Last Word

Before you take a swing, be sure your words sing


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

–Abraham Lincoln

(Flickr: net_efekt)

(Flickr: net_efekt)


What an important observation from the 16th president of the United States – personally, my favorite president.

It is well-documented that Lincoln’s slow but steady climb to the nation’s top office was fraught with failure.

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His resume was littered with lost elections and personal disappointments until he was finally elected president in 1860.

Lincoln’s persistence paid off, but more than that – he was patient and prepared.

The notion calls to mind another quote attributed to Lincoln:

“I will study and prepare myself and someday my chance will come.”

Read: Let your story bloom in its own time

You may have goals for a successful writing career. You may have aspirations for crafting the great American novel. So, it’s understandable that you feel ready to dive in with abandon. You may feel inclined to pick up the axe and start swinging away.

But are you devoting enough time to your preparation? Are you putting in the necessary time truly honing your craft, wearing away every imperfection, sharpening your skills until they gleam and sparkle with steely precision?

Take a few moments today to consider the idea of taking your time and putting in the tireless hours it will take to become brilliant.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at

Kerri S. Mabee

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