How Do You Eat a Tablecloth?

How Do You Eat a Tablecloth?

2021 is finally upon us, and with that comes resolutions. Personally, I hate that word because it screams “destine for failure.” I much prefer to say “goals.” But whatever terminology you use, if you’re like me, you have a long to-do list, and it doesn’t take long before it gets overwhelming.

It started out simple enough: work on my writing, pick up around the house, establish a more consistent exercise schedule. No big deal, right? Then come the details.

Writing consists of: maintaining my blog four times a week, querying agents, working on the outline for my new work in progress (WIP), writing at least 250 words per day (that’s one manuscript page) of my WIP—yes, I’m writing both the story and the outline simultaneously at the moment.

Let’s move on to the other goals. The house: I’ve got four kids; it’s a victory if one room stays clean for more than five seconds. I need to reorganize/declutter the kitchen, go through the stacks of who-knows-what in my bedroom, clear out the garage, maintain the yard—currently the grass is about two feet high, and before you go, “seriously, take a couple hours and mow the damn thing,” we’re on two acres with trees scattered all over…there’s nothing quick about this. Exercise schedule? I think that one’s self-explanatory, but with only 24 hours in a day, it doesn’t feel doable with the other stuff.

Feeling overwhelmed, yet? We’re only a few days into the new year, and my anxiety is already taking over. I find myself wondering if my pursuit to authorship is worth it. Querying, putting myself out there for rejection, networking, pushing myself to write another book—and make it good. It’s times like this that I have to remember to be bold.

Several years ago, someone once asked me, “How do you eat a tablecloth?”

Wait, what? Why would anyone eat a tablecloth?

What if you were offered a million dollars? Would you figure out a way to do it then? Of course, you would! Let’s make this task a little easier: there’s no time limit.

Even so, eat a tablecloth? You’ve got to be nuts!

Before I continue, a few disclaimers:
(1) I am NOT telling anyone to eat a tablecloth. Actually, I am telling you NOT to eat one!
(2) If you go against my advice and do eat a tablecloth, I will NOT give you a million dollars
(3) For the sake of this discussion, we will assume that consuming cloth material is not potentially hazardous to your health (again, DON’T really eat one!)

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how do you eat a tablecloth? Even with a million dollars dangling in front of you, it seems like a pretty daunting task. You’re right, it is. Cut a one-inch by one-inch square out of the tablecloth. The massive material as a whole may appear to be impossible, but that tiny little bit in your hand? Yeah, that can be stomached. What if you ate just one square a day? In time, the entire thing will be gone.

So, how do you eat a tablecloth?
Answer: One inch at a time.

And my 2021 goals, what am I going to do?
Answer: Prioritize. And do them one at a time. I may not get everything done, and that’s okay. But I’m going to end up so much farther along when we welcome 2022. And that is something that gets me excited.

So, if you’re like me and often find yourself overwhelmed, just ask yourself, “How do I eat a tablecloth?” and get at it.

‘Til next time!


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