A Spoonful of Dirt

spoonful of dirt
A shovel would be better, eh?

Sometimes writing is like digging an escape tunnel, with a little teaspoon as my only tool.  There are times when I’ve worked long and hard on my tunnel, but then it starts to feel as if I’m digging my own grave.  I’m in deep, my arms are like lead, and what little air there is hangs heavy and stale.


I love writing, I really do.  But it can be such a struggle when I lose my inspiration.


Sometimes my solution is to crawl out of tunnel, cover it with a tarp, and for a while I pretend that it’s not there.


After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder…right?


That can be nice, but then I risk ignoring the tunnel for too long.  Getting back to work is all the harder when my muscles are no longer used to the work.


Where did I leave off, anyway?


Perhaps a better method is to just keep at it.  I can build muscle and motivation by digging daily, even just in small amounts.  When I need some fresh air I can leave the main tunnel, and dig smaller ones for ventilation.  Bit by bit, shovelful by shovelful, I’ll reach the end.


Taking time to write small stories, or accepting writing challenges may seem like distraction.  But it is good practice, and gives my mind something new to think about while still writing.


Then I will break the surface and come into the sunlight, and that is when I can give myself a good, long rest.


…until I feel the urge to dig another tunnel, and I take up my shovel with eager hands.


10 thoughts on “A Spoonful of Dirt

  1. Beautifully written post! As a writer myself, I understand the feeling of getting nowhere for a lot of hard work. I liked the analogy of using a small spoon to dig a big tunnel. 🙂


  2. That’s a great analogy for writing. I can sympathize with you in those stale, no-air places. And you’re so right–little writing exercises/dares/short stories fuel our creativity. They’re not a waste of time. The only problem is when those dares grow floppy ears and promise a whole horde of plot bunnies…


  3. I love this analogy! I tend to find that digging the tunnel can hurt me, but the second I leave it I’m gasping for air.

    What is your main tunnel right now, as it were?


    1. It’s true, though! There are times when I can’t write/dig, but at the same time can’t NOT write/dig.

      I’m not entirely sure what I would call my main tunnel. I have about three or so. (Would a story-tunnel be called a plot hole?)


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