How to Make Steady Progress: A Lesson from the Last Viking

Does the name Roald Amundsen ring a bell? He was an explorer from Norway.

I hadn’t heard of him either until recently. He was known as “the Last Viking.”

In 1911, no one had ever reached the South Pole. Amundsen decided to take on Captain Robert Falcon Scott of Great Britain to see who would get there first.

They had two very different strategies:

  • Amundsen: Rain or shine, traveled 15 miles per day.
  • Scott: Only rested on days when the weather was too harsh to continue, pushing his team to their limits on all other days.

Guess who got there first? Amundsen.

Scott’s team arrived 34 days later and didn’t even survive the trip home.

Why Am I Telling You This?

Because if you only write songs when you think you have plenty of time, you likely won’t finish them. Maybe you could do that when you were in a different stage of life. Now, as soon as you sit down with your guitar, your kid will ask for a glass of water. Your boss will call with a new deadline.

If your goal is simply to enjoy songwriting and see what happens, that’s fine. But if your goal is to complete songs, then act like Amundsen. Spend at least five and no more than 20 minutes each day, or at least most days, writing.

I’ve been doing this for the past five years now. Personally, I’ve found this method to be the best way to make steady progress without overwhelm. A little bit each day. Chip, chip, chip.

Want to Learn More?

If you want to know my exact process, learn more about a course I teach here.


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