Not Going it Alone …
January 7, 2010 | Written by admin
I don't watch much television, but both my husband and I enjoy shows on National Geographic about climbing
their way to the top. I shake my head and marvel that, for the sake of
minutes of human glory, these intrepid souls risk their very lives.
I’ve asked my husband, “Would you do it, if you
usual response? “Maybe. But I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
I’m simultaneously glad to think he would consider
thing, and relieved that he’s really not motivated to try. I
like to think we both have adventurous hearts, and that we’d be
supportive should either of us choose to pursue such an endeavor (as
But where he looks at the mountain and sees the eventual glory and reward
would make it all worthwhile, I consider the toll it would take and realize there is no way he – or anyone – could do such a thing alone. I'd have to commit in some way.
Don't get me wrong. If he wanted to climb Mt. Everest (heck, if he wanted to climb the ladder and take down the neighbor's Christmas lights), I'd do whatever it took to help make it happen. Help him break it down into small, doable steps. That's my strength. I
moving forward; he keeps me looking up, remembering to consider the big
picture. I’m guess you could say I'm his Sherpa when needed, and vice-versa.
Do you have a Sherpa in your writing life? A spouse willing to encourage you
the sacrifices? A writing partner who understands the costs and keeps
moving forward regardless? A critique group committed to helping one
get in condition? Maybe, if you're ready, you have
who believes in your talent and is moving along with you step by step.
If not, perhaps this should be the year you find someone to help keep your eye on either the big picture or the next
small goal, depending. Someone to hold you up when your knees
in exhaustion. Someone to keep you thinking about the importance of
personal goals when you risk losing motivation because you realize there
a line of people before you waiting for their turn to stand on top
Or perhaps someone to give you perspective and
help you see
that you even if you’re not ready for
there are plenty of other shorter mountains and hills which might make
for you to attempt first.
When it gets tough; while you’re wrestling to find
way to add layers to your novel, researching statistics for your
work, tightening your dialogue, adding depth to your characters,
outline, developing a twister plotline, or double checking that you've made the strongest word
choices,it might be helpful to remember that right now, someone is waiting their turn to approach the peak of Everest,
just conquered Hillary’s Step, and ascending, step by grueling step, the
100 feet to reach their long planned destination.
I can't begin to imagine what that must be like. But, unless I've missed something, I don't think anyone has ever done it solo. The first recorded climbers to reach the top, Sir Hillary and Tenzing Norgay (who, by the way,
for years refused
to reveal which of them stepped on the peak first), certainly
didn't do it alone.
Writing may not be as difficult or life changing a feat as mountain climbing. But, it is still a difficult one which is often regarded as a solo endeavor. In the end, though, I think it's important to remember that it really doesn't have to be.
Just something to think about while the snow flies and the winds of winter howl about us.