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Eating a Chair

On January the first of this year, I began writing a fiction book, Redemption Rentals. I planned for the book to contain four unique stories, with some of the main characters threading their way through the entire book.

As of one week ago, I had written about three quarters of the book. I was patting myself on the back that come the end of the year, I'd likely be done writing the book. Not edited, mind you. That's a whole 'nother deal. But, I'd be on my happy little timeline if I had the story lines down by year's end.

After a preliminary content edit, my editor and I decided I'll need to change course. Instead of one book containing four stories, I'll be creating a four-book series with one story each. This means I'm back at square one, rewriting chapter one of story number one. Yes, I'm back to staring at a blank page.

In addition, a lot of slashing (ouch!) and rearranging (argh!) has happened to my original writings. This is painful stuff for an author.

So what does that all have to do with eating a chair?

Today, in a timely bit of encouragement, I came across a true story of a college student carrying out a philosophy class assignment. His professor assigned his students to find a unique and memorable, not dangerous or foolish, project, carry it out, and write about what he'd learned from the adventure.

One young man decided to eat a chair. (I'd like to hang out with this guy. He's got to be a bundle of fun.)

First he cleared the safety issues with his doctor. Then he purchased a plain, unfinished, kitchen table chair. Each day he used a rasp to shave off particles of the wood, and he added them as granola-like toppings to his morning cereal, crouton-like additions to his lunchtime soup, and fibrous-like sprinklings on his evening salad.

He admitted that the taste wasn't bad, wasn't much of anything at all.

Over time, he continued eating the chair. As he approached the end of the semester and the due date for his project presentation, he realized he needed help to fully disappear the chair. So far, he'd only eaten one leg, two rungs, and a back piece. He convinced several friends to help him complete his project. At the end of the semester, together they'd consumed an entire chair.

Why is this story meaningful to me? Because he did the little things, day after day, getting the help when needed, and ultimately fully completed his project. Long-term goals can be achieved in tiny, consistent steps.

I can do the same.

One day at a time, purposely sitting down and getting busy in my writing spot, little by little, I'll get this book finished. And I'll feel darn proud of myself to boot.

What "chair" do you need to eat?

(Note: Story from What On Earth Have I Done? Stories, Observations, and Affirmations, by Robert Fulghum, p. 29.)

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