The favorite toy of both my sons is Legos. Over the years, we’ve set a new world record for the number of Legos that can fit into one house. Just last week as we celebrated my younger son’s seventh birthday, we acquired even more—yep, you guessed it—Legos! (Now we’re considering adding a separate room on to our house--one just for displaying Lego projects.)
In fact life is like building with Legos. Sometimes events and problems spill around us. All of the different shapes and sizes overwhelm us. It looks like chaos and we wonder how we’ll ever be able to make anything good out of the mess.
The same is true of us when we’re facing the chaos that life dumps upon us. And yes, I think that we can even apply the principles to our writing. Here’s what I’ve learned from Legos:
Work Small: Take it One Step at a Time
Anytime something looks overwhelming, it’s easy to toss up our hands and say, “This is too hard. I can’t do it.” When we’re trying to get started into a book or are in the middle of editing, the 80,000 words look daunting and messy. When we’re trying to find writing time in the middle of a busy and chaotic life, we’re often overwhelmed and it’s easy to get discouraged.
On the long journey to publication, we can learn to take things one step at a time and not rush ahead of ourselves. If we try to skip steps, we may find ourselves with a shaky, crumbling story or a set of unnecessary rejections.
See Big: Keep the Larger Picture in View
While we need to work small, we also need to see big. We need to know what we’re aiming for, where we’re headed, what the final goal looks like. It’s easy while we’re in the midst of the daily grind to lose focus of the larger picture.
We’re wise to keep the end in sight too. That requires that we know what we’re aiming for. A friend recently asked me this question: “Why do you write?” It's a great question for each of us to answer. The surface answer for many writers might be, “Because I want to get published.” But then I'd ask, “But why do you want to get published?”
Publication is a worthy goal, but we need to dig deeper than that. If publication is still years and years in the distance, what keeps us writing? What will motivate us to write once we finally are published? In other words, what is the big picture reason we write?
Because stories burn inside us and we can’t hold them in? Because we want to offer hope to the hurting? Because we want to bring to life the heroes and stories of the past to a generation who needs to remember?
Those are just a few of my reasons for writing. What are yours? And are you working small but seeing big?
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