Last night I stepped away from my computer before midnight for a change, set my alarm for 4:30 am, and before drifting off to sleep, asked God to remind me when it went off that I was excited about getting up so early because I would have time to write.
He did. And so, for the first time since the conference in February, I pulled out the critiques on my children's book, opened up the file, and began yet another revision in a silent house, well before the distraction of a husband stirring or a pink sunrise or a puppy's face hoping for a walk could distract me.
I haven't given myself a deadline, other than to move forward every day, even if it's just to develop a character or backstory that no one will ever read.
On the wall of my office, right in my line of vision, is a placque, a gift from my friend Jill, that says "never, never, never give up" and on the other side is reminder from my friend Rae to "Find a passion and pursue it...never give up...do what you love...follow your dreams...make every moment count...be true to who you are..."
And who I am is a writer. Perhaps not the best, but I won't get better unless I write.
I even resisted glancing at my email this morning, because...
"There was a day when I looked up and realised that I had become someone who professionally replied to email, and who wrote as a hobby. I started answering fewer emails, and was relieved to find I was writing much more."
Those are the words of writer Neil Gaiman from a commencement speech to a class of university art students in May of 2012. One of the women in my critique group sent the link of his speech to the rest of us.
His words are aimed at artists, but since life itself is a form of art, I'm sharing it below with all of you, just in case I'm not the last person in the world to watch it. (That happens a lot!)
The speech is almost 20 minutes long, but every word is worth listening to. They were my wake-up call to re-focus on my book, but might be your wake-up call to re-focus on whatever gives meaning and satisfaction to your life. He has a lovely British accent, which makes it even better.
So turn it on, get up and stretch or do your nails or something while you listen.
Okay, here's another little bit from it, if I haven't convinced you yet...
"Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.
Make good art.
I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn't matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.
Make it on the good days too."