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fiction writing, life challenges, inspiring quotes, softness conquers hardness, writing deadlines, finding balance

It’s so easy when you’re struggling to push through to a crazy goal to get hard, intense, determined, in order to get there. It’s what I tend to do, anyway, because my determination and raw drive is what I can count on to never let me down. But you want to know a hard-won secret?

You have to get soft to achieve hard goals.

I had to remember this today when I was one week into caring for a sick child and seriously sick myself and exhausted and really wanting to finish polishing up that novel in progress that is so close to being ready for prime time. My instinct is to set my eyes on the prize, or even worse on the enemy standing in my way, and say “This goal is happening.” It sounds so good, but it wastes so much energy. Does this sound backwards?

Be Like Water, a book about practical wisdom from the martial arts says, “You can’t fight an empty jacket.” Think about that. We take our hits and we try to come out swinging, but if someone is pummeling us, nothing will frustrate them more, and save us more energy, than to simply turn to empty space. There is no obstruction here. There is no conflict. The opponent is exhausted. As Be Like Water encourages, flow around obstacles.

The Bible says something similar: “In quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

I strongly feel that I’m in that place now, almost like the transition stage in childbirth when a woman isn’t sure she can pull off her goal. My novel is ambitious and demands everything I’ve got, and my life requires nothing less than everything right now as well. I know my mind can handle a lot, but can my body pull through? I’m run-down and scared and exhausted, but I’m not to the goal yet! I can’t stop.

The answer is: rest. The answer is: walk through it. It won’t destroy you.

Get soft. Softness is your strength.

Thank you for listening to this lecture to myself.