Tag Archives: novel

Consider this

Do not squander time. It is the stuff life is made of.

I’ll just take a break here, I said to myself.  Little did I know – or perhaps I should have known – that my little break would stretch into writing my last post on this site for quite a while.  Or that I would put off writing the sequel to my well-received novel.  Or that I would end up wasting a lot of valuable time.  Once I got out of the discipline of writing, it simply became easier not to write. 

That’s deadly poison.  It takes a major effort to get back in harness, which I am glad to say this post indicates I am doing.  Now I just need to keep it up.

The same is true in other areas.  Exercise is a prime example.  When you go for daily walks, you feel bad if you skip one.  Your mind, your body, your spirit wants to do what you have established as a good, regular pattern.  And as long as you keep exercising, that need to exercise will be with you.  But if you stop for more than a day or two, the reverse occurs – your inclination becomes not to exercise, not to write, not to use your time well. And the longer you do that, the more the bad inclination reinforces itself.

Whether it is exercise, writing, working on a project around the house, or simply making a point of spending time with loved ones, that time is precious.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and I don’t need to tell you that we are only on this planet so long.  “Do not squander time. It is the stuff life is made of,” is the motto you see on the Twelve Oaks plantation in Gone With the Wind.  Truer words were rarely written.

So when you fall into one of those negative patterns, as I did, force yourself to break it, knowing that not only will it result in more productive use of your time, you’ll feel better about yourself.  This is not to say we don’t all need vacations now and then – we do and should take those – and a change in routine is also a good thing.  But it does speak to those breaks we take simply because we are too lazy that day to follow our productive routines that help us in so many ways.

We pay for those breaks. 

I’m back from mine.

Consider this

Persistence saves the day

by Robert Sperber

I couldn’t help thinking, when I read about Vaclev Havel’s death last month, how short life is and how important it is that we use whatever time we have to stay true to what we believe in. Whether it’s fighting a totalitarian regime  ̶  in Havel’s case, the Soviet Union  ̶  or something smaller and more personal, like pursuing medical research or a legal cause you care about, the race goes not necessarily to the swiftest, but to those who stay the course.

Sometimes it seems hopeless.  And sometimes it is, at least for a while.  Havel, who became president of Czechoslovakia (later The Czech Republic), was a dissident award-winning playwright who spent years imprisoned by the puppet Czech government and then given menial labor jobs because he persisted in his dream of a free, independent country. That he succeeded in his lifetime may have been as much a surprise to him as to his countrymen, but I doubt whether he ever questioned that his cause would eventually succeed. 

In his heart, he knew what all who achieve their dreams know: we are here only so many years, those years go by quickly and we all eventually die. Better to die for something than die for nothing.

Persistence is the key.

Most of us, of course, are not engaged in global struggles.  Many fight smaller, but no less brave, battles: proving the innocence of those wrongfully convicted, proving the guilt of those who got away with crimes, persevering in breakthrough medical research, or helping a child with a learning disability make sense of processes the rest of us take for granted.

For some, it’s more personal: Overcoming a speech impediment, fighting alcoholism or drug addiction, standing up to bullies, winning over that girl (or guy), or excelling in javelin throwing. It doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that we all believe in ourselves and the cause we fight for, get through those dark hours and carry on.

I face this myself as I write the sequel to my first novel.  Writing is a wonderful, yet agonizing, process.  There are days of exultation, when the words sound right and I can do no wrong.  And there are days when that doesn’t happen.  But I remind myself that I felt the same way with my first book, Lines of Control, now doing remarkably well.  So I persist, keep at it, and soon that second book, followed by others, will be out there.

My characters, particularly Charlotte Westbrook and her colleague Lewis Sullivan, are no different in their quest for justice. Charlotte doubts herself, gets herself in trouble for overstepping her bounds to the point that she risks her career, but she persists. And in the end (at least so far), she has won.

There’s a lesson there for all of us.  Moments of inspiration in your cause, whatever that cause is, are great, but you can’t wait for them.  Force yourself to move forward every day.  You’ll reach your goal and know that your persistence made all the difference.