Unto the Breach

It has been six months since I left my lovely, comfortable job to pursue writing full time. Six months has passed in the blink of an eye, and what do I have to show for it? The start of a novel, since abandoned. A more auspicious beginning to the next novel – but just 30,000 words so far. So many words left unwritten!

For one thing, I am tremendously, daily – hourly, minutely, secondly – grateful for this opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do my entire life.

For another, it’s a daily (hourly, minutely, secondly) battle to ensure that I’m Actually Writing.

So many forces working against me! Chiefly, my own confidence, which ebbs and flows like a manic tide, just now puffing me up with the certainty that I CAN DO IT, followed immediately by tsunami-style waves of self-doubt.

But there’s also my old enemy, Time: My day is built around my daughter’s school schedule, which limits my writing to the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. four days a week. I try to get in a good workout each day. And then there’s lunch and showering. Ah, the unavoidable, delicious time-suck of sustenance and grooming! If only I could wake up at 5:00 a.m. and drag my sleepy bones to the treadmill, I could at least capture back a 90-minute chunk! (Hmmm, I sense a goal just begging to be pursued.)

And of course there’s the Internet the mind’s tendency to wander: What should I make for dinner? Have I gotten any emails? What’s my favorite blogger got to say today? Oh look, Banana Republic is having a sale! (And now, I suppose, this blog?)

And so many books just begging to be read! How can I possibly focus on writing when I have three half-finished novels on my nightstand?

And of course there are the constant skirmishes between The Novel in My Head and how it ultimately spatters out onto the page: words drift so easily, prettily through my mind… and then catch in the space between head and finger… and when I finally yank them out via keyboard, they are bruised and splintered.

Which brings me back into heated combat with my main adversary, Self-Doubt.

So: Even six months in, day after day, I must armor myself against these fearsome foes and plunge headlong into battle!

The first lesson of the would-be writer: the writing will not come easily, but must be won.

Unto the keyboard!




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