No one can tell what the future holds…
You make the choice of how it goes….
(Kenny Loggins, “This is It”)
I have some sophisticated friends. They like sophisticated music: jazz, blues, old school hip-hop, Philip Glass…. I am not sophisticated, and I like cheez. If it got constant airplay in Indiana during the ’70’s and ’80’s, I probably love it. That’s why, when Sandra Sookoo asked me to do a blog entry for her about being a beginning writer, I immediately thought of the Kenny Loggins song, “This is It”. It captures my writing life perfectly.
Like almost every writer (and probably just like you), I started writing at an early age. I remember very clearly that Sunday evening in April, 1978, when I followed my mom into Hook’s drugstore after church and said, “Laurel and Lisa are writing a story? Can I write one, too?” For four months after, that magenta steno pad was my constant companion. Then it was a green one. Then a light blue five-subject notebook with hard covers, and then, and then, and then….
I wrote constantly after that, up through high school, and then life started getting in the way. First, it was juggling college and work. Then it was college, work, and a not-so-great boyfriend. Then work and grad school. Then two jobs, then three, then marriage, then one baby, then two, and three…. Until one night in September, it hit me: I was 41–halfway through my life, if I was lucky. If I was going to have any sort of writing career, I would have to start NOW.
The next day was September 11th, 2007. I felt kind of uncomfortable, starting my novel then, but I knew that if I didn’t, I might never get another chance. So I pulled out a few pages from one of my more promising false starts (the one I wrote two days before giving birth to my second child), and began writing. Two-and-a-half years later, in the early morning of January 1, 2010, I wrote “The End.”
Now I have to start all over.
But I can do it. And so can you. Perhaps, like me, you’ve always waited for the “perfect time” to start writing. When you finish college, when you get a better job, when your kids are out of diapers, when they’re in school, when they’re out of the house, when you retire–then you’ll start that book. But guess what? There never is a “perfect time.” Important tasks and loved ones will always be there, clamoring for attention. You will always feel stressed and stretched in every conceivable direction. But you can still write. Maybe not five pages every day, sometimes not even five paragraphs. And maybe you’ll be sitting at a kitchen table listening to your kids squabble, instead of in your beach house or a quaint neighborhood coffee shop. But you’ll be writing, and every day, you’ll be getting closer to typing “The End.”
So, this is it. I’ve got to revise this book and begin submitting. Maybe we’ll be doing this together. Or maybe you have yet to write your first sentence. Wherever you are in your career, thanks for reading my post…but now turn off the internet and get writing!