Have you ever had one of those writing days (weeks, months) where it seems it’s all you can do to eke out a paltry handful of words worth keeping?
The muse is napping, perhaps, or has skived off to go bowling with friends, leaving you to sit and stare at an (almost) blank page. Frustrating, isn’t it?
When this happens to me, I always think of my Nova Scotia grandmother. Her name was Eva MacDougall, but we called her Nana Mac. Nana Mac was full of sayings–some salty, some hilarious, some wise. One of her wisest was “little snow, big snow,” which she attributed to the Mi’kmaq, a First Nations people from her region of Canada.
“Do you see that snow?” she’d say, looking out our window. (I grew up in New England, and Nana Mac often came down to “the Boston States,” as she called New Hampshire and Massachusetts.) I’d squint, because the stuff sifting down from the sky hardly qualified as snow. A flurry at best, maybe.
“Little snow, big snow,” she’d tell me, nodding sagely. “It adds up, you’ll see.” She’d go on to explain that the biggest snowfall accumulations often came as a result of the smallest, finest flakes piling up gradually over time, while the big, fat flakes that arrived with such pomp and circumstance — look! snow! — often petered out quickly and melted away.
Nana Mac was usually right.
So I keep this in mind when I’m writing, and the going is slow. Word by word, snowflake by snowflake, a story is built. Stay the course; just keep writing.
Little snow, big snow.