I’ve been dragging my heels with my second novel. I was so crushed by the failure (it’s ok, I’m ok, we can call it that) of the first one and have since been bogged down by serious self-doubt and endless navel gazing. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit second-guessing myself and wondering if I have what it takes, if I really want to try again, if I’m smart enough, and on and on and on. Ultimately, though, that’s all pretty boring and I’m ready to shake that off and get moving.
I looked at my calendar last week and realized I’ve got nine weeks left before the boys are out of school for the Summer. ZOIKS. I’ve wasted a lot of time wondering whether I’m good enough rather than doing what I actually enough doing, which is writing. So, nine weeks. I have nine weeks until I’ll be mostly occupied with beach days, frozen yogurt and pizza by the slice. I have a few other writing projects going but I’m going to give everything I’ve got in these next 45 work days to my novel and see what I’ve got when I’m on the other side. I’m ready to “look for it,” as Annie Dillard writes. To search and break my heart, my back, my brain. Yes, I’m ready now. Let’s get this party started!
At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then– and only then– it is handed to you. From the corner of your eye you see motion. Something is moving through the air and headed your way… It flies directly at you; you can read your name on it. If it were a baseball, you would hit it out of the park. It is that one pitch in a thousand you see in slow motion; its wings beat slowly as a hawk’s.