Look at this guy. His name is Babe. Wouldn't you love to wrap your fingers around his fat little belly and squish the stuffing out of him? Go for a walk and show him off to the neighbors? Sit quietly while he snores in your arms? Me, too.
We adopted him over the weekend. Completely impulsive. My family went out for a bike ride, saw him in a neighbor's yard rolling around with his litter mates, and my husband, inspired, bought a lottery ticket. When they arrived home, my husband told me we had to adopt one. Too much money, I said, but if you scratch that ticket and we win, sure. We won. If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know how I feel about signs. Just look at the little guy.
So what does Babe have to do with writing? Chair glue. I wanted nothing more than to wallow in puppy heaven yesterday, but I forced myself to work on my manuscript. There are always reasons to not write. Life -- and let's be honest here, especially a woman's life -- is filled with demands on our time: family, work, volunteering, squishy puppies. If you're a writer, if you want to create something meaningful with the intent of getting it published, you had better find time each day and glue yourself in that chair. No excuses, because no one cares if you have one anyway.
Why? Few in your life expect you to finish writing that first draft and, trust me, no one cares to hear about your months-long revision process (that's nice, but did you hear about...) Your phone won't ring with friends calling to see how that query letter is coming along (write tomorrow, let's go out for a drink now). Friends outside of writing have no idea literary agents even exist (why don't you just self-publish like my friend?). When you get an agent, s/he won't badger you to finish revising that manuscript s/he was gushing about when s/he signed you (your name is? and you're calling regarding?), s/he'll just move on to the newer, more promising client. Really, no one cares if your manuscript ever becomes a book -- no one cares but you. So why do it?
I asked myself that same question over the weekend. While sitting in the bleachers at my son's baseball game, a foul ball headed for the stands. I made a joke to the other parents about the parallels between it and John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany." They all stared back with blank expressions. Not one person had ever heard of the book or even John Irving. *Sigh*
That chair glue is for me, it has to be. I want to write a book, a good book. I want it bound by a publishing house in New York and held in the hands of the few readers who care about words. I want to evoke a connection with my reader. If it doesn't happen, those around me won't care particularly. They'll offer an ear, listen for a day or two, and then forget. But I'll care. I'll care for a lifetime.
I glue myself to my chair each day because I have expections of myself -- and I plan to exceed them. Not even Babe can compete with that. Well, maybe just a little.