The hardest part of writing is the first line—it’s just summoning up the gumption to start.
Some days I sit for minutes that drag on and on, finger poised over the keyboard, unmoving. When nothing comes to me, I distract myself with e-mail or Instagram, talk to the dogs, or scroll through Facebook, anything to delay those first words.
So many people have told me I have to read Catherine Ryan Hyde. So finally, I purchased one of her books – Stay.
I read it on my kindle which is often not as good an experience for me as paper. It is harder for me to get a real sense of the book. I’m not sure why. Maybe I am a tactile person, but I think the cover, the heft, the quality of the actual book affect how I feel about a book. I just don’t have the same affection or love for an ebook as I do for a paper book.
As a writer, I hear from would-be writers all the time. They used to write, hope to write someday, had a teacher who told them they should be a writer, and a few who have been working on a novel for years.
The thing about writing is that anybody can do it.
I’m not just saying that. It’s true.
Anybody can write.
What they write, the quality of it, the success of it, well, that’s another story, but that’s not the point.
This was the first year in five years that I didn’t have a new book released.
(And yes, it does feel kind of surreal to say something like that and yes, I am one lucky writer and no, I am certainly not complaining. My cup and saucer runneth over.)
2019 was a year of growth and pain and frustration for me in terms of writing, and maybe in terms of life, but that’s for another post.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t writing. Oh, I was writing. Working like a little devil. I had a book contract for 100 Dogs & Counting and the manuscript was due December 1 and will be published July 2020, so the work has only just begun.
The thing about writing is that you are always taking a risk. If you aren’t taking that risk, then you’re probably not writing anything that matters.
If there is no danger involved, you are likely regurgitating a five-paragraph essay for your high school English teacher.
Doing what’s expected, what won’t raise any alarms or get anyone fired up enough to challenge you, is flimsy writing. It won’t hold up; it won’t motivate anyone to change their lives or fire off a rebuttal, let alone turn the page.
I’m reading a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller. I’m not sure how it landed on my bookshelf, but I’m making a concerted effort to read the books I have, so I recently picked it up.