We’ve all heard it before and know that it’s true. Small things make a difference. I know that if I write one chapter every weekday, I’ll have a book sooner than later. But not everyone can do that. I read a blog by Stuart Danker (whom I met on my blog), and he wrote a novel by writing 250 words a day. https://stuartdanker.com/ I’ve met writers who are weekend warriors who only write on Saturdays and Sundays and end up with novels. We all have to find our own path to writing. And no one thing is right for everyone. BUT, small things add up to bigger things. Of that, I’m sure. And it doesn’t just make a difference in writing.
My youngest sister is trying to clean out my sister Patty’s house to put it up for sale. I mentioned my sister’s death a while ago. Patty loved THINGS. Cleaning out Patty’s house is a . . . chore. Her house made me border on claustrophobic. Every inch of wall space was filled. Knickknacks were everywhere. Pictures hung everywhere. It was almost overwhelming.
But on Saturday, I put on my crappy work clothes and met Mary there to start sifting through the big stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I’m only small time help. Mary’s doing all of the day to day, ugly stuff. I’m just there for heavy labor. BUT, Mary hates to cook. Since we were meeting at one, I said I’d bring lunch. Mary loves spaghetti, so I made a huge pot of that. Enough for leftovers. And, it made Mary so happy, it made me feel bad. I take her and my cousin Jenny leftovers every other night, so that Mary doesn’t have to cook right now, but it made me realize what a small thing made so much difference to her. That, and having a body show up so that she didn’t feel so alone.
It made me think about what makes the biggest impact in everyday life. Sure, I have big goals that I’d like to reach. But those goals come one step at a time. Sometimes, one increment at a time. And there are plenty of failures to make me feel that I’m not making any headway at all. But what sustains me? The small everyday joys of life. My HH. Friends. Family. Pets. Anything that offers hope and sustenance. When my rankings go up on Amazon. When I get a good review. Small things make a big difference.
In the very beginning of my writing endeavors, I was happy when I got a “good” rejection from an editor, when someone took the time to write a personal note on why they turned down my manuscript. (And I will forever love Richard Chizmar from Cemetery Dance because of his nice rejections). Ruth Cavin ALWAYS wrote a personal note when she rejected one of my novels. And as weird as it sounds, those rejections made me feel like I was making progress.
So much of writing is impersonal. (And that might be a good thing. I don’t think I could stand facing down a choreographer or director to have him tell me I didn’t make the cut). But one rejection after another beats the heck out of your writer ego, so any glimmer of hope helps. Every ‘yes’ makes a difference. Every “you almost made it” helps you carry on. Well, it’s just the same with everything in life. I watched Face the Nation this morning and listened to the many people talk about John Lewis, “the conscience of Congress.” He had lots of setbacks, lots of “someday.” But he carried on. Because he had HOPE. He believed in himself. And he believed in America. Hope’s what got me through. I hope you have lots and lots of it.