Friday, March 18, 2011

Like the Pioneers--


The Mormon Pioneers fled the eastern coast for a place where they could find hope and life. Many had to leave by the seat of their pants: pack only what they needed.

Heirlooms? Abandoned.

Blankets? What could be piled in the tiny handcarts.

Cookware? Only the bare necessities.

Shoes? What was on their feet.

Children? Well, only the tiniest got to ride, while the older ones helped pull or carry the younger ones.

I was praying earlier this week about my writing dilemma, and as I prayed, I a sudden thought about how these people struggled with the thinnest of things came to mind. I can only imagine having to pack up and leave immediately, taking the stuff that would help keep my family of 6 alive in the wild.

The reason why I bring this up is because it relates to my writing. I've been burdening myself with figurative heirlooms, the extra blankets, extra shoes, a few more pillows, a handful of plates and extra tin cups and maybe a jar of pickles for the craving.


I've realized that, on my journey across my writer frontier, I should only take with me what I absolutely need and not what I want. I've found my thoughts to be cluttered with things that have been weighing my heart down to the point that writing has lost pleasure. I need to review my inventory and weed out the things that aren't aiding in my adventure to publishdom.

Since then, I can feel my internal balances shifting to a better fulcrum; a new starting point that has promising venues with a lighter weight to pull as I go along this terrain that is familiar, yet strange. Daunting, adventurous and magical.

How do you pack your handcart and handle the journey?


  1. I try to write only as far ahead as the headlights on my figurative car will illuminate, as Anne Lamott recommends in her wonderful book on writing, 'Bird by Bird'.

  2. This is a perfect post for me, right now. I, too, feel a bit out of balance. I have an abundance of ideas for my new WIP, but I can't seem to focus enough to hammer out a solid plot and outline. Over the last few weeks, I have been stepping back and reevaluating.

    I've also been reading and chatting with writer friends. That is definitely helping. So books, a notebook, and friends would be in my handcart.

  3. I'm a natural hoarder!! I need herculean efforts to de-clutter!!!

    Thanks for such an inspirational post! Take care

  4. A writer can certainly fill their head and homes with stuff when you seek that feeling of accomplishment before your work is finished. That's been my case, mostly in the form of DVDs. I've yet to weed through the ones I never watch. Maybe an eBay sale? Proceeds geared toward the next shopping of my MS? Sounds like a plan. :)

    Great post, Elizabeth.

  5. Good for you Elizabeth. I think I might have to do that too.

  6. If you think the Mormon Pioneers struggled...look at what's going on in Japan right now.

  7. Oh and those same Mormons have turned around and are denying human rights to gay people by spending their money on blocking legislation for gay marriage.

  8. I think I traveled light until I started getting critiques on my novel. Since then, the journey has been a struggle. This is a liberating perspective - I wonder if I'm carrying a lot of unwanted baggage around now? Thanks for the thought.

  9. I think, like most writers, it's what I choose to bring along that burdens my struggle – the opinions of others. If I could put aside the, “Suppose they don’t like it?” questions and just concentrate on the story, my journey would lighten and become more enjoyable. I don’t know, what do you think? ;)

  10. Thanks! That was badly needed kick in the butt!

  11. I'm working on a rewrite at present, and I'm having to throw out some of my favorite lines, even sections. Hanging on to the clutter you love in your earlier draft can be what weighs you down sometimes.

  12. But then, you just never know. It's a matter of understanding the difference between what I want and what I need. Sometimes I simply can't tell. I do go through a great sorting and throwing every year just to keep things simple.

  13. This is so exactly what I needed to read. Time for me to step back and figure out what I'm going to pack in that handcart of my writing. Thank you!

  14. Elisabeth, wow, that's a great way of seeing it. Thank you!

    Salarsen, those are very great things to have. A must! ;)

    Jennifer--LOL! Oh, you aught to see my house. EEEEP! :/

    David, that's great! I need to do that once in a while, which we try. As for my writerly stuff, it's much more of a challenge and it catches up to me and makes me feel sunk. Ugh...

    Angie, Hi! Thank you! We should create a support group for writers. I'm sure there are some out there, but boy, that would be SO refreshing for me! <3

    Michael, my heart goes out to those in Japan and everywhere else, and I have no doubt that the LDS church is right there helping them out in every way we can.

    *This is what Michael Otterson, managing director of the LDS Church's public affairs office has said regarding homosexuality: "I represent a church that believes in human dignity, in treating others with respect even when we disagree — in fact, especially when we disagree," said Otterson. "Our language will always be respectful and acknowledge those who differ, but (we) will also be clear on matters that we feel are of great consequence to our society." Hence, the church leaders encouraged the members to support this—it was the individual persons of the church that used their own money, not the church itself. ;)

    Botanist, wow, yes! That's where I'm at right now, too. Life was SO much simpler when I happily wrote my books without worrying about an audience. Someone said on my previous post that self-doubt is part of a writer's diet. I don't like that, but it's true, isn't it?

    Ray, I so agree with you! I think its especially so once youre published, as a friend once told me. I know it starts off like that, that's for sure!

    Joanne, it's something I need to always remember! O_O

    Elizabeth, Oh, that's so true. I create a new folder for the extra stuff just in case. I know, I'm such a clutter bug! ;)

    Clara, that’s so true! It’s a learning process. I couldn’t figure out my clutter until I felt lost in it. Hopefully that will stick, but I have a feeling it will happen again and again. *sigh*

    Melissa, you’re welcome! I wish you the best, I know it is a struggle for me, I’m constantly working on balance.


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