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Chop Wood, Carry Water Days

2 July 2010 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See original story on About Freelance Writing

I had great things to write; I was blessed with excellent projects; I loved my clients, I was grateful for all my work. But I couldn’t get anything done.

I looked briefly at one piece I wanted to edit, then closed it to check email. I glanced at an email from a client, then quickly switched to another account. I sat down to write, then got up to make a phone call.

“Yeah, I’m not getting much done either,” said my friend.

Maybe it was the busy weekend. Maybe it was last night’s roasted chicken. Maybe it was the stars. Even though I wanted to work, I just couldn’t.

So I decided to chop wood, carry water. Do the basics.

I cleaned the dishes. Mailed a letter at the post office. Deposited a check from the week before. Updated my calendar. Wiped the dining room table. Wrote a simple thing – this blog.

Once, when I was working on my thesis for journalism school, I was in a funk like this.

“Well, what can you get done?” my thesis advisor asked.

“I can make a phone call,” I said.

“Then do that,” he said. “Just focus on what you can do.”

One step at a time. One word at a time. One sentence at a time.

Follow Helen on Twitter @helenchang.

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