Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw (Intro)

Or, The Balancing Act of Awesome

Sharpen The Saw.

Sounds a bit violent, doesn’t it? I can see you eyeing me distrustfully, wondering what, exactly, I intend to do with said saw, once it’s sharpened.  And is that rust or dried blood on the blade? No, wait, nevermind–we don’t want to know.

Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a saw you’re sharpening. Go on.  Choose the pointy weapon of your choice. I like to pretend my saw is really a sword, approximately 30 inches in double-edged blade length, with a nice, deep fuller for the blood . . . But that’s just me.)

Sharpening the saw (or sword, or switchblade, or whatever)  is what makes all the other habits possible. Ah. You knew I was going to get there eventually, right?  Well, here we are. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

Sharpening the edges on your spiked brass knuckles means investing in yourself, on several different levels: the physical, emotional/social, mental,  and spiritual.

The same applies to being a writer, because–let’s face it–there’s SO much more to being a writer than lounging around in one’s jammies and taking direct instruction from the Divine Muse. Especially in this day and age when readers are more engaged than ever, and reading more than ever.  Which is supremely awesome, by the way. It just means that, as writers, we’re more involved than ever in the process.

This means we’re working harder than ever. We are, without a doubt, the hardest working monkeys in show biz. And that means we need to take the time and effort to invest in the story engines that are us. Otherwise we run down, start knocking about and going clank at the most inopportune times. Next thing you know, you’re on a lift in a long line of other cars, and the mechanic is shaking his head in a slow, sad, expensive sort of way.

We can’t be responsible for anything or anyone else if we’re not responsible for ourselves first.

In the chocolate bars of Big Chocolate Bars, these are the biggest and the chocolatiest. (Yes, that is a word. I know because I just made it up.)

Every week on Sunday morning, over extra-strong coffee and Ninja Kat shenanigans, I ask myself, “Self! What is the One Thing (points index finger) I can do This Week (stabs calendar) in each of these four sections (jabs repeatedly and violently at planner) to sharpen my claymore in preparation of making heads roll this week?

It’s best, when starting out, to start small. Small accomplishments lead to medium-sized accomplishments, which creates habit, which then leads to bigger and awesomer stuff, which leads to balance. Kind of like that brat Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Writer Monkey being one of my many roles, I also have to say to myself (in declamatory pose), “Self! (points to self) What is the One Thing (points index finger to Heavens) I can do This Week (prances about, tearing pages off calendar) as a professional and, verily, awesome Word Wrangler (super hero pose) in these four Sword Sharpening areas (en garde) to become even awesomer? (Yes, that is also word. Because–you guessed it–I made it up, too.) (Collapses on floor from all this unaccountable activity.)

And we’ll go into all these things, individually and en masse, over the next few weeks. So brace yourselves for impact, folks!

In the meantime, do yourself a favor. What is the One Thing you could do this week (that you’re not already doing) that could make life awesome for yourself? Then do yourself an even bigger favor: do it.

Next Time: Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw Part 1–Physical

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