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Pick up the Brush

When I returned from China, my to-do list was still waiting. (For some reason, I'd hoped it had disappeared like many of the other things during our trip--swimsuit, backpack, camera.) One of the things I'd promised myself was that I'd stain our decks.

Oh, gosh, but I didn't want to do that.

Power-washing the decks is great. Rolling stain on the bottom planks is easy. But the meticulous staining of each piece of wood on the railing is a (sometimes futile) exercise in sanity-control.

There are hundreds of those pieces. No, I didn't count. My shoulders felt the constant up and down, up and down, up and down.

Once I got started, however--and it took some real mental persuasion to get started--I found myself in a rhythm. I could do this. I could finish. Besides, it looked good.

Each day, I made a goal for myself. Each day I tried to beat that goal. By the time I was done (hallelujah!) I didn't even mind going over parts I'd missed. (For of course my engineer husband managed to find parts I'd missed.)

This chore took me back to writing. It's so easy to say, "I'll start on that project tomorrow." Then tomorrow comes and the last thing in the world one wants to do is actually sit down and type out the beginning of what seems like an endless project. It's not necessarily messy, but it's painful and frightening. However once you get into the rhythm, you can start to see a form--hey, this might even be worthwhile--and you see the end in sight. You don't even mind going over parts that your friends, critique-group members, editors think need more work. So, pick up the brush.

**For inspiration, amazing editor Becky Levine will be doing a teleseminar on Professional Memoir Writing this Friday. Be sure to join in.