How a little ant taught me about writing

From time to time we have these annoying little black ants invading our house. Fortunately they are not in huge numbers (unless we accidentally leave some tasty food out on the bench for too long). It it also just as well that they rarely bite. They are just a nuisance really.

This morning we were having a leisurely breakfast with our visiting daughter. She made us all a cooked breakfast; bless her. It was yummy. Half way through our meal she exclaimed, “What is that ant doing?”

On the window sill next me in our sun room there was a single ant about 4mm long. It was hauling along a dead moth at least four times its size. Backwards.

What is more, two other ants were sitting on the moth trying to eat it. What power and persistent against great odds. That’s not all – this amazing little ant proceeded to pull that moth over the edge of the window sill, underneath the ledge and then down the wall. On checking a while later the single ant had been joined by another five or six and the moth had been hauled back up the wall to the window sill again. All were having a feast. I hope that the original ant had his fair share to make up for all that amazing effort.

The power of one

We often underestimate the power and influence of the individual. A person empowered by an enduring passion can achieve great things. We also underestimate what we can achieve. I read some years ago – I forget the source – that we usually overestimate what we can achieve in a week or a month or even a year, but vastly underestimate what we can achieve in five years. The message to me in this is twofold: set bold goals and then persevere until the goals are achieved.

Ants and the craft of Writing

Many people would love to write a book. Some even try to write a book. Few actually finish writing a book. The task seems too daunting, too big, impossible. So they give up. That little ant didn’t let the size of the task stop him. He just went ahead and carried off that seemingly impossible task through sheer persistence and application.

If the writing tasks facing you seem too hard and your goals seems so far off, learn from that little ant. Stick at it, persevere and the writing will come, the tasks will be achieved. Break down the tasks into smaller, achievable goals. The little ant tackled the task one step at a time. Write that novel one sentence at a time. Set a goal of say, 500 words a day. In that way a hundred thousand word book does not seem so imposing a task.

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  1. […] – How a little ant taught me about writing – the title says it all. We need to be aware of how even the simplest things can teach us important […]