Wednesday, February 11, 2015
One Step at a Time—Carolyn R. Wilker
Writers soon learn that getting to publication takes many steps, and that it’s one step at a time. In early days of writing, there’s so much to absorb—show, don’t tell; use active voice, good grammar and correct spelling; transitions from one scene or thought to another. To a new writer it may seem overwhelming. And yet, in time and with much practice, even the newer writer gradually gets those separate elements together. With the help of an editor, the prose or poetry comes out looking polished.
A serious writer is always learning, striving for a stronger voice and a story that meets people where they are, and so learning is never done. Some writers seem to develop a natural way with words or a poetic or literary voice. And others, like my aunt who wrote poetry for her own enjoyment, and shared it with family, are also writers.
Perhaps from a young age, a one-day writer becomes adept at telling stories or standing up in front of friends acting out imaginary scenes, then recreating them for a larger audience. Like a nine-year-old I know who started her first newsletter recently that her homeschooling Mom supervises. Her Mom put up a link on Facebook and then the publisher of the local papers saw it and decided to include one of Rachel's stories in each edition of its publication. Go, Rachel, go! I suggested that one day she might be on the Youth Editorial Board for our regional paper. She continues to learn and that's good.
Life is a lot like that too, learning one step at a time. I awoke one morning recently and the line of Kris Kristofferson’s song, came to me: “One day at a time.” Just like composers of song and story, we never do it all at once. A baby is born, and there’s much for the child to learn. She sits up, stands, walks, says those first words, and later communicates with others. She tries things out, and her family learns in time what she does best.
After a long progression of words, actions, songs, performances, you, too, arrive at the present moment, and it’s as though all those steps were leading you there. You’re encouraged by your family to keep going, or by others around you. Sometimes a road block stymies your progress and stops you for awhile, and other times, you’re just not so sure of yourself and your abilities.
Faith journeys are like that too. At first parents and Sunday School teachers offer simple lessons, such as God loves you, through song and Bible stories, and you go from drinking milk (simple concepts) and eventually to eating solid food and digging into the meanings of a messy life and God’s grace and how God loves you, messy life and all.
Maybe you find release in resuming that gift that was dammed up, and other times it’s simply daunting. One day at a time.
As I tell my students in writing workshops, “If you keep working at it, you get better.” And they do, because I see improvement as they continue to write. In the same way, we understand better, in time, the lessons God has for us and the gifts he gave, and we continue to develop as his children, even when we’re all “grown up.”
If your calling is to write, then it’s time to get started. If you’ve taken a hiatus for whatever reason, there’s room to start again. Share what you know, where you are in your faith journey. Learn as you go and be persistent.
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