Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just keep swimming and keep moving forward!

Sometimes it's hard to focus on our goals in life. I'll start out and I'll know exactly where I want to go, and I'll have a pretty good idea of what I need to do to get there... and then it gets hard. Take writing, for example. Honestly, I love to write. If you've read anything at all on this blog, then you've probably guessed that about me. But there's this book that I've been writing since I was 15 years old. It started out as a short story for an English class, but I wanted to turn it into an epic fantasy that might have a chance of being published someday. And now, approximately 8 years later, I'm almost there. And sometimes, it's really hard to sit down and work on it. It's different than writing a blog post or a paper or even a short story, all of which are much easier for me.

This novel thing is a lot of work. And if I don't remind myself that I wanted to do it, it's really easy to get distracted and do something else instead. Achieving goals is great, but that doesn't mean the process is always easy or pleasant. It's the unpleasant parts (re-writing) that I have to just keep swimming through. The only way out is through, and if I just sit still and whine to myself about how hard it is, time will keep moving, and I won't. And I won't get any closer to my goal. So it's better to put in the effort to use that time to achieve something worthwhile. At least, that's what I tell myself when I'm wondering what the point is and why I started this project in the first place. Obviously, this applies to more than just my writing, but that's a good example.
*disclaimer: this is much easier to write about than to actually apply in real life. Just so you know. It takes practice and self-discipline to keep going when things don't turn out as well as I'd like. And I'm still not very good at it all the time. Part of the reason I'm writing this post is to remind myself why it's worth it to keep going in life, in writing, and in school. I know that if I keep working, good things will happen. There's tons of things I can't control about my life. But I can have faith, keep working, and hope for good things to come.
Here is a character sketch I did for some of the people in the story I'm writing. It was helpful to try and visualize them. I've still got a ways to go, but the end is almost in sight! Just ... have to ... keep ... going ...

All of this reminds me of a wonderful talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, given this past April. It's about journey stories and the journey we all face in life. I highly recommend it. Another great article that I just found is "A time for faith, not fear" by Elder Larry W. Gibbons. It's in the July 2013 Ensign. It talks about why hard times come up and how to face them with faith.