Firewood and Words

Each spring, we get two cords of split firewood delivered to the house. The resulting pile is nearly as tall as I am, and as long as our car. Unfortunately, all that oak and Douglas fir doesn't move and stack itself in the woodshed 20 feet away.

It's a lot of wood to tackle, and I'm the one who tackles it. But not all at once. I have a system, see:

4 wheelbarrow-loads per day.

No more, no less. Each afternoon now, I get home from work, walk my dog, write some words, and stack some wood. There's a noticeable dent in the pile now, and the stacks in the shed are getting taller.

Everyone has a writing metaphor, an analogy that helps them comprehend and shoulder the load of working on a project, be it a short story or a long novel. Now, I've got mine.

Words are like firewood.

I can't stack two cords of firewood in a day. Probably not even in a week. But each day I can move just 4 wheelbarrow-loads. Eventually all that firewood will be stacked in the shed, ready for winter.

By the same thought, if I work on my novel just a little bit each day — I'm currently going for a cap of 20 minutes — I'll get my novel done. I can't do it in a day. I can't do it in a week. But I can get it done, if I make it manageable for me and for my day.

This winter, we'll be warmed by the work I do now. Someday, I'll have a book ready to publish, by the few words I crank out each day, every day, no matter what.

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