100 Bowls



Before I was a writer…I was a potter.


I picked up the clay habit on a whim by taking a ceramics class just for fun. Soon it was a craft I spent every extra minute honing.


No one sits down at a potter’s wheel one day and starts producing perfectly weighted and even bowls. It takes practice. Lots of practice.


After a couple years, I became decent. We ate many of our meals from dishes I’d created, but I wasn’t satisfied, so I issued myself a challenge. I would focus on the art of throwing bowls, but my next 100 would be for practice only.


I sat at the kick wheel in my garage day after day, pulling clay into delicate curves. When I was satisfied with the creation, I’d look it over, smile, then press my hands into its soft sides, reducing the bowl to a unformed lump again. And this continued until I reached bowl number 100. Along the way there were a few I was tempted to keep, but my dedication was to improving my craft.


I tell you this because learning to write has been very similar. Countless stories remain hidden in my laptop where they will stay. Their purpose was like that of the 100 bowls, to learn, to improve, and to find my own individual voice.


Though you couldn’t bribe me to let you read these stories, I appreciate them for what they taught me. Each unpublished manuscript represents a piece of the learning process.


If you want to write, or paint, or achieve any creative goal, I challenge you to pursue your art. Don’t get bogged down in self-criticism. Treat every attempt as a step toward success.


Mastery does not come easy. When speaking of artistic disciplines, mastery may never occur. The beauty is in the journey, the smashed clay, and the hidden manuscripts. While they will never be seen, they are the necessary miles that must be covered.


“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway


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Christina Suzann Nelson is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of six books, including More Than We Remember, What Happens Next, and the Christy Award-winning The Way It Should Be. She is the mother of six children and is passionate about helping others find hope after trauma.

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