I wrote today.  And I’m not talking about email or blogging, either.  I’m talking about the drive to Tully’s, set up computer, set up keyboard, put on headphones, play Death Cab for Cutie a half dozen times kind of writing.  I was working on Chapter 1, scene 1 of my next 5 Spot novel, a book I’m calling Hot Seat for now for lack of better title. 

It’s hard starting a new book.  I usually don’t like it as the words seem awkward, all rough angles and bare spaces.  The problem when I start a new book is that I don’t know the characters.  I know the over all story but I don’t know what motivates her, or those around her.  I don’t know what she wants, or where she’s going, or why she even needs to exist. 

Fortunately today I was prepared for the difficulties.  I ordered a huge green tea sweetened with just a pinch of stevia.  I had a CD case full of music options to lull me in.  I even had an apple and a protein bar in the event I was ‘suddenly’ hungry.   And even more importantly–I had the perfect amount of time.  Not quite two hours.  Perfect.

By the time I set everything up and settled in I had maybe 90 minutes to write.  Not too long, but long enough to get the book started.  And all I had to do was write a scene.  One scene, any scene.  It didn’t have to be the first scene in the book, or an important scene.  It was just a “it’s okay to write scene”,  or in other words, “you’re safe, you can write badly now, I will still love you anyway” scene.

You see, I like writing when I can write crap and have time to write crap.  I like writing when there isn’t a clock ticking or a gun to my head.  I like trying to figure out my characters and find the surprises each story holds.  I like being entertained by my own imagination and intrigued by potential conflicts.  But to find the good stuff in a story I need time, and lots and lots of work, which requires energy.  And patience.  And courage.

I’m proud of myself for writing today.  I know it’s my job, and my career, and identity and all, but still, it’s hard work and it feels good to meet my goal.  Maybe if we writers (women?) were nicer to ourselves, we’d find it easier to meet our goals.

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