One Word At A Time: The Law of Compound Effects by Beth Barany

One Word At A Time: The Law of Compound Effects by Beth Barany People often tell me how overwhelming the thought is of writing a book. All those pages. All those words.

But no one writes a book in one day. It takes time because words across the page are a sequential step-by-step affair.

“How do you eat an elephant?”
“One bite at a time.”

A little bit of writing every day goes a long way…
This seems so obvious, but is often overlooked.

Let me show you what I mean… Some examples:

I’m editing my science fiction mystery novel a few pages a day during the week. At the end of two weeks, I have 30 pages edited to turn in to my critique group. Then after I receive their feedback, I take a few days to integrate their changes.

My client K writes about 500 words every day while she works full-time job. By the end of the week, she has met her weekly goal of 2000 words of her first draft. In a few months, she’s completed her first draft.

My student J is brainstorming his novel using the Plan Your Novel course curriculum. Due to his busy schedule, working and being a dad, and playing at his intensive hobby of capoeira, he’s already halfway through the planning of his novel and knows so much more about his story and his characters than he did when he started, i.e., which was nothing. Soon he’ll have his book planned out and can start the day-by-day work of writing his first draft.

When I’m focused on book marketing, I send out a few book review requests each day. Over the following weeks and months, I get reviews posted on the online vendors, on Goodreads, and on reviewers’ sites. More reviews posted means more social proof and the chance that more readers will be reached. The more requests I send out, the more free books I send out, the more reviews I can get. And the more potential sales my books can make.

In writing, one word follows another.

In learning and in creating, content accumulates. In writing, one word follows another. One page follows another. Eventually you’ll have a book.

Seems so obvious. Yet, if you let yourself get discouraged and stop before you’re done, often with thoughts of “It’s not good enough; I’m not good enough; I have no idea where I’m going; I have no idea what I’m doing,” then you’ll never experience the law of compound effects.

A cake half-baked; a meal half-cooked; a race half-run… those all seem weird in real life, and few of us do such things. It’s the same with our creative work.

“How do you finish writing a book?”
“One word at a time.”

One Word At A Time: The Law of Compound Effects by Beth Barany


How can you use the law of compound effect in your life and take advantage of it?

I’d love to hear from you!

Post in comments how you use or will use the law of compound effects.



Beth Barany, Creativity Coach for WritersHi! I’m Beth Barany, an award-winning novelist, master neurolinguistic programming practitioner, and certified creativity coach for writers.

Through my courses, programs, workshops and consultations, I specialize in helping writers experience clarity, so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers.

All my courses are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away. I run an online school for fiction writers here and a 12-month group coaching program to help novelists get published here. I also offer consultations for writers here.

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  • Paula says:

    Your analysis hit me. Thanks

  • Beth Barany says:

    You’re so welcome, Paula. Glad to hear it.

  • Jerry Matlin says:

    Beth, when you send out a request for a book review, do you also send a copy of the book? I’m far from being ready to do this but was curious about the process.

  • Beth Barany says:

    Jerry, Only once the reviewer has said yes to your request. Good luck! For when you’re ready and Happy Writing!

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