Don’t Just Stand There on One Leg!

xflamingo PICT1481

When I was in my late twenties I heard a Chinese Proverb that crazy-glued itself into my brain the moment I heard it. I’ve thought about it hundreds of times throughout my life. This Proverb is so wise you’d almost think King Solomon wrote it. Here’s it is:

“He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life standing on one leg.”

I kind of envision a flamingo standing on one scrawny pink leg, never moving and never getting a muscle cramp. Did you know they can stand that way for hours at a time? How (you may ask) does this apply to writing? Here’s the application—

No way do I want to be a “flamingo” writer and spend my writing life on one leg of procrastination! Do YOU?

As a writer have you ever felt as though you were standing on one leg in your career? You’ve got one leg stuck in the air and you’re too afraid to take a step forward. I have. As a Christian I first pray for God to open writing doors, then I try to move toward them. If I’m trusting God I’ll start walking even if the writing territory is new or extremely challenging. If I hit a closed door with my face (SMACK!) I’ll know God closed it (at least for a time). Then, I’ll turn around and look for another door. Sometimes in my weakness and fear I’m tempted to do the “flamingo” and not move forward—then I snap out of it! In the early years of my writing career I probably had any flamingo beat for the longest standing time. Thankfully, I rarely do the “flamingo” now.

Ask yourself these questions:

* Do I spend most of my time reading blog after blog after infinite blog about writing, but never write or submit something myself?

* Do I read every book that comes out on the how-to’s, but don’t put into practice what I’m learning?

* Am I afraid to show my work to a critique group?

* Does fear of rejection keep me from sending out a submission to that magazine or book publisher I’ve been studying?

* Do I give up after my third, fifth, tenth, twentieth rewrite? (I know a recognized, successful children’s author who says she does about 50 rewrites per picture book before it’s “just right”).

If you found yourself saying “yes” to some or most of these, then it’s time to put that leg down and move forward!

Don’t be afraid of trying new things like:

* Writing for another genre (I’m doing that)

* Rewriting your chapter book in a better point-of-view (I’m doing that, too. Wow! What a difference!)

* Speaking or teaching a class about what you know. (You DON’T have to know EVERYTHING!)

* Developing a writers blog and keeping it up.

* Networking with other writers (Blogging can help with this)

* Sending queries before you’ve written the whole book (Nancy Sanders’ idea works! Get her newest book!)

* Do work-for-hire assignments for magazines and/or book publishers while you continue to work on your book. It will tighten your writing, fatten your bio, and it’s fun!

Here’s the bottom line—

Don’t deliberate so long that writing opportunities God gives you are missed!

So, I say to myself, the writer, “Don’t just stand there with one leg in the air, Sherri! It looks ridiculous and you’re not a flamingo!”

Contributed by Sheryl Crawford


6 responses to “Don’t Just Stand There on One Leg!

  1. Wow, Sherri! For someone who wasn’t sure what she was going to post, you sure came up with some excellent advice! 🙂 Way to go!

  2. Okay, Lady. You hit me right between the eyes with some of those questions! I don’t want to miss any opportunities so I’ll kick myself in the seat of the pants (can I really do that?) and get with it.
    Thanks for the nudge or was that a kick?


  3. I get the message. Some of us one-leggers need a good kick in thekeister sometimes, don’t we?



  4. This is so good that I’m printing it out and putting in inside the front cover of my “Goal Notebook!” I need to be constantly reminded of taking that step forward. I especially needed to hear this on today, Saturday mornng, when I have a free day to write and am tempted to sit in the garden in the shade. Oh! I think I’ll do that and talk to God for a while, then get off my one foot and move ahead!


  5. sherylcrawford

    Dear Marilyn, Jean, Gloria, Marge, Catherine & Nancy,

    Thank you for your wonderful encouragement!
    I frankly had no idea what I would post for the THIRD time on our topic “Favorite Advice You’ve Heard as a Writer,” so of course I PRAYED and asked the Lord to drop something into my very taxed & tired brain. Well, it looks like He gave me something that has hit home with quite a few writers. One of my new Sherri Tales blog friends lives across the country. She said that God just smacked her in the face with it. Isn’t that amazing? I think Nancy’s AWESOME photo of the flamingo provided a visual that gave that “Show don’t Tell” thingy we always talk about!

  6. Shirley Shibley

    Sherri, this was such unique and awesome advice! Perusing the writers’ market books is ultra-important, and I have diligently provided myself notebooks full of the various markets and copied guidelines off the internet. But the books are lifeless by themselves if I don’t put them to work for me.

    Thanks for the reminder to shake a leg–especially if it’s the one stuck in the mud of procrastination!


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