by Carole Mertz
Because Mother Robin made her nest just feet away from my back porch door, and because I was home alone, feeling lonely with my husband away at a conference, the bird was a special presence that carried me through the days. I admired her persistence as she nested there, day following day, with nothing to do but sit and incubate her babies-to-be.
It became a metaphor for me. What will I write today? What ideas will I incubate? I must persist until the “birth.”
At first I felt sorry for the robin; she can’t just fly off and eat whenever she wants to. And surely her breaks are fewer than 5 or 10 minutes. So what fuels her, what keeps her warm during the long hours?
Then I felt proud of her. She persists because, by nature, she knows what her job is and she does what is required.
Dear writers, you can carry the metaphor forward: What is your job? What must you do? What does your writing day require of you? As you work, will you adhere to timed breaks, or negligently lose track of time away from your desk?
During that week of my husband’s absence, I stopped and listened for my ideas to birth, much as Mother Robin awaited her fledglings’ births.
By being watchful, yet faithful in seating myself before my monitor, I accomplished the beginnings of a sci-fi story, the outline of a story I’d later submit to a national periodical, renewed contact with editor Carol Smallwood, who has one of my essays, and read through S.J. Crown’s guide, “Create Your Own Author Website,” along with Mary Rosenblum’s tips on establishing your web landing page.
Mother Robin was an inspiration to me, but I did the work. As writers, sometimes we do need to just sit and wait as we remain persistent. Just for fun, I’d like to close with a latin phrase: Per ardua ad alta. (Through difficulties to the heights.) Mother Robin would approve.
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