Persevere: One step at a time.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” Walter Elliot.

This piece of advice recently popped up on the Facebook Page of Australian Writers Centre, on a day I really needed to see it! ‘Perseverance’ has been my ‘go to’ word for the last couple of years, whenever I’m faltering, tired, fed up, impatient or losing heart. It’s a Post It note on top of my jumble of thoughts. So, when I saw this reminder, on a day when I felt like giving up – in this case, the writing of my novel – I thought, ah, that reminder is for me. That’s serendipity!

When things are difficult or unpleasant in our lives, we tend to put them off. Doing the easy things first is a good option: we clear our environment, our schedule, our minds, so that the difficult task can be focused on. This is my favoured technique. The problem with it is, we can keep putting off the difficult task. That’s procrastination! That’s when we need to persevere!

What I like about this quote is that it’s a reminder that perseverance itself, can be broken down into achievable chunks. If we keep going until we reach the next step, we’ll get through to the end. Think of perseverance as a journey with many stops, not just destination. Reach the step, enjoy it for a moment, breathe, and carry on.

Anything worth doing is worth persevering for. Make the struggle count. Make the most of it. Success will taste so much sweeter in the end. But pause along the way and enjoy the steps too. Make it a lifestyle.

Writing a novel is a mammoth task. 90,000 words is not the only task: they need to be the right words, in the right order, to make the right story. It’s daunting, to say the least, especially with the demon, Doubt, sitting on the writer’s shoulder, whispering – or yelling – who do you think you are? Or, your writing is rubbish! The only way to get through it, is to break it down, scene by scene, paragraph by paragraph, word by word. Persevere until the demon, Doubt, gets the message!

Life is also a mammoth task. It also needs to be stepped through, broken into chunks, lived in scenes! Perseverance is required for each stage, each goal, each battle. Don’t race to the end without stopping to appreciate the passing of each one, the beginning of the next one, and where you are right now.

Perseverance requires patience. It requires stamina. And it requires the ability to appreciate each step before we move on to the next one.

 

More brilliant advice:

“Don’t rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you.” Rob Bell.

The Waiting Game

Is there anyone who likes waiting? It’s my least favourite activity. It’s not even an activity. It’s passive. Although sometimes I put so much effort into it, it might be active!

Waiting in queues, waiting for tradesmen, waiting for human phone assistance – they’re all irritating! Unfortunately, if we’re waiting, it’s likely there’s not much we can do about it! It means that something is out of our control. No-one waits by choice. Were you told as a child, Wait your turn, Wait to be asked, Wait ‘til I’m ready and Wait ‘til you’re older….? We couldn’t wait to grow up so that we could stop waiting do things!

Waiting is a part of life that never goes away, even when we grow up! When we’re young adults we’re busy cramming in life. When we’re parents of young children we’re busy juggling several lives. Waiting in these years is painful. I remember receiving traffic violations, yelling at children, and cutting short the wash cycle, all because there wasn’t enough time in the day to wait!

As an older woman, I have more time to wait. Gone is the road rage, yanking on the dog’s lead to walk faster and use of elbows to wiggle ahead in a queue. If I need wait, I try to do something else, or just be mindful of what’s around me. I step back if someone looks like they’re in a hurry and let them go first. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely calm! I still don’t like waiting but I try to breathe and smile through it.

In fact, in the last year, I think I’ve become a waiting expert. I’ve had to learn the art of patience on a major scale. In my personal and financial life, I’ve had big issues that I have very little power over. In the last month, I’ve had issues with my health that have disrupted my plans and had me sitting in doctors’ surgeries multiple times. There is no other waiting as bad as waiting for a doctor, but worse is when you see them they refer you to another doctor and more waiting! Oh, the frustration!

I’m thinking this year is a bit like hibernation. The world around me is doing its own thing. I’ve had to slow down, breathe deeply, let go, be patient. The waiting game is like winter and I’ve been zen!

‘It’s always darkest before the dawn.’ I’ve been waiting. And I now see that dawn is near.