Thursday, September 11, 2014

How To Motivate Against All Odds

Zestful Blog Post #70

Just about every child, when faced with a daunting task, has heard the encouraging bromide, "Once begun is half done." For something like cleaning a toilet or putting up a tent, that's pretty true.

However, authors know that's horsecrap. Yeah, tell me that when I'm on Chapter 3 with 29 more to go.

Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher who wrote the Tao Te Ching, the keystone text of Taoism, said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Literally correct, but the much deeper meaning is that the only step that matters is the one you're taking right now.

[Lao Tzu could no doubt translate for us, if he were here.]

A much better adage for writers! It is true that the only word that matters is the one you're writing right now. How can it be otherwise? If you infuse every word, every sentence with your full attention—not thinking ahead, not worrying how it'll all come out—you'll create a worthwhile piece of writing. And you'll probably have fun along the way.

Embrace that paradox: Just this word, just right now. And see what happens.

What do you think? To post, click below where it says, 'No Comments,' or '2 Comments,' or whatever.
If you'd like to receive this blog automatically as an email, look to the right, above my bio, and subscribe there. Thanks for looking in.
[photo of unknown Chinese signage by ES]


  1. Funny enough, I came to the same conclusion last week or so when I found myself over thinking about writing the perfect sentence. In the end, I stopped staring at my computer screen rewriting sentences over and over, and picked up a pen and paper instead. I wrote more in twenty mintues than I typed in three hours. Had more fun doing it too. It even inspired a blog post.

    1. That's the spirit! I do find the tactile reality of pen and paper to be conducive too!


Tell us your thoughts! You know you want to.