The power of small wins in writing a book

A friend on a writers’ e-mail list shared a link to this wonderful story about persistence: The Daffodil Principle

It’s a lovely, inspirational story, but of course my first reaction — I suppose this is true for a lot of people — was to wonder whether such a beautiful garden could really exist. Was this a real anecdote from the author’s life, or a fictional story? So I went on one of my research jags.

An illustrated storybook version of The Daffodil Principle is available from Amazon.

The spectacular garden described in the story does exist. I found an archive of an old Geocities website that describes the history of the daffodil garden and includes some lovely pictures.

The garden is in Running Springs, California, and it was planted by Alma Gene Bauer. It’s open to the public for three weeks in spring, usually the last week of March and the first week of April.

All of which is kind of beside the point. Because the point of the story, even if it were entirely fictional, is that when one has a spectacular goal—writing a book, for example—the only way to accomplish it is to make incremental progress on a regular basis. The story reminded me of the research Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer have done on what they call “The Power of Small Wins.” Amabile and Kramer note that people feel better about their work when they can see their progress.

Terri Main wrote about the importance of small steps and consistency on my other blog. Terri and I and some of our writing buddies have made a commitment to write at least ten words a day. Mind you, when you sit down to write ten words, you often wind up with a couple hundred, because once you get going, it’s hard to stop.

So whether it’s a garden one bulb at a time or a blog post one word at a time or a novel one page at a time, small steps and incremental progress is key. What’s one thing you can do today to make progress on the project facing you?

Disclosure of Material Connection: The Amazon link above is an affiliate link. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a pittance of a commission from Amazon. Regardless, I only recommend books I believe will be of value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

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