On July 20, 1969, astronauts stepped on the moon for the first time. Neil Armstrong celebrated this historic event with a now-famous quote: “This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Our prompt this month asks writers: What “small step” in your writing life turned out to be a giant leap? Perhaps it wasn’t a giant leap but a bigger step than first imagined. Perhaps you haven’t even had a bigger step. If so, what would you hope that experience might be like? Would you be prepared for what happens next?
On the Edge of a Miracle
Last November I participated in Nina Amir’s, WriteNonfiction in November.
As the month began, I sensed God saying, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again” (Ecclesiastes 11:1 NIV). Which in today’s language meant, “Go for it! It will take time, but eventually everything will come together. God will bless your efforts.”
But how to proceed? What to write? I had a lot of first drafts in my computer, so I decided to revise a partially-finished series of articles. I kept a chart with my daily and cumulative word count as a visual incentive to keep ahead of my 1,000-word daily goal.
The goal of the month was to write every day, but I needed one day a week—Sundays—for rest and other activities, coming back Mondays refreshed and ready to tackle a new challenge.
Throughout the month, Nina posted frequent blogs encouraging us, providing strategies and tips, coaching us through the mid-month slump, and cheering us on as we neared the finish line.
* * *
When I began, I didn’t realize how valuable this month would become—and how it would improve my writing habits in the long term. I didn’t realize that just doing the next day’s work would become one big step after another, like moon-walking in an atmosphere of little gravity.
It motivated me to focus on one writing project over the month. Sometimes I’ve been an Alice in Wonderland writer, following rabbit trails down rabbit holes to off-task adventures. But now I saw how distracting those rabbit trails were.
It focused my attention on production. Some days I felt mentally ready to stop, but was below my word count. I pushed to write just a few more minutes, just a few more words—and often those counts grew beyond the 1,000 words.
The month built up endurance to finish my revision project for the day, complete with conclusions. Conclusions can be hard for me, and I sometimes stop writing before I think of a clinching ending, a poignant punch, a surprise O. Henry turnaround, or even a good summary. And so I kept working at this aspect, giving it extra thought and attention.
These principles carried forward into my regular writing. It has been said that habits take thirty days to form, and I discovered that God had shown me better habits and a firmer action plan.
* * *
As we take “little steps” towards our goal, we may not know we’re on the edge of a miracle until much later, when we see the great strides we’ve made with the footprints we’ve left behind.
“Thou hast enlarged my steps under me…” (Psalm 18:36 KJV)
Now over to you.
Tell us the story of what God did with one of your small steps.