Sharpening the Axe


You know that quotation by Abraham Lincoln?

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Reputedly this means that preparation is important, but that’s not how I understood it when I first heard it. I thought it referred to the fine art of procrastination.

Preparation is important, no doubt, but seriously? A man who spends four hours fine-tuning his axe? Sounds to me like Lincoln got paid by the hour.

The reason I write about this is because I’ve noticed this about writing too. If I’ve got twenty minutes to post, I’ll do it in that time. Sure, it might impose some limitations, but I’ll manage it somehow. If I’ve got two to three hours, most of it will be spent by the computer, in spite of the fact that I really would like to do something else that night too. I don’t write for all that time, of course. I surf the Internet “for ideas” or boohoo my anxieties on paper before deleting it all.

So I would rephrase this to modern times: Give a girl three hours to write a blog post and she will spend the first two and a half hours online finding  valuable inspiration in the form of pictures of celebrity babies before hurriedly typing together a few hasty words.

Hurrah for preparation.


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