I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One More Inch

As writers, we try to avoid clichés in our manuscripts because as readers, they just don’t stick with us. One of these expressions I’m overly familiar with, as a runner (and let’s face it, a person striving to meet goals in life!) is “go the extra mile”. This expression is so common that hearing it barely affects me anymore.

However, sometimes by altering expressions, we can make them unforgettable. This very thing happened to me one day as I sat sardined on a bus between a guy chugging a Mountain Dew and a puffy-haired lady.

The puffy-haired lady was chatty, and I like to think I’m not rude, so I paid attention as she started telling me about her son. As an athlete at a local high school, he spent his summer rigorously training to be better at pole-vaulting. The previous year his maximum height was 12’ 11”.

Confession #1: I know nothing about pole-vaulting. So that sounded pretty impressive to me. Before I could ask her what his goal for this year was, she sat up a little straighter and announced, “This year he plans to hit 13’ 0”.”

Confession #2: I’m lousy at math. But I was pretty sure all that training only amounted to one more...inch?

Sensing my confusion, she smiled and said something I’ll never forget. “Sometimes going the extra inch is what takes a person from ordinary to extraordinary.”

So (besides avoiding clichés!) how will you train this year to advance your writing one more inch—from ordinary…to extraordinary?

Happy writing,

Amy

11 comments:

  1. Amy, I love this! You have inspired me to push for that extra inch today when all I really want to do is crawl back in bed. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lesson learned: Sometimes a new word picture is all about context!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amy, love this post! I love the idea of going the extra inch, too. :) Hmmm, how will I do this in my writing? Well, I am purposing to spend time each day writing/moving forward with my story. Maybe it will be 15 minutes one day, maybe an hour (or should God bless me with an extra block of time) more focused on writing. How about you? :) Enjoy your day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love that quote! I'm going to put it on my desk. As a mom, I can picture this lady proudly explaining her son's goal.

    I'm not sure how I'm going to move that extra inch. But you don't become a better writer without writing a lot. So my goal is to write consistently. And, of course, to be breathtaking!

    Great post, Amy!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sometimes when we focus on the mile, the goal seems too overwhelming. Sometimes those baby steps are just what we need to refocus and put our plans into action. Inch by inch, we can accomplish our goals.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, I love this post, Amy - funny and thought-provoking!! I tend to make these huge, big goals and then get sooo frustrated - like hammer to the laptop frustrated! - when I don't meet them. So, you've got me thinking about "inches" now...

    p.s. I've never really taken a hammer to my laptop...just considered it...:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Like everyone before me, I LOVE this post! It is a beautiful and inspirational sentiment that reminds me every inch counts. But it also reminds me that even an inch requires focused and devoted training. I want to be extraordinary!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks guys! I'm a huge fan of an inch at a time, especially as it relates to my thesis!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love it! I ran 2.5 miles today and each time I looked at the treadmill, I kept thinking one more minute, okay 30 more seconds....inch by inch!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post Amy! Its like John Glenn said . . . One small step for mankind. Sometimes one step, one inch, or one mile is all it takes!
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love this, Amy. (I was otherwise detained in surgery early Wens. when you originally posted), but so great to measure progress and success in 1" increments. That sounds so possible and manageable. I'm grateful for the inch I got last Wens. thru a new pacemaker, and am going for the next inch in other areas.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete