Recently, our area was hit by a snowstorm that dumped two feet of snow on us.
A typical later winter storm, the snow was heavy with moisture. It’s great for packing and building snowmen but not so great for clearing off sidewalks and driveways.
I’d planned to attend a writer’s conference north of my home the next day. I’d paid for the registration and the publisher of my novel was going to present on a couple of topics, so I wanted to go. But when I looked out the window that morning, I wasn’t sure it was possible.
Bob and I went to work, clearing the snow with blower and shovel for an hour, ate breakfast, then went back to work. We cleared a path wide enough for my car to get to the road. So, I showered and headed out, arriving in time for the end of the last morning session. At lunch, I sat next to my publisher and visited with her. I left after her last presentation, glad I’d made the effort.
And grateful for the lessons from the snow shoveling about writing and the creative process.
Don’t give up too easily. When encountering a snag like a rejection, or a creative block, or some other challenge, the temptation is to give up. Instead, it is time to look at the snow drifts, and determine how to move around or through them.
Set a clear, doable goal. Bob and I set a clear and doable goal to clean a path wide enough for one car to make it out to the road, not shovel out the entire driveway. When you work on a creative project, don’t set goals that are too difficult to achieve. What’s the point? It’s not about being an overachiever but about completing the project.
Chunk it down. Because the snow was so heavy (and because hubby and I are in our 60s), scooping up one large shovel of snow and tossing it was hazardous to our health. Instead, we scooped up the top six inches and tossed, then scooped the next six inches and so on to the ground. Slow going? Yes. But we didn’t collapse from exhaustion and injury, either. Do the same with your work. Maybe you write for an hour or two and then you do research for another hour. Small tasks add up.
Collaborate. Even with the snow blower, the snow was hard to move. So, I pried sections of snow away from the rest with the shovel and broke it up so Bob could more quickly and easily churn it up into the snow blower. Work, write, create with a critique or accountability partner, a writing group or a coach. Support and help in your writing or creative work, increases your enjoyment in your work and speeds the progress you make.
Take breaks. Bob and I worked for an hour, took a break for breakfast, and then worked for another hour. Don’t push yourself to spend hours at the computer or notebook. Besides the fact that it isn’t good for your body, it’s exhausting for your mind as well. Take a break, physical and mental.
Acknowledge and celebrate. Once we were done, Bob and I acknowledged each other’s contribution to the job with words and hugs. Then he had his morning coffee, while I quickly showered and headed north to the conference.
Resistance, sometimes as snow, sometimes as family, and sometimes as one of many other types, will get in your way if you let it. But remember the lessons of shoveling snow and move past it.