This is a post I wrote nearly 2 years ago that became the seed crystal for my new book A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, which is available now at all fine retailers virtual and real (someone wrote me today to say she bought my book at the gorgeous bookstore The Strand in New York. SIGH). The post came out of a series of journal entries I’d begun writing to cheer myself out of a very dark patch of not writing. It got me to start writing again. It’s hard to believe a whole book sprang from this, but it did, and I hope it, and the book itself, inspire you.
I’ve shown up to the page almost every day for about six weeks, working straight through on this novel with fierce determination to finish a draft rather than my usual habit of getting 2/3 done before I fall to pieces. But I’m not going to lie: the doubts, fear and anxiety that I am, once again, undertaking a project that may never see the light of day, are all with me as I set my finger pads down on the keyboard.
And yet…doubt is no longer a good reason to stop writing. Fear is an even less compelling reason. It has become clear, ever since 8 year-old me completed her first short story, that I’m not ever going to stop writing unless forced.
So what keeps me writing when my ego whines “what’s the point?”
Surrender means writing for the love of it, not just the hope of a paycheck or praise one day.
Surrender means a deep respect for the power of storytelling, one of the oldest human tendencies of self-expression and connection.
Surrender means a willingness to be vulnerable, and clunky, and persistent even when it’s hard.
Surrender means that you accept the words that are uniquely yours.
Surrender means you listen to the voice that has always, always told you stories that you must write down and shape to your gratification.
Surrender means that there are so, so, so many realities way worse and harder and far less pleasant than writing that you could do.
Surrender means awareness that success comes in many forms, and the New York Times Bestseller list is only one tiny version.
Surrender means being tender with yourself.
Surrender means being committed to your vision.
Life is SHORT. Write while you can. What do you have to lose?