I’ve been looking forward to this day from the moment I realized that summer was not going to be the open expanse of time and respite I’d imagined. And now it is here. But here, too, is the feral novel I sent off and then ignored. Here are a few lines of direction from my agent—wildly inspiring when I received them, but grown a bit cold in the many days since, like a delicious breakfast left to sit out too long.
Floating around, less like muses than like ghosts, are the exciting ideas that gelled in moments of listening to pod casts and doodling in my journal. They are faded, transparent now, impossible to pin down.
Nothing to go on, then, but bold hope and this: I remember the number one rule of writing. The secret that can get you going and keep you going. I remember it by rote if by nothing else.
It is harder to think about writing than to write.
This is our saving grace. My thoughts about writing have little to do with the actual act of pulling out notebook or laptop on the café table, peering at the words themselves on the page, or filling the empty page.
There is always a rough patch, a hump to get over, and it’s bigger and wider and harder to navigate if I’ve been away from a project for a while. But getting barefoot (metaphorically) and heading in are the only things to do. Imagining it can be terrifying, but that act of imagining is not the same beast as writing. It’s harder. Scarier. Lacks the pleasures of words, images, story.
Writing itself is akin to reading. It’s what we fell in love with long ago, and it’s still waiting there, charming, intriguing, full of mystery. We have to dive through our fears and fantasies and . . . start typing. That’s what I’m doing this morning, in a Sebastopol cafe, with a cup of tea growing cold at my elbow.
And you? Are you starting, or starting again? How about daily starting? Any rituals? A cup of coffee, a fresh page? Any habits? What sustains you? What revs you up?