Cinnabar Bridge

June 10, 2008

Taking baby steps

Another of my letters for the BAIPA News [June 2008]

In my email yesterday, I got the Writers Digest newsletter and the subject line read “Push Past Writer’s Block” – it made me think about how we begin to move, how we begin after a fallow time, how we are able to act when it all seems so hard.

Taking these steps, these positive steps – I call them baby steps — is important. And it’s equally important to acknowledge taking these steps, whatever they are, to move you onward.

I must confess I don’t respond well to the word “Push” because it speaks to me of effort, Herculean effort, and it feels so very difficult – like pushing rocks uphill. When this happens, we may need to sit back and breath before moving again. Writer’s block resembles any creative block, and for me, any block that gets in the way of the things I want to do, or need to do – whether that is writing something on a blank page, calling that book store to find out about how they treat local authors, or asking a friend to look at my book….

I get curious about sayings – and I start to wonder – what is a “Baby Step” anyway? How big is it? What does it mean when an adult takes a baby step? I realized that often when we talk about taking baby steps it can be heard as derogatory – as a negative comment on someone’s inability to do something that appears to be easy – pick up that phone, write a few words on a page, ask for support. But if you really think about what a baby step is – to the baby it’s a very big deal. That first step, or that small step – when looked at from the perspective of a baby – and the size of a baby – that little, almost insignificant step – is huge.

Today, I love taking baby steps. And I speak with friends about taking one step at a time. Putting one foot in front of the other. And what’s so interesting to me is that after taking that first difficult step, the others don’t seem quite so hard. And sometimes we can get into a rhythm and a speed that makes our doubts and our slow starts seem like distant memories.

At one of our meetings someone talked about this whole business of independent publishing as being a marathon. And what is a marathon but a whole series of individual steps. Give yourself credit when you take a step. Give yourself special credit when you take a baby step. You deserve it. Whether it seems hard or easy, acknowledge these little, terribly significant steps.

To read the Writer’s Digest article on Writer’s Block

To get the Writer’s Digest newsletter


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