Early in my decision to write, I was told to read this book by Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird. Being one who often feels overwhelmed in many areas of life, her dad's advice to her brother during a grueling homework assignment was soothing to me and has offered a way through many difficult situations.
"Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
One at a time. Take it slow. Do it carefully and persistently. Keep at it. Don't give up. Anne extends that advice by writing about a one-inch picture frame sitting on her writing desk. It reminds her that she only has to write down as much as she can see through a one-inch frame. Just write a bit at a time. The whole story does not need to be told today. Do what you can with this day's writing time.
I remembered the bird by bird advice one day when riding my bike. We came upon a hill so steep that I almost came to a stop while peddling upward. I found myself repeating, "Bird by bird, Deane, just take it bird by bird." One rotation of my peddles. Right foot down. Left foot up. One more. Left foot down. Right foot up. One more time. As I concentrated on each turn, the hill became easier to climb and it wasn't long before I found myself at the top! Instead of conquering the hill, I triumphed over the movement of my own two feet!
All this encourages me to be patient with myself as a writer and do what I can. It is easy to become overwhelmed and feel tempted to give up. But writing comes as we write. We don't always need to know where we're going. We just need to get on the bike and go. The bigger picture will emerge as we find success in each small piece.
I'm looking forward to mining more treasures as I reread this book. . . one chapter at a time.