Chopping Wood

“For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”   T. S. Eliot

“Do or do not. There is no try.”   Yoda

An oft-told Zen story:

A student, newly arrived at a monastery asked the master, “What work will I do while I seek enlightenment?”

“Chop wood, carry water,” the master replies.

“And what work will I do once I achieve enlightenment?” asks the student.

“Chop wood, carry water,” the master replies.

This wonderful story, shared in The Mindful Writer by Dinty W. Moore, reminds us of a simple truth: As writers, we write.

Whether we spend our time“trying” as our boy T. S. Eliot says — always chasing the better word, the more elegant sentence – in the end, as Yoda observes, we “do or do not” – we are either writing or not writing.

Sometimes we falter. We are only human, after all. Sometimes, we let a lot of things get in the way of our work. Not just the daily demands of life, but our own self-imposed problems. We get frustrated about how slow a story is going. We get anxious about whether it’s good enough. We get worried about sending it out or finding an agent or how to self publish. We lose ourselves in confusion and forget that we’re writers and it’s about the writing.

“Chop wood, carry water.” Find words, make sentences.

This is our work, too. If we can just remember this and keep it simple, the words will come, the sentences will form. Write on!

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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