Monday, February 8, 2016

Motivation Monday

I am sitting in my kitchen looking out the window at the rain spattering the puddles in our muddy backyard. The sky is gray. The trees are bare.

It's Monday.

9:17 am, and I have not yet opened my writing file to begin my day's work. Here's what I have done:

  • made breakfast and cleaned up breakfast 
  • did a load of laundry 
  • scrolled through emails 
  • balanced the checkbook. 
  • attempted to get the dog outside to do her business but she didn't want to do her business because it is raining and she is a little goofball who does not like to get wet and now I am watching her warily and keeping an eye on the rain, waiting for it to let up a bit so I can try again
  • writing this blog while watching the rain, which curiously has turned into snow. Hmm. Is the dog afraid of snow? Let's find out, shall we?
  • 9:22: Ha! Success!

Yesterday a teen writer interviewed me for a school project. Where do I get my ideas, she asked? Why do I write stories and books for young adults? What's the most difficult thing about writing a novel?

The last question tripped me up. I blathered about the writing process. The pros and cons of writing without an outline or writing with an outline, and some things I've learned along the way about revision, and how there's no one right way to write a novel but you've got to be open to trying different methods and blah blah blah.

And then I realized I hadn't actually answered the question.

The simple truth of the matter, distilled down to the essence, is THIS:

the most difficult thing about writing a novel is writing the novel

every day, every moment of some days, it is you, the writer, sitting down with a blank sheet of paper or a cursor blinking on a computer screen, willing yourself to begin, taking the leap of faith that you can do this, again, write the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next scene

accepting that what you are doing is imperfect and will definitely need to be revised, trusting that you will reach the end, eventually, if you keep working steadily, day after day, and accepting the final outcome--that when you do reach the end--

there is no guarantee that anyone beyond a small lovely circle of friends will ever read the thing

and making peace, each moment, each day, with that fact

and writing anyway.

(or not)

I hate to tell this to beginning writers, but it does not get easier, with each sentence, each page, each book. But somewhere a long the way, if you are lucky, you will come to the conclusion that you write because you want to or need to and/or can't imagine not writing (and you know this because you've tried not writing and in the end always returned to it).


It is now 11:55 and I've been to a doctor's appointment, eaten lunch, cleaned the lunch dishes, walked the dog (it's no longer raining or snowing), answered several emails...

and in the next two minutes I will wrap up this blog.

I will add a picture.


a blank screen--waiting for the day's words

and begin my day's work



  1. Jody -- I am in the middle of a revision right now and so needed this post! Thank you!

  2. Jody, my days lately seem to be exactly like the one you are describing here. It's the gray season, right? Just finished reading BIG MAGIC and I recommend it to all writers, no matter the genre.

    1. Kathy, we are totally on the same wave length. Columbus gray = boo
      And I just read Big Magic too! Awesome inspiring book. I've already given two copies to writing friends.