I've had one little boy to babysit during September but tomorrow is his last day. He just turned four. Over the last four weeks, when he's been here by himself every day, we have been walking to the post office after lunch to get the mail. With just the two of us, the four block walk to the post office is quite pleasant.
He is the youngest in a busy family and they don't walk very many places. The first couple times we walked, he would whine a little. "It's too far. I'm tired."
Then he tried a different tactic. "If you go without me, you could go faster." He even had it figured out. I could leave him with my kids for a few minutes while they were home for lunch. I told him we didn't have to go fast. We were just going for a little exercise and fresh air.
Next he made some effort to convince me he could stay at the house by himself. He said he'd be fine and his mom lets him stay alone. (I know that never happens).
The last two days he resigned himself to the walk. Today as I was finishing my lunch, he said he would go to the bathroom so we could go get the mail. With that kind of enthusiasm I hurried and got ready to go before he could change his mind.
At the end of the first block he decided it was too far. But as we finished the second block, he informed me the post office wasn't that far after all. In fact, he announced that he would tell his mom they had to always walk because it was easy. I laughed and told him I thought he might be getting stronger.
This reminded me of writing. When I wrote my first novel, it seemed like I had to come up with so many words. And when I did find the words, the revision process seemed so hard. And then giving it to readers and eventually sending it off to publishers to be rejected, again and again, really tested me. The journey seemed so long.
Every time I start a new story, it's the same. I look at the distance to the end and wonder if I'll ever make it. Yet, each project gets a little easier. It's still difficult to find the words some times but I know they're in there somewhere. I still struggle with the revision process, and giving it to readers and publishers still takes a giant leap of faith.
Just like my little friend walking to the post office, I know the path and I know I can get to the end. The distance doesn't change. The steps are still the same. But my confidence in myself continues to grow and the journey doesn't seem nearly so hard anymore. I think I'm getting stronger too.