author, creative writing, writing

Writers: Be Micro-Ambitious

Morning writers! I hope you have all had a successful week and are seeing in February with excitement!

Today, I’d like to share with you a quote, from the wonderful Tim Minchin’s ‘Occasional Address’ . It’s a glorious speech with ‘9 Life Lessons’ and I fully recommend giving the whole thing a read or listen. For now though, feast your eyes on this:

“…I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up.

Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye. Right?” – Tim Minchin

writing a novel

What an amazing thought….

It has certainly helped me to manage my goals, and so here are four reasons why I believe that being micro-ambitious can have a positive effect on writers.

1. You’ll learn to enjoy the moment
Writer’s anxiety is a very real thing, and it stems from all sorts of thoughts and concerns. I often find that if you think too far ahead too soon then the writing process can become more scary than enjoyable. Focusing on micro-goals can mean that you don’t worry about the second draft while working on the first. You don’t worry about writing query letters, or submitting to agents and publishers until the time comes. Enjoying the moment is so important, and helps keep your passion alive.

writing a novel (1)

2. You won’t get too overwhelmed
In relation to the comment above, focusing on the full long term goal (i.e writing the book, finishing the book, editing the book, publishing the book etc…) can leave you feeling overwhelmed. That’s not to say your end goal shouldn’t exist, but being micro-ambitious can take away some of the pressure and allow you to positively work through each step, while celebrating small victories along the way.

3. You won’t miss opportunities
In the quote above, Tim mentions how looking too far ahead can stop you from noticing “the shiny thing out the corner of your eye.” I agree with this wholeheartedly. You never know what opportunities are going to pop up, and setting micro-goals that are quicker and easier to achieve gives you freedom to shift goals around if a new opportunity arises for you.

4. You could end up achieving more
When you focus only on big goals, you may only feel you’ve achieved something when that goal is complete, and only if that goal is complete. Having micro-goals gives you the chance to celebrate yourself far more often, which can have a really positive effect on your life. Celebrating finishing a first draft is so important, for example. Don’t wait for publication to celebrate your achievements; there’s so many more along the way, and you have every right to be proud of them all.

writing a novel (2)

I think this will be quite a split topic, with some of you preferring larger goals to micro ones. So please do comment below and share your thoughts, I am always interested to hear them.

Until then,
Keep writing,



14 thoughts on “Writers: Be Micro-Ambitious”

  1. I mostly agree.
    I think “in the moment” it’s important to focus on “the moment”, but I also think there are times where it’s good to “look up” and see what direction you’re going, and what the path ahead looks like.
    I generally like to do that at the beginning and/or the end of a writing session, though I don’t do it every time.
    I think any time a small goal is achieved, it’s good to take a step back and consider this piece in light of the whole.
    But I think when you’re working on a scene, or an article, that should be your whole world, as far as writing is concerned.
    Trying to keep one eye on the ground and the other on the horizon needlessly divides one’s attention.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I’m saving this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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