I’m two weeks out from my hip replacement surgery, and, as noted last week, I’m doing well. I jokingly tell people I’m a little disappointed—I thought I was going to have at least a month to laze about, reading and recovering. And now I feel like doing all the things!
Because, funny thing, the desire is there but I haven’t actually had a lot of luck getting words on the page. I write in my journal every morning. I managed to write a post on Medium (see below), and I’ve now put together two newsletters. But every day in my journal I write about how eager I am to get back to my fiction. How today might be the day.
And then it isn’t.
While I am frustrated with myself, this gap between desire and action isn’t fully a bad thing, because it puts me right back into how it feels to be a beginner. When I was a young woman, I wanted to write stories so badly. And yet I had no idea how to do it. I’d open a page in my journal and feel blank. I didn’t know how to get started. I didn’t know what to write about.
Eventually I fell back on my education in journalism and started free-lancing articles. But I still wanted to write stories. Fiction. It took me a long time to find the confidence to do it. And if I had known then, what I know now, it might not have taken so long.
Because now I know the secret: the only way out is through. The way to solve the problem of not writing is to write. Something, anything. Set a timer for 15 minutes, put pen to paper and write without stopping. (I mean it. Don’t stop.) Make yourself do it. (I’m telling myself this, too.)
The relief and joy you feel will far outweigh the earlier pain of procrastination. And then all you have to do is start over again. And again. And again. That’s how all books, essays, stories, blog posts, anything, are written.
Here is your prompt of the week:
Oh no, we have to start over again?
I wrote a blog post about how surgery is like long distance travel on Medium. Read it here.
Winter in Paradise, by Elin Hilderbrand. A good read, but be aware—there’s a cliffhanger at the end that leaves you hanging until the next book, which isn’t out yet.
10% Happier, by Dan Harris. The benefits of meditation, mixed in with entertaining stories about the broadcast news business.
Sisters First, by Jenna and Barbara Bush. I never in a million years would have read this book. But my sister went to hear Jenna Bush speak as part of a lecture series she patronizes and brought me the book. I actually enjoyed it, and it made me respect the Bushes a whole lot more.
The Christmas Camp, by Karen Schaler. Predictable and corny, but it was fun. And I was still in a bit of a haze from the anesthetic. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Solace Island, by Meg Tilly. Yes, that Meg Tilly—the actress. I really enjoyed this romantic suspense novel, set in the Pacific Northwest.
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. Oh boy, this one is a bit of a slog. I love Kingsolver’s writing style—her style is a joy to read. But every scene in this book turns into a polemic about a current or historical political or social problem. It gets a bit tedious.
All the Hallmark Christmas movies. Honestly, they are pretty much interchangeable and so are the actors and actresses and the names of the films, (hence why I’m not listing any). But I don’t care, I love them in all their tackiness anyway.
And Don’t Forget
France 2019—We’ve posted the information for next year’s workshop! Find all the details here. We’ve already had a few sign-ups and there’s a discount if you commit before the end of the year.
And of course, don’t forget to join the Facebook group if you haven’t already. I post lots of good links and we often have lively writerly discussions going.
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