Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Snails and faith

After a rather rough weekend and start of the week, I managed to get back to my blog reader to catch up on the wonderful blogs I'd been missing. Many of them, for whatever reason, talked about frustrations and self-doubt.

Yes, I know it's tough, this writing business. Yes, I know there are only so many slots for books to be bought, and only so many agents who will take only so many new clients.

But have a little faith. In yourself. In your craft. In your dreams.

One of my absolute favorite quotes (that I'll paraphrase here) is by Charles Spurgeon, who reminds us that perseverance got the snail to the ark.

So true. The snail just kept on going. I don't know whether he ever thought, "Gee, I'll never make it. It's too far, and I'm too slow," but we do know that he didn't let such fears stop him. He just kept chugging along.

Sometimes we writers get all wrapped up in our ultimate goals: writing the best-seller, landing that dream agent, saying adios to the dayjob.

But that leads me to another favorite saying:

Expectations minus reality equals disappointment.

Yep. If you keep your expectations realistic, you'll never be disappointed.

Now that's not saying that you shouldn't dream big. Dream big, as big as the sky. But keep your milestones in sight.

We should redefine our goals, break them into smaller, bite-size chunks, so that we know when we are making progress. Because, let's face it, that ark is a mighty long way away, but the pebble at the top of the hill? We can make that one.


Angie Paxton said...

Hey I'm the first one to comment. That never happens. Great post. There's a quote out there I can't remember who said it, but it was something along the lines that the only difference between an unpublished and a published author is the published on never quit.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I agree. I set realistic goals each week depending on the kind of week I'm having. Sometimes my goal is to just start reading a new book. :)

Lola Sharp said...

That snail graphic is adorable. :o)

Wonderful post...I bet it helps someone today.

Happy Humpday,

Cynthia Reese said...

Angie, congrats on being first! I'm never first, never, ever, but I comfort myself by saying, "Hey, look what the early WORM got!" :-) You're right: Published Author, your name is diligence!

Oh, wow, Jennifer, sometimes I forget to put that all important goal on my list, but reading is vital to writing, isn't it? Thanks for reminding me!

Lola, I surely hope it helps -- can't tell you how many times I nearly gave up on the road to being published. It's too easy to get caught up in the big pix, isn't it?

Jamie D. said...

Absolutely right. I have to remind myself to focus on the little goals when I start getting impatient with the bigger ones all the time. One day at a time... :-)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I have to have lots of little goals to keep me going. I keep my writing expectations low, especially during the school year- 500 words a day. And I send a few queries a week. It's slow progress, but it's progress!

Paul C said...

'Perseverance got the snail to the ark.' I really like this analogy. It's something like start with a pebble...

wordsareforwriting said...

Great advice Cynthia!

LittleWomen21 said...

OoOOh, I love it! "perserverence got the snail to the ark." That's going on my fridge!

And on your other post, having to slap yourself twice because the first one didn't take - grinning at your southern humor up here in the frozen north.