The Magic of Momentum: Stacking Small Win On Top of Small Win

Craig Stanland
5 min readMar 29, 2022

I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I started writing my memoir. I had never written a book before, and I didn’t have any clue how to.

All I knew was I wanted to write, and more importantly, I needed to get this thing out of me.

I had to get it out of me.

I never studied how to write a book. I read inspirational quotes from my favorite writers. I read about the act of writing, about the muse, about dedication, perseverance, and commitment.

But nothing about putting a book together.

It was daunting and overwhelming. I almost stopped numerous times. My voice of doubt was working overtime,

“Who am I to write a book?”

“Who’s going to buy it?”

“You’re not a writer.”

And every single time the voice of doubt went to work, I remembered why I was attempting to write a book.

It started in the Otisville Federal Prison library. I was writing the first draft. It was ugly, it was messy, and it was depressing. It was filling me with shame and crushing my spirit.

I’m in prison, writing about events that had just occurred. Being arrested by the FBI, pleading guilty, my wife telling me she was leaving me, and planning my suicide.

All of these events were still so fresh, the wounds were wide open, and here I was pouring bleach on them.

I threw my pen in disgust, muttering to myself,

“I’m in prison, isn’t that punishment enough? No one is ever going to buy this, it’s impossible to get a book published. Why am I doing this to myself?”

My heart spoke; it was a soft yet confident voice. It said only one thing,

“To help one person.”

I went back to writing, and the pain wasn’t so bad.

I now had my fuel, but I still didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

I still needed to work through the voice of doubt and fear that were screaming at me with every word written.

When I was released from prison, I was fortunate to land a job working the front desk at a gym in…

Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.