How Taking a Chisel to a Boulder Will Help You Finish That Novel

Every obstacle you face and overcome will give you what you need to find success in anything you do, writing a novel included.

It was 4:30 in the morning when I woke up with the lines to the pitch for my novel running through my head. It was wholly unexpected, yet something I’d been struggling to write for months. I had a pitch written after inspiration from a live webinar I’d attended a couple of months back, but I knew it wasn’t complete in every way it needed to be.

Imagine if you will, walking down a lovely path on a warm sunny day, a view of paradise shimmering at the end of that path, prompting you forward with a promise of euphoria after you’ve taken all the necessary steps to get there. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and you’re there. Easy, right?

Now, imagine you come across a boulder that stops you dead in your tracks. You can’t get over it, crawl under it, or go around it. You can only go forward which means you have to move the boulder.

What do you do? It’s too heavy and far too big.

Well, you remove the boulder.

You pull out the chisel and hammer (aka, all the writing knowledge you’ve gained so far on your journey) you didn’t know you had in your back pocket and you get to work. It’s going to be a slow process at times (after all, you’re still learning. We all are), with moments of great progress until you chisel enough away to clear your path.

You did it! You’ve cleared your path and are once again on your way to that promised paradise: the completed novel.

Then you reach the next boulder. This one may be bigger, or not, but it must also be chiseled away until you can move forward again.

You’ll go through this process along that entire path until you finally and triumphantly reach the end.

Clearly, in this scenario “paradise” is your completed novel, and the “boulders” are the obstacles that will stand before you at every turn and after every so many steps forward. It’s simply the way it is, no way around it. And the path? Well, it’s exactly that. It’s the path you are following to get from an idea for a book to completing that book.

So many times as we walk our path, we will experience the cruel and strong desire to quit, to turn around at the first boulder and walk away, abandoning our promise of paradise that moments earlier was so clear and attainable. But we won’t quit. Right? We’ll power through each boulder with sweat, tears, prayers, and a determination that only the successful ever experience.

You and I know what levels of agony those boulders represent, but we also know the thrill and euphoria that defeating, or chiseling away, those boulders brings. It’s that on-top-of-the-world feeling that propels us forward and gives us the strength to do it all over again when faced with the next boulder.

Yes, every success in our process is followed by the next challenge until we finally (finally!) reach our goal, our paradise.

As I mentioned at the opening of this post, after months of chiseling away at one of those boulders (the story pitch), sometimes with gusto and other times without realizing I was working at it, I defeated that boulder. I chiseled it down to nothing, and now I’m moving forward on my path, my head held a little higher, my shoulders pulled back a little further.

I know I’ll reach another boulder, I can see the outline of it ahead, but I’m not afraid of it. I know I’ll struggle with it at times, but I also know I WILL defeat it. I will reach my paradise. And so will you. Just don’t give up, don’t stop, and don’t let anything keep you from completing your novel, or reaching any goal you’ve set. Don’t let anything keep you from your “paradise”.

Here are just three of my favorite writing websites. Yes, there are so many more, but I’m starting with the top of the list. Check these out if you aren’t already familiar. 1)diyMFA, an excellent website for writers, hosted by Gabriela Pereira. 2)Writers Helping Writers, and 3)The Write Life has a wealth of blogs/articles on the craft and business of writing.

Good luck and keep on chiseling!

Thanks for visiting my blog and happy reading!

Inspirational quote:

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance” –Samuel Johnson

Book Recommendation/suggestion for books with a theme of perseverance:

Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand.

Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly.

The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.

The Boys in The Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown.

And so many more!!

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