with writing. In fact, I think the principle it outlines, has everything to do with it. Here’s why.

Social scientists have learned that the more specific we are about what we want to accomplish, the more successful we’re likely to be. Thus, tell yourself you want to be happy and you may simply be stymied by the vague, amorphous nature of the goal. But tell yourself you want to make one person smile today and, voila. You will be happier.

As my own social experiment, I tried this on Friday. I had to have a blood test and I resolved to make the lab technician smile. It worked! I did feel happier. Of course, I recognize that my small sample size (one) proves absolutely nothing. Still, the logic of the principle is eminently sensible. Most of us like to accomplish things and we’re better at patting ourselves on the back when the goal is small, realistic and achievable.

Exactly the same principle applies to writing. Don’t resolve to write a book. Instead resolve to write for 10 minutes a day. If you can produce 250 words in that time and do it every weekday for a year, you’ll have a book of 65,000 words.

Isn’t that amazing? Read A Tiny Good Deed Can Go a Long Way and see how it might change your writing life.

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