One day while reading my 2nd grade Weekly Reader, I came across an article about a 6-year-old girl who had published a book of poetry. Because she didn’t know how, literally, to write, she dictated the poems to her mother. (“Yo, mom, take down this sonnet!) Voila! — she became a published author.
I don’t remember the girl’s name, I do remember thinking: “Oh no! I’m seven and I still haven’t published!”
Embarrassingly, I continued to utter those words well into my late-20s, when I began publishing steadily. Even today, I utter a variation of them: “Oh no! I’m in my middle years and still haven’t written the Great American Novel!”
If you’re a writer, I bet similar words have slipped into the conversations you have with yourself and others. Such words belong to the universal language of writers — to all creative people, for that matter. We are all waiting for deliverance.
But universal as these words may be, there is no strength in number. Ultimately, we writers stand — and sit — alone.
Sitting down to write is key. It is the only way to quiet the Muzak looping through our minds:
La-di-da. Publish. Perish. La-di-da. Perish. Publish. La-di-da.
And so I’ve learned to sit, to let the sound of my keyboard block the Muzak. And when that fails, as it sometimes will, I will stand, stretch … and sit again.