Friday, April 6, 2012

Get Yourself Moving, Dedicate Your Effort to Something Bigger

Just look at these guys! This picture is from a dedication ceremony at Nasa. I don't know what they are dedicating, maybe a new fire resistant parachute, or a space junk collecting vacuum cleaner. Heck, it could be a new tastee-freeze vending machine. Doesn't matter. What matters is the effort at dedication.

I've spent the last few weeks working on some fiction writing I'm trying to get finished before May. There is a contest coming up that I'd like to enter if I can manage to turn the pair of stories I have been wrestling with into something a little better than the bathroom scrawl they currently are. In the process I have discovered that I have a hard time switching between blog writing to fiction. 

This has been a great revelation for me because it has given me the chance to evaluate why I have this hang up, and see if there is anything that I can do to improve on it. Which brings me back to the Nasa diggers above.

The hardest thing about any writing, and I suspect that this is true not just of creative pursuits but of any long term project, is finding the resolve to do the work day in and day out. Seriously, it's hard to keep at it when any tangible reward seems a dim glimmer which you are starting to think might in fact be the early stages of retinal detachment. So how do you do it?

Take it away...I just can't look at it anymore.

Fortunately for me I read something a while back that has given me perspective and helped to keep me going. I owe it to Roger Walsh. In the past when I thought of dedication I would think, "Wow, look at those Olympians, they must be really dedicated to practice all those hours on a Stairmaster just for the chance to win a medal." Great, but it doesn't help much does it. There is, however, another way to look at dedication.

In one of the first exercises in Essential Spirituality by Roger Walsh suggests that you dedicate your efforts before you start work. In other words, you do something like those NASA diggers are doing. You stand up and say something along the lines of, "I'm dedicating this floor moping to the memory of Aunt Hilda, God rest her soul, who was a germ-o-phobe."

As you can probably tell by my tongue boring its way through my cheek I thought the whole idea a might silly. Well, I did. Right on up until I started trying it. It was a small change at first. Working on the Nordic Track came a little easier when I thought of myself as doing it for my unborn grand babies, but when I started adding a dedication as a preface to doing laundry, moping, writing, well... not only have those jobs become less onerous to do, but they are also easier to start.

There are a lot of benefits to working in the service of others. Add finishing jobs that seem too big, too hard and so giant you fear they just might take forever to the list.

I'm still not sure how to make the transition between blog and fiction writing easier, but I am dedicating my efforts at both to my kids bellies. And what do you know, here I am. How about you? Where might you benefit from dedicating your work to someone else?

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