Be Careful What You Ask For

Every year I look forward to summer, telling myself that it will give me the opportunity to hole up in my house and spend some quality time writing.

Well, guess what.

Where it all happens. Or maybe doesn’t.

My teaching situation has changed. As of Monday, I will be teaching the rest of the semester from my study in my office. Shelly and I took last Sunday to get my desk situated so that Zoom works a lot better. Formerly I was sitting in front of some venetian blinds and a big picture window. Light still streamed through the window, and it gave those who saw me on Zoom a good silhouette of me. So we moved my desk so that I have my big bookcase behind me. My grandson says that the books make me look smarter, so there’s that. And there’s some comfort in having all those books I love that much closer to me.

And being in my study rather than in my office at school will give me much more opportunity to write. In fact, I have started up on my book again. You know: that book I started months ago, then promptly put down when school started? Now I have one less excuse.

But I’m realizing why other writers say you have to write every day. It’s because if you don’t–if you back off for a period like I did–then you lose your momentum. It’s really hard to get started again.

I could say I am waiting for inspiration to strike me, but I know that I can’t do that. Inspiration tends to be unreliable. You often have to tough it out and write even when there’s no inspiration. That’s when it’s work.

I’m not in my office. I have more things going in my favor. Yet I am still finding excuses. A sick dog. Classes starting on Monday. Something (anything!) good on TV. The reality is, I probably just don’t think I am up to the challenge. It’s the same concern that writers have shared for hundreds of years.

And I have it in spades.