‘That’s it’, I told my husband. ‘I’m quitting’.
Sitting in the sunshine, sipping lattes and penning my thoughts. That’s what I’d thought it would be like to do a PhD.
Instead, here I was surrounded by discarded kids toys and a mountain of washing. I was ready to throw the whole damn 50,000 words out the window and my laptop with it. Just because I’d failed to save the last hour’s work and my husband (a computer programmer), hadn’t managed to make it magically reappear.
In fact, I lost count of the number of times I told my husband I was ready to quit in those dark days of writing up my PhD. Usually he’d just nod and wait for it to pass, but sometimes he’d rise to the bait.
‘You’ve spent four years doing this now, why are you going to throw it all away?’
For me, starting a new project is the easy part. I’m all fired up with ideas and raring to go.
But it’s getting up and starting everyday in the middle that’s like wading through mud.
There are two major differences between successful writers and those who just want to write.
The first is just getting started.
But the second is more important. And that’s getting started the next day. And the next day.
Not how ‘good’ a writer you are.
Angela Duckworth talks about how the most successful people are not those with the greatest talent but the people who don’t give up.
Passion and perseverance for very long term goals. That means sticking with your goals for the long term. Not just for a day or a week but for months or years.
So it’s not just starting, but it’s getting up and starting everyday.
What can you start today that you’ll be able to follow through for the long term?
If the big project is too big, can you start with a smaller one? 📚
If you’re writing a book, can you agree to write for fifteen minutes a day?
And if you want to learn more about grit, watch this short TED talk by Angela Duckworth.