The choices a writer makes

  1. You decide to Tweet for the first time in over 4 years because, well, it’s something to do other than facing your manuscript.
  2. You obsessively check your email, certain that one of the agents who has your previous manuscript is going to contact you today. You imagine the yes, the no, then fall into a roller coaster of emotions that is completely detached from reality but takes a toll nonetheless. Phew! This writer’s life is exhausting, lemme tellya.
  3. Emotionally spent, you look at the clock wondering if it’s lunchtime yet. Because you and your coworkers are getting tacos today and, well, YES. Unfortunately, the clock tells you that it’s 9:22am.
  4. You open your new manuscript (or WIP = Work In Progress). Huh. There it is.
  5. You minimize your WIP and stalk a few agents on Twitter. Oh my gosh, we totally have all the same opinions and are DESTINED TO WORK TOGETHER.
  6. Oh my gosh this perfect agent is NEVER GOING TO LOVE MY MANUSCRIPT. EVER.
  7. Life is tragic.
  8. Tragedy. Yes. You should kill off a couple characters today, maybe.
  9. You really don’t feel like killing any characters.
  10. What you really need is another cup of coffee. That will kick you into high gear.
  11. Fresh caffeine flowing through your veins, you open your WIP.
  12. Wow, look at that. I have no idea what to write next.
  13. [you stare into space]
  14. Oops, coffee got lukewarm. Time to reheat.
  15. Get to work!! you scream at yourself. Stop being an unmotivated pile of lethargy!
  16. But I love being an unmotivated pile of lethargy. It fulfills me.
  17. This novel is never going to get written. You’ve known it all along–you were a one-trick pony. You will never complete anything again. The last story was a fluke. And the last one too. And the one before that. Three complete flukes. This fourth beast is where you discover you’re not really a writer, and if you’re honest you always knew once you read Tana French that you might as well give up because you will never write like her and her writing is the most searingly beautiful, achingly sad, stupendously–
  18. Stupendously?
  19. See? Tana French would never use that word.
  20. You lift your fingers onto the keyboard. They might as well be barbells. It would be easier if they were barbells. Maybe you should become a professional weight lifter instead. Seems simple: pick up something heavy. Lift it. Repeat. Make it to the Olympics. Wear Spandex on TV. Pose for the back of the Cheerios box. This writing business is TOO DANG HARD and it does nothing for your body anyway.
  21. You write a sentence. It sucks. Doesn’t matter. Keep going.
  22. – 30. And going and going and going.
  23. You are writing and you never want to stop.
  24. YOU ARE A DEMIGOD! YOU ARE WRITING THINGS INTO BEING! You are powerful, and you bring suffering down on your characters like the hammer of Thor, and it feels good, and that probably means you’re twisted, but it doesn’t matter, this is everything, and you’re probably a genius, definitely a genius, and fame and glory await and this book WILL MAKE SUCH A GOOD MOVIE, you just worry slightly about whether they’ll choose the right actress for the lead, but maybe there can be a contract that gives you veto power, surely that’s a thing, right?
  25. And it never would have happened if you hadn’t started writing.

(later we’ll cover the part where you realize you’re probably not a genius, and your book will probably not be made into a movie and you will never get veto power over imaginary casting choices–but that’s for another time)

Today, my friends, just start writing.

Butt in chair, manuscript open, Twitter closed, fingers on keyboard.

That’s what I’m going to do.

In about five minutes when I finish writing this post and reheat my coffee.

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