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Making Progress

Here I told you all that I would get another blog written last week and here it is Friday of this week. Sheesh. Um. Wow. I’ve been writing? Does that work? I actually have been writing. Head down, working on the next book. And I’ve come to the realization that getting a book done is like cleaning the kitchen. It gets done one thing at a time.

Or, in the case of a book, one page at a time.

There are nights when I drag my tired carcass into the kitchen and wonder who made the mess cooking dinner (answer: moi) and why do I have to clean it.

But then I remember my mother’s adage that you just focus on thing at a time. Don’t think about the entire job, just the ketchup that needs to go back in the fridge. Then the leftover that needs something to go into. Etc. Before I know it, the kitchen is finished and I’ve gotten the task done without it seeming like a boatload of exhausting work.

Really, what I’ve done is put on tunnel vision to keep from panicking as I wade into the chaos.

So when I get bogged down in the writing or can’t seem to see the story through the forest of writing the needs to be done . . . or fixed . . . or thought up . . . I start breaking the book down into the most manageable parts I can face–the chapter that is bothering me, the scene that seems off, the thread of the plot that keeps unraveling.

Don’t focus on the giant task ahead, rather do what is in front of you and finish it. Then worry about what is next.

My mother’s advice works for just about every aspect of life–I even use it in my knitting when I start to tackle some project that seems beyond my skills. I start with the cast on, then Row 1, even, when it gets really complicated, just the SK2P in front of me.

I think everyone has tasks in their lives that can use a deep breath and a little tunnel vision. What do you have to face that a little tunnel vision could help?

3 comments to “Making Progress”

  1. Nathalie
    May 16th, 2011 at 1:35 am · Link

    Such wise words from your mother! I’ll try to use it, because anything household-related is a chore (and definately not my favorite activity).
    Especially now that springbreak is over and the kids are back to school. Two 5-year-olds can really turn a house into a mess in two weeks time. I’m about to tackle their playroom, so a little tunnel vision would probably be a big help.

  2. June
    May 16th, 2011 at 6:32 pm · Link

    Very true! Also just like Bird by Bird. I found that to be a very inspirational book. The way you explain it is to realistic.

    Thanks for being such a great writer Elizabeth!


  3. Juanita Glass
    May 24th, 2011 at 7:51 am · Link

    I have enjoyed every book of yours I have read. I am so disappointed that our library does not have all your books, but was told this week that I could order from the State Library!!! What a joy. One of my biggest regrets at being laid off and “retired” at 72, is that I no longer have the funds to buy every book I want and have to depend of libraries and my kids for my books!!!! Keep writing and I will keep looking!

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