E.L. Doctorow once said that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” You do not have to see every inch of where you are going in advance, you don’t have to see your final destination or everything you will pass along the way in order to get there. You only have to see the few feet in front of you. One “step” at a time.
Not only is this wonderful advice to writers but it also applies to many aspects of our lives, such as setting and pursuing goals, whether long term or short term. Whether it is a small project we want to take on like re-organizing a closet or a larger one such as renovating an entire home. Planning a wedding, preparing for a baby’s birth and what it takes to make room in your already crowded life for another person, or going through a divorce… just take it one day at a time and you will reach your destination just as sure as you would reach it if you worried about each phase ahead of time.
In writing, sometimes it is difficult to envision the entire project, a novel in my case, from start to finish without becoming frustrated and discouraged at times. Most times. Its like exercise in a way- no gain if no pain. But a bit more enjoyable at least! Writing is fun, at least for those of us who have been called to this wonderful passion. But like anything else, it takes hard work and persistence. There are times when we sit down at our computer with no idea where to start, or pick up from the day before, or where to end. As talented authors of Books on How To Write– like Stephen King, Anne Lamott, James Scott Bell, Orson Scott Card, Gloria Kempton and others have said time after time: “Just write. Never give up.” That is the key.
And… isn’t that the best advice for anything? No matter how large our goals or dreams seem, no matter how difficult or unrealistic (some of my own kids tell me to give up- that I can never expect to actually be published like a “real writer”) never ever stop. Never give up, never quit and never stop believing in yourself. After all, the journey is half the fun! So keep on driving that car toward your destination. Just remember to keep your headlights bright and preserver through the night and you will eventually arrive safe and sound!