There’s a saying that goes when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, but there isn’t much talk about the process that goes into making the lemonade. There’s a cultivating process that begins and we all know that to cultivate means to prepare, develop, acquire and use. So you have this bucket of juicy and bitter lemons, but in order to make the perfect lemonade you need sugar, water, orange zest, mint and if you’re feeling adventurous…tequila…the silver kind (we’re all grown aren’t we?). You need to be able to balance each ingredient so that there isn’t more of something than the other because if there’s too much sugar than the lemonade acquires a syrupy texture. If there’s too much lemon it wouldn’t make for an enjoyable drink. It takes time and diligence and trial and error much like most good things that have developed in our lives.

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I’m writing a book, I’ve been working on this book for the last year. I’m tackling the genre of fiction which isn’t at all as easy as I thought it would be especially since it’s a full length novel (45,000 words +). Life gave me an idea so to speak, but the cultivating process of expanding this idea and putting it onto paper has been on that requires much diligence. It requires playing around with the twists and turns of developing a strong plot and objective. It’s about research. It’s about tapping into my imagination. It’s about finding the right amount of dialogue and third person narration. It’s about making sure things flow and reading, rereading and rereading everything from the beginning to make sure things are in order.

Some days I drop the manuscript and I don’t want to look at it for a few days. Some days I can write and write when other things aren’t getting in my way. Throughout this entire process, I’ve been learning how to be more diligent which means writing even when I don’t feel like it.

Cultivating Diligence

  • Think about your priorities. I quit my job to be a full-time writer, so dammit I’m gonna write! 
  • Make a goal list. What are some things that I want to accomplish as a writer this week? Month? Year? 
  • Remove distractions. Where do you spend most of your time brainstorming or writing? Are you a paper and pencil type of person? Do you prefer the quick flow of a computer? Do you always end up on Facebook, or other social media instead of writing?
  • Use time wisely. 
  • Devote yourself to the task at hand. (i.e today will be devoted to brainstorming, outlining and writing chapter three)
  • Be realistic. Can I really write 4,000 words in one day or should I narrow it down to something more doable?
  • Realize the value of your work. 

One of the hardest things to do is stay motivated when working on a long-term project that seems like it’s never going to end, but I’ll tell you one thing…looking at 50,630 words is a lot better than having zero and being able to cultivate this new spirit, it’s also trickled into other avenues of my life. It’s become present in my love life by being an amazing partner to an amazing man, it’s trickled into my spiritual life by picking up my bible more and learning how to apply what’s read to my life. Life (God) gave me the lemons (gifts, purpose, talents) he also gave me the strength to be diligent. Isn’t it wonderful how things come full circle?

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