Helping Hands When I Needed Them

Hand

Two important things happened this week — important to me, at least.

At the college where I teach, the English department has scheduled some workshops for NaNoWriMo, and I went to one of them. It was called “Starting Your Novel in the Middle,” and what it actually focused on was just starting your novel. At one point we had to write for 15 minutes, selecting a scene that might fall on page 75 of our novel, and then read what we wrote aloud. I selected a scene I’ve thought of a lot, and it felt good to get un-stuck. It felt very brave (and good) for me to turn up, admitting to colleagues I see often that I’m actually hoping to write a novel. What felt bad was to realize the middle scenes in my novel are hazy in my head – I’ve been away from it just too long. I really need to dive back in, to get going again. Really!

The second thing was a blog post by Katrina Kittle, posted on the Writer Unboxed site, called Keep the Faucet On: Slow and Steady Fills the Ocean. You must read this post. It is true. I made me cry. Her message: once you miss a day it becomes that much easier to miss the next, which makes it even easier to miss the next, and then you’ve lost your way. You doubt the book, and doubt yourself.  It made me swear that I will get back to work, even if I just snatch ten minutes at the start of each day. Even if it’s a week before I actually write something more, because it may take me that long (at 10 minutes a day) to pick up the thread where I left off. Even so. I promise myself: back to the book.

What makes this so hard is that, having been away so long, getting back to it seems a mountainous, impossible task. I know it’s not, but the monkey in my head has bared its teeth and is shaking sticks at me, warning me that I can’t do this.

Shut up, monkey. I’m going to do it anyway.

Watch me.

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