Piles can sometimes be overwhelming. We look at the piles all around us...work, school, laundry, unfinished manuscripts...and most of the time we can't see the potential for the sake of the piles. We may stop, stare, and scratch our heads as we try to figure out how that pile got so high in the first place. Some of us may even try to tackle that pile on a grandious scale; bringing in a bulldozer when a simple shovel will do.
I'm pretty sure this past holiday season UPS didn't want to have to deal with piles. Piles to them meant long hours, time away from family, and back breaking work that came with little rewards, few kind words and maybe even an ankle bite or two. UPS drivers should be considered the King of Piles and yet every day they return to work, knowing a peck of piles await them.
Yet some piles are eagerly wished and waited for. Every year at Christmas we hear pleas to help fill the stockings of needy children. Toys For Tots. Angel Tree. Hells Angels Toy Drive. This one time of year compels us to open our hearts and wallets to help brighten some child's Christmas with the promised gift of toys. To THOSE children, a pile of toys wouldn't bother them at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure they would simply dive in and enjoy the task of working their way through it all.
Writers have their own piles to deal with. Our heads are crammed with ideas, characters, voices, plots, locations, etc...filling up our brains and creating a pile of stories yet to be written. Sometimes those peck of piles can seem so overwhelming that we are frozen in time. Unable to look past the blank computer screen to attack the pile. Time is wasted as those peck of piles grow ever taller and our confidence in our own writing ability grow every smaller.
So how do we handle the piles in our lives? It really doesn't matter what type of pile you are thinking of. Whether work, home, personal, professional...all piles can be addressed in the same three step manner.
1. BREAK IT DOWN...those piles are simply a group of common items...white clothes versus colored clothes, inside toys versus outside toys, first drafts versus submission ready, etc. Make that pile more manageable by dividing one huge pile into smaller piles.
2. SIZE MATTERS...take each smaller pile and determine what to handle first. Sometimes you might want to start with the most difficult or time consuming item in the pile. Other times you can do as many of the smaller tasks as you can within a certain time frame to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.
3. EAT THE FROG...like Brian Tracy's book, there is always a way to tackle any obstacle that comes your way and that is ONE BITE AT AT TIME. No one has the ability to tackle a pile of anything all at once, but everyone has the ability to take things one at a time until that pesky pile disappears.
We writers need to keep that in mind. We don't need to be thinking about getting that agent if we haven't begun writing anything. We don't need to be submitting our stories if we haven't gone through the revising/rewriting process. We don't need to be killing off our main character of our story if we never even brought them to life through the strengthening of our writing skills.
Everything we do in life should be a product of our best efforts...one bite at a time...one pile at a time...because the rewards can be...well...rewarding!