Manageable Chunks

Today I got in my first fender bender. My car Amelia is doing fine, considering, but it was pretty unnerving. You always feel like you're going to have a warning for these things, but I was just sitting at a red light like normal, and the people in front of me didn't go whenever the light turned green, and I thought I'd be nice and give them a second.

Not a good idea.

Next thing I know, the lady behind me hits me, and my car's getting pushed forward. I'm fine from all this, except for the somewhat sore neck that I'm hoping improves by tomorrow instead of getting worse. But it was a less than ideal afternoon.

I've had several things floating around in my mind today that I want to blog about, but the thing I can't get away from is this. What do we do when we don't know where to start? I'm going to apply this to writing, but it really can apply to just about anything in life.

The announcers on K-Love this morning were talking about how a study showed that most people don't clean their houses as much as they should because the thought of cleaning the whole thing feels overwhelming. Can you say, "oh, yes"? Haven't we all been there? (If you haven't, don't tell us. We'll either hate you or bribe you to come clean our houses.)

I've been feeling like this with writing my new book lately. I really like how my last book ended up, and I've been spending so much time brainstorming the new one that I felt stuck, like I couldn't come up with anything at the level of my last book. But the thing is, the last book didn't start off at the level it ended up. I worked on it and edited it until it got there. Sometimes deeper moments, surprising scenes, and evocative imagery don't show up until after the first draft. Way after. Comparing a yet-formed idea to something already edited is just not fair to that fragile, budding new idea.

Then one of my fellow Alley Cats, Julia Reffner, mentioned something that really stuck with me. She said she felt God telling her, "WRITE YOUR STORY," and He will teach you what you need to know.

How can I learn if I am not producing something to learn from? 

So many times we get paralyzed in life because we are afraid of failure, and this definitely happens with writing. But don't hold your first draft to such a high standard that you can't produce it in the first place.

What was K-Love's solution to the cleaning problem? They said the experts suggest you create manageable chunks. Set a timer and clean your house one room at a time, for several minutes at a time.

The same applies to writing. Sherrinda did a great post at The Writer's Alley today about #1k#1hr, which means you try to write 1,000 words in one hour. I did this yesterday and was amazed at the results! If you're struggling to fulfill the calling you know God has placed on your heart, set more manageable goals and trust Him to do the rest. Because if you keep looking at the height of the mountain, you won't be able to pray your way up. You've got to take one step at a time and pray you won't fall off. ;)

Do you ever struggle with feeling overwhelmed in life or in your writing? How do you manage the goals you set for yourself?

*Photos from,,


  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! Both in life and in writing! It's hard to tackle climbing Mt. Everest when I haven't built up the endurance needed. Taking small chunks is the smart way to go. Small goals, baby steps,'s all about the forward motion. :)

  2. Makes me think about that movie What About Bob. "I'm baby stepping!" :)