one bite at a time

Blank sheets of paper have always intimidated me. They’re so very white and fresh, so expectant of brilliance. The first blank sheet of an empty notebook is always the worst, when you realize there’s an entire book to fill. So many words. Do I have that many words in me? What if I do and they’re all crap? Slowly I am learning to stop being intimidated by how big a goal is and to take that first step, fill in a page at a time and not worry about how big a project it is. It’s the elephant thing – how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. You reach every goal one step at a time. You celebrate each milestone along the way. It’s a lesson I’ve been working on for years and it’s beginning to sink in.
And now it’s time to celebrate. It was with great pride that I finished the ink in a pen the other day! These are my favourite pens – a Pilot G-tec-C4. Nice and scratchy on the paper, a fine line and just enough drag to feel like you’re really putting weight into the words. I don’t know how many doodles and scribbles that pen gave birth to, I didn’t worry about that I just doodled away. Yes most of it was crap but I truly don’t care. The thing I’m celebrating is finishing all the ink!!! Milestone reached!!!
I also began another project that I’ve been talking about for a year – my daily photo, my Project 365. I talked and talked about it until I realized that if I’d started the project when I started talking about it I’d be finished by now. So I shut up and started. This is to learn a bit of discipline and to be more mindful of my daily life. And you know what? I’ve completed a whole month (and a bit)! That’s 1 down 11 to go!!! That elephant is getting smaller every day.
I’ve been contemplating this lately as I have a secret project that I’m working on. I’m at the stage where all I can see is mountains of work and I can’t figure out what to do next. It seems so huge that I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels and I can’t imagine getting all this done. I’m staring at the elephant. When I began making glass beads I never thought of how many hours or years it would take to be any good. I just sat at the torch and made beads. I never looked at the elephant. It worked. Now when the scope of a project rears it’s ugly head I have to remember, one bite at a time. Pick a small milestone and just get that done. And then have a whopper of a celebration.
So what’s your elephant?
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