What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It is always the same step, but you have to take it. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Spending more time at home has made me more aware of the things that I have been ignoring for far too long. Things like the messy desk in the corner of my living room. I placed a small desk there several years ago with the idea that it would be a lovely place to sit and work sometimes. My husband and I co-founded a workspace in our town and my office there is where I do most of my writing. But I also write at home, so the small desk seemed sensible. The only problem was that I never used it as a desk. I used it as a place to put stuff. Mail, mostly, and small decorative items, or things I was going to “put away later”, such as hair ties and, somehow, socks (clean, in case you were horrified). Let me say that this has been a mess that I have been ignoring for months, if not years. As long as I didn’t look directly at it, I could pretend that it wasn’t there.
Narrator: “And yet, it was still there.”
Except that I knew it was there, and it bothered me. I know that now because I know the deep sense of relief I felt when I cleaned the desk this weekend. All it took was about twenty minutes and a trash bag, and I was left wondering why I hadn’t done it earlier. But it doesn’t matter. I’ve done it. And I’m sitting at the desk as I write this, feeling an inordinate sense of accomplishment. The time and effort it took me to clean the desk was nothing compared to the time and effort I spent avoiding the desk.
They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But remember that every step along the way is also a single step. And the ending is a single step, too.
Sometimes, it’s easier to do the thing than it is to avoid the thing. Often, as writers, we feel the enormity of tackling a new creative project. But all creative work is an assemblage of small ideas. Just doing one can build confidence and momentum. They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But remember that every step along the way is also a single step. And the ending is a single step, too. Try to feel the satisfaction in each one.