The scariest moment is always just before you start.
After that, things can only get better. ~ Stephen King, On Writing
Red narrating in The Shawshank Redemption:
“In 1966 Andy Dufresne escaped from the Shawshank prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer…
“I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty…Turns out Andy’s favorite hobby was totin’ his wall out into the exercise yard, a handful at a time.”
How much this story taught me! I learned what persistence and hope can do for a soul… not just for an innocent prisoner with a will and the genius to set himself free, but for anyone facing a seemingly insurmountable task…
Maureen Boyd Biro, editor and author says, “It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by a big project, but if I only have to concentrate on one inch, well, that I can handle. Eventually those inches will be feet and yards and whatever it takes to make a book.”
One year after seeing The Shawshank redemption, I read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. It was among the best advice I’ve read on writing – or tackling any job that feels overwhelming. “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
That’s how you finish an epic manuscript: one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter at a time. Taken step by step, the thousand mile journey is doable. Just ask marathon man Stephen King.
What walls are you facing that could be removed a handful at a time?
A novel? A memoir? A research project? A house than needs decluttering?
Or, what have you already accomplished inch by inch? Please share below.