Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Dedication

“Though you can love what you do not master, you cannot master what you do not love.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“Seems to me that there is a fine line between insanity and dedication…I call that line commitment”
― Jeremy Aldana

“The speed of your success is limited only by your dedication and what you're willing to sacrifice”
― Nathan W. Morris

“The price of winning is dedication and the price of dedication is concentration. To get any of the two you have to accept to toil for both.”
― Auliq Ice

“Always remember that if you give up in life, life didn't give up on you, you gave up on life.”
― John Yang aka Private83

Last week I finished the first book of my teenage witch series. Because I felt like I needed and deserved a break, I decided to spend a week cleaning my house and working in my yard. This is has been one of the most frustrating weeks of my life. On Monday I cleaned out my closet, but now it’s Friday and my closet looks pretty much the same as it did on the Sunday before I cleaned it out.

Why is it when I’m writing everything works—it’s as if all the lights are green? But when I’m not writing, it’s as if all the lights are red. I go to vacuum and the vacuum breaks. It takes me an hour of studying the manual and fiddling to make it function. I want to mow the lawn, but the mower is out of gas and all the gas cans are empty. On my way to the post office to mail my sister a gift I remember that recently she moved and I don’t have her new address. How is it that when I spend 4-5 hours a day writing, my life runs smoother than when I’m trying to put my house in order?

Does this mean that I should let dust bunnies multiply, grow the grass to my knees, and skip all trips to the post office? I don’t think so, but maybe occasionally I need a frustrating week to remind me that when I’m writing I’m happy. When I’m not…I’m usually cranky. Write and be happy. Not write and be cranky. Are those my only options?

We sometimes think talent is an innate ability—a gift from God that some of us are just born with. But I think the magic of talent is dedication, or devotion. When my son took karate, his class was at the same gym where my friend’s daughter, a state champion gymnast, worked out. My friend’s daughter left school every day at noon to go to the gym and it was my job to bring her home at 6:30. And that girl DID NOT want to leave the gym, even after six and half hours a day, every day.

And yes, I do think that some of us are born with an ear for music, an eye for art, and an amazing set of vocal chords, but God-given talent alone will never be enough. When it comes to writing, talent is important, but it’s not as important as what I call a BITCH, or a butt-in-the-chair-hero. The person who can sit in the chair, close out the world, and dedicate themselves to making the world a better place one story at a time, is going to be the one who dies with a shelf of full of books. And is that reason enough to write?

Only if it makes you happy, and a smidge less cranky.

by Shel Silverstein 

Have you heard of tiny Melinda Mae,
Who ate a monstrous whale?
She thought she could,
She said she would,
So she started in right at the tail.

And everyone said, "You're much too small,"
But that didn't bother Melinda at all.
She took little bites and she chewed very slow,
Just like a good girl should...

...And in eighty-nine years she ate that whale
Because she said she would!

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