Keeping your desk in midair

I'm reading Annie Dillard's "The Writing Life," and she describes the job of the writer in a way that I thought might resonate with anyone who is undertaking a major project, writing related or not.

With her beautiful words, she draws the picture of a person climbing several flights of stairs to an office, opening the french doors, and sliding their chair and desk out into midair among the crowns of the trees. Then, she says,
Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.

Writing feels exactly like that.

If I spend too long away from my novel, my chair and desk sink to the ground and I have to work really hard to get them aloft again. But if I keep at it, consistently, with discipline, employing a regular routine, the desk hovers where it should and the writing gets done.

I'm noticing the same thing about my yoga practice. If I go every day, or most days, it starts to feel like things are moving as they should. It's never easy, but it feels right. But if I miss a few days, it is that much harder to get back to the mat and find my groove again.

Perhaps this analogy applies to all things. It speaks to the magic of habit, ritual, and routine. How we apply them to our goals determines whether or not we stay aloft.

May we all keep our desks aloft on the projects that mean most to us!

Happy Wednesday.


  1. That's a beautiful metaphor! It definitely resonates with me - both where my writing is concerned and also when it comes to other habits. Speaking of habits: I have just finished Gretchen Rubin's "Better Than Before, Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives" - I think you would enjoy it too.

  2. It sounds like the movie (Mary Poppins I think) with the desks floating.