One Bale at a Time

I am 51 years old.

Over the course of two days, I have stacked nearly 300 bales of hay.

By hand.

For those of you not familiar, these are square bales – close to 3 or 3.5 feet long maybe a foot and a half wide (Yes, I know that’s not a square, but that’s what we call em out here). And they’re heavy – I’ve got some of them in there that are over 60 lbs.

If you’re unfamiliar with storing baled hay, 300 bales might be a bit hard to picture. But it’s a lot when you’re shifting it by hand.

What’s my point here? The point is that you can’t look at 300 bales of hay and think about moving it all at once.

You move it one (or two) bales at a time.

It occurred to me (when I was done – there’s no room for developing blog post ideas when you’re in the Hay-Hauling zone) that this was similar to writing.

How do you stack/store 300 bales of hay (and I’ve got another 100+ to move in the next week)? One (or two) bales at a time.

It’s the same with writing. You can’t look at the idea for a book, or even a short story and think I’m going to do this all at once. Like the hay, it’s too big.

How do you get it done?

One (or two) lines at a time.

Myself, I like ot keep a running number in my head. How many bales to go? How many words to go? But I keep that in its own compartment. My main focus is what’s directly in front of me. It’s not 150 bales to go, it’s these two, right here. You can move two bales.

It’s not 100,000 words, it’s this line right here. then the next.

As you’re stacking – in the zone, if you will – you’re not thinking of anything other than Where the next bale is going to go, how you’re going to get it there, and where your feet are (You do not want to get your boots caught up in Baling twine when you’re 8 feet off a cement floor).

It’s the same thing with writing. There’s this one line, then the next. How are you getting it there? Where does it take the story? How are you going to get there? And is your footing good?

Regardless of what you do: Writing, composing music, painting, coding, etc. That’s how you get it done. One bit a time until it’s done. Remember there’s fun in it for you to find, if you let it come.

As for stacking hay? Let me paraphrase Dorothy Parker: I don’t like staking hay – I like having stacked hay.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

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