The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. **Mark Twain

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Practice for a heavy load....

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

How do you build a skyscraper?  One brick at a time

How do you become successful?  One step at a time

How can you carry a personal heavy load and still manage to write?  I practice....

We moved to Ohio around 20 years ago.  We bought a lovely home that had a lot of room.  It had a nice yard and a very special bonus.  It had two apple trees.  The one in the front was in full bloom when we looked at the house.  The one in the back had a few blooms on it.  Since I had tried to cultivate an apple tree at our last house, I was excited to be the proud owner of two healthy apple trees. 

Unfortunately, their fruit wasn't that good.  The apples were very small.  The backyard tree looked a bit battered, the apples had brown spots and the fruit was too tart to eat.  We managed to use a few of them to combine with other apples and make cider - but most of the fruit was never used.   The front yard was a little better.  We made apple sauce and used some of the fruit for pies - but it was so pitted with bad spots that the yield was very small. 

We talked about spraying the trees and having someone look at them but life was busy and we never seem to get it done.

Last year we had a company fertilize and work on our grass.  The wonderful side effect was that the trees exploded with fruit.  The bad spots were better and the taste was better.  In fact, the front tree had so much fruit that one of the branches broke. 

This year the same explosion of fruit began.  With my daughter's wedding and all the preliminary things to do, we didn't have time to cultivate the trees.  After returning from her wedding we noticed that the tree in the back was so laden with fruit that two large branches were bent to the ground.  It didn't take long for us to hear a large crack.....and then another.  We used 2 x 4's to hold the branches up enough to allow the fruit to continue to mature. 

I took pictures of the tree and wondered.  Why would doing the thing you were created to do cause you to break?  These trees had always produced fruit.  It may not have been edible or the best....but it was fruit.  Why break now?  Was the tree just too old?  Or...maybe just maybe, the limbs had everything necessary to produce excellent fruit but the limb itself was not strong enough to support excellent fruit in large quantities.

Isn't that like life?  Have you ever watched someone go from obscurity to abundant success and then break from the pressure or lose their personal life because they were went wild with success?  Even when we are on the receiving end of blessings - if we aren't ready....if we haven't practiced or prepared - we will break. 

Pressure doesn't know the difference between good stuff and bad stuff.  If we have practiced handling all the stuff that's thrown at us along the way, it won't be hard to handle.....a larger career.....more demands.....constant movement......concentrating even during a personal storm.....keeping up with deadlines.....knowing when to say no or when to get involved.

For those of us that still consider our writing careers in the "beginning" stages - I would suggest that you take a look at all the stresses in your life.  Don't see them as deterrents to a writing career.  Instead, see them as a chance to practice being a writer in all circumstances.  See them as a chance to see how well you can work or survive under pressure.  Use your current circumstances to build a life of commitment to your work.  Learn how to develop the Habit of Writing even when it is under attack or not as pleasurable as you would like.

Then when success comes and your publisher wants you to handle your family, write the second book in your series and go on a marketing tour - you can smile and say...."I'd be happy to.  I can handle that load with ease because I've practiced and I'm ready for the job!"

God loves you and has called you to write,


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