I'm back in the swing of things, and my novel-writing class started last week. You know what that means, right? It means I paid for the class, and so come hell or high water, I'm going to write.
Of course, I'm out of practice. So, what happens is that I sit there with my giant Google document open, and every single word I type physically pains me.
I say to myself, "Oh quit complaining. Just write for three minutes. "
Then, I look up at the right corner of my screen where the clock is, and it's, like, shocking that no minutes have gone by. I can basically write only 100 words at a time. I took my little notebook out with me for recess duty and made myself scratch out another hundred because the daily total has to start inching back up, lest I have nothing to share with my class and teacher.
One thing that makes me feel okay about this distressing state of affairs is that I saw Anna Quindlen speak last week. I fell in love with her when I read One True Thing when I was in college.
Have you read that?
It's heartbreaking and stunning.
And then, shortly after I read that novel, and much to my delight, Anna Quindlen became the back-page columnist in Newsweek magazine. Her columns were delivered to my home in my early years of teaching. The long and the short of it is, Anna Quindlen is a writer with range whom I deeply admire.
And guess what she said about writing last week when I saw her at Pen Pals lecture series?
She said that writing is excruciating for her. Every sentence is a struggle. At the end of every writing day, she quits in the middle of a sentence because she can't bear to start a new chapter or a new paragraph in the morning.
But, she can always finish a sentence. Okay, Anna. I'm with you. I'm going to finish a sentence or two or three. Let's do this.