When I was pondering what to write in this blogpost, I encountered the entries from my coaching program when I was trying to submit the book proposal for my book, Spectacular Marriage: 10 Ways to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage. It was just about a year ago, and I had found a publisher who looked like a good fit. When I went on their website, I discovered that they had a four page submission form that would require a lot of work on my part. It seemed almost like an impossible quest. However, I had learned that huge undertakings can be broken down into 20 minute segments that don't seem so daunting, so I began to do that. In between these 20 minute sessions, I also thanked an editor who had accepted three of my poems for her journal, and sent a check for extra copies of the issue with my poems. I had to finish a talk I would be giving in a few months at the next Beginning Experience Weekend, and I also did that in 20 minute increments. Since this talk deals with my loss of my husband, it was much more difficult to write emotionally than all the many talks I wrote for World Wide Marriage Encounter Weekends. But with breaks between the 20 minute writing periods, I finished the talk, and remembered that when I read the first talk I had written to one of the facilitators, she had told me it was a good talk and the right length.
Then I went back to the book submission, and started plodding along with 20 minute segments. Occasionally I would forget to set a timer and then would be amazed at how much I had done. When I got to the section on the resume or CV, I felt bogged down. I had stayed at home with my children and then started my own business, so I hadn't needed to concoct one of those since early in my marriage. But then I realized that because the book is about marriage, all the work my husband and I did in World Wide Marriage Encounter and other marriage and family ministries is relevant, as well as our children, sons-in-law and grandchildren who are faith-filled and united in our big family "network." I also discovered that I had many more publication credits than I had thought. So I decided to do a different sort of resume/CV that will reflect the marriage and family emphasis I've had all my life. "It will probably be unique," I commented, "But then so am I." Two days later, the huge project was finished.
With the book proposal and the talk finished, I turned my attention to the poems I wanted to submit to a contest. Normally, I don't set a timer when I'm working on a poem because I get in the zone and accomplish a lot, but I had a very rough draft of a new poem and spent two 30 minute segments on revising it. It was bumpier than it often is when I am revising--or it could have been that it was later in the day and I was tired. I wrote, "It definitely helped that I worked in shorter increments today. The revision was more challenging than it was the last few times I worked on a poem, so I was glad I could stop each time the timer rang."
When I got back to the poem a few days later I noted that I spent most of my time revising one "which I had felt baffled by before." I commented that "I had gotten over the hump on this one poem." I had gotten the idea from a comment my neighbor had made on one of our walks, and it was "finally taking shape--and going off in a direction I couldn't have foreseen, which is exciting." I then asked my daughter, who was an English major, for a critique, and she gave me some helpful suggestions. In addition, I finished all three of the talks for the next Beginning Experience Weekend, and the next day, the Archbishop whom I'd asked for a Foreword to Spectacular Marriage sent it, and he said such beautiful things about my husband and me that it brought tears to my eyes. I worked on the poem the next day when I took my neighbor to the ophthalmologist, changed the title, and then made a few more changes to a line that both my daughter and I had a problem with. I found a stray line that I needed to deal with, realized I needed to add another line to the poem, and finally whittled it down to the 32 lines I need to submit to the contest. The poem was ultimately called "The Smell of Space Suggests," and it wound up being about creation--so I suppose I could say that I was creating creation!