This is a repost of the motivational essay I write for my RWAOnline Chapter:
Every morning is a fresh beginning. Every day is the world made new. Today is a new day. Today is my world made new. I have lived all my life up to this moment, to come to this day. This moment--this day--is as good as any moment in all eternity. I shall make of this day--each moment of this day--a heaven on earth. This is my day of opportunity.— Dan Custer
Last Monday, when I realized the day for reopening the Challenge Board drew closer, I felt a tingle of anticipation. A Fresh Beginning. I love that feeling. Something NEW. Yet how often do we forget the excitement with the ongoing stress of Finishing a Book, Sending Out Queries or Meeting The Deadline?
Ever watch a child at play? Their sparkle and glow comes from a freshness of experience we now only carry in our hearts as a faint memory. We’re like the lazy cat watching, amused in a distant sort of way, as the kittens leap and tumble ecstatically in the air. Youth recognizes instinctively that every new day is a new life. After many years of patiently greeting my cat when she’d arise from one of a dozen daily naps, I woke up to the fact that her enthusiasm wasn’t just because she loved me. To her, each new awakening was a Brand-New Day. “Good Morning, Good Morning,” she purrs. “Aren’t you thrilled? A New Day!!”
Imagine that. A dozen mornings in a scant twenty-four hour period. It boggles the mind.
When I read the above quote, I felt shivers. This is my day of opportunity. How might my world view change if I make this my chosen perspective?
Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.--Meister Eckhart
While the birds chirp out a vigorous salute to the morning sun, we too can celebrate each day as if our world was today newly born. I relish the experience and wisdom I have garnered with each writing year I tuck under my belt. Yet if I don’t remember to approach my work as a beginner, I may become complacent or worse, jaded. Somehow, I suspect, when I read a “NY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR’S” work and become dizzy with a POV that jumps with erratic glee six times in one paragraph, that this is a writer who doesn’t care. Not anymore. We all know such laxity would never fly while in the desperate process of seeking representation or publication. Perhaps there’s a sense of relief to reach a point of success where one can just phone it in. I hope that won’t be me. Or you.
So many authors here sweat out the hours required to pore over each manuscript with a magnifying glass—smoothing out the wrinkles and sewing up the gaping holes. We may curse the effort required but what makes the work truly stand out is that willingness to be a beginner, every single day. And besides the obvious reward of having a manuscript that is “blemish-free”, something else occurs when you give that extra push. Something magical and wondrous.
Sometimes when you think you are done, it is just the edge of beginning. Probably that's why we decide we're done. It's getting too scary. We are touching down onto something real. It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out.--Natalie Goldberg (author of Writing Down the Bones)
Ah-ha! And it’s true. We all know it. Writing the “good stuff” takes more than effort. It takes courage. Tapping into that primal spot deep within your soul can be as pleasurable as… well… la petite mort. *wink* Yet sometimes it’s more like a damn root canal. Ouch! *heh-heh*
The result, though, is paramount. A story that resonates. That’s what we all yearn for, right?
So… touching down on something real, remembering to approach each page with a beginner’s eye, and seeing that This is our day of opportunity. What else could be left?
“You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”--Joe Sabah
Oh, yeah. *grin* There’s that.
Welcome to a new week of writing! Let’s carve out some goals.