I recently joined Goodreads. Creating my cyber “book shelf” on Goodreads made me think about building real bookshelves.
The first bookshelf my husband ever built was three pieces of shelving and nine cinder blocks. It was functional and portable and held our books just fine. But beautiful? Not so much. It also required no tools to build.
The second bookshelf he built from a kit. Nicer, sturdier and even looked like furniture. It required one screwdriver. Philips. And several of his manly muscles.
The third bookshelf he designed himself. He used fine wood, routed the edges, joined sections with jigs and dowels, stained and finished it all to a fine sheen. It required an electric skill saw, jig, router, dowels, wood biscuits, wood glue, orbital sander, fine sandpaper, stain, paintbrush, muslin cloth, zero aught stainless steel, and varnish.
By then he had studied furniture building and had filled his bulging toolbox with tools he knew how to use well.
That last bookshelf stands in my office, overflowing with books. A few of those books I have written. A few are well-worn books about writing. The rest were written by authors I love. All of them have been part of my process of learning to use tools for my craft.
At a recent children’s writing conference Lin Oliver (founder and director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) gave us the advice that for every book we write, we should read 500 in that genre.
Her advice reminded me of the many wise proverbs and sage pieces of advice we’ve all heard: practice makes perfect; study hard; keep trying; mastery requires 10,000 hours. The advice can be applied to everything you do. In essence: if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it well.
Even better, do everything as for the Lord. (Colossians 3:23)
My bookshelf doesn’t contain 500 books yet. But after Lin’s advice, it wouldn’t hurt to get hubby started on another bookshelf. I know it will be gorgeous!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, please help us do everything we do as if we are doing it for you. Show us ways to glorify you in our obedience, our attitude, our work ethic, the process and the outcome. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is there one thing that stands out above everything else you do, that you seek to do for the Lord?